Adhere to reason

Official bans on electronic media have lost their veracity

August 22, 2022

Political situation is getting murkier by the day. The factor of Imran Khan versus the government is almost at the brink. With the ex-PM in an agitating mood, drawing mass crowds, there is a loud thinking in the ruling dispensation as to what measures could be employed to browbeat the PTI on the street. There are reports that the federal government is mulling options to file more cases against the PTI chairman for his alleged provocative speeches, as it has already imposed a ban on live telecasting of his speeches. All these tit-for-tat tactics are quite unnerving and will not fare well with the civil decorum, especially at a time when political instability is glued with a plummeting economic situation of the masses.

The present brawl could have been avoided. It ignited with the highhandedness with which Shahbaz Gill was met with in police custody. The war of words coupled with the optics, as Gill was seen struggling to breathe, has literally upped the political temperature. The courts, police, administration and political diatribe are all in for a free for all analysis. Khan’s warning to put the officials in the dock, who had allegedly bypassed the law to treat Gill inhumanely, came as fodder for the government to move against him. Both sides are in need of seeing the reason for resourcing to law in a feasible manner, and must desist from media warfare.

It goes without saying that in an era of social media empowerment, official bans on electronic media have lost their veracity. Similarly, clamping down on political mobilisation, freedom of speech and association stand ultra vires to the Constitution, and no democratic government can go ahead with it. This generates a middle ground for reasoning, and to address the contestable issues in a pacifying manner. It has to be borne in mind that the country cannot withstand instability for long, and it is high time public representatives came up with a road map to defuse the tense situation. Politics of point-scoring are detrimental to national interests.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2022.

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