12th Aalmi Urdu Conference marred by controversy

12th Aalmi Urdu Conference 2019 was held from 5 to 8 December in Arts Council Karachi. President and members of Arts Council Karachi deserve appreciation for organising this great conference as annual ritual. People from all walks of life enjoyed the hospitality of this urdu conference. Unfortunately intentionally or otherwise the management tries its best to make such a beautiful event controversial by inviting certain known controversial journalists. This is honest fact that Karachi has great number of journalists and literary personalities who are dedicated to the cause of Pakistan and promote art and culture in Karachi, but somehow or the other like press information department of Pakistan preference is given to journalists from Islamabad during various events held in city of lights Karachi. Being life member of Karachi Arts Council I definitely feel perturbed and disgusted when I find journalists from up country specially known being controversial are given preference over much senior journalists living in Karachi only to create bad taste.
6th December will be remembered as dark day in the history of Arts Council Karachi when through a well planned “FARMAISHI” program through the anchors of renown media house Hamid Mir said that the circumstances for journalism are the worst ever. If the circumstances are worst ever how could he speak his mind so bluntly? Journalism these days is free never witnessed in the history of Pakistan. Due credit must be given to Gen Musharraf who opened channels of freedom and allowed mushrooms of TV Channels without ascertaining its suitability and without framing rules, anyone who applied got the license. His speech had nothing to do with the occasion he only thought it convenient to criticise the premium institutions who nourished him and allowed such great freedom to say anything and get away. No one subjugates the media if that was the case how could he and others be free to say anything against the premium institutions of the country. I blame the institutions who provide them VIP treatment and listen to all non sense. This should be an eye opener for the agencies who are responsible giving them undue importance and ignore those who protect them. No one is above law in this holy land, there is no restriction on protests but the government has to ensure that no one takes law in their hands. It was very unfortunate when he said that people of Punjab need to understand the grievances of the people from smaller provinces and express solidarity with them tantamount to spread hatred against Punjab. Won’t it be better that Supreme Court constitutes a commission to go in to the details of money doled out to journalists and the properties they own and asked to disclose their source of income. Freedom of media is not restricted to few journalists and anchors it is free for everybody. What prevents them not to air program against Malik Riaz? Why media is quiet on the amount of 190 million pounds sent by UK government to Pakistan? Baat niklay gi tu barri door tuk chali jai gi.
It is incorrect to suggest that freedom of media was snatched, no one could dare snatch freedom that too from dictator, it was given, granted by Gen Musharraf as claimed by senior journalist. This freedom has nothing to do with Kargil War as we lost the war at the table when Nawaz Sharif went to US and obeyed the orders of Bill Clinton. What prevented him not to try Musharraf on Kargil issue if he was guilty when he became the Prime Minister? Let us not obliterate the history by twisting facts. Wasatullah Khan rightly pointed out that there was no need to discuss the independence of media in Pakistan because if we comprehend our country to other countries of the region I would add world such as Iran, China,Saudi Arabia and India it looked our media was better than them. Certain media group has always been busy in assassinating characters of our leaders airing fabricated stories and they were all magnanimous not to initiate action against them speaks greater freedom being enjoyed by the journalists. Amir Zia very rightly pointed out that they have progressed in terms of media freedom. He was frank when he said that the situation in media in Pakistan is much better than other countries of the world. He was frank when he said that media owners to protect their own interests ordered censorship to journalists, while concluding he said we are free to say anything anywhere.
Seasoned journalist Sohail Wariach was very frank when he asked journalists not to involve their ideological and political biases in reporting and must state facts. He further added that talk shows are losing their credibility gradually being unprofessional and politically biased. Media is not to lead the society but for informing it. While comparing the main media with social media, main media is legally accountable but social media is free soon it will be brought under regulation. Sohail Wariach in a way also criticised establishment on a lighter note that why he failed to hold his famous program “AIK DIN GEO KAY SAATH” with any army chief and said he did contact two army chiefs but they regretted by saying they are government servants but made a remark they should not do other things also without specifying. Overall it has been a good conference except inviting controversial people, favourite ones, on personal liking, to forward own agenda. it is hoped that management shall take due precautions in future, and the platform of Arts Council should not be allowed to spread negativity against premium institutions of the country and farmaishi programs be banned for all times to come.

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