Are “leaked” video confessions becoming the new trend in politics?

Published: June 21, 2016
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First it was Saulat Mirza and then the rest of the videos started making their way towards electronic media. Confession after confession came, mainstream politicians were named, with Dr Asim Hussain’s being the latest one in the series. Each video provides enough fodder to sustain our TV talk shows for an entire week.

This trend of declassifying confessional videos has taken electronic media by storm. Back in the day, we were confined to print media reports, putting our faith in anything the newspaper had to say. Now we have actual statements made by suspects in front of a camera only to be aired on all mainstream news channels.

Why video confessions?

In the absence of an effective judiciary, when justice is only for the rich and the powerful and when judges fail to send the corrupt and criminals behind bars, there is a desperate attempt by certain covert organisations and agencies to bring certain facts into the limelight. The reasons could either be political in nature or outright patriotic fervour.

What could the objectives be?

After Saulat Mirza’s confessions, it was rumoured that a ban would be enforced on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and all its political activities. Major political talk shows were discussing that MQM leadership days were over and that, very soon, we would be observing arrests and further confessions.

Anti-MQM lobbies started flexing their muscles hoping for a major shift in the MQM vote bank. No such expectations and anticipations ever materialised and despite the several crackdowns on MQM, their vote bank stays as strong as ever. Then came the confessions of Khalid Shamim in connection to the murder of the slain MQM leader, Dr Imran Farooq. Names were taken, revelations were made, but nothing concrete was witnessed. With no tangible and presentable evidence, the case seems to be going nowhere.

Dr Asim Hussein’s confessions were on a similar wavelength; big shots were named, political connections were revealed and tales of corruption were narrated. Here again, the video confessions weren’t enough to apprehend the named suspects and bring them to justice.

Who could be behind such videos?

Category 1

There are a number of investigation agencies in the country working on domestic and international cases. The minds and hearts of law enforcement/investigation officers of such agencies are filled with patriotism and nationalism. They do observe the lawlessness that prevails in our country, wanting to change the system, go vigilante whenever and wherever necessary, purely in good faith and for their motherland. The declassification of confessional videos could be one of them.

Category 2

The political leadership in Pakistan is famous for making friends only to dump them at the next available opportunity. While doing so, such confessions are used as arm twisting tactics to get certain favours. With so many skeletons in the closets of almost all major political parties of Pakistan, political battles are now fought on covert fields where actions such as backstabbing, declassifying and arm twisting are a trend. Heaps of files on corruption and crime are kept stored in vaults only to be used against individuals and groups whenever the ‘time is right’.

What could be done to prevent such videos from being leaked in the future?

The judiciary will have to get its act together. Speedy justice should be ensured regardless of the circumstances. Such videos, to a great extent, are very much aligned with popular public opinion. This is where the government and the judiciary will have to play their roles in putting criminals behind bars, take them through swift and speedy trials and punish the guilty ones. The general public and ‘patriotic hidden forces’ of Pakistan demand justice. Otherwise there will be more of these videos in the days to come.

Arsalan Faruqi

Arsalan Faruqi

An entrepreneur with a degree in computer engineering and an MBA from IBA Karachi. He tweets as @arsalanfaruqi (twitter.com/arsalanfaruqi)

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