‘Fasana Raqam Karein’: A journalist reminisces
Today, all records have been broken when it comes to freedom of the press, thought, and expression. There’s total freedom of reporting. As a result, however, journalists have gone overboard as far as reporting of events is concerned.
They would be well advised to apply the brakes and be careful in reporting; they must also report the positive aspects of the system and the government instead of just concentrating on the negative ones.
These views were expressed by Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair while speaking as guest of honour at the launch of journalist Mujahid Barelvi’s book, ‘Fasana Raqam Karein’, at the Karachi Press Club on Friday.
He said that after the receding of the Soviet Union into oblivion, except for Cuba and North Korea, no communist regimes had been left. Parties like the NAP and the PPP in Pakistan had started off as clearly left-of-centre parties, but now were veering to the right. Others, he said, were veering to the centre.
As such, the best thing to do would be to stick to the centre, he added.
The book actually is a compendium of the random reminiscences of Barelvi; the days of his struggle as a dissident journalist, the police raids and dodging the law enforcing agencies, his association with other journalists, and in a lighter tone, his association with other female journalists.
Poetess Fehmida Riaz, his companion through the thick and thin of Ziaul Haq’s oppressive era, said, “I consider myself so lucky that I met such a lovely person.”
She said that when she came from self-imposed exile in India, the one and only person to receive her at the airport was Mujahid Barelvi.
“When my mother died, Mujahid was constantly by my side in my moment of grief,” she said as a tribute to his affectionate and considerate nature.
Riaz said that they both shared the same ideals and both were against class discrimination in society.
Their thinking, she said, had borne fruit and now there were changes occurring, saying that just a couple of years ago, none in the United States would have dared talk about social democracy but today it was being freely discussed in the US.
Huma Baqai, a professor at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), reminisced about her association with Mujahid in a very light-hearted manner. “Whenever he writes, he gives the reader a deep insight into a certain era,” she said.
“Mujahid has never violated norms, something hard to come by in the present-day scheme of things.”
Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar lauded Barelvi’s contribution in the form of the book. He praised the book for its account of poets and political workers.
Journalist Shahnaz Ahad recounted her university days as Mujahid’s contemporary at the Karachi University and, later, their struggle against police raids and jail stints.
Mujahid Barelvi recounted the contribution of journalism stalwarts like Minhaj Barna, Khalid Alig, Nisar Usmani and Abdul Hamid Chappra and their principled opposition during the Zia era.
He profusely recited Habib Jalib’s poetry condemning the dictatorial eras of Ayub and Zia, as also the love-hate relationship between the late ZA Bhutto and Habib Jalib. Uzma Al-Karim of Geo TV compered the proceedings.