Attack on Hamid Mir: You have the right to remain silent
Hamid Mir was shot because of his calls to respect the human rights of the Baloch, because he stood with Mama Qadeer in the VMBP’s Long March.
No, it was because he didn’t give enough space to the Taliban’s viewpoint.
No, silly, it’s because a distraction was needed from the non-stop coverage of Musharraf in Karachi. Now, under the cover of this distraction, the former president can safely fly the coop. That’s right; guess which party controls every falling leaf in Karachi and was allied to Musharraf? Do the math.
Don’t be ridiculous; he staged the attack on himself for ratings/sympathy/cover of some kind. I mean, just look at that single, blurred, frame I saw of the car. Where’s the blood? Surely that’s proof positive? I mean if Malala can do it why can’t Hamid Mir? I even wrote a blog about it after spending 15 minutes googling gunshot victims. Open your eyes, people. I’m an expert.
That’s a short summary of the social media theories revolving around the attack on Mr Mir.
Armed with an internet connection and the ability to understand simple mathematics (2+2=5), our budding forensic investigation experts have already decided who the triggermen in this episode are.
Then, of course, there are the ‘fastest finger first’ condemnation bots, because every second counts here. There are those who will time the politicians racing to get to the hospital first, because nothing spells real concern like a timely photo op.
Then there’s the ‘stay safe’ crowd. Well-meaning, and when you really have nothing more to say, I suppose that’s the best one can do. And really, it is all about what’s being said, to whom and for what reason. Because clearly, there are those who would be happier if the media as a whole just finally shut up.
‘But that’s not going to happen!’ say others, mostly journalists.
The media will not be silenced, their voice will not be muzzled. Not by one bullet or a hundred.
Now that’s reassuring. That, despite threats, attacks and murders, the media will somehow continue to speak out (as it does now and then) against injustice, criminal gangs, terrorist organisations, out of control state agencies and so on and so forth.
But that’s just wishful thinking. There’s no point harking to the Zia-era repression and pointing out the stalwarts who stood up to it.
The past is another country; one in which your life wasn’t worth a few thousand rupees at most, even after adjusting for inflation.
Also read | Journalists in Pakistan: Here be dragons
The media will be muzzled; will grow silent simply because there is no security and probably will never be any justice. Not just for journalists, but for anyone at all. This is the reality we are faced with.
Let's be honest with ourselves: We aren't Hamid Mir. We aren't Mustafa, Raza Rumi, the Hazara or any other victim du jour you choose. We are, all of us, on our own.
So stay safe, until you’re not.
Zarrar Khuhro is a Dawn staffer. He is a co-host of the TV talk show, Zara Hut Kay.
He tweets @ZarrarKhuhro