Its a matter of pleasure for us that Mr. Rehan Ibrahim of TeamGeo wrote for our website. (Shahid Javed)
There is a viral attack afflicting our inboxes these days fueled by anger, piety and resentment.
The object of people’s rage is a program on Geo , in which the anchor Amir Liaquat Hussain , allegedly called for the ‘lynching’ of all Ahmedis. As a TeamGeo member I was horrified that our channel , which has its motto the phrase , ‘Geo aur Jeeney Do’, could have stooped to such lows. Especailly since we are always accused by the conservatives in society against our many programs and projects like Zara Sochieye, Khuda Kay Liye and Ghamidi. I was also very disturbed to read the Asian Human Rights report on the subject and felt the collective guilt of having caused the deaths of 2 Ahmedis.
I am not a great fan of Amir Liaquat, and not many liberals or elite are. However, I must admit that his popular , show Alim on Line , did for the first time , bring together Alim’s from the Sectarian divide on to the same platform and their discussions helped greatly in bridging the viewpoints of these two great sects of Islam. This show has a vast appeal and has helped a large member of youth, women and men to resolve their confusions about the teachings of Islam.
That said , I was still very perturbed with what occurred on 7th September on Geo. I decided to try and get to the truth of the matter. I asked for a copy of the program and saw it myself. I realized how mob fury can be inflamed by sheer hearsay and exaggeration as well as through personal bias of people against Dr Aamir.
Nowhere in the program did Dr Amir or the three guests call for the death of Ahmedis. The discussion initially was based on history and how the Prophet (PBUH) and the Sahaba dealt with the emergence of ‘False Prophets’. It kept emphasizing that all Muslims must believe that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was the seal of the Prophets and was the last messenger of God. The first guest gave us a background of the Ahmediya controversy and how the Bhutto government declared them outside the pale of Islam in the 70’s.
He also took us through the constitutional implications of that parliamentary excommunication. The scholar did not at any point call for any lynching of the Ahmedi’s.
Amir then turned to his two studio guests’ including a Shia and Sunni Alim. Both of them stated categorically that they believed that False Prophets are punishable by death and gave much references to religious text and tradition. They also heaped scorn on the founder of the movement, which I personally felt was in bad taste, but refrained from any exhortation to kill Ahmedi’s.
I decided to transcribe that portion of program which I am attaching to this mail. I think this should clear some of the air.
I am also privy of the fact that the management of Geo held a series of meetings and took the matter very seriously. They made sure that the program was not repeated nor telecast outside Pakistan. Amir Liaquat followed up with his own regret in subsequent programs and the President of Geo went on the BBC and offered his apologies to those whose sentiments were hurt by the broadcast. Geo, however, does not feel that a causal link can be established between the program and the tragic killings because there was absolutely no exhortation to do so by Amir and the three scholars. I also feel that the Asian Human Rights report was based entirely on hearsay and not on facts. They need to correct their position after either viewing the program or going through the transcript.
The Ahmedi issue is a very sensitive one and it cannot be discussed or debated openly because it opens up too many wounds. When we cannot have a balanced discussion on a topic, it is better to leave it alone . Otherwise, we will err and subvert our philosophy of Geo Aur Jeeney Do. I trust that our management will also ensure that if at all this matter is discussed in a tv programme, the point of view of the Ahmedi’s must be incorporated.
Author: Rehan Ibrahim (TeamGEO)