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Amir Liaquat – A Menace to Our Society

Ramadan is a time for sincere reflections within us. We starve the body but feed our souls. During this auspicious month we are able to understand the difficulties that our poorer brothers and sisters face every day. There are people in this country who indeed need to fast every single day. It is a time to come together as one unified community in order to tackle not only our inner struggles towards our religion but to work together to solve many of society’s ailments. This means coming together to give zakat this month. It means sharing iftaari with our neighbors and families. Ramadan is a time that teaches Muslims to come together. Regardless of what sect you belong to, at the end of the day you are indirectly learning these things.
Together we stand shoulder to shoulder under the leadership of one Imam to pray to one God. The power of unification is one that can overthrow governments, take down corruption, and stop the mistreatment of people. Along the way, we seemed to have forgotten that as a unified community there is nothing that is impossible to achieve. Our forefathers before us stood up as one to ensure that we children today have a separate state to conduct business, live freely, and practice the beautiful religion of Islam. But along the way up to the present time, people have slipped into leadership positions in our society and have led us astray. They have divided us, and indeed it is true from our current position that divide and conquer truly works. Divided we no longer can achieve, we no longer can work for a common goal. Divided these individuals have mesmerized us into believing that they are working for our good and the greater good of society.
This beautiful country which is our home and our identity was created in Ramadan. This very country has a deeper relationship to Ramadan than most. However, we the people of this country have somehow lost our way. We have allowed people with no Islamic credentials to lead us. Some of these people have become icons in an industry that sells Islam for ratings, for furthering their careers, and for misinterpreting the religion. And we allow them to do so. We are unaware our rights as citizens of our country to take a stand and act as a unified nation to rid our country’s infections that plague us. These are underlying diseases that will slowly inflict damage on us like a cancer.
It is evident that technology like computers and televisions can be used to further our Deen. But this cannot be possible with people like Amir Liaquat on television, the very cancer that we know to exist in the veins of this country. Indeed he may give dua’s and broadcast an interpretation of Islamic content. But is it really Islamic?
I’d like to pose a question to my fellow Pakistanis. When we are ill we run to a doctor for a prescription, when we need legal help we run to a lawyer, when we need to build a house we run to an architect, when we need produce we run to the grocer. Then why is it that anyone in this country can stand up and declare himself a scholar of this religion? We make sure that the doctors we go to are qualified but when it comes to religion anyone with a beard and a loud voice with pocketed hadiths and verses of the Holy Qur’an or in this case, anyone with a beard and a TV show is the leader and knower of Islam. Indeed, Islam is a religion that should be open for discussion. It is a religion where we can ask and search to get answers. Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) always used to question our Prophet (S.A.W.) on the matters of religion, because He (S.A.W.) was most qualified to do it.
But today like a bunch of cattle or sheep we just seem to be watching what everyone else is doing. We watch the posterior of others who walk blindly towards individuals who are just leading us down a dark abyss. But we happily comply and we walk and tell others to walk with us.
Person 1:“Where are you going friend?”
Person 2: “I don’t know but everyone else seems to be on this way.”

When will we open our eyes and actually question these people for their actions? Television icons like Amir Liaquat can prance around on our screens brining us a Ramadan transmission which includes dramatizations of suicides and promotion of indecent language. For PEMRA it seems their scale on the code of conduct is quite low for this man but for an individual like Hamza Ali Abbasi one whiff of the word Ahmadiyya and all guns come out. Why is the standard any different for the two programs? Is it not enough that this auspicious month is being used in the name of ratings? Does it matter what is discussed or what form it is executed. In the end one is not better than the other. To the supporters of Hamza Ali Abbasi, I understand what his point was, he was not acting as a sympathizer to promote the community in terms of garnering it the respect that mainstream Islam has. But he pointed a valid question, one that needs to be open for discussion without all hell breaking loose. But unfortunately, this wasn’t the platform nor the time to point out this ill. He could have done this in another way. Being the PTI cultural secretary he had the power to delegate a forum by which to discuss this matter. Gather scholars and intellects to come together to find a solution. However, he did not take this very sensible route but instead used a means that promoted his very own martyrdom at the hands of PEMRA.
Coming back to Amir Liaquat whom my father has dubbed ‘bai-rupiya’ his show and the channel was just issued a notice and asked to explain themselves. The way in which this system is skewed is matter of laughter. But here we are, again. Another Ramadan, with another Ramadan transmission. Indeed these are TV shows and these people are entertainers. But that is what they should be labeled as and this is what they should accept. In the longer there should be a specific Code of Conduct that defines exactly what religious programming is and what entertainment is. Lastly, religion should not be used in the name of entertainment. Pakistan is currently facing a time in which we need to pull together to improve our society for the next generation to come. However, people like Amir Liaquat are not held accountable for their actions. They are left to wallow as they please. Indeed we all have the freedom to watch what we please but there needs to be a collective consensus on specific types of shows. There needs to be a form of respect. PEMRA has set out a code of conduct that needs to be obliged by broadcasters, programmers, and advertisers but in implementing this rule there should be no discrimination. A TV channel that is able to afford to buy its way out of rules should not be side stepped like what has happened. TV One and Aaj New channels are fairly new in the market and are just beginning to make a footing in the industry. While channels such as GEO have cemented themselves into the depths of the industry. Why hasn’t the show been banned yet? Why hasn’t the man been banned yet for hosting a show? We all have seen it, a great deal of us don’t like it. But here were are with our heads down, side stepping the bigger issue at hand.
To look away won’t change anything. It’s about high time that we come together as a community as one nation of diverse individuals to put a stop to a man that uses religion in the name of selling his name. It’s obvious that the man is an entertainer, not a doctor, certainly not a scholar of Islam. Do some other show Amir Liaquat, become the next Waqar Zaka. But do not use my deen as a platform for your fame, for your ratings, and for your pockets. My Deen is not for sale, don’t you dare sell my Islam for your own personal gain, and you have no right to do so.

To my fellow brothers and sisters; whatever sect you hold your faith to, whatever ethnic group you come from, either you are in majority or minority, you are poor or rich; old or young. At the end of the day you are a Pakistani. You have rights which you can use for your country. If you think that this man and all Ramadan transmissions that are just used for entertainment need to be banned than come together. We can tackle this down. When hundreds of thousands of people come together under one umbrella there is no force in this world that can break us. But the key to achievement is unification. To become one voice; one entity. Only then can be achieve greatness. Let’s start with the small ails in this society and work together for a large cause. Let’s #BanAmirLiaquatFromTV. Take down the establishment that is a propaganda mill for indecency and false representation of a Deen that promotes peace, sincerity, and humanity. Call your PEMRA office, write to PEMRA, COMPLAIN, COMPLAIN and COMPLAIN until this man is held accountable for his actions along with the corporation that backs him.

Sign the Petition:
https://www.change.org/p/pemra-banamirliaquatfromtv?recruiter=50784743&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_page&utm_term=des-lg-petitions_show_components_action_panel_wrapper-no_msg&recuruit_context=fb_share_mention_variant&fb_ref=Default

Don’t think that nothing can happen, we are a generation of youths, and we hold a large population. When we work together as a team, as one unit there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. Let’s start small and then march for something big!

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Shafaq Dar is an academic writer, currently based in Islamabad. Her areas of interests is women’s rights in Pakistan and education & healthcare reforms in the country.

One Comment

  • rocky.88tude@gmail.com'

    Faisal

    June 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    sorry to say apki ek bhi baat se main agree nahi karta hun .
    ghalat kaam main youth ka involve na kray wallahi.
    acha likha gaya hai .
    magar ap kisi bhi cheez ko sabit nahi krsktay 🙂
    SubhanAllah Bolplatoon kia bat hai apki . jo insan saray sects ko ek sath jma kraha hai or ek maukif pe jawab leraaha hai.. kia un maktabe fikr k kisi ulma allama mufti ne koi aisi bat ki ? well.. 2nd kia or koi tv k zariye unkay bichhray ghar walon se milwaraha hai ?? 3rd kia kisi ghareeb ki madad horahi hai tv k zariye ??? sirf inhi baat ka jawab nahi desktay ap blog bnanay chlay hain 🙂 sharam bhi nahi ati agr koi insan 10percent main se 4percent bhi acha kaam kraha hai usko appreciate kro kal wo 4 se 8 or 10 bhi hojaega insan ki achaiyan dekhye. apni islah krna jab hum qaum seekhlegi usdin sab achay lgengay

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