An Open Letter To Amir Liaquat

Mr. Amir Liaquat,

We the masses recently heard the news of a one-month ban on your appearance on media which was although called-off later. The reason for the ban soon became very well known as the video clip went viral on social media immediately after your oh-so-popular-on the-ratings TV show went on air. It goes without saying that people from all walks of life regardless of their faith unanimously condemned your ‘drama’ and welcomed the ban on your appearance. In fact, many even believe that you should never be allowed to do any show on religious matters ever again.

 Let this letter be a medium for you to know that among the masses, to a great extent, you are known as a a drama king who does silly acts that are worthy of condemnation to say the least. Being repeatedly banned and barred from appearing on the media, it should be a matter of serious concern for you to self-analyze your actions and style of hosting shows.

I am not a media person but as a lay person and a common viewer even I can tell that a person hosting a show is supposed to remain humble and kind in his tone. That’s what a ‘host’ is supposed to do. And as an ‘Islamic scholar’ as you pose to be, you must be knowing better what Islam teaches when it comes to treating your guests. But in reality what we saw on your controversial program was deliberate provocation and insult of your guest.

Also, in your pursuit of finding a way to tell the world about your hatred for another scholar of neighboring country, out of nowhere and with absolute irrelevance, you dragged his name into your discussion which was completely pointless. But yes, it helped in sensationalizing your show. Any viewer could notice that you intentionally fanned a matter of a very sensitive nature only to promote sectarianism – which is the last thing Pakistani society needs or would appreciate in the current times.

You have been blessed with a platform with which you can reach out to a huge number of people to promote harmony, coexistence and unity. But alas; you chose to create a divide. No; you cannot justify your act under the umbrella of ‘ishq-e-Rasool (SAW)’ because the religion of the same Prophet PBUH teaches us that anger is absolutely prohibited. And to display it on a live show is something utterly distasteful.

We often see callers passing unwelcoming statements in various TV shows. Such statements are either ignored or turned down with a one-liner comment by the host which is what seems to be the most appropriate way to tackle uncomfortable situations and moving forward. You, as an experienced media person, must be very well familiar with this practice and could have done the same in your show when you found that the caller had put forward an inappropriate question. Instead, you chose to drag it for so long to the extent of deviating from the topic to insult your guest. What kind of a host and a scholar are you?

Even if you lack basic ethics of hosting a live TV show, if you claim to be a scholar, how come you have been unaware of the following verse of the Quran which says:

“Hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.” (3:103)

Ramzan – which is the month of peace and harmony – is not supposed to be used to give rise to controversies and sectarianism and to highlight divisions. I am explaining all this to you just in case you are so very naïve to understand the crux of the problem. The damage control you have tried to do later on in your program is of little value after having exposed your intolerant self in a very clear way which will remain in the memory of viewers for a very long time.

Hoping against hope that this latest saga which created a strong reaction will make you to introspect and correct yourself to start sounding sensible than before in your future programs. And even if repeated bans do not make you strive to look within and change yourself for good, then we the common people of this country  can only hope to see a ‘scholar’ like you, who is a flag bearer of hatred and division, barred forever from influencing the masses though a powerful medium i.e. TV .

This article was originally published in Pakistan Today

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