Pakistani pundits don’t think they’re important, they think they know they are important.
They’re not, of course. All it would take for them to bite the dust is for the political class to stop giving them any importance and the talk show audiences to just change the channel to the few (very few) investigative talk shows.
It is is gallery of rogues, with the decent few standing out. Amongst this already macabre set, there is another group that really takes the cringe-cake. Haroon Rasheed is amongst that Dirty Dozen. His defenders, feeble-minded as well as feeble in their defence, argue that at least he is better than other from the Dozen, like Dr Shahid Masood, who, after scathingly criticising PPP, giddily became the PTV chairman and then was exposed by one after another of his ‘predictions’ falling apart. And, of course, becoming the only TV anchor to be called by the Chief Justice and ridiculed like that.
Rasheed might be as lazy in his corruption-corruption-corruption narrative as the others, but he means what he says and does not have any ‘extra-curricular activities.’
Oh, he does. The charlatan has some very high ambitions. They range from the petty to the grandiose. An example of the petty kind became viral this last week, with when a recording of his went viral on the internet. It was a call of his to an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) relating a suspect, which the online audiences can hear by clicking on the link below.
He asks if the concerned person is indeed under custody, and upon enquiry, informs the officer that he is Haroon Rasheed from Dunya. Now, till this point, I would like to inform even the harshest critics of Rasheed, that he was well within his rights to do so. Even the readers are within their rights to do so. The police are public servants and should have a mindset where they answer the public.
But Rasheed goes on to say that his sources say two things: one, that the man is innocent, and two, that he is being slapped about. Well, you are entitled to your sources but that’s not what is the case, was the reply.
Here, Rasheed starts losing it. Why aren’t you speaking like a policeman and why have you become acting like the Governor*?
This led to a verbal spat during which pundit called the ASI a gadhey ka bacha (son of a donkey.) The cop became angry, though he didn’t reply in kind.
The clip went viral. Rasheed has since given a clarification. Blood pressure, he says. It got to me when the policeman “misbehaved.” What misbehaviour?!
PS: Rasheed is apologetically close to Imran Khan (mera dost hai lekin mayn naqqaad houn uss ka). They have fallen out, only slightly. The reason that is being attributed was that Rasheed wanted a position.
To this end, the grapevine reported that a couple of years ago, the fellow was out enjoying an evening with his friends in Lahore and when their car was passing in front of the Governor* House on the Mall, he told the fellow passengers, “Kuch arsey mein ye darvesh ki kutthia hogi.” (This will be my abode in some time!)
Though the euphemism for the “my” was “dervish”, as is becoming of the slimy faux modesty that the columnists of Pakistan’s vernacular press show. Not to imply the English ones are any better, just a different flavour of petty.