Flying under the radar?

Flying under the radar?

Sorry, we’ve been swamped. Well……not really. We simply turned our cheek the other way.

In recent weeks, quite a bit has happened in the realm of Pakistani politics. Two clashing factions of a recently divided major political party have made the television screen their political battlefield, a key political figure, having completed his proverbial “hat-trick” of marital engagements has somehow transformed into a matter of national interest. The legacy continues for our recently ousted Prime Minister who received yet another significant legal ruling.

Conversely, hardly anyone around is aware of or has comprehensively discussed, the brief two-day visit by the King of Jordan His Majesty Abdullah II.

Why on earth did this not catch the attention of our major media houses?

Ties between Amman and Islamabad have existed formally since the 1980s while a momentous breakthrough occurred in 2001 when a Pakistani delegation visited Jordan to discuss full-scale extensive cooperation. The king of Jordan reciprocated in kind in 2007, meeting key members of the Musharraf administration at the Presidential Residence.

His Excellency`s respective meetings with the President and currently incumbent prime minister were symbolized as an enhancement of bilateral ties. These dignitaries don’t bypass Pindi or do they? His Excellency met key figures of the armed forces including Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa to discuss defense cooperation and the regional security situation. Two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between the two nations, with the first agreement pertaining to cooperation in civil protection and defense while the second document catering to cooperation in the housing sector.

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With change afoot in the Middle East, courtesy of sweeping reforms being enforced by fresh faces in Riyadh, led by the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. Middle East is undergoing a classic narrative shift with the recognition of Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel by the Orange House, along with key appointments where our very own Raheel Sharif has been tasked with leading the 41- nation Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC).

The importance of this visit by His Majesty simply cannot, and should not be understated.All this makes it even more difficult to digest the lack of print as well as screen time, particularly the latter, dedicated to such a momentous political happening. How on earth did something so important simply fade into the background, unless His Excellency desired so?

Furthermore, our media has shown a very apathetic and unprofessional attitude in refusing to provide as much attention, focus and coverage that the visit of King Abdullah II to Pakistan as it merited. The sovereign of a well-established country, with fellow Muslim state Jordan, is a key player in regional politics, certainly deserved a much larger share of the spotlight. That is clearly in stark contrast to the events that actually transpired in Islamabad.

This below-par and underwhelming treatment of a royal head of state surely reflect poorly on our priorities as a nation, might as well end up delivering another blow to our already shambolic international image. Even though this may not be the first or last time that the global image of Pakistan is at stake, a reminder may not be needed with regards to the country still very much recovering from a certain New Year’s gift, a tweet barrage from the orange house. This event sparked a mad scramble in both Washington and Islamabad as well as huge uproar across the globe.

With the fiasco being dubbed as “a final phase in a long-running divorce proceeding” according to Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the US. Our country could ill-afford another crisis in the arena of international affairs as of now.

This begs the question(s): Who do we look to for answers? Ourselves, the nosey nation which clamors for tasty morsels such as details about the private lives of its political leaders?Those in khakhi, who have fixated the core of their attention on events across the Wagah above all else? The presences on the television screen, who would do anything for the sake of ratings? Those wielding the gavels, led by someone whose commanding grasp of casual sexism merits him to equate speeches with women’ s skirts? Or, above all, the army of waistcoats, which seems to have been stuck in a quagmire of controversy since time immemorial?. But then again, this country seems to have its priorities straight. We would rather ban movies on the “taboo” topic of female hygiene than question our national media as an institution and the ulterior motives it pursues as it bombards us with a meaningless excess of headlines. Hate speech by a foul-mouthed cleric delivering a “sermon” in Faizabad apparently deserves more attention than scores of daily deaths in our very own the Thar Desert down south, barely living life in what are appalling conditions, worlds apart from the Orange Line trains and Metro buses we remain content with.

Well, allow me to burst your bubble: The least we could do is address the priority of our headlines. We could simply overlook important events happening across the globe or go down the more inconvenient route, to broaden our horizons by reading upon not-so-popular news such as the visit of King Abdullah II and be more aware of the world around us, rather continue on with our bland and humdrum lives the same old way.

God save our priorities.


-The Daily 360

Shehryar Ejaz

Shehryar Ejaz

Shehryar serves as the Editor In Chief of The Daily 360. He is currently pursuing his undergraduate from Lahore University of Management Sciences. Twitter: @sheryejaz

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