PTV! Stop Stereotyping the Pashtuns


PTV! Stop Stereotyping the Pashtuns

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Dear sir,
It is with a reference to a mushaira (poetry recital session) program 'Hansna Mana Hey' brought on air on PTV on June 26 2017 (Eid day). A poet, Jawad Hussain Jawad, recited a poem in the program which was replete with sweeping generalisations and blatant stereotyping of the Pashtuns. Some of the verses are given below for reference:
پہاڑوں پر ہمارے جب بھی دشمن بم گراتا ہے
کہ اس سے مفت بجری بنتا ہے ہم بیچ آتا ہے
صفائ کا ہمیں جب تم گر سکھا تا ہے
ہمیشہ عید پر ہر سال ہم لازم نہاتا ہے
کیسے ہمت کرے وہ ارادہ جسکا کچا ہوتی ہے
کھاتا ہے نسوار وہ جو نر کا بچہ ہوتی ہے

As is evident from the verses, the Pashtuns have been represented in the poem as 'terrorists', 'dirty' and smugglers besides associating with them other sweeping generalisations.

Two points are important in this connection. First, as you know quite well, a group of people, an ethnicity, people having diverse faith denominations and a race is usually excluded from the mainstream decision making in a state through blatant stereotyping and sweeping generalisations. Second, Pakistan is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-national federation. It does not need rocket science to understand that exclusion of any unit from state decision making will ultimately increase distance between the various units and the state which in turn will result in weakening of the federation. No body would like to see that happening.

Arts, drama and poetry express aesthetics of life symbolising beauty of life, cohesion and harmony. Natural, cultural, social, religious and political diversity depict beauty of life and aesthetics of life.

Unfortunately, mainstream media in Pakistan has generally been using arts,drama and poetry to discriminate, stigmatise diverse social and political groups and enhance schisms. Homogenisation and reductionism are usually promoted. Stigmatisation, profiling and labelling are contravention to all human norms and human dignity, to say the least. Moreover, stereotypical expression can be considered incitement of hatred against a whole nation--in this case the Pashtuns.

I would like to request that your kind office take notice of the blatant stereotyping, ask an explanation from the concerned producer of the program and ensure that this does not happen in future.

Khadim Hussain
Cell number: 0333-5568938

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