Thursday, 25 August 2016

Human Cockroaches

This is just unending, pathetic diversion from mass murder.

In the golden period between 2008-2013, every other month, often week, the killings in Karachi would “get out of hand”, as one gent put it. Rehman Malik would fly to the city and hold talks with MQM. Everyone was supposed to pretend that after he “redressed” MQM’s concerns, the lull in killings was because the killers had their favourite show on, went out to get sushi, or in one memorable instance, the wives and girlfriends that were doing the killing had seen the light.

In any case, MQM and their supporters in what goes for journalism in this country would throw in a “hum pay jinnahpur ka ilzam lagaya gaya tha”, or “people up north don’t understand Karachi” just to keep everyone quiet.

Then came Zulfiqar Mirza, he didn’t keep quiet. Again we would hear “pehle bhi jinnahpur” or “people outside Karachi don’t understand”.

Then came the SC judgement that MQM, ANP and PPP indeed were killing people. “Jinnahpur”. “Prejudice up north”

The last year or so the following has happened. MQM London members admitted to police there that they take money from Indian intel. Then the MQM golden boy Mayor told everyone who would listen the same.

Couple of days is it now since Altaf Hussain ordered an attack on the media after denouncing Pakistan? Yesterday Altaf and the MQM rabita committee expressed their firm resolve to undo the country and launch a rebellion with the help of Israel and India.

What is the response? A garbage anecdotal piece on people outside Karachi being prejudiced against it? The irony of ascribing negative stereotypes to a whole people, based on your personal experiences with a few, as a means to decry negative stereotyping is just completely lost on the largely Karachi based journalists lapping it up.

For almost a decade now debate on MQM’s mass killing gets shut down over and over through this excuse, that people outside Karachi don’t understand, that they are prejudiced, that they shouldn’t speak.  

Just one man who hasn’t stepped foot in Karachi since the turn of the century can speak about it, this one.

The description of that tweet isn’t off at all. Altaf Hussain literally tells his followers to hammer nails into their opponents, not to shoot them because it wouldn’t be painful enough, instead to smash open their skulls and feed the brains to dogs.

Hear that one more time. He wants opponents to not be shot because that wouldn’t be painful enough. Instead to hammer nails in them, smash open their skulls and feed the brain to dogs.

This is the man that should speak, not you. These nail hammering, skull cracking orders are the tactics Dawn and journalists in Karachi at most call “strong arm”. This is the freedom of speech Asma Jehangir is fighting a court battle to restore.

Not yours though. You don’t know how it is.

 The narratives are so completely false and wilfully dishonest it leaves you awestruck. They’re created just for a single purpose, divert from the mass murdering of MQM. Thousands of people have been killed and a madman is ready to plunge the city into more violence; “2 guys in my office said this to me”...  What!?

What? What is that? Why doesn’t that come up when they shoot an elderly woman in the face for protesting rigging? Or when people decry extortion? Or when ramzan turns into a bloodbath? Why do these narratives only spring up when MQM is in trouble? How did they even come into being?

Consider a current one, MQM is marginalized. If you ask how, you get a retelling of 47 to 85. Stopping at 85 because every dictator since has had their back. ISI helped them rig an election. Musharraf handed them the city, let them kill off every policeman they had complaints against and, I am fairly certain, assumed the small spoon position in bed.

So how is it marginalized now? How is it persecuted by the establishment of all fucking things? There are many persecuted people in Pakistan, denied their rights. The Baloch can argue a denial of education, of resources etc. The peasants in Okara are agitating for land rights. Religious minorities can claim neglect.

In 2013 when the current operation started, what were the rights MQM was fighting for? And against who?

It was the right to kidnap, the right to street crime, the right to “china cutting”, the right to extort, the right to kill people who refuse extortion, the right to kill members of other parties, the right to kill immigrants of unwanted ethnicities, the right to kill relatives of the people they had killed to dissuade from pursuing the matter, the right to kill witnesses if the matter did make it to court, the right to kill police investigating cases or giving protection to witnesses and the right to kill journalists for favourable coverage. Oh, also, after doing all this, the right to have a peaceful life with their families while drawing salary from government offices they had never been to.

These rights are not guaranteed in our constitution, in any constitution anywhere in the world. They are frankly a little unreasonable. And who were they fighting against for these rights? PPP and ANP and ST and so on and so forth. The hell was the issue with the state?

By 2012 the target killings in Karachi had claimed 8 thousand lives. The current figure is anywhere between 10 to 13K. This is the scale of the violence, just these last 8 years, not the 90s. To put that into perspective, consider that suicide bombings throughout Pakistan’s history have claimed 6.5K lives.

The state’s reaction to that violence, egged on and cheered by every journalists providing cover to mass murder in Karachi, has been sustained military operations. Aerial bombardments, artillery shelling, gunships letting loose in bazaars, the complete destruction of whole city centres, villages raised to the ground, millions of people made to leave their lives and homes behind to become refugees in their own country. How many of them lost their lives we will never know because journalists in Pakistan don’t believe in outdated concepts such as reporting.

In Karachi the state’s reaction is paramilitary raiding MQM headquarters to arrest convicted, convicted, target killers housed there.

How is that persecution!?

Nor does it stop there. The operation in Karachi has again been falsely built up by journalists sympathetic to MQM’s mass murder as just against the party. Nothing could be further from the truth. MQM is the most untouched out of all the violent actors in Karachi during this operation, despite being the largest armed group present there with the lengthiest history of murder.

The worst aspect of the Karachi op is the extrajudicial killings. Two months ago MQM claimed 56 of its members had been killed without trial since 2013. Yesterday in a talk show one MQM member claimed the number is now 62. MQM claim, not verified by any independent body.


The number of people killed in extrajudicial killings in Karachi, according to HRCP, is 404. 404. This year. In 2015 it was 507 and in 2014 it was 925.

In all 3 years, 1836 people have fallen to extrajudicial killings by LEAs in Karachi.

Of them, by MQM’s own unverified claim as of yesterday, 62 belonged to MQM.

That is 200 less than the number of Police and Rangers, the “persecutors” that have been killed in just the first two years of the operation.

62 out of 1836.

That means 03.37 % of the extrajudicial killings in the city of Karachi in the last 3 years have been of MQM members.

How again is that being singled out for persecution? How is the operation being used just to target MQM?  Their supporters basically just make shit up out of thin air to keep the killing machine rolling.

The establishment doesn’t persecute MQM, that hasn’t been their history. That isn’t happening now. MQM falls foul of political governments and thrives under military rule. The most army is trying to do with the MQM is to wean it away from the drunkard in London because he’s become a liability.

The journalists and intelligentsia love MQM because its “values” align with their own; it fits the kind of country they want to see. Mass murder across 3 decades is small price to pay for politics of your liking.

What of the other 1836 killed in the operation? What of the thousands and thousands that have lost their lives since 2007 in Karachi? Nothing. You never hear a “you don’t understand Karachi” piece for them. That is only reserved for MQM. The pain of journalists and newspapers is only reserved for MQM.

The poor people in Karachi that die at the hands of MQM or at the hands of the state should now accept the fact that they are just little cockroaches in the grand scheme of things. That’s how they are toyed with, cut up and thrown away; like insects. For no good reason at all. Except that it was their misfortune to not be born in liberal, progressive MQM households. So now their fate is to die.

They have to die so the military can keep its pet hounds another decade, they have to die so MQM members get over their sense of marginalization, they have to die so Asma Jehangir can restore freedom of speech, and they have to die so DAWN can see the progressive politics it has overlooked 3 decades of mass murder for.

That’s what cockroaches are for, dying.

And if you aren’t okay with that, or with MQM getting away with mass murder over and over again, then you are just a prejudiced outsider.


The combined journo-military project to present an institutional killing machine as having a “non-criminal, non-militant” wing has gone off to a fabulous start. Since Ajmal Pahari wasn’t available, they have got the next best thing to be mayor of Karachi.

Waseem Akhtar once called a judge into his office and had him quash criminal cases against 5000, that is five thousand, MQM criminals in one go. Normally in Sohail Warriach’s “Aik Din Geo Ke Saath” the guests speak about the food they like, or what they do in their leisure time. Waseem Akhtar’s question was about which weapons has he used. Alhumdulillah, he replied in the positive to everything from a T.T. pistol to an AK47.

Now the Home Minister of 12th May and the man who armed MQM to the teeth in Mush era, you’re all welcome, will head the rebranded “political/Pakistan” wing of the party.

Expect more cockroaches to die.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Supporting mass murder

Mumtaz Qadri’s execution on 29th February was a net positive. For once the judicial system delivered and he was held accountable for his crime. It shows that despite support for a murderer, he is, and should be treated as, a murderer.

What has happened since isn’t all that though. That a large number of people treated Qadri as a hero and launched protests was expected. As was the turnout for his funeral. So the shock over that was a little bemusing; his execution was a big deal precisely because he had this support.

Yet more than the shock over the numbers that turned out, the surprise over the idea of it was, more bemusing? There was indignant outrage over the fact that people - mullahs, uneducated idiots, religious nutters, seminary students, etc. - openly support a murderer. Yeah. That people can support murderers caused considerable doom and gloom, not to mention anger. Pakistanis have a special talent for overlooking irony, especially journalists.

Mustafa Kamal’s tell some press conference a couple of days ago explained why that was nauseatingly hypocritical. Sub nauseatingly hypocritical for more bemusing. Since when is support of murderers an alien concept, especially for journalists?

Whenever the truth is spoken about the MQM, many pillars of clarity in the media react like they were Mufti Naeem and somebody had said we have a rape problem. Straight to the foreign agenda, in this case the “script”, coupled with ad hominem quips and a vague, deliberately false reference to lack of proof when knowing that most cases go unreported, with an even more abysmal conviction rate.

Yet Mufti Naeem isn’t as suave and I am pretty sure that his explanations wouldn’t tally as closely with a rapists’, as these journalists’ do with the mass murderers. It’s like the editorials and MQM press releases are written on the same desk.

A more important distinction is that while a Mufti Naeem does his best to convince you that rapes aren’t an issue – DAWN’s editorial on the subject makes no mention of the fact the MQM commits mass murder, does not mention killings at all actually, not even in passing – he wouldn't go on TV to bat for a particular rapist.

Again. A very important distinction. Not just apologia, not just obfuscation, not just misdirection; support for the perpetrator.

Have you seen a Mullah come on TV and tell you that rapists actually have a nice personality? Or write in an Op-Ed that rapists have some progressive values? Vote for the rapists to strengthen democracy? Rapists are the bulwarks against terrorism?

Yet that is the prescription from the, I think “rational” is the self-anointed badge now, section of the media. The mass murdering terrorist organization in Karachi is openly supported, championed by people in the media (Dishonourable mention: Nadeem F Paracha). We are told it is the bulwark against terrorism, of all things, liberal hope and shits rainbows.

Even by 2012, target killings in Karachi had killed roughly the same number of people as all of the suicide bombings & drone attacks combined, combined, in Pakistan’s history. Target killers, convicted target killers, have been arrested literally from MQM’s headquarters. Many of the same people that support the mass murdering MQM often take to writing dramatic, emotional details of the atrocities they want to highlight in order to spur a reaction. Although that largely works, they are among the target audience here and since they don’t actually give a shit about human life, going into the details would largely be redundant.

Which brings us to the propaganda job journalists do for this mass murdering entity. No matter what happens, they keep telling people that actually nothing has happened. If an MQM member confesses to security agencies, they will tell you it was under duress. If he confesses to the media, it’s the script. If he confesses to the Scotland Yard.. screenplay perhaps? Supreme Court ruling; well there’s a lot of extremism in the country. Convicted and convicts captured from the bloody headquarters of the party; Musharraf was a supporter of RAW then?

There’s denial because it’s deliberate. There’s side tracking because it is intentional. There’s no intellectual honesty here because people who wilfully support mass murder aren’t looking for an honest dialogue.

This is an invaluable service these journalists provide to MQM. Misdirection, diversion, intellectual dishonesty and plain lying help maintain legitimacy for MQM. A terrorist organization that shoots elderly women in the face, cuts people up from limb to limb or burns them alive for extortion is continually presented as a viable political entity. It has a mandate, and so many admirable qualities that it should be accommodated in the political system.

You could say but it already has support of the people, well as did Mumtaz Qadri. As did Malik Ishaque, who wasn’t even convicted despite killing a lesser number of witnesses. Should they be viable stakeholders? Do votes give a right to murder? Do elections results bring back the dead? Would it be okay for DAWN to say the Nazis had a “well-earned reputation for strong-arm tactics” but they did improve the economy and were “popular” so… you know..

Guess who would encourage a soft corner for the Nazis as the bulwark against…. say communism?

Hint: Rhymes with foebbels.

People vote for MQM because of ethnic identity, ideological leanings, death threats, illegal patronage or self-interest and make their peace with its mass murder. They are supporting mass murderers because there’s a contract where they get something in return. That does not however mean that it is not a mass murdering terrorist organization. It is. The same way the Nazis were. Malik Ishaque. Mumtaz Qadri.  

The good thing again is that Mumtaz Qadri paid for his crime, and people who support him were called out for it. Supporters of a murderer; how disgusting. Revolting. Sickening. Repugnant. You get the idea.

It would be nice if these MQM supporting journalists & media people, who ironically take pride in facing “fascist” trolls on social media, were confronted for being supporters of a mass murderer who is the closest thing to Adolf Hitler in this part of the world. 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Questions for Najam Sethi

Najam Sethi’s weekly publication, The Friday Times, recently attacked a teenage gang rape victim in their gossip column “Such Gup”. Most of his colleagues from among the journalist/media community ignored this despite much comment on social media. Still some, mostly women, called it out for what it was and demanded an apology, which has resulted in this clarification from TFT.

Even when they were apparently warned of the consequences, that presumably kept others quiet.

The “clarification” which is based on falsifications basically says TFT was right to slander the victim and devotes the more sizeable portion to lamenting the fact that Mr Sethi has come under fire and his motivations questioned.

The exact line at the end reads:

“As the DAWN editorial noted on Jan 5: “There is surely a need for civil society to counter the urge to resort to the sensational through debate and popular consensus”. To this we would add the quest to ascertain the truth before accusing someone or attributing motives to anyone.”

This is what Mr Sethi (TFT have not identified the writer, addressing the chief editor who's stood by what was written) wrote in the initial Such Gup column, from the first para:

“The girl arranged to meet her boyfriend, a young man connected to the ruling party, at the hotel for a tryst and while there, the couple had an argument, after which there was a heated exchange of words followed by blows.”

That is Mr Sethi accusing the 15 year old rape victim of going to, what he described earlier as a “seedy hotel”, with the motive of a “tryst”. While the rapist, is referred to as her boyfriend. Later on in the passage the two are referred to as “the couple”. In fact, throughout the initial Such Gup piece, the rapist PMLN office holder is referred to solely as the “boyfriend”. Not as the rapist, not as the criminal, not even as the accused. No mention is made of the fact that an acquaintance or any kind of relationship between a rapist and the victim does not in any way condone or dilute the crime.

Without going into a complete overview of the original Such Gup piece, here are some issues that most of us were expecting an unconditional apology for:

1. Suggesting that the girl went to the hotel with the intention of having sex with the rapist.
2. Falsely claiming that the beating the girl received was because of an “argument”. 
3. Leaving the matter of the girl being drugged completely unaddressed, a detail which would invalidate most of the claims in the article.
4. Falsely claiming that the girl was able to move around and came out of the room when the rapist left the hotel, even though police recovered her in a drugged, unconscious state. 
5. Suggesting that DNA evidence can determine consent.
6. Falsely claiming that the DNA tests proved the girl had consensual sex with the rapist.
7. Falsely claiming that there was no evidence of any “extraneous encounters”. 
8. Repeatedly suggesting that there was no rape and the minor girl had consensual sex with the rapist from PMLN.

Coming back to the clarification itself, it raises more questions and answers none; basically ignoring every one of the points identified above. TFT cite a Dawn news item that provides some details of the report prepared by an inquiry team to vindicate their stance. After cherry picking irrelevant details of the news item, TFT contend that their Such Gup column “says much the same thing”.

Here’s what the Such Gup column said:

“The tests proved that the couple had been engaged in a consenting relationship, and that there was no evidence of any extraneous encounters.”

Here’s the first line from the Dawn news item they have cited to vindicate themselves (Not making it up link is available):

Other details from the inquiry report mentioned in the Dawn news item include; two semen samples were recovered, the girl was sodomized, the girl was drugged before being assaulted. This is where the real questions arise.

If Mr Sethi, or his mole, were actually privy to the contents of the report, as they claimed in the initial Such Gup piece, why did they falsely assert that a “consenting relationship” had been proved?

If Mr Sethi, or his mole, read the report which said there were multiple samples of semen, why did they claim it was not a gang rape and there was no evidence of “extraneous encounters”?

If Mr Sethi, or his mole, read the report that said the girl was drugged why did they leave out that information in the Such Gup column?

If Mr Sethi, or his mole, read the report that concluded the girl was assaulted by two people and drugged beforehand, why did they suggest that she went to the hotel with the intention of having sex and what happened to her was with her consent?

Hopefully the TFT can answer these questions in a clarification of their clarification, and issue an unconditional apology for the initial Such Gup piece.

Cautionary tale:

There was another girl. Her name was Halima. She was among a few who had accused Multan Cricket Club officials of sexual harassment. As a result they had been banned from playing by the MCC. Anchor Imran Khan highlighted the issue, but then PCB chairman Najam Sethi stopped him from raising it anymore.

The 15 year old girl who was the subject of Such Gup tried to commit suicide a few days ago. Luckily she survived the attempt, but if she were to go down that path again, it will be the second teenage girl Najam Sethi has had a hand in driving to suicide.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Lifafas

Some years ago I came across an article about Najam Sethi & GEO, before the two were together. The article narrates the story of a visit to the US by GEO TV CEO Mir Ibrahim Rehman. Mr Rehman graced with his presence a reception thrown by US AfPak ambassador Richard Holbrooke's media assistant Ashley Bommer. This was a time of strained relations between the US administration & GEO because of the latter’s aggressive nationalist, “anti-american” rhetoric. The purpose of his visit apparently was to assure the US that his channel was changing tact soon, and that the allegedly millions of US tax dollars it receives for airing American propaganda show “Voice Of America” need not be stopped. Accompanying Mr Rehman was Najam Sethi. 

Not much later, Najam Sethi joined GEO & started his show “Apas Ki Baat” on a pretty neat time slot. Everyone will have their own interpretation about whether that’s a step in more or less “anti-american”-ness.

Some critics have pointed out that there seems to be a peculiar trend in the Pakistani media. Neutral journalists that are hounded through accusations of bias by rabid social media “trolls”, often end up with cushy jobs. The jobs then often turn out to be provided by people they are, unfairly, accused of being favourably biased towards.

The latest incidence in this unsubstantiated fabrication untruth thing is appointment as ambassador of one Mr Kamran Shafi. To that harsh, unforgiving, wasteland; Cuba. Yet Shafi and friends have not made a big deal of the tough task he has been handed. Perhaps because earlier when uncle Micky almost got the UK job, ungentlemanly conduct ensued on social media. In case you are wondering why, it is because of Mr Shafi’s, entirely unwarranted, reputation as an attack dog of the PMLN.

Mr Shafi is expected to guide Raul Castro on intricacies of misogyny against political opponents.

Individual frailties, if a frailty at all right? Recall that during Dharna days last year, an attempt by the protestors to move from in front of the Parliament to in front of the PM House resulted in a crackdown by the police. Killed a few, injured a few hundred. The PMLN back then paid 450 million to private media, from the public exchequer, to promote their ads terming the episode an attack on parliament. As luck would have it, many journalists working for the channels paid started to propagate exactly what the PMLN were saying.

VC PHA & Geo journalist Iftikhar Ahmed gives his professional, unbiased & independent opinion on flowers to not his boss' son.

The point of these examples is to see things on three different levels so as to be sure before drawing any conclusions. That individual journalists, single news channels, and larger media all appear to bend their rhetoric to suit apparent benefactors is, surely, without a doubt, positively; an accident. 

It’s what you may call a fluke, a glitch, stroke of luck, chance, freak of nature, unlucky break, random occurrence, an anomaly, an inconsistency, an irregularity, or an abnormality. Etc. Point is; it’s not indicative of anything. These things happen.

“There are accidents”, said grand master Oogway.

That Najam Sethi is hired after he and GEO management assure the US of going soft on them is an accident. That Kamran Shafi gets the cushy post he’s been hankering after for years whilst attacking PMLN’s political opponents is an accident. That 450 million paid to the media coincided with journalists using exact terms as analysis as those advertised by PMLN is, no prizes for guessing; an accident. 

"O ballay ballay phir PCB chairman bana dya Mian sahab ne"

Here is a partial list of accidents one can recall that happened to journalists or people in the media who in turn happened to be parroting the stance of those in power.

Murtaza Solangi (Radio Pakistan)

Najam Sethi (GEO)

Irfan Siddiqui (Advisor)

Najam Sethi (Caretaker 90s)

Mubasher Luqman (Caretaker)

Najam Sethi (Caretaker 2013)

Iftikhar Ahmed (Vice Chairman PHA)

Najam Sethi (PCB Caretaker)

Arif Nizami (Caretaker)

Najam Sethi (PCB suspending constitution)

Muhammad Malick (MD PTV)

Najam Sethi (PCB Board)

Kamran Shafi (Ambassador Cuba)

Hussain Haqqani (Ambassador USA)

Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi (Chairman Alhamra Arts Council)

Note: Marxist rebel turned US real estate investors are more prone to accidents than others.

"Nazareen ab contractually mandated 5 minute me Murtaza ko bolnay du ga kyun ke channel PPP ka hai"

Of course these are bigger names whose misfortunes have been of a public nature. Accidents are happening daily. In areas such as gov housing allotments to journalists, plots, business to advertising companies, or media consultancies run by journos or spouses or relatives.

If you go through the names above the preceding lines, and the ones in between them, you will surely realize that most, if not all, of these gents have had it with their motives being questioned. They have all faced the virulent harassment by trolls who think, unreasonably, that they sell their speech for various incentives. That harassment must stop. They are the victims here.

I know it’s a small step, but I hope this write-up has clarified a number of misconceptions that pollute social media & trolls will now realize how wrong they have been to question our paragons of virtue, truth, neutrality & weird hairdos. So the next time you see them or their friends having an indignant rant on TV about allegations of bias, or sharing a joke on social media about non-payment of bribes, have a heart and give them a hug. They need our support, for they get no Lifafay.

P.S: Wishing Mr Shafi a jolly good time & deep statesmanship in Cuba.
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