As the holy month of Ramzan approaches we are made to see species on television which otherwise remain in hibernation. Unfortunately, I witnessed Sahir Lodhi in a Ramzan transmission where Mr. Lodhi was trying to protect the dignity of Muhammad Ali Jinnah at the cost of ridiculing a lady to an extent which became unbearable for me as a viewer. It was quite ‘enlightening’ to see Mr. Lodhi delivering a sermon on Mr. Jinnah’s life. For me, the undertone of the whole incident was Mr. Lodhi’s failed attempt at defining Mr. Jinnah whose struggle entailed a remarkable respect for women. As Jinnah once said:
“No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.”
The other side to the incident, as claimed by many, was that it was a staged venture, which makes it even worse. Mr. Lodhi in this case has not only disparaged the dignity of women but also of the great Mr. Jinnah. Another important dimension is PEMRA’s responsibility to monitor such programs on television. PEMRA seems to have issued a notice to the management of the channel for airing anti Jinnah views but failed to take into account the absurd behaviour of Mr. Lodhi towards that lady. The regulator is busy protecting the dignity of the incumbent but fails to perform its real job under the PEMRA Ordinance, 2002.
Mr. Lodhi represents a mindset which harbours condescending behaviour towards everyone especially women and that too unfortunately during the holy month of Ramzan. State institutions are helpless in putting a clog to this moral policing left in the hands of a few. I was quite surprised to see negligible official reaction on this incident except the usual hue and cry over social media. By failing to perform its statutory duty, PEMRA is contributing to promoting such jokers on TV.
It is quite sad that the likes of Mr. Lodhi are busy correcting each other’s beliefs and more concerned about the correct spellings of Ramzan as ‘Ramadan’. In doing so, they miss out on the basic spirit of this month. The ‘Albakistan effect’ is gradually taking over Pakistan, as envisaged by the great Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and the likes of Sahir Lodhi are contributing towards this degradation. We have all missed out on the basic spirit of the holy month which is to abstain from doing things which in the ordinary course of affairs we would have done. Ramzan is all about self-control. I hope Mr. Lodhi in one of his upcoming transmissions has the audacity to apologize to the lady who was ridiculed in all respects and if the said act was staged then I expect both of them to apologize to the viewers who succumbed to his false representations.
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