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Analysis | Who Should Worry About Faisal Vawda?

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In the popular imagination, Pakistani TV channels have long been known more for providing infotainment more than serious news and analysis. This has become worse in an era of censorship. Incidents like Faisal Vawda’s antics only serve to highlight the disgraceful state of what passes for political discussion in Pakistan.

If there was any political point that Vawda wished to make about the capitulation of opposition parties, it could have been done without mockingly bringing a big boot into a TV studio. That he could get away with it raises the possibility of collusion from the TV channel in question. But it also calls into question the stance of the ruling party to which Vawda belongs, as well as various power centres in the country.

Was everyone in the know about Vawda’s upcoming performance? If not, will such behaviour go unquestioned?

There is a common perception in Pakistan that some individuals, media groups and political parties can get away with things that others cannot even dream of. When behaviour like that displayed by Vawda is condoned – be it through active collusion or silence – it only cheapens the public sphere. Eventually, it makes everyone fair game for mudslinging.

Consider this case itself and the symbolism evoked by Vawda. Is it only the opposition whose credibility is called into question by his choice of props in his performance?

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