By Harris Bin Munnawar –
Nearly half of the people of Pakistan are sleeping out in the open after their houses, crops and cattle were swept away by the recent floods. The other half have been left debilitated after having to listen to nerve-racking speeches by Tehrik-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan every night for more than a month. At a time when our country is battling with natural calamities of such cataclysmic proportions, the role of journalists is of utmost importance.
It is imperative that the greatest minds in Pakistani journalism guide our nation out of the crisis that has engulfed us. With wide experience in reporting for electronic media, this scribe is one of them.
However, every time one starts to say anything of significance live on television, the news reader begins to ask stupid questions. When one dodges the questions to tell them exactly how the irrigation system and its safety mechanisms work, or what actually happened during the negotiations between the government and the opposition, the news anchors stop one. “Thank you very much,” they say. “It is time for a break. We will get back to you for updates.”
Through the columns of your esteemed magazine, I urge the higher authorities to direct news anchors to allow people to finish what they are saying.
In the wake of the recent allegations of rigging in last year’s general election, this is to submit that the people of Pakistan have a right to know if their vote was counted. Every single vote cast by every single citizen of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan symbolizes the trust that he or she puts in the state with the belief that he can hold the state accountable if his right to have a say in his future, privately and securely, is violated. Rigging in the general elections is a serious breach of that trust.
Imran Khan’s demand to verify every single vote cast in the last elections is fair. However, I urge the government not to accept it. If the electoral system is made transparent, my daughter will find out that I did not vote for Tehrik-e-Insaf. Days after she accidentally discovered my Internet browser history, it will prove to be an irrecoverable blow to our relationship.
Narendra Modi is at it again. After ruining our culture with a relentless onslaught of vulgar movies from his country, he is now spying on us.
Just because we are progressive and open-minded, it does not mean we would allow these Hindus to look inside our homes where our womenfolk live. First you exposed your own women in the movies to seduce us into adopting your culture and language. But now you are exposing our homes and sending pictures of that all over the world. There is a limit to our patience. Narendra Modi, do not provoke us. We are honorable men and we will not allow this.
We warn you to go back right now or there will be dire consequences for which you and only you will be responsible.
I am writing to you in confidence because I cannot share my problem with anyone else in the world. Yes, you are right. I am in love. Since I have seen her, I have not been able to sleep. Her eyes are like deep, blue lakes and her lips are like rose petals. I have never seen a girl more beautiful in my entire life. I think about her all day and all night. I love her and want to make her mine. I want to marry her. If I do not get her, I will die.
She feels the same way about me. I know you are wondering why we don’t just go on and marry each other. Well, there is a slight problem. I am in the PTI dharna, but she is in the Tahirul Qadri dharna.
We are like two banks of the river – we look at each other, but we are never able to meet. We are like two wheels of a bicycle – we go places together, but we are never by each other’s side. We are like Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri – we don’t know who is bluffing who.
I have promised I will not go home until I propose to her. What should I do?
I need your help regarding a very serious concern. I am among the thousands of people camping outside the parliament on behalf of the rest of the country, to bring a revolution. As you know, there are no real toilets available here and no running water. There are also no stones.
You are probably also already aware that recently, our friends at the neighboring dharna – who have makeshift toilets – have all been provided white cloth that they are required to wear as their shrouds in the event that they are martyred.
Since it seems unlikely now that such a situation will arrive in the near future, and considering the fact that the cloth is not likely to be used for any real purpose, is it okay to use someone’s cloth while answering the call of nature, in a desperate situation, without their prior knowledge and consent?
Bay Ikhtiar Butt,
I write to you on behalf of the Punjabi Taliban. As you know, we have recently decided to stop carrying out attacks in Pakistan and will focus all our efforts in Afghanistan. On this occasion, we humbly request the media to stop calling us Punjabi Taliban. Now that we will be fighting alongside Afghan Taliban, such discriminatory names will hurt the morale of our fighters who had already stop fighting in the neighboring country because of discriminatory policies.
Several recent researches have proven that when Taliban militants are referred to as Punjabi, there are irreversible affects on their perception of themselves. This creates identity issues and lead to a negative self image. That has long-term effects on the emotional well being of our fighters, frequently leading to behavioral issues, such as an unusual display of violent and aggressive behavior.
Note to self: Don’t forget to buy the following on your way back to work.
Tomatoes – 1kg
Eggs – one dozen
Large pack of instant coffee
Baking Power – one large pack
Red chilli powder – one small pack
And tomorrow’s the last day for the phone bill.
Harris Bin Munawar,
The writer is a journalist and art critic based in Lahore