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36 deaths or an ‘illegal’ arrest? what’s important for electronic media

On September 16, at least thirty-six worshippers lost their lives during Friday prayers to a gruesome suicide attack in Mohmand agency in FATA.

Over thirty were left injured and many were weeping over the dead bodies of their loved ones.

 Amidst all the chaos and panic in the northern side of Pakistan on the 16th of September, the mainstream TV channels were busy giving minute by minute detail about the  arrest of a local politician in Karachi.

Let us get the facts straight.

The attack occurred in FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Areas) which is divided into seven agencies from the north to the south namely Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram and North and South Waziristan.

It has a total area of  27,220 square kilometres and is located inside the boundaries of Pakistan.

 What comes as a surprise is that our very vibrant electronic media which claims to champion the cause of poor and powerless preferred a local politician’s arrest over three dozen human souls perishing in a deadly blast.

The question is:

Are these tribal people children of some lesser God?


The Apathy

The defiant people of FATA have long been used and abused  by various groups and have rendered countless sacrifices in Pakistan’s war on terror but unfortunately on September 16, their last cries too weren’t audible enough to make headlines in the electronic media.

A number of pushto channels gave the blast non stop coverage. Social media was filled with anger about the ignorance of electronic media regarding the blast as almost all the mainstream media channels, other than ARY News, totally ignored the blast to cover the sensational arrest and eventual release of a lawmaker.

My sources tell me that the cellphone of the political agent of the area was not only powered off, the man did not even reply to messages.

The injured victims of the blast were taken to hospitals in Bajaur and Peshawar for treatment.

My advice to the bastions of media freedom is that this freedom comes with responsibility and one must prioritise as to what event or newspiece should get what amount of coverage.

36 people losing their lives surely deserve more coverage than a random party leader getting arrested.

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