Shireen Mazari’s Latest Drama

Jun 17th, 2011 | By | Category: Uncategorized

Director of ‘Kyonkay Saas Bhi Kabhi Baho Thi’ is very frustrated this week since his hit has been overtaken by an even bigger pukka drama. This week, Smriti Zubin Irani has been replaced by Shireen Mazari in the imaginations of aunties across the nation following her fateful encounter with an American at an Islamabad restaurant. A profanity filled version of this story first appeared on the website of Ahmed Quraishi, a former journalist who has written recently defending faked and manipulated news as a tool to push an ideological agenda. But look at the way neutral observers characterise the incident:

“The guy backed his chair and bumped into her. She tore into them. They just wanted to pay their bill and get out, but the restaurant wouldn’t let them pay because of the incident,” he said.

According to the version published on Ahmed Quraishi’s website, Shireen Mazari claimed that, “The man was somewhat bulky with a military build, which made him look intimidating”. But a photo of the supposed American was featured with the story on Ahmed Quraishi’s website and shows not a man with a “bulky military build”, but rather a man that appears to be shorter than the Pakistani man who came to his defence.

mazari's american

Actually, there are a few other problems with Mazari’s version of the story. She says at the beginning that “the American stood up at one point and banged his chair into hers. His action appeared to be deliberate”. But later in the story, she says that after she was yelling insults at the man he said, “Oh you are the lady who…” before she cut him off and told him to get out of the country.

This means that when the man allegedly rammed his chair into Mazari’s chair, he did not even know who she was. To believe Mazari’s version, one would have to accept that this man decided out of thin air to bang his chair into the chair of a random woman for no reason. Actually Ahmed Quraishi and Shireen Mazari would like you to believe that she “has been targeted for her criticism of US military and intelligence presence in Pakistan”, but that would mean that the man recognised her which he obviously didn’t according to Mazari’s own words.

If this is the case, did Shireen Mazari start a fight simply to write an anti-American drama in which she is the victim? What actually happened on that day is hard to know for certain. Clearly Shireen Mazari feels wronged, though there is no evidence that the man acted deliberately or meant any insult to Mazari. Rather it appears according to her own story that she assumed the worst because of her intense anti-American emotions. Also, her saying that “Yes I am one of those Pakistanis who want you out of this country” makes one wonder how Mazari believes any of the millions of Pakistanis living in America, UK, or EU should react if a racist xenophobic tells them to “get out of this country”.

What we do know is that this drama has done more to cast Pakistan in a bad light than it did any nameless Americans who had the misfortunate experience of dining in the same place as Shireen Mazari. According to an article about the incident published in The Telegraph:

Scurrilous websites and some mainstream newspapers delight in blaming America for every misfortune to befall Pakistan – from last year’s devastating floods to terrorist atrocities. Conspiracy theories, alleging CIA plots to destabilise Pakistan, are common currency on the nation’s evening talk shows.

Picking fights with foreigners so that you can report the incident on ‘scurrilous websites’ and conspiracy prone talk shows serves neither the interests of journalism nor the national interest. But this incident does pose important questions for the producers and anchors who invite Mazari to discuss matters of foreign policy. Can she be considered an objective or trustworthy analyst, or is her thinking so painted red by her anti-American emotions that she will see insults where none exist?

One thing is certain – Shireen Mazari should leave such dramatic plots to the cast of Kyonkay Saas Bhi Kabhi Baho Thi.

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