Pakistan’s new paranoia
writes Manan Ahmed., a historian of Pakistan at Freie Universität Berlin,http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100311/REVIEW/703119992/1008/ART
(Clicky for piccy!)
Zaid Hamid, pictured in Rawalpindi, standing in front of photographs of his own mujahideen past. Katherine Kiviat for The National
The hardliner philosophies of the charismatic TV host Zaid Hamid have permeated the grassroots political life of Pakistan, writes Manan Ahmed.
A new narrative is ascendant in Pakistan. It is in the writings of major Urdu-language newspaper columnists, who purport to marshal anecdotal or textual evidence on its behalf. It is on television, where the hosts of religious and political talk shows polish it with slick production values. The basic elements of the story – which has often, and erroneously, been called a conspiracy theory – are simple. Local agents (or terrorists, or soldiers, or Blackwater employees) representing a foreign power (India, or the United States, or Israel) are intent on destroying Pakistan because they fear that it will otherwise emerge as the powerful leader of the Muslim world, just as the country’s past leaders had predicted. The ascendant narrative is prophetic and self-pitying, nationalist and martial; it is a way to interpret current events and a call for activism to restore the country’s interrupted rise to glory.
The consumers of this narrative represent the largest demographic slice of Pakistan – young, urban men and women under the age of 30. They came of age under a military dictatorship with a war on their borders, and, more recently, almost daily terrorist attacks in their major cities. The twin poles of their civic identity – Pakistan and Islam – are under immense stress. They love Pakistan; they want to take Islam back from the jihadists. But there is no national dialogue, and no vision for the state: no place, in other words, where the young can make sense of their own country. Pakistan is ideologically adrift and headed toward incoherence, unable to articulate its own meaning as either a state or a nation. To the anguished question “Whither Pakistan?” the country’s leaders provide no response.
A man named Zaid Hamid, who has perhaps done more than anyone else to promote the new narrative of national victimhood, says that he has a clear answer. We are, he argues, living in the apocalyptic end-times – and Pakistan must emerge as the leader of the last struggle. ...... In his ceremonial Urdu, laced with Quranic verses and English idioms, he tells the gathered that they represent a generation hand-picked by God to lead Pakistan. He warns them of the sinister forces arrayed against the blessed nation of Pakistan. He assures them that prophecies predict their victory – all they have to do is mobilize. .......
Zaid Hamid is the leading voice of this new Pakistani revivalism. His mysterious rise to prominence demonstrates the power of the new televised media – and the new social networks – in Pakistan, even as it provokes questions about his financial and political backers. In 2006, Hamid was a one-man think-tank in Islamabad, issuing defence and security analysis for his own company, Brasstacks. In 2007 the country, led by the Lawyers’ Movement, rallied against the military regime of Pervez Musharraf and upended the established order across the nation. After the national elections of 2008, as well as the military operations in the north-west, Hamid emerged as the host of his own programme on the independent channel TV One. Within the year, he became one of the biggest stars of the Pakistani punditocracy – spreading his message in columns and op-eds, on YouTube channels and in solidly produced television documentaries.Through each new phase in his explosive ascent to the pinnacle of Pakistan’s media landscape, Hamid remained a staunchly patriotic booster of the Pakistani military, and a vicious critic of “foreign” meddling in Pakistan’s affairs – usually carried out, in his account, by the American CIA or the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). He promoted a martial understanding of the Pakistani past, resplendent in the glory of jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan. The country’s army and air force, he explained, had bravely faced down threats from India, America and Israel – but they were often undermined by their own politicians.
Read it all at the link., It is interesting to note why this fellow is NOT contesting elections when there were/are plenty of by elections going on in Pakistan.. Would not be easier for him to sit in Parliament and talk his political rederic to people of Pakistan through Parliament??
It is just talk..talk..talk.. and dope some innocent young fellows in to loosing their lives for the sake of his stupid Islam..