Geo Ordered to Shut Down

At 1:12 a.m. on this Friday night, I’ve just gotten home from a dinner to find on the news that Geo TV’s international broadcast from Dubai is also being shut down. So I turn on the live stream from the channel’s website. And it’s running the same “ad” over and over again: the Geo logo, dramatic newsy music and the repetition of the mantra: “Geo aur jeenay do.”

Live and let live.

Geo has a flare for drama. Whoever puts that show together knows how to push buttons. I wouldn’t call it responsible journalism really. It’s quite inflammatory at times. But it was free press. And now it’s not broadcasting anymore.

Apparently the Pakistan government has put pressure on the powers that be in Dubai and now Geo television is being shut down. The ticker that runs in English and Urdu alternately, at the bottom of the screen, now has only the one news alert: “Due to immense pressure, Geo TV has been ordered to shut down by the authorities of the country form which it is being aired.” It says the same in Urdu. Almost. “Musharaf hakoomat ke shadeed dabao ke baad mutallaqa hakoomat nay geo tv ko band karnay ka hukm diya hai.”

I don’t know why I thought it would be okay. I don’t know why I thought the curbs would be lifted soon. And I don’t know why, suddenly, at the two week anniversary, I feel so horrible, why my heart is sinking so low. The long arm of God knows whose law. And here we are running around telling Pakistanis what rights they’ve lots, what rights they had that they weren’t even aware of.

He was everyone’s favourite dictator. Who cared if he was a general, who cared if he hadn’t come in through democratic means? We were doing alright.

Well it just goes to show. If the means are bad, the ends will look good for a little while and then turn rotten. There’s only one way out and that’s through freedom of choice. That’s through freedom to move. Freedom to live and work and be safe.

There is no safety here. And there’s no option. You have to act now. You just have to.

I don’t know why I feel so horrible. I thought we were going to get better, is all.

It’s poignant. Geo has been showing various national monuments with the Geo logo and the Pakistani flag. Jinnah’s mausoleum, Minar-e-Pakistan, Khyber Pass. It’s sad. They’re just Pak. Studies textbook images. They have lost their meaning. Now they’re just this caricature of nationalism. In the Zia years, the government shoved those down your throat. Now a private TV channel is using them to express its dissent.

My country’s going to hell on roller skates.

Stumble it!


#1 amigo on 11.17.07 at 1:17 am

General has gone totally nuts. I used to say to all my friends that he is a good man and he is doing a good job. But I have totally changed my mind. He has turned out to be typical dictator. His cracking on judges of supreme court, disregarding the constitution, arresting thousands of people (so sad what happend to Imran Khan), Shutting down Geo TV and other media, the list is too long now, and he says he is giving essence of democracy to Pakistan. He also think he has is the only hope for Pakistan. Without him Pakistan would not sustain. I think he is having “God syndrome” and I am pretty sure he is going to end up very soon. These Generals has ruined Pakistan. The are supposed to be the Chokidar of Pakistan and now they are claiming of ownership of Pakistan. The do not realize that the live from the Tax Payer’s money. These Tax Payer’s are the people of Pakistan not the Fooj of Pakistan.

#2 jawad on 11.19.07 at 10:21 pm

Yes, on roller skates with a crisp tail wind. The good news is that Pakistan may have found her own riverbend. Keep writing.

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