A strange occurrence plays over the print media every year on the 21st of November. The date is the death anniversary of the great Dr Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s first Nobel Laureate, whose work on the Grand Unification Theory got him the physics prize.
The headline is something to the effect that death anniversary of Dr Abdus Salam goes by, unnoticed. Though it is true that narrow-minded conservative religiosity has kept the Republic truly owning up this great son of the soil, the headline is problematic in that, with different phrasing, it’s the same for all of the newspapers. How can something be unnoticed if it is covered by all of the mainstream papers?
(To be fair: A case could be made in this instance that the Urdu press, which is the bulk of the readership in the country, does not feature him.)
This really does bring us to the issue of the “ignored issue.” Individuals identifying with a particular cause are always going to think that the media and “mainstream society” in general are against them; that they’re some sort of underdogs. In fact, it’s almost as if they desire it,
Consider the horrific attack by Afghan forces in Kunduz, which killed more than 100 individuals, many of them madrassa students. Since then, social media, especially the conservative social media has been rife against liberal civil society groups in particular and the mainstream news media in general about the “shameful silence” over the issue.
Allegations made against the media were a bit unfounded since it featured on all the mainstream television stations and newspapers. In fact, even the Afghan news outfits like Tolo News covered it with zeal, as they did the fallout the attack had in the Afghan parliament.
Amongst the civil society groups that were named and shamed, the emerging Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) was perhaps the earliest to have criticised it. As did the liberal secular parties of the Pashtun belt, most notably the ANP.
Speaking of the PTM, how interesting would this desire to have one’s opinions to be on the ignored and on-the-fringe seem to it, given how it’s entire mission statement is to achieve the entire opposite for its interest group.