14th August, Independence Day indeed! Are we really independent?

by S Roman Ahsan

14th August, Independence Day indeed! What do we have beside empty slogans today? Are we really independent?

In March this year of 2015, I got a job in an online English Newspaper. I did not give up “Together We Rise!” even then but that is beside the point. Anyhow, I was overqualified for the job but I gave my best, even working overtime. I was required to do news reporting and news-writing.

As the days went by, it was surprising to note that like other Urdu cable TV channels, our English newspaper was also very keen on sharing news on Bollywood movies, actors and actresses. I expressed my concern to the manager (who was much younger and inexperienced than me in fact) that I didn’t want to promote all that considering that I had been writing against showing of Bollywood movies in Pakistan. I also conveyed to him that India is attacking our borders since 2013 and you want to promote their cinema. Being a shallow person, he only said it was part of my duty.

That exchange of dialogue occurred towards the end of two weeks and the same evening I left the job. So my friends, are we free and independent? No, we are not. We are cultural slaves of our neighbouring Hindu country. Just turn on the TV channels and note how many TV channels are showing Indian content.

That reminds me further. Though I am narrating my own experiences but they are reflective of the general state of affairs. In 2008, I joined the newspaper THE NATION in the magazine section. I liked the job itself except the environment of workplace and the ugly politics that was going on.

I used to keep thesaurus with me on my desk while writing my stories. I would like to narrate here what happened in the initial few days. Well, the editor who was in-charge of the magazine section was standing near my desk. As I was busy, he stepped forward and said “What is that?” I said “Thesaurus”. He said “Hum tau use nai kartay” (We don’t use it). What a stupid thing to say considering use of Thesaurus is very much aligned with newspaper and magazine work.

The editor was a local Christian and though in my school we had a very nice local Christian as our English Teacher whose name was Robinson Qamar Javed, but the experience at THE NATION was totally opposite. He was an unsophisticated and uncouth person who was insecure himself due to the caliber of others. I could write a whole article how he used to play dirty politics. He himself was not a good storyteller and hence liked to attack others.

I also did some pro-Islam articles in the magazine then and the editor got further prejudiced. He knew that my writing skills were good and so he stopped editing my stories for fear that would add more glitter to my work (even though he continued editing for other members). Even my coverage of art-exhibitions was better than his.

My question is why did the management of THE NATION had to keep a prejudiced Christian as In-charge of magazine section? A newspaper such as THE NATION reflects our cultural and Islamic values, and a person in a key position in such a newspaper should not be a hater of Islam! He is currently still the editor of magazine section there at THE NATION by the way.

So my friends, I just gave you another example. We have incompetent people in key positions in our organizations and we are afraid of our Islamic values. Then are we really independent? Furthermore, most people who rise (with exceptions) in Pakistan to key positions mostly adhere to unethical ways. With this system in place, can we really expect to achieve overall progress?

Let me give you more examples. Our Mohammad Ali Jinnah founded Pakistan and he founded the newspaper DAWN as well. After 9/11, DAWN has become a mouthpiece of the imperialists. Day and night it attacks the sanctity of Islam in different ways. One of its senior columnists is Nadeem F. Piracha who is almost an atheist spreading filth through his writings. So are we really independent?

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE is not behind with its shameless practices. The newspaper falls under the INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES and it is also promoting the imperialistic agenda along with promoting decadence in society. In 2011, the paper published a 6-page cover story on the rights of homosexuals in Pakistan. Trends are not any better now. So are we really independent then?

The above gives just a brief picture of the media but the situation is not prettier in other sectors of Pakistan. The corporate sector in Pakistan is closely aligned with international standards and following them. So if a Pakistani Corporate Guru promotes those companies that are funding Israel (either directly or indirectly), then he has not learned ethics. And he does not know the true meaning of independence either!

Let us not just raise EMPTY SLOGANS of “Independence”. WE HAVE TO FIGHT THE OVERALL SYSTEM IN PAKISTAN TO ACHIEVE “TRUE INDEPENDENCE”. We cannot put the whole blame on politicians and absolve ourselves. If we consider ourselves above them in talent and general acumen, then we have greater responsibility.

THE JOURNEY HAS TO BEGIN TODAY…

WISH YOU ALL PAKISTAN INDEPENDENCE DAY!

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