The National Press Club in Islamabad’s F/6 is the apt setting for a meeting of media people who run televised discussion groups.
Hamid Mir of GeoTV and Jazmeen Manzoor, TV anchor News One, are of course the stars of the moment having threatened physical violence against Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar.
Sami Ibrahim is basking in his 15 seconds of fame having announced that a shoe was hurled at prime minister Imran Khan at his rally in Qatar.
The attendants have served tea and cookies, and the gathered ask Ibrahim for his eyewitness account about the shoe hurled at Imran Khan.
Ibrahim declares, “You know these PTI [Pakistan Tehreek-i Insaf] people… the despicable, miserly lot who won’t release government advertisements for our media houses… you know they will never accept it. But indeed, I saw it… I saw the shoe passing by me as clearly I see Jazmeen’s face!”
Hamid Mir quickly offers, “Thank God, you escaped injury.”
Ibrahim asserts, “Thank you Hamid. It was so close that I could read the brand name on the insole… it was a new black Ferragamo textured calfskin Gancini Loafer. I even found out that it was purchased a few hours before this speech from the Ferragamo outlet at the Gate Mall.”
Saleem Safi, who has just joined in, adds, “Sami, this is called investigative reporting. Perhaps, unlike Imran Khan who is not giving any advertising, Ferregamo must have given this shoe for free… I can’t see someone buying a $600 shoe to throw at someone.”
Manzoor declares, “No, Saleem, don’t be surprised, there are quiet a few wealthy Pakistanis here. Ishaq Dar’s sons are really upset with Imran. They can even afford to get a $1200 Christian Louboutin tossed at him.”
Mir quickly steers the discussion to the top topic of the day, the Sahiwal killings, and adds, “See, I was right about Buzdar. He deserves to be spanked hard. He had declared that the JIT report will be released within 72 hours, but AIG [Additional Inspector General] Ijaz Hussain Shah said the report released today could not be considered a final because a comprehensive report on a tragedy of this nature could not be completed in two or three days.
“We can only remember the fine days of [former chief minister] Shehbaz Sharif… the man would be in his solar hat and right on the spot taking halva and puri for the orphaned children. Buzdar came with bouquets.
“I mean, you open your mouth about Sahiwal and they start screaming about Model Town (in suburban Lahore)… they are asking me that can you call a Model Town victim’s family member in the next program? Or one of Rao Anwer’s encounters’ victims’ family members?
“Indeed, you can only call Imran a legend, but then whatever happened to his Aladdin’s Lamp? The guilty officers in the Sahiwal killing should have been hanged publicly within the hour. What sort of government is he running?”
Safi agreeing adds, “The three orphans don’t need flowers; they need housing lots. Just look at the way Malik Riaz is being harassed. He is being asked to pay for thousands of acres blessed by Asif Zardari when he has already developed and sold them. Imran is not allowing bygones be bygones. Otherwise, Malik Riaz would have gifted them a few… not just that, indeed while announcing the gifts, he would have given the media folks a few too.
“Instead of resigning himself and making Buzdar resign too, he has removed the Additional IG Operations Punjab, AIG and DIG Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab. And 16 of the CTD staff involved in the killing are under arrest. Is this enough? Why not Buzdar?”
Manzoor adds, “Compare Buzdar with Shehbaz Sharif… he looks like a blob and Shehbaz is so trim.
“It is really obnoxious that the PTI folk keep reminding about Model Town… yes, it was a killing, but that was five years ago! This case of Nawaz Sharif government or that case of Asif Zardari government… but then the media was not being starved.”
Hamid Mir sums up the discussion, “I mean what is this nonsense. Six months have passed and we are being told it will take time to fix the problems of 70 years. Police reforms and retraining will take time.
“One the one hand, we are being told that billions have come from friendly countries, but then we are told that the government has no funds to place advertisements.
“I tell you that with such an attitude, Sahiwal cannot be forgiven!”