The Celebrity Mufti Show

Dec 13th, 2010 | By | Category: Express News

Front Line with Kamran Shahid

A blog post on Dawn caught my attention and I think it deserves further discussion. The post by Shyema, ‘Is Veema Malik a threat to Islam?’ discusses Sunday’s episode of Front Line in which Kamran Shahid did his best to whip up a juicy fight between Ali Saleem and Mufti Abdul Qaqi over Veena Malik’s appearance on Indian reality show Bigg Boss.

Ali Saleem, famous for his television persona Begum Nawazish Ali, mentioned the Hajj Scam, the corruption of our leaders, the silence of police on the face of torture and the unjustified killings which have become commonplace in our country but somehow all of that does not hold any weight to Veena getting comfy with an Indian (read: Hindu). Hats off to him for keeping his cool while the Mufti sahab accused him of “bay ghairthi, bay sharmi and bay hayai”. What a “mujrim” he is in this day and age, dressing up as a woman on screen.

So basically, Islam is under threat because of people like Veena who have joined the ranks of culprits such as suicide bombers who kill dozens by the day in the name of religion. But wait – while being put on the spot upon the insistence of Ali Saleem, the Mufti did condemn suicide bombers – so I suppose the religious leaders have done their duty.

Ali Saleem tries to make the excellent point that why are we arguing about Veena Malik and some mindless reality show when there are serious issues that deserve discussion. It should be noted that Front Line is supposed to be a serious show on Express News channel – not some mindless tabloid programme. Shyema makes the point perfectly:

I don’t think I’m giving enough credit to the show’s host here. By inviting a conservative Mufti and a controversially liberal celebrity to debate, the host already knew what the outcome would be: a mockery of both the guests. How would the show get its ratings and popularity without an angry religious scholar and a controversial celebrity attacking each other on screen?

Farzana Bari, a human rights activist, who was also invited to the debate, pointed out that neither has she nor Mufti Abdul Qawi seen the programme, and nor could they see the scandalous clips playing on the screen at the time of the debate. And the clips that were playing on screen were carefully chosen to show Veena at her best, or worst – but then again, nothing sensationalises better than the same clips shown over and over again.

But all of that didn’t seem to be important. What was important was that a Pakistani actress was causing the nation to hang its head in shame! As if being in the limelight for terrorism, honour killings, fake degrees, corrupt leaders and Baitullah Mehsud wasn’t enough, now we have Veena Malik who also wants to destroy the identity of Pakistan. The charged-up youth and ever-ready-to-protest religious parties must get their placards ready now – this is after all a matter of national and religious identity and Veena’s agenda must be destroyed!

Whatever is the point of Kamran’s show except to raise the blood pressure of viewers and increase ratings by providing a good fight to watch? Considering the various issues facing the country, who cares what Ali Saleem and Abdul Qaqi think about Veena?

If there is such a concern about the image of Pakistan in the world, why is Kamran Shahid hosting discussions about Bigg Boss and not the media groups that were so easily fooled by an obviously fake Wikileaks story, and worst of all those media groups that continue to peddle such false stories? Has this not done more to damage Pakistan’s image in the world than a Lollywood actress on a reality show?

Just as reporters have a responsibility to verify their facts, producers and editors have a responsibility to select topics and guests that can truly inform the citizens on important topics. If Kamran Shahid wants to host a celebrity gossip show, that is his right. But don’t host a celebrity gossip show and call it news.

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  1. […] certainly can’t stop thinking about her. A couple of weeks ago, we wrote a piece critical of Kamran Shahid’s Front Line circus on the subject. But the ever enlightening Raza Rumi has taken to task ‘the grand opinion […]

  2. […] While the worst behaved on the program by all counts was Mufti Abdul Qawi in his treatment of Veena, special consideration should be given to Kamran Shahid. After all, the host cannot pretend that he could not expect this outcome as only one month ago he invited Mufti Abdul Qawi to appear to discuss the same topic in what turned into another media circus. […]

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