By Adeela Akmal
Whenever there is a problem, there is always a solution that needs to be sought. However, problems in our country are handled differently. Every time there is an issue, authorities are not determined to find a radical solution. They, instead, pull the plug. Done! Finito! No more problems. Everybody happy? Not. One. Bit.
The news of PTA ordering the termination of SMS/call packages have been going around, along with the fact that the action is taken because they are ‘contrary to the moral values of society’. The first thought that came to my mind is in the following meme.
Yes, there are Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, Tango, Facebook and many other apps. If this was done to discourage the prevailing night calls and texting habits in youngsters than they need to come up with a solution better than this.
Now for me, these packages were very convenient. My friends and I have studied together through these packages. Especially when we did the MCQ past papers during our O and A levels. Currently, I’m the CR of my class and it’s easier for me to send out really long text messages to inform my class mates of the assignments or let them know of the class timings etc.
Imagine the credit consumption without the package.
My khala (mom’s sister) uses the call packages since she doesn’t have a landline. She calls her family members to stay in touch with them (and also, to ask about my mom’s recipes). Now how are these ‘contrary to moral values of the society’?
Frankly, I’m too lazy to forward texts unless it’s something important like exams, if there is a strike or not etc. Also, being ‘forever alone’ (and proud :p) I don’t have to send nauseatingly sweet stuff to anyone. My main concern here is that pulling the plug is never a solution.
We all know how switching off the cellular networks ‘helped’ in ‘combatting’ terrorist activites. Terrorists seemed unfazed by the notion but the civilians were the ones who had to face but another obstacle. Ambulance services like Edhi, Chippa etc, receive approximately more than hundred calls per day from Karachi alone. With the cellular networks down, people had a hard time placing emergency calls, too.
Other than that, families couldn’t contact their loved ones to know if they were safely on their way back home. So basically, the inability to combat terrorist attacks was covered up by taking away a service provided to civilians. Ironically, the attacks never faltered.
We all know about the infamous ban on Facebook when the pictures of Holy Prophet (SAWW) came forward. Facebook was banned for 2 days and then later unblocked. However, that episode led to the recent and very ridiculous ban on YouTube.
The ban on YouTube in Pakistan seems like a very childish act to me. To me it is the authorities’ way of saying, ‘I feel like annoying you.’ To access YouTube, all you have to do now is use proxies and it works just fine. But it’s annoying nonetheless! The proxy I use makes my PC slow and the stupid pop-up ads it brings are irritating.
For those who forgot how the ban started here’s a brief layman version.
A bunch of people were bored and wanted some entertainment. They decided to re-upload the video from a year before which (Naaozubillah) disgraced the Holy Prophet (SAWW) on YouTube. The Muslim world was enraged and demanded that the video be removed. YouTube was stubborn and didn’t remove the video, but the link was blocked in several Muslim countries and YouTube was unblocked.
The reaction of people in Pakistan was quite ‘passionate.’ People went on self-destruct mode: destroyed their own properties and cities. Later, they said, ‘we showed them.’ Aggressive text messages were also being circulated.
I remember receiving a certain message which supported the YouTube ban and mentioned in the end to forward the message. Because if I didn’t, what would I tell Allah Ta’ala when asked ‘What did you do when My Prophet SAWW was made fun of?’
My answer is simple. I know the trick they were playing. They wanted to portray the image of Muslims as violent people, people against ‘freedom of expression.’ I disapproved of the video but I exhibited patience. No one has the power to (Naaozubillah) defame the Prophet (SAWW) of Allah or His teachings. At least I wasn’t forwarding texts that were a pathetic excuse.
Peaceful protests should’ve been held and the matter would’ve been eventually wrapped up, thereby foiling the schemes of people trying to defame Muslims. I remember the event of Battle of Siffin, fought between Hazrat Ali (AS) and Muawiya. It was a definite win for Hazrat Ali (AS) but the opponents raised the Holy Quran on spears as a tactic. It was successful since it fooled many people.
My point here is that there are different ways to show your disapproval. We should’ve chosen a wiser one rather than an emotional one. We could’ve posted the videos regarding the character of our Prophet (SAWW) or written articles about him.
Instead, we went haywire and blocked YouTube. And now, we use proxies to use the same website that we were protesting against. Everyone else seems unfazed except our people.
So l ask you, is banning stuff really a solution or is it just a way to show that you did actually do something, even if it’s a really lame (read: unnecessary) something?