A lesson overlooked in the Aamir Liaquat fiasco

Published: August 20, 2011

Who would be the next victim of such ‘exposing’ videos? Aren't we all in danger of being exposed by such vigilantes?

After hours of cat and mouse between copyrights owner and uploader, the Dr Aamir Liaquat video is now firmly rooted on YouTube servers. Even with Mr Liaquat denying the authenticity of the recording, his claims are not swaying the public at large.

He has undeniably been caught, exposed and will perpetually be grilled over his less-than-holy behavior.

Preceding this fiasco by several months, I had come across a YoutTube personality who similarly exposed people doing things deemed unacceptable. His special interest wasn’t TV personalities and their unbecoming demeanor off-camera – his subjects seemed ordinary people like you and me, who want to live their daily lives to be clean and simple. More specifically, he leaked videos of young Pakistani girls daring to go out with boys on casual rides.

His collection covered women from Lahore to Multan and Karachi. As immensely profane and repulsive (and sexist, considering they never taped the guys) as the videos were, they also attracted hundreds of comments which expressed awe, shock and condemnation for the despicable acts that were taped. It was vigilantism 2.0 in full action – garnering more and more views every day as people fulfilled their ‘responsibility’ by spreading the word about these videos.

I felt horrified at the prospect of having such secret policemen. Equipped with low-resolution, point and shoot cameras tucked in to their sleeves or attached to their phone, but with no ethics that govern such devices, these people can catch us off guard doing acts that we may regret later. As soon as a video hits YouTube –immoral, unethical or even illegal –there is no way to tell whether it can be safely removed from the Internet ever.

Even once you forget, repent and move ahead, your past can continue to haunt you for an indefinitely long time.

The fall from grace of televangelist Aamr Liaquat, brought about by his proclivity for loose language is genuinely disturbing and disrespectful. To the unease of many, he enjoyed the trust and recognition of viewers across Pakistan and beyond (does he still?). That itself should have had a sobering influence on this frisky, animated character that we now know him as.

However, we need to ask ourselves some deeper questions – is anonymously leaking such copyrighted video clips on the part of an insider not an unprofessional and unscrupulous breach of trust? Who would be the next victim of such ‘exposing’ videos? Aren’t all of us in danger of being exposed by such vigilantes when we engage in compromising behaviour?

Today, we may ignore the means by which the video was leaked and hence tacitly approve the act of publicizing somebody’s past wrongdoings. This can severely endanger our own civil liberties at the hands of elements who, in their immaturity believe that they somehow have the moral high ground when they reveal the shortcomings or weaknesses of someone else.

There is a difference between accountability for one’s actions and pointless mockery. No one, no matter how disagreeable we may find them, should be stripped of the right to keep their dirty linen and past wrongdoings away from the public’s gaze.

Let’s be generous about the dignity of our fellow beings and put a stop to viral videos that are meant only to shame others.

Do you believe the leaked video of Dr Aamir Liaquat has been tampered/dubbed?

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Hasan Iftikhar

Hasan Iftikhar

A final year medical student interested in public health and legislation, acute care and trauma surgery. He tweets @hasandoctor

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

  • Hagat

    One cannot compare a popular celebrity whose only known to be more than holy, to normality, his exposure was his hypocrisy. When this person is a public figure he has already let the public into his life where as the comparison you have is with people with sick mindsRecommend

  • zainab ikram

    ummm !
    a good one ! Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    What a ridiculous article!
    This isn’t about invading people’s privacy. It’s about exposing the self-proclaimed guardians of religion and morality for what they truly are! People deserves to know the real faces of those who dole out religious advice to them on such sensitive matters, and be able to make an informed decision about whether these hypocrites are worth following.
    In fact, I wish to see a whole string of investigative journalists dedicated to task of going through the lives of these “religious men” and exposing them for the greedy hypocrites they are!Recommend

  • Mrs K

    I agree with you about the immorality of recording random people in every day life and upload the videos that people may mock them.

    However with the “dr’ it is a different matter. he is a public person, he is a preacher and people have certain expectations about his conduct. Nobody is 100% pure, afterall we are all humans, but he is a hypercrit, it was right to expose that double-faced monafic.Recommend

  • http://www.pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    if something is interesting a tech savvy being will obviously download it and use it as his duty to spreadd incase of a take downRecommend

  • http://twitter.com/Tooba_Hatif toobahatif

    I dunno why are we blaming him when its clear cut at many points video was edited..
    We all do this then why holding him liable for this? He is a human like us.. why do we expect him to be A PERFECT person..! People should have concern with his on camera stuff.. and what is hypocrisy here is that we blame him for what is normal routine to us!
    He is a freakin host!! That’s it!Recommend

  • parvez

    Your logic does not apply to Amir Liaquat, he is a public personality spouting holier than thou sermons on TV.
    Your mentioning of his ‘fall from grace’ is not understood at all. If anything he is still on TV and given the fickle minds of our viewers and his thick skin, I don’t see this doing him much harm, he has seen worse and prospered. Recommend

  • Tauseef

    As a Media Expert I am totally agree to the point. I have Produced & Directed many Programs with celebrities and Islamic Scholars. I know what happen behind the camera but what happened with Amir liaqat was unethical. Beside him, Media also should take serious notice of the one who did it. If this type of incidence happen quite often than Media will loose audience, just on trust factor. My two cents. Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Why don’t we see leaked videos of Dr. Israr Ahmed, because he never behaved cheap in the name of religion… Amir liaqat deserves whatever he is experiencing,Recommend

  • Ushter

    Tauseef, I think a better way to stop the audience from losing trust is to discourage hypocritical selfproclaimed religious people from going to air in the first place. And to the writer of the article, I think that’s a very tenuous connection that you’ve made between people who release voyeuristic videos of mostly women being ‘fehesh’ – which I utterly and totally condemn – and someone splicing together outtakes from a show featuring a selfordained ‘thaykedaar’ of morality. The issue isn’t that he swore. A lot of people do. But most of those people don’t wear expensive shalwar kameez suits and speak to the camera with an air of selfrighteousness.Recommend

  • http://www.saifullahkhalid.com/ Muhammad Saifullah Khalid

    Amir liaqat was the one who got caught red handed. You won’t believe there are more people than we can think of with FAKE cover of Religion in our society.Recommend

  • http://hotmail sarah raza

    cum on guys it ws his past,he dint steal any1’s wealth He is helping homeless people rather thn just receiving charity, Does he fail to shw his work?? now he’s actually doin sum gud work so plz also try 2 appreciate him rather than criticize him.Recommend

  • shah g

    hats off 2 people like u, who despite of a full proof evidence, close dier eyes n accept the hypocritc behviour of amir liaquat… U can only dubb the voice, u cnt make the person clap… Its pathetic that u even accepted the fake response of amir liaquat, on top of that u r even trying 2 defend hm… U bettr open ur eyes n face the reality, one could ezly feel the bigotry in hs appearnces n talks, it all just needed an evidnce n there it is… What a ridiculous excuse of terming it an edited version… Guillable people like u r stll there to believe thier statements… Regards… Recommend

  • red

    You had need not put up a link to that account on youtube, which will only serve in more people watching them and continuing a downward spiral.Recommend

  • Nasreen Ghori

    @Tauseef: Tausif you are advocating that anything is Ja’ez to keep the viewership of Media. What about showing Blue Movies on some unpopular TV channels. They will increase viewership many folds.Recommend

  • munir

    No matter what Amir liaqat does in pvt life I love him coz he is the reason ihave peace of mind .
    He is the reason I got guided , without his inspiration I was nothing.
    Amir liaqat is a good man of a good family .
    And I love himRecommend

  • Zulfikar F

    if you have something to fear from the truth, then maybe you should re-evaluate your life.Recommend

  • http://blog.karachiundernet.com Sheikh Zulqarnain

    Smells like one media is defending another media! Lots of people follow him, and if he owns the character like this. Media should ban him or any other so called ISLAMIC SCHOLAR by themselves.Recommend

  • san khan

    people, who are we to judge someone?? it’s amir liaqat’s nd Allah’s matter……nd i agree with the writer that somewhere deep within, we all know that there’s a side to us too that we hide frm the public. no doubt it was very disappointing but still, i wish that whoever leaked the video wouldn’t have had done this……….Allah also says in the Holy Koran to hide the faults of others nd in return, Allah will hide our faults. and it seems everyone just needed a reason to burst at Amir Liaquat, the fake degree and all, but at least he used his degree (whether fake or not) for a better purpose compared to our sick politicians…………Recommend

  • faraz


    The hate speech by this self-righteous televangelist led to the murder of minorities. Our indoctrinated middle class is enthralled by such mediocre minds and their sermons are taken seriously. Murder of individuals is something which cannot be ignoredRecommend

  • Haider

    With status comes responsibility or something like that…a worn out line from holly wood movies, but it holds true.
    If Dr. is preaching righteous deeds on tele, how can one follow / listen to him, when what he preaches does not effect his own conduct.Recommend

  • Amjad

    Such a phoney- shows people what these so called religious types are really like!Recommend

  • http://dinopak.wordpress.com Hasan

    I do not think the author of this blog gets what is at stakes here. I for once am not ‘for’ breaching in someone’s privacy. But what the Aamir Liaquat video does has exposed a demeanor of an otherwise (so called) holy Man.

    I completely endorse the actions of the person who uploaded the video and I would love to see the same for other guardians of religion. I remember there was a video which exposed Farid Paracha and his distortion of the holy scriptures too.

    Every tribune blog reader might have viewed the blog titled The Jamat-e-Islami, and rape, where the leader of JI was exposed distorting religious history. If these videos don’t come to light then there is no hope for this nation to see the light and get spiritual enlightenment by themselves.

    These so called caretakers of religion have lead this nation into a ditch. It is time for the nation to see their real face and start taking up religion personally.Recommend

  • http://fruitforbidden.wordpress.com/ The Forbidden Fruit

    Nobody would have cared much if it was a commoner swearing in a leaked video. But people get furious when someone in a religious garb not only becomes a totally different character off-air but also denies it all using God/Prophet’s name. WE don’t do that with the kind of audacity he did. I don’t know how wrong are people to not hate someone who, they think, has been fooling them.Recommend

  • http://www.tanzeel.wordpress.com Tanzeel
  • Adeel

    Ridiculous Article ….Recommend

  • KolachiMom

    “Aren’t all of us in danger of being exposed by such vigilantes when we engage in compromising behaviour?”

    A person’s true character shines through when they think no one is watching. For those who do the right thing, it shouldn’t be a worry. Why are you worried? Recommend

  • abc

    I am submitting a privacy violation claim on YouTube against the person in the link YouTube Personality … Living Mosquito Channel. This type of vigilante justice is not the answer and it violates the rights of every person in those videos. It is pathetic. Please submit your claims as well. We need to bring these videos down rather than reveling in other people’s misery and grief.Recommend

  • Amir

    I think the author wants the liberty to do anything !!! Hello!!!! We are pakistanis and bigger than that, muslims. What is wrong with uncovering the truth? What all ppl care is if a human being is watching them do bad! They forget God is there! Whtever makes them stop from doing bad shd not be criticized!


  • Fraz

    The next generation is more and more open. Today many people vlog on youtube about their lives and share almost everything that they do. Newer generation will be more open and hence more truthful. People who are afraid of their pasts should face their fears before anyone else takes advantage of it. Amir Liaqat’s crime is not his past it is his denial and continuous stubbornness in accepting his mistakes. If you are truthful and honest people will forgive and trust. Recommend

  • Abhi

    looks like story of Love Sex and DhokhaRecommend

  • http://gloriouscars.webs.com Asad Sultan

    I totally agree with you san khan……..
    These people just keep on bursting over him….. c’mon people, when ALLAH says that hide the fault of other’s then who are we to do?

    Alright, If any one has done this ……. At a certain point, he is totally right. Media should be able to remove those people from coming on air. “D”ear Ghalib shows himself as an Islamic scholar…… and behind the scenes he should not be like this…. we all people are like this…, but we people do not show ourselves as an Islamic scholar, a big one In fact.he has showed himself as an corrupt politician too when he was in MQM, later on by his fake degrees he added a lot more to that. the one who uploaded the video has done a great job by the way.

    In a previous article written in tribune, I commented and I do it here too that even the ISI had not this type of technology ……….. can you believe that the video was dubbed or tampered whilst his lips moving line by line and that clapping stuff????? C’mon people think & think some more about this……

    And for those people who don’t want to believe in any of this stuff because Dr. Amir sorry Amir liaqat has changed there lives …….. c’mon people you all should now re-evaluate your lives just like a fellow one said!
    regards. Recommend

  • tanoli

    its a old story i heard when i was too young its story of Imam Abu Hanifa (noman bin sabith) rehmallah one time waliking down the street of Baghdad during heavy rain he told
    a kid who playing in that rain be carefull kid replied if i fall its not gonna be a big problem
    but if u fall thats will be big……………………….. so guys if some preacher or some respected person do this kind of thing then what gonna happend to there follower.Recommend

  • Tauseef Muhammad

    @Nasreen Ghori: Thanks for the concern. Nasreen is about supply n demand. This is completely commercial, nothing personal. I have seen the darkest side of all those so called Islamic scholars bit again that’s their choice. We produce what sell not what I personally want. Recommend

  • nomi

    Looks like a PAID article.Recommend

  • AH Mughal

    You have your point. But many will disagree because dr. Amir is not ‘anyone’. He is a famous person feigning to be so pious which actually he isn’t. But your point is logical too that there are no boundaries defined that whose leaks are righteous and whose not. Definitely every person has its own judgement. Some may find it a sincere help for the community in dark while others may condemn such acts. So, its hard to demarcate the line between right and wrong and therefore lets leave it on community. We cannot stop these acts because then we’ll never come to know who is speaking his heart out and who is a phony. But people should feel a sense of responsibility not to expose videos of such romantic affairs as its purely personal matter and we are nobody to rule the judgement against them. Recommend

  • http://www.salmanzq.com Salman Qureshi

    Like most people here, I agree with the fact that people (if he should be included in that list) should be exposed in order that the audience stops being misled and realises they are listening to someone with no real knowledge!Recommend

  • samina

    As a public figure you have some responsibility and people at times see you as a role model. I totally agree with the fact that free speech should not be suppressed and leaking of this video is not unethically on the part of whoever made it as Amir Liquait probably thought he is invincible because he was liked by thousands. I guess this shows the hypocrisy that exists with the society and he is the not only one but there are many of our leaders and media personalities who lead double lives…Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/#!/fahadk1985 Fah

    lol… lame blogRecommend

  • Karim

    We know that the video was original and every thing was real. But every one goes slang once in his life and no one is here to watch his programme for learning something, we have Quran and we can learn well from the help of Quran. No need to go to any aalim or molana for asking something just read Holy Quran and understand their meaning and you will find every thing.Recommend

  • http://Dubai Amer Khan

    I think after seeing the video, we should all stop watching his programs so that our protest is registered….Recommend

  • http://[email protected] Tasweer

    If a person cusses me behind my back I have no problem but when someone breaks this news to me I have a problem. Not with the one who cussed me behind my back but with the one who brought the message. He is the one who has embarased me and he is the one who is stirring up trouble.If he was my well wisher he should have stood up to the abuser on the spot.
    That is what our religion teaches up.Snub the evil in the bud and cover up your brothers weaknesses. I am no fan of the man on the cross. He has been guilty of lot of other things for which he lost his ministry and MQM’s membership He is an actor and seems to be a good one because he is still on the air.You do not like him. Do not watch his program.But stop throwing his dirty laundry in public. Recommend

  • http://dinopak.wordpress.com Hasan

    @Asad Sultan:

    I totally agree with you san khan……..
    These people just keep on bursting over him….. c’mon people, when ALLAH says that hide the fault of other’s then who are we to do?

    I am sorry but when people like Amir Liaquat Hussain condemn someone like Aasia bibi to death, then you don’t see this “saying of Allah”, why are you exhibiting double standards here?Recommend

  • AH Mughal

    The profane language used by dr. Amir was unacceptable. We have irrefragable prove that he is a phony. Yet, people seem to give a deaf ear to all these videos and are still enamored with him. Recommend

  • http://Australia Naeem Siddiqui

    @Hassan Iftikhar,

    Mate! You are comparing apple with oranges!

    Exposing a public figure like Amir liquate who try to present himself very decent and cultured and influence the minds of common people is absolutely right,

    But posting videos of ordinary girls who are going out with their boy friends is an utter disgusting and cheap act.Recommend

  • Quratulain

    I agree with the writer, personally, I did not like him at all since he was came across as an actor rather than a genuine religious TV show anchor. Believe me when a person really fears God, they seldom discuss religion, argue over it or try and come across as a know it all.

    Coming back to the point, I did not watch or intend to watch it simply because i despise invasion of privacy and being a part of anything remotely unethical. Distributing a video whether true or false; without prior notification to the person or their approval is simply wrong. End of story.

    For this very reason, I stopped watching TV over 4 years ago. As a nation it seems we have forgotten boundaries that govern decency and ethics. Recommend

  • Muhammad Qasim

    the video is not dubbed. carefully examine the lip motion of amir liaquat when he use abusive language… its clear and undeniable.Recommend

  • yousaf

    Mr.author of this blog, Amir liaquat is not a commoner(untill proved innocent) he is an international figure and being a religious scholar and”Aalim” makes him further respnsible to redress the feelings hurt due to the leakage of an audio/video in which he is said to have been using foul language.All he has to do is to come on tv and clear his stance.anchor mr.mubashar luqman has already given him an open invitation to attend his programme and to disprove(with solid proofs)all the allegations levelled against him.this act of Liaquat will not only quieten down the miscreants and discourage the likes of whom you mention in your blog this act of his will make our disturbed minds rest in peace who like and respect Liaquat for his services to the cause of believers. Recommend

  • Muqtada

    Practice what you preach
    Preach what you practiceRecommend

  • http://usamarehman.blogspot.com/ Mohammad Usama Rehman

    Oh come on!!! why cant everyone see that writer is trying to pinpoint to a very important and grave issue…..if for once we take this matter lightly we would surely turn ourselevs INTO maniacs and fanatics and idiotics who just Laugh when the someone is stripped off his Pride his Dignity and continue doing it san reason without investigating the WHATs? and HOWs? THAt means we are a Degenerated and spoiled Nation who has nothing to do with Knowlede and wisdom!!!Recommend

  • Saadie

    @red: Agree, there is no need to share that link, infact ET please remove it.Recommend

  • faisal

    I don’t agree with the article. There is no accountability in our government. so ppl have taken it into there own hands to expose ppl and why not? if we don’t do it.. the government don’t do it.. then.. this country will stay in the mess it has always been… On the other had.. .if you don’t do anything wrong.. you have no fear to be exposed… lesson to be learned… STAY AWAY FROM WRONG DOING!!!!! Recommend

  • http://www.vidjin.com/alee/ alee

    There’s an overwhelming majority believing the videos weren’t tampered here in the polls but i believe there’s something fishy about it, amir liaquat have been trying and being successful in bringing different aalims from different fiqah and sit together while giving a message of peace and co-existence, which is very very important in our society, especially in this era where fanaticism is at it’s peace and religious hypocrisy of different aalims rules and spread hatred.

    I think there is some force which is targeting everything which tries to bring peace or consensus here in Pakistan.

    We have seen it in Pakistan Politics but now we can easily see it spreading everywhere in the society…Recommend

  • DH

    “There is a difference between accountability for one’s actions and pointless mockery. No one, no matter how disagreeable we may find them, should be stripped of the right to keep their dirty linen and past wrongdoings away from the public’s gaze.”

    Very well-said.Recommend

  • Farid Aliani

    I’m glad somebody rose this often overlooked and easily dismissed but nonetheless a very important consideration. The sad part is that our electronic media promotes such gross violation of people’s privacy via entire television programs that feature a supposedly an-epitome-of-morality protagonist and his camera team secretly shooting unsuspecting people going about their lives.Recommend

  • Faiz

    Amir Liaquat,

    Plz stop writing on this wall in your support!

    I seriously doubt any sane person would still support him or disregard what he did.

    The first contention that the outer package is good, he says good stuff so whatever he does in his private life is fine and should’nt concern us is ridiculous to say the least. Is this the kind of duplicitous society you want to live in?

    No body cares whether you have a slightly bad aspect that people don’t know of. But he is not just someone else.

    You insensitive people have no issues about him talking about rape in such a funny manner. That says a lot about a person.

    No wonder our country is in the mess we are in because of people like you Mr.Hasan Iftikhar, who have a skewed moral compass. Recommend

  • Ahmad J Mirza


    He is not just a HOST; people idealise him and want to become like him; this is why it was important that he was taken off his throne and thrown back in line.Recommend

  • Ahmad J Mirza

    I will ask the author and people who are in support of Mr. Amir (as he is not a real Phd) and his good deeds; should thoroughly study Leaders; any Person having the Authority and Responsibility to lead, console, rectify or communicate with people over their problems; discuss matters of Faith, social justice, morality, ethics should be a role model.

    Mr. Amir has failed to prove he is worthy of such respect; as THIS MIGHT BE BETWEEN him & ALLAH (SWT) but what does that make him? He may not be a Saint but in common terms these people are known as HYPOCRITES; the worst kind of Humans even despised by ALLAH (SWT).

    A Person who smokes cannot hold back anyone from smoking. Hope it clears the point.Recommend

  • Nabil Saleh

    I like this blog…it takes a responsible angle on the issue….but considering the frequency of emotions taking over display of responsible behaviour in this country I believe views expressed in this blog to be taken as a sympathizing attempt with Mr. Amir….Recommend