My latest Op-Ed published in Urdu Times, USA, UK, Canada on April 23, 2014 , in Urdu language can be read at the PDF file by clicking the link below, and an English synopsis is also shared as follows:
The Op-Ed is in the context of recent murderous attack on Pakistani Journalist Hamid Mir and the accusations that Pakistan’s supreme intelligence agency, the ISI may have been involved in this attack. It condemns the attack and offers sympathy to Hamid Mir.
In this Op-Ed I share reference to various covenants and charters and constitutions sanctifying the Freedom of Speech and Expression around the world. These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the US constitution, and also the constitution of Pakistan.
I present the argument that Freedom of Speech and Press in Pakistan severely restricted by the very wordings of the article 19 of the constitution. It is these restrictions that have never allowed the true freedom of speech in Pakistan.
I also refer to the books by the esteemed late journalist Zamir Niazi who documented in details the methods of controlling the Press in Pakistan. It is proposed that there have been some nominal positive changes in this regards since those books were written.
It is argued that most of the Urdu journalists and media persons have not shown the responsibility that the right of freedom of expression also demands. They indulge in shouting matches at TV programs and declare any one disagreeing with them as traitors.
It is suggested that Pakistan is among the most dangerous countries where scores of journalists are killed each years. It quotes Ali Dayal Hasan, who has recently written, “We, especially we who challenge murderers and torturers, are only alive at their discretion.”
The Op-Ed also criticises Hamid Mir, who in his Urdu columns at Jang has adopted language and opinions bad mouthing secular writers and writers in English, and insinuated that criticising Jinnah and Iqbal is subversion and treachery. His harsh criticisms of Pakistan’s liberal intellectuals is too obvious in his opinions.. He attempts to show the distinguished poet Josh Malih Abadi as a stooge of India. It also asks the readers to review various Urdu columns by Hamid Mir and determine if he also propagates a right wing agenda that has so harmed Pakistan. It is suggested that it is the language and opinions like these that have emboldened the extremists who can deem any one as an enemy of Islam and Pakistan, and a traitor who could be killed with impunity.
I suggest that Hamid Mir’s employers have always adopted hypocritical opportunism in extracting favors and privileges from the source of power in Pakistan that allows them to pay huge salaries to their staff like Hamid Mir. I also opine that it is unfortunate but journalists like Hamid Mir and the institutions like Jang and Geo are now tasting their own medicine.
The Op-Ed hopes that after this murderous attack, Hamid Mir would join forces with the Pakistani human rights activists, and brave intellectuals who have opposed extremism and military with sincerity, and carry a true struggle for Freedom of Expression in Pakistan. Otherwise he would still be considered a pawn in the chess game of power players.