Point of Rupture

Point of rupture

by Nadeem F. Paracha, Dawn, July 30, 2010

If one is to pick a year from where Pakistan’s political and cultural slide towards a curious faith-based neurosis (and ultimately a socio-political nervous breakdown) began, that year is bound to be 1979.

The lead up to this decisive year was 1977’s military coup against the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto government by his own handpicked General (Zia-ul-Haq).

In one of his initial addresses to the nation on PTV, General Zia-ul-Haq suddenly cut away from his written speech, looked up into the camera and claimed that he knew why most people had stopped watching Pakistan Television (PTV): “Mujhey pata hai log ab PTV kyon nahi daikhtay. Chirian jo urr gain” (I know why some people have stopped watching PTV. [It is because] All the birds have flown [from the channel])

While announcing one of his many promises of holding fresh elections, (none of which he would ever fulfill), Zia had persuaded the Jamaat-i-Islami and some conservative anti-Bhutto politicians to join his martial law regime. Jamaat members were given a free run of the ministry of information, and one of the first acts of the ministry was to devise a brand new censor policy for PTV and films.

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