Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Floods in Punjab, Pakistan 2013

Greetings Friends!
I recently went to Lahore and captured following shots of people strangled due to heavy monsoon rain. Flood has engulfed the major adjoining areas of Lahore and the flood water has caused massive destruction. People's lives are at a standstill - everything lost. They are on the roads, literally.
See for yourself:

Floods in Punjab, Pakistan 2013 by saqibtanveer

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Seths of Pakistani Media, Anchors and Lowlife Staffers

Writer is a journalist and a political commentator. He tweets at @SaqibTanveer

It has been narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Jabir Bin Abdullah (May Allah be well pleased with them) that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:  “Hamza Bin Abdul Muttalib is the leader of all martyrs and that One is also the Leader of the Martyrs who raises the standard of truth before a tyrant and enjoins what is good to him and stops him from what is forbidden and that king martyrs him.  (Mustadarak ‘Alas Sahihain, Hadith No. 4872)”

The above mentioned Hadith is what made me who I am today. My motivation to become a journalist was solely this Hadith. The responsibility to question and account the rulers that have oppressed us for all these year is my mission as a journalist. But in this hunt and journey of standing up to these tyrant rulers, we (journalists) have forgotten to account the people who pay our monthly bills.

The channel owners, precisely.

Utility bills unpaid – landlord insulting and banging the door every day demanding the rent – family expecting their breadwinner to send some money back home. This is not a scene of Hollywood movie featuring a broke junkie or a failed professional. This is the everyday story of a Pakistani media person or a ‘lowlife staffer’.

Salary-delay in Pakistani media industry is not a rarity, in fact a common practice these days. You are expected to give 110% while on the job but when it comes to getting paid, you are asked to drink the nirvana of patience.

Every other channel is involved in this malpractice. Many haven’t paid their employees for the last 6 months or so.
I am also a part of that same media. Though I haven’t had any substantial effect of delay in payment of salary against my services, primarily because I live with my parents and have no real responsibility or liability unlike majority of my colleagues, who have come from all corners of the country – in search of a career – in search of a living.

The media owners, who have opened channels to get an influential standing in the country, have their coffers flowing with cash but when it comes to paying the employees, all the hitches in the world creep up. And the pathetic thing is that these owners don’t give a damn about their liabilities towards employees.

Salary of an Assistant Producer equals to one night expense of our media Seths i.e. top of the line prostitute and a bottle of alcohol every night or the fuel for their lush BMWs. But their personal lust and greed is more important than what they owe.

Salary delay issue cannot be attributed only to the channel owners/tycoons. Our media anchors and newsroom controllers have a fair share of blame to take. Our media anchors, all day long, blast the politicians for their incompetence and corruption but when it comes to their own pals, they keep mum. They champion the cause of masses but somehow overlook the cause of their own brethren. They pose as if they are the brave ones but, in actual, they are epitome of shallowness. They talk about the problems of whole world but cannot dare to speak about the rights of their own employees, their own researchers who work all day long to keep the ratings of their one hour program on the top.

And then how can we forget ourselves i.e. the lowlife staffers. It is, we, who allow these bloodsucking owners to suck our blood. We’ve grown so indifferent that injustices do not seem any tyranny to us. One can understand that job security is an integral part of anyone’s profession and everyone has his own ambitions but these very ambitions, sometimes, become a hindrance in our principles.

We, the lowlife staffers, know that market is not healthy when it comes to employment opportunities, so we try to cling on to whatever we have. We are afraid that if we ever stood up to our Seth then he may send us packing – which he eventually will.

I, starting today, have decided to stand up to these bloodsucking monsters and demand what is mine. I am no one and I know my small voice won’t have a substantial effect but someone has to start from somewhere. Here’s my first step. I will dedicate whatever unemployed professional life, I may have, to account these Seths. I will see to it that their actions do not go unnoticed and unaccounted. Emotional but the right thing to do.

And, I have a message to my fellow brothers who have been the victims of this corporate slavery, “It is up to us, whether we want to go down fighting or get stabbed in the back, knowingly.”

Monday, July 1, 2013

Promises Made - Promises Broken

Naya Pakistan,(new) Roshan Pakistan,(enlightened) free and fair elections, rigging, terrorism, overseas Pakistani voters etcetera – all the fuss is over.  Elections have been held and power has been transferred from one civilian government to another, for the first time ever in the history of the land of the pure.
Things are as smooth as ever.
After all the allegations of rigging during the polls, almost everybody has accepted that a new setup will be in place.  Nawaz Sharif the new Prime Minister– Shahbaz once again Khadim-e-Aala and Imran Khan, new leader of the opposition. Our problems are going to be solved. So romantic, isn’t it?
But hang on a second, things are not as black and white as they seem – there are too many grey areas.
Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, created a lot of hue and cry against the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz and Muttahida Qaumi Movement over the rigging of elections and the killing of their leader, Shahid Zehra in Karachi, respectively.
But all this has gone out of the window now.
PTI has contacted the very same “killers” of Zehra Shahid both directly (via Shah Mehmood Qureshi) and indirectly (via Sheikh Rasheed) for the election of the opposition leader. PTI has embraced the same lion that once stole their mandate in Lahore and vowed to work with Nawaz Sharif after a conversation with General Kayani.
Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, champion of nationalists and the right-wing, banged the drums of “no drone strikes” before the election campaign but after emerging victorious from the elections and getting a pat on the back from Barack Obama, their stance has softened on these remote-controlled attacks.
The issues that dictated the election campaign have subsided after the elections – as always.  The questions  of drones and load-shedding, though pretty much discussed on television, has been placed on  the back burner since political circles are busy deciding the portfolios of ministers.  One can argue that ministers are the ones who will solve the problems but my question here is over the priority of the politicians.
While PML-N plans to end the circular debt by printing more money or selling bonds, the issue of drones and the violation of sovereignty remains unheeded.  PTI – staunch opponents of drone strikes – have already reiterated their stance on the drone strikes and they know that PML-N will never be able to stop these attacks until the Obama administration decides to end them, obviously for its own interests.  And PTI will play that card for the duration of this government.
For me, the future is pretty much decided, that is, everything will go on as it has done for the last 65 years.  Nawaz is elated after getting a third term, Imran Khan is content with his government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan People’s Party has its own government in Sindh.  Everybody is in government and everybody is happy.  If there is anyone absent from government, it is the people and the people’s will.
We all thought that the votes cast by the general public meant that their mandate and their wishes would be carried out by THEIR representative but alas, we haven’t been able to see any substantial implementation of the will of the people.  At least, not so far.
Muhammad Saqib Tanveer is assistant producer with Capital TV Pakistan and a political commentator.