Noreen Laghari being interviewed from the comfort of her home by a journalist speaks volumes about what has become of the Pakistani media.
Laghari who claimed that she was to blow herself in a church on Easter before being arrested by security forces in an operation which killed her husband was before the world, on broadcast media.
The medical student who confessed that she was about to kill Pakistanis and had married a trained terrorist was being interviewed in front of the whole nation.
Noreen, who should have been in a rehabilitation center receiving therapy and counseling by now, was smiling and narrating her story on national television, narrating how she had been fantasized by the terrorist group.
She might be senseless but as journalists, as media professionals, as literati of the country how can we become the voice of those who planned harrowing schemes on its own country’s soil?
How can we then justify becoming the voice of the victims of terrorism when we let the oppressor speak up and convey his message?
This is not the first time that such an incident has occurred; after committing all kinds of atrocities, a week ago the spokesperson of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was being entertained in a similar manner by a senior journalist.
Main stream media carries huge responsibility.
With every word being typed to every frame being broadcasted to every word uttered, all is accounted for. In the race for breaking news and TRPs; every ethical code is violated.
Moreover, if the media regulatory authority (PEMRA) succeeds in taking any action against any rogue step taken by the media; it starts receiving mysterious threats.
When a major terrorist incident strikes Pakistan, the state decides to mourn. When images of bloodied battered bodies surface on social media, we relentlessly start weeping.
Which human being could think of doing this?
We iterate this so often that our words have lost meaning itself. Our school was turned into a slaughterhouse one December morning, Easter Sunday was mourned instead of being celebrated in Lahore, Friday prayers are often a soft target, and it would be unfair to not mention the countless lives being lost in sectarian attacks.
Hearts bleed, eyes weep and lips pray.
And one fine day, we start glorifying those who orchestrated the savageness. Video surfaces where the notorious Ehsanullah Ehsan is confessing to his crimes and even worse, he’s given a prime time slot on a private news channel.
I keep repeating this to myself, how can a journalist who has written endlessly in support of terror victims, who has conducted exclusive shows waging support for innocent lives lost could agree and decide to host a murderer terming it “exclusive”.
Dear Pakistani media, how could you make a mockery of those who were affected by the attacks? What hypocrisy charade you adopt when you go to interview the families of the victims?
The sad background score you play when such incidents are telecasted, those heartbreaking images that follow with it; has one of them ever moved you.
It saddens me to the core when international surveys claim that Pakistan is a dangerous country to visit or that it’s a safe haven for terrorists. It’s even more painful when powerful countries accuse us of sponsoring terrorism on its own soil.
By trying to glorify such nefarious elements, what exactly are we trying to prove to the outside world.
At any point as Pakistanis we can’t deny how extremism has penetrated our society and how radicalized a section of our youth has become.
The media needs to play a role in educating its future generation rather than shadowing them that they can get away with anything after a confession.
With every passing day, the Land of Pure faces grave challenges from within and outside; its intellectuals should step forward and become a beacon of hope.