Comfortably inhuman

Published: July 22, 2010

The recent stories in the media are a frightening reflection of our lack of humanity

If you are a regular follower of the Pakistani blogosphere and mainstream media, chances are that you have come across these three stories – the fake degree scandal, Fox News declaring the countryPornistan and a heartbreaking rape incident of a nursing student. It is amazing how the stories that appear completely different are in one way correlated.

Starting off with the Fox News story, which claims that Pakistan tops Google’s chart when it comes to ‘Sexy Searches’ (Though personally, I find nothing sexy about horse sex). Frankly, Fox News is infamous for its special love for Pakistan and the Muslim world over the years and Google’s disassociation with the Fox story takes away our special internet achievement. But I am sure folks around the world might have had a good laugh at the story and our sexy (the correct word would be perverted) nature. But does it take away the fact that some of us actually make these searches or watch porn of similar genre. Scary thought? I think not. It actually signifies another attribute of our hypocritical nature. We banned Facebook, YouTube and even Wikipedia but not porn sites, I wonder why?

The second story that continues to receive much media coverage is the fake degree scandal. The story reaffirms the value of education in our society and lack of intellect in our ruling class. While they invest millions in their election campaigns; the only investment they made in the education department was to acquire a fake degree. Those who follow the budget speeches in the summer are aware of the government’s annual spending on education which turns out to be conveniently three per cent or less of the total. This explains the literacy rate of the country. Not only do our rulers want us to remain illiterate, the majority of us hardly make any sincere efforts in attaining quality (or any) education.

The most heart breaking story is the tragic rape incident of a trainee nurse. I heard the sad news when it was aired on a local channel with an ‘exclusive’ video clip where the poor rape victim (survivor hopefully) was being brought to the hospital ward for treatment. In the 30 second video clip the cameraman zoomed into the rape victim’s wounded face and other apparent injuries. It was one of the most painful sights I have  ever seen; I wonder if the media present on the scene didn’t feel a sense of shame?

The appalling coverage didn’t end here. Everyday there have been video clips of the injured rape victim on Pakistani channels. The entire country recognises her name and face. Only her oxygen mask protected her from embarrassment. Allegedly it was doctors who raped her and the hospital administration who ignored her genuine harassment complaints – now the same administration has failed to protect her from unwanted visitors and media coverage.

Apparently in the society we live in it is okay if the name or face of a rape victim is made public. Everyone knows that Mukhtara Mai and Dr Shazia were raped but nobody can recall the identity of their rapists. Deep down the perversion that we embrace, negates the severity of this crime. The lack of education that we all are subsconsciously proud of  breeds the inhumanity which leads to the broadcast of rape victims receiving medical treatment. But what if she was a member of your family? Would you still allow the broadcast?


Ammar Yasir

Co-Founder of, Pakistan's largest blog aggregator. He writes on social and political issues concerning Pakistan and the Muslim world. He writes on his blog RONIN and tweets @ammaryasir

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • afia jamal

    so true. well written!Recommend

  • afia jamal

    i so agree with you . well written !Recommend

  • Babar Javed

    I had the exact same problem with the so called Islamic ban on Facebook, Wiki and YouTube.

    But when I asked the ban supporters why pornographic sites have never been banned or deemed Islamic, I got an interesting response along these lines:

    “It helps release the suppressed urges of the masses”

    Oh really? So do you think the minorities we hold down feel no emotions of hatred against our religion? Don’t they have a right to an outlet?

    The awesome thing about this whole thing is, as long as people This stupid exist, the market value for professionals like myself continues to soar.

    Look LOOK, my glass is half full :)Recommend

  • Waj

    Cuttingly well-put Ammar. I have yet to understand our media’s ugly fascination with the shameless broadcast of the tormented. And it has become much uglier of late.Recommend

  • S. Ali Raza

    actually, the civil society should sue the TV channel on behalf of the people of Pakistan for airing such a video, which was certainly aired without consent of the law enforcement or the family. This is not right! I believe it was SAMAA?Recommend

  • cyma

    Great piece Ammar… Yes hypocrites we are , I often say the our definition of a good fellow Muslim is ” The one who does everything I do, and donot do anything that i wish to do but cant do”

    Media shows what sells… like any other institution and many individuals unfortunately they also feel that they arent accountable to anyone. Recommend

  • Azka

    Just what we need.Recommend

  • Ayesha

    Nice article Ammar! Every person has a right to privacy and the media can’t cover the victim against his/her will. Urdu newspapers (in Khyber Pukhtunkhuwa) while covering the local incidents of rape write only the initials of the victim, which is acceptable.

    The electronic media should also follow the same rule.

    If the media claims that their coverage of the incident wake the authorities up to serve justice then rest assured, justice doesn’t come that easily in the land of ‘injusticetan’. We have examples of a long legal battle fought by Mukhtaran Mai and no justice at all in case of Dr. Shazia. Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Exactly! this is the very point why Pakistan never attain success, leaving it as a stugnant country.Recommend


    so media came again……..
    channels can do anything, even worst.they don’t care about the emotions of people and dignity of the country.they just know in which way they can get high viewer ship…regardless to that .it might be a disaster for societies…
    why media ALWAYS only goes to darker side??????????
    media can ruin anyone’s respect, dignity. to get fame..
    like clever(devil)FOX NEWS…….Recommend

  • azy

    so true…after reading this .i actually felt u thought abt it… education n humanity lacks in our society Recommend

  • Mila

    Interesting piece. But you know we have to look at what our people doing, we need to look in the mirror. Please also read this provocative article by feminist professor Tahmena Bokhari…

  • Areebah Shahid

    …The way the survivor’s face was flashed was heart wrenching..i don’t know for how long the camera remained focused on her because I could not get myself to keep staring at the screen after perhaps the second second..did the camera man, the producer or the owner of the channel not even think for a moment that anyone could be in the place of that hapless girl, it could have been one of their own because certainly the first thought that crept my mind was that it could have been me and how I would have felt lying helpless, battered and yet being humiliated further by being treated as a source of sensational ‘entertainment’?!Recommend

  • pharmacy technician work

    Keep posting stuff like this i really like itRecommend

  • Zahra Ali

    A bitter truth. It was really painful to see those shameless and feeling less cameramen and reporters who gathered around that nurse. And sadly they do not even follow any moral boundaries. Most of the things that are not news are presented as news.

    Most interesting part is that Dr. J. Memon’s face was not shown on the screen once! Media actually added to the troubles of the poor nurse and supported the the Doc.

    We do need to decide whose side are we on. Recommend