Lately, first Ehsanullah Ehsan, head of TTP, and now Noreen Leghari, the would-be ISIS jihadi bride, have been making the rounds on Pakistani television. Last night Leghari appeared on news channel 92 in a tearful interview on what appears to be a living room sofa, “exposing real facts” about her recent adventures in La-La Land and promising that she won’t do it again.
Mohammed Hanif said it all in the New York Times about Ehsanullah Ehsan’s appearance on Pakistani television, but he was rewarded with censorship for his work. So now terrorists can talk on television but we can’t talk about them talking on television.
As for the Noreen Leghari interview, people have been reacting with disgust, and rightly so. Nobody can understand why PEMRA is allowing these interviews, and not punishing the channels airing them for glorifying terrorism. This goes directly against the Punjab Maintenance of Order Ordinance of 2015, which bans glorifying terrorism or attempting to create sympathy for terrorists. And it also goes directly against the new Cybercrime Law, which also bans glorification of terrorism and terrorists.
People are complaining to PEMRA but until and unless a legal notice is sent to the television channels, they’ll continue this charade, trotting out terrorists and making them look cute and fluffy, or sad and helpless. Forget the so-called victims of terrorism. The 144 children who died in the APS attack and their parents were just props and pawns. The hundreds or thousands of people Noreen Leghari wanted to kill were just hypothetical victims. The real victim, in our jaundiced world, is the would-be terrorist herself, who just made a mistake and now wants nothing more than to forget that this ever happened and go back to her medical studies.
I have no idea who comes up with these strategies, or if they are ploys used by the powers that be when the original strategies don’t go according to plan. But there is no question these interviews are planned and planted, and that media channels are willful collaborators in this mockery of our very real pain, our very real mourning. Instead of punishing these terrorists, they are being trotted out and made to look like sympathetic characters, misled and fooled by evil countries and evil husbands. We must forgive them and let them return to normal life if they say they’re sorry and cry for the camera.
Why don’t you dance on the graves of the 50,000 people killed by terrorism in Pakistan while you’re at it? At least the people will be entertained.