Saturday, May 05, 2007
Censored, Censored, Censored and Censored
Along with innumerable other Pakistanis your Blogger was watching the progress of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s journey to the emotional heartland of the Establishment – Lahore.
Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was heralded by thousands at Gujar Khan, showered with rose petals in Jhelum as his ever expanding cavalcade headed for Lahore. And then all our TV screens went blank.
Confronted by the sight of thousands of Punjabis hailing the arrival of the Chief Justice apparently proved to be too much for the Establishment – Aaj, both channels of ARY and all three channels of Geo suddenly disappeared off our screens.
Hang on a minute, Geo’s third channel is sports related - but then panicked reactions are often devoid of all logic.
So along with countless other Pakistanis your Blogger switched onto BBC Urdu Service’s 8 pm news broadcast. Listening to BBC I learnt that Iftikhar Chaudhry’s descent into Punjab is proving to be quite a winner. And it is not just lawyers and political parties; according to BBC the Grand Trunk Road was lined with thousands of ordinary Pakistanis waiting under a swelteringly hot sun just to greet their passing chief justice.
We were also informed that PML(Q)’s attempt at organizing a pro-Musharraf demonstration in Lahore fizzled out completely . In the words of BBC’s man on the spot: patha nahin laga kay kub shuroo hua aur kub khatam hua (translation: couldn’t really work out when it began or when it finished). BBC also said that most – if not all – of the pro-Musharraf demonstrators were government employees, some of whom admitted that they had been kept in locked lodgings until they were released and instructed to ‘do their thing’.
What an unbelievable disaster for Musharraf.
With the sudden blocking of the TV News Channels all I can fall back on is that familiar Urdu expression: ‘Jo dar giya, wo mar gaya’.
Supreme Court of Pakistan