The PSL finally came home be it briefly. The occasion provided immense pleasure and garnered a feel-good element in the nation. Pakistan has seen its moments unity, lately, on occasions of loss or mourning and this time the perspective was different. This time we came together triumphantly in the face of adversity. This was a moment of resilience, fight-back and self-belief.
However, it (International Cricket) was not the only home coming. The chickens came home to roost for PTI as well. The party supremo known for his contrasting stance termed “U-Turns” advocated the final to be held in Pakistan, when there were talks of staging it in Dubai owing to decline of International players from coming to Pakistan. Yet when the organizers gave in to national demand of bringing it back to Lahore he called termed it “Madness”.
Alhamdolillah! Despite all the reservations and amid countless sincere prayers the event concluded successfully. As the nation was rejoicing this brief and long awaited moment of joy, we were struck with this jaw dropping stance now colloquially trended as “phatechar”.
The backlash was aggressive. People didn’t take it lightly, mainly for following reasons
- It came from a proclaimed Messiah
- An aspirant of Prime Minister ship
- An ex-cricketer and World Cup winning Captain
- An oxford educated, not that it benefited but still a rarity since Benazir’s demise
- A political icon of Pakistani Youth
- It compromised the tradition of mehmannawazi (hospitability)
The local twitterati were furious and “phatechar’ became the leading trend. Enough has been said and written about it. What added insult to injury was the clarification of this being ‘Off the Record” and should not have been published.
The term “OFF THE RECORD” is, often, used for conversations at private parties, walk ways, informal sittings or private conversations (not limited to telephones). The speaker even in between formal discussions may speak certain things with an intention of ‘for audiences’ ears only’, which are explicitly disclosed as ‘off the record’, missing in the viral video.
The video is shot in a conference like environment and is more of a Q&A session, perhaps before the intended presser. The reporters were probably invited to the event so that rules out the lamest excuse of “OFF THE RECORD” conversation presented as a cover up by PTI.
Secondly, the content is nothing but an extension of previous narrative and attitude shown not only by the KHAN but his more lethal (loyal) than the Khan supporters aka Ali Zaidi – post election press conference, Mani – pre-election monologue directed at Karachites and Hamza Ali Abbasi – post election comments about Karachi in the face of defeat.
If that wasn’t enough, statements by Naeem ul Haq and Fawad Chaudhry have only cemented the stance and made it PTI’s official narrative. Unlike MQM where, previously, clarifications by Rabita Committee generally pacified the leadership’s verbal spat. PTI leadership and workers were only making a greater fool of themselves by unsuccessfully proving the correctness of these politically incorrect stance.
The ones who couldn’t defend the Khan tried a different approach. They started bashing the female reporter who uploaded the video. The said reporter is called unprofessional and slack for her role in the fiasco. The reporter is only interested in his/her scoop and everyone who has worked with the press knows it. Therefore, a slip of the tongue is always a big issue. There are also calls for self-censorship and that the said reporter shouldn’t have uploaded the video in greater interest of the country.
The dogma of “Larger Interest of the Republic” is a myth created to further state control and nothing else. Keeping in line with this narrative the reporters should also avoid reporting nepotism, malpractice and rampant corruption as they deter Foreign Investments and as you said make “Pakistan – the country – a laughing stock worldwide.
I’m sorry but there is nothing wrong with exposing the attitude of person demanding to lead the country. This should not be limited to a certain somebody but exercised across the board be it Bilawal, Fazl, Shujaat etc. At least, this provides the people a true depiction of the personality of the person who is demanding to step on their necks for the next 5-year term.