Social media gives voice to Parachinar protesters -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Social media gives voice to Parachinar protesters

Pakistan Press Foundation

PESHAWAR: After blackout by mainstream electronic media, the social media became voice for the protesters, who were mourning as well as asking the government some serious questions about their security following Friday’s massacre that killed 72 and injured more than 300 in Parachinar, Kurram Agency.

“The protesters, who staged sit-in after the twin blasts, decried that mainstream TV channels did not give enough coverage to the terrorist attacks in tribal area bordering Afghanistan,” a reporter, who visited the protest, told Dawn.

“Protesters in Parachinar have been protesting with coffins of their loved ones for 4 days but there is complete blackout,” tweets Liaqat Ali Hazara.

Mainstream media, which focused on Ahmad Pur East (Bahawalpur) tragedy, was accused of discrimination. Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif was also blamed for the same.

However, social media became voice for the Turi tribe, hit hard by terrorism, when mainstream media was busy giving tickers and reports about rainy weather and families enjoying Eid at parks and markets in the main cities of the country.

People from different walks of life criticised the media blackout and general apathy openly on social media like Facebook and Twitter and shared their thoughts on Watsapp groups to vent their feelings.

“This kid lost his parents, a brother and a sister in Parachinar blasts. You won’t see him on TV because he is not from Punjab,” says Shahid Qazi in his tweet while sharing photo of a wailing child.

Bilal Hyder in his tweet accuses media and politicians of a ‘criminal silence’ on Parachinar blasts.

Sharing picture of a child killed in Parachinar blast on Friday, Hareem in her tweet says: “I’m sorry the picture of the victims is hurting you. But friend your silence is hurting us more.”

People started comparing the tragedies as to how the prime minister reacted to Friday’s terrorist attacks and then that of Ahmad Pur East (Bahawalpur- Seraiki belt of Punjab province), claiming more than 150 lives.

The prime minister cut short his London’s tour and reached APE for condolences. He announced compensation of Rs2 million for killed, Rs1million for injured and promise of employment for the children of the deceased.

The social media users criticised how political leaders of PML-N and PTI even failed to visit the injured of Parachinar at Peshawar’s hospital where they were being treated.

The list of tweets expressing how neglected and voiceless the people of Parachinar feel continues since Friday on social media.

There is a growing sense of discrimination and alienation as is visible from the tweets as well as listening to those, who have visited the sit-in at Parachinar.

The protesters feel that they have not been given the same attention by the prime minister as he has treated the victims of Bahawalpur, they say.

One wonders why the government especially the prime minister treats people in Parachinar killed by two bomb blasts planted by terrorists different than those people, who were collecting the spilled oil from an oil tanker that overturned on the highway.

They were not doing any good deed or any patriotic act. So why ignore the victims of terrorism, who were only demanding safety and security — their basic rights as citizen of Pakistan, while compensate those, who risked their lives for the sake of a litter or two of oil.

Mainstream electronic media is interviewing the wailing women and men, the shortcomings of medical aid and rescue work in repeat special reports on Bahawalpur tragedy but on the other hand there is complete blackout of victims of terrorist attacks of Friday. No TV reporter with his camera team has gone to the bereaved families of the victims.

But who would ask these serious questions when media itself is busy with reports about funfairs and Eid festivities being celebrated in main cities while in some far flung border town people caught in proxy war having faced closure of road and rations for years and bombed still hold on to their Computerised National Identity Cards.