Original Articles

On Maria B’s “Wake up Zaidistan” and PTV – by Red Ink

PTV is no shining example of stellar journalism. Its no BBC, heck its no where near even an American network. While legally speaking it is supposed to be a public channel, PTV has often functioned as little more than a government mouthpiece.

In the days before the electronic media bubble it was the only game in town and governments exploited this fact to the hilt. In the days of the lawyers movement the Musharraf regime used PTV to counter an increasingly hostile media narrative with the likes of Ahmed Qureshi and eventually Musharraf’s own evening talk-show from Awan-e-Sadar.

So you almost have to give credit to this PPP government for allowing fashion designer Maria B. to promote her “Wake Up Pakistan” movement on the show Meena Bazar.

I say *almost* for two reasons:

1) PTV is still no where near a public channel (like the BBC / PBS / NPR)
2) Maria B. is an enemy of democracy.

Maria B. is one of the latest in a line of celebrities (including Ali Azmat and Shahzad Roy) that have become a part of the Zaid Hamid cult.

Zaid Hamid is a vocal opponent of democracy, and in his “Economic Terrorism” series alleges that democracy is a “Jewish plot” to control the world by proxy. While this general opposition to democracy should make the airwaves inaccessible to Zaid Hamid even for a public channel; things being as they are, it is surprising that his particularly rapid opposition to the PPP is also being ignored!

Now, Im not proponent of censorship. I think that even with the flawed version of PTV that exists today the PPP government should set an example by keeping the programming non-partisan, but one has to question the logic of brining on board people that promote anti-democratic views.

Zaid Hamid is on record bashing the PPP government and warning it to “straighten out its act” before “we patriotic Pakistanis take control of the situation”. No prize for guessing who this “we” is.

Maria B. promoted the “Wake Up Pakistan” series on PTV, which is a nationwide tour for Zaid Hamid to spread his message of hate. Serious questions can also be raised about the possible illegality of the speeches of Zaid Hamid, since they spread hatred and incite violence against non-Muslims.

One can almost excuse private TV channels, that relish in the ratings and advertising that Zaid Hamid’s facism bings, for providing Maria B. a platform. Not so PTV.

The Information Minister must take note of the fact that the PTV management seems to be asleep at the wheel.

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri


Click here to post a comment
  • A movement of this kind led by a charlatan and followed by intellectually challenged celebrities thrives on persecution. Give it some time, it will die on its own. Zaid Hamid will run out of steam in due course.

  • I ‘Object’ u all…for this non-sense….
    Think as being a pakistani and a muslim if u are!!!
    We are in our crunch time our nation is on stake…Our brothers n Sisters are dying on streets….so we must be harsh on whts going on…This is not a joke….
    The time has come tht we pakistanies….must understand who we were and What was our ideology which has been hidden from us
    so….Zaid hamid is a person calling youth not to himself…But to Allama iqbal…and revival of our spirtual development….

    Dont be bias….be a pakistani….and dont be on wrong side of history

  • when i see these musician becoming part of zaid hamid hate brigade ,khuda ka liye (Shoaid Mansor ) movie comes instantly at my mind .

  • The harsh reality is that the proponents and believers of conspiracy theories cannot be reasoned with, how in Pakistan they pose as alternative reality. The reason behind Mr.Hamid’s growing popularity is that he paints a picture of glorious past and a promising future. None of which is true! What is important that the educated people must not find refuge in such theories and embrace the reality so that we can move ahead?

  • Our source of national pride

    Nationalism is best understood in contrast to patriotism. Patriotism is simply love for one’s country, whereas nationalism is the sense that one’s nation is the best, often because it is more sacred than other nations. For the past few months, ‘Wake Up Pakistan’ – a campaign targeting this country’s youth – has been making waves both in the mainstream and social media.

    The campaign aims to bring about an ideological revolution in Pakistan:

    “Pakistan today is in the eyes of the world, what we do and what we don’t will decide the future of Pakistan and the generations to come. We face internal and external threats which are shaking the very foundations of our motherland. Never before were we in such a dilemma, never before did our soil need us more and never before were we called upon to unite. We are not afraid but we are in danger. We have to WAKE UP!”

    The youth-oriented campaign promises to revive the ideology of the Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal. Spearheaded by Zaid Hamid, and supported by fashion designer Maria B and popular rock-star Ali Azmat, the country-wide campaign has comprised lectures at various educational institutes and has gathered quite a fan following.

    Hamid’s official fan page left me stunned, and not only because he has a striking 24,682 fans online. What’s really shocking is Hamid’s irresponsibility in the face of his popularity and broad-based access to Pakistani youth.

    The latest update on the page reads: ”Inshallah one day you will hear this………’This is radio pakistan from New delhi’.” Even more startling is the fact that Hamid’s fantasies of invading a neighbouring country were received with messages from young Pakistanis such as “Inshallah” and “we are eagerly waiting for that time!” Such statements contradict Hamid’s claims of reviving the ideology of Jinnah and Iqbal. Indeed, his anti-India stance makes the Wake Up Pakistan campaign delusional, provocative, and downright demagogical.

    Let me clarify that this post isn’t about bashing Hamid and his ideologies. It’s an effort to question and decipher his ‘promised prophecies.’ After all, this campaign targets the youth and so I reserve the right to question its goals. I understand that the campaign is about “creating awareness and exposing conspiracies.” But I fail to understand how derogatory remarks about a neighbouring country will help ‘revive’ the youth. I am afraid fantasising about invasions will not solve our problems, and will instead shift focus from our internal conflicts. More dangerously, preaching such ideologies is bound to promote intolerance, which is anathema to a free, functioning, and democratic society.

    No doubt, Hamid is capable of remarkable oratory, and is almost hypnotising if you prefer an ego massage to a reality check. For example, a friend’s Facebook status recently read :

    You’re the best people; you’re the chosen land; you’re destined to play very special part in God’s plans says Zaid Hamid. Rings a bell? Actually it does ring a bell for its striking resemblance to the beliefs of the ever-so notorious Hitler.

    Now, I am not suggesting that Hamid has similar plans. But I do believe that his rhetoric and the Wake Up Pakistan campaign are imparting the same sense of ‘race purity’ to this country’s youth. In fact, such discourse provides a breeding ground for far-right views and commonplace racism.

    A precise look at our history will tell us how the religion and race card have been used singularly and in collaboration to distort mindsets and rationalise injustice. Whether it’s justifying dictatorship in the name of religion or promoting conspiracy theories to justify our shortcomings, we have seen it all. The new phenomenon of invoking ‘race purity’ to inspire hope is as dangerous as the trends that have come before. Resulting nationalistic pride, meanwhile, overlooks the deficiencies of our country and its people, while stirring contempt for the virtues of other countries.

    For that reason, I am gravely concerned about the majority choice to seek ‘national pride’ in the idea of waging war. In reality, Hamid is doing nothing more than saying what most of us want to believe: our problems are the world’s fault. We are not responsible; they are. This strategy, of course, amounts to nothing more than scapegoating. The right to defend ourselves must never accompany denial of responsibility of our actions.

    I fear that the Wake Up Pakistan campaign will promote intolerance and divert attention from our real issues. It is fair to expose foreign involvements in the country’s internal affairs. But at the same time we must understand the nature of such involvements. Tall claims about ‘foreign hands’ rarely include the acknowledgment that interference occurs because it is opportune.

    Opportunities arise as a result of our neglect and failure to come to terms with ground realities. They can only be eliminated if we focus on solving some of our most common problems. If we are so capable that we can dream of taking over and governing a billion more people, why don’t we begin at home to improve the literacy rate, provide healthcare, resolve our economic, and socio-political issues? Without answering this simple question, Hamid risks raising an army of youth who are rabid, intolerant, and belaboured by delusions of grandeur, and yet unwilling to tackle Pakistan’s most pressing but absolutely solvable problems.

    To be able to foresee our future, we first need to determine our role in the present. If there is a need for an ideological revolution, let it be about realising and rehabilitating the mistakes of our past. Pakistan should wake up, but not to a new dawn of racism and bigotry.

    Sana Saleem is a Features Editor at BEE magazine and blogs at Global Voices, Pro-Pakistan her personal blog Mystified Justice. She tweets at twitter.com/sanasaleem.


  • There are other aspects to the youth equation. Pakistan today is home to more than 36 million people aged between 15-24 years, more than any other time in its history. The number of people under 40 is growing steadily. The question is what values these people will bring to Pakistan. There is quite evidently a vast dichotomy between them. The participation of a large number of impressively articulate students in the anti-emergency movement of 2007 showed just how much had changed since the years of General Ziaul Haq. But the fact remains that almost invariably these students came from a few campuses; from the elite learning institutes that have revived the lost art of thinking in the country. At too many other places change has been too slow, and even at the campuses where there is indeed political activity – attempts have come from both the administration and student groups to clamp down on activities deemed as propounding ‘liberal’ values. One result is so much confusion that even the notion of ‘secularism’ is regarded as a dirty word almost, spoken of with sneers or snickering. There has been some improvement, but the battle between progressive and retrogressive traits continues.

    It is difficult to say which will win out. But certainly some of the omens are disturbing. Groups such as the Hizbul Tehrir are said to be busy recruiting at some elite institutions; the veil, in various forms, has appeared at almost every school or college for girls, sometimes as a form of rebellion against parents and recently at a private medical college, the teachers complained about two young male students who refused to examine a woman – on the grounds that this was ‘un-Islamic’. Though those students were quietly expelled, we all know the same attitude exists in many other places. Despite the horrors we saw in Afghanistan, apologists for the Taliban exist in many places. At the same time, there are students who proudly say they hold no religious belief and are dismayed with the overt displays of holiness we see everywhere.

    The battle for the future seems likely to be a hard fought one. There are many factors which could have a say in how it will pan out. One is the fact that the vast majority of youth remains deprived and neglected by the State. Most lack opportunities; social mobility is almost non-existent; those born into poverty have little hope of escape. The Taliban capitalise on such feelings, using them to recruit people and brainwash them. Their unrelenting war on education – and the hope that it offers of some improvement in life – is a part of the same effort to keep people locked in the same darkness that they themselves inhabit.

    The odds in favour of a victory for more progressive elements will need to be created by quickly taking steps that can alter the lives of people. We also need to bring people from various parts of the country closer together. Only when voices are raised for people from smaller provinces and not only for the victims of US atrocities will we move towards any kind of real change, and open up the possibility of a future that is not quite as dark as our past. The kind of future that lies ahead will be determined by the degree to which we succeed in this.

    Kamila Hayat

  • zaid hamid was a khlifa of yousuf kazzab, who was sentenced to death in a blasphemy case in lahore . just search yousuf kazzab and see a lot. including book fitna e yousuf kazzab and an audio in which zaid praised yousuf kazzab.

  • @zafar iqbal Please treat Zaid Hamid as an entity separate from Yousuf Kazzab. Some posters as well as commentators on this blog indeed disagree with Zaid Hamid because of what they consider his ISI sponsored agenda or hate speech against certain groups (e.g., Hindus and India).

    We disagree with Zaid Hamid because of his hate speech. Therefore, we cannot allow hate speech against him. This is a matter of principle.

    We DO NOT want anyone to be personally injured because of hate speech or violent propaganda. We DO NOT allow hate speech against any person or group on this blog. This includes Mr Zaid Hamid.


    We hope you will understand our position on this matter. Thank you.

  • I want to ask just one question.

    is dress code followed by maria b and other girls of this group reasonable?