*The following views are not due to any political party affiliation. They are just some logical questions that a concerned citizen found themselves asking.*
About 2 weeks ago, a PMLN lawmaker was criticised in what was deemed by social media to be the inappropriate touching of a young girl. Senator Nisar Muhammad was addressing a Jirga, condemning the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud. Senator Nisar even took to social media to clarify that the girl in question was like a daughter to him and that he had no ill intention.
With public anger high following the rape and murder case of six- year- old Zainab Amin and several other minors, it is not surprising any incident reported as an ‘abuse case’ will cause outrage, irrational as it may be, by the public at large. However, the parallel drawn between the perpetrator in that crime and this video incident is quite unfair. Even if an action is not ill intended, our extremist reactions as a nation tend to cause misplaced social media unrest. And that is what happened in Nisar Muhammad’s case too, unfortunately.
For a moment let’s calm our strange need to completely destroy someone’s name over an ill-written news headline and ask some logical questions.
The first obvious one is: Why would Nisar Muhammad act so in front of so many people? It won’t be wrong to suggest that intentional attacks of sexual harassment certainly don’t take place at the stage of a political gathering. That too, which is most likely going to be broadcast to anyone who has internet access. Secondly, why is everyone calling out his ‘intention’ in the matter? Especially when you can’t just judge anyone’s character by a video that has quite possibly been blown out of proportion. Furthermore, did anyone talk to the young girl after? Or her parents? We saw no follow up on the situation. Just witnessed a very harmful bashing of a man’s reputation.
We never asked these questions. Just jumped the bandwagon of calling him out. We, as a nation, have a terrible habit of responding with rage in matters, which should be calmly conversed about first. This was not a clear-cut case like Zainab’s and numerous other children who are the actual victims of intentional child abuse. This incident warranted calm conversation, not the cruel wishing of death upon a fellow human. And sadly, Senator Nisar had to face the same rage.
Thirdly and lastly, what is worse is that media has a responsibility, and Nisar Muhammad’s case was dealt with quite irresponsibly.
Reputable news outlets slapped the headline: “PMLN lawmaker gropes girl in viral social media video”. The term ‘grope’ has the underpinning of sexual assault. And, it is quite a serious allegation. It is one that warrants careful assessment first, before being blasted all over the internet. Should news outlets really go all out in maligning a person without proof of his intention? Furthermore, the headline wreaks of sensationalism. The use of ‘PMLN’ has further fueled party based division. The ill reporting of an incident, a serious one, was boiled down to a fight between PMLN and PTI keyboard warriors. Not everything has to be turned into a political game.
It is the right of social forces to raise questions, reasonable ones, that is.
But it is inappropriate for news outlets to attack a person this way, without first looking into the matter in detail. Because we as a nation still don’t think critically. If we see one person verbally abusing someone, we start doing the same. This is quite a pitiful state of affairs. This incident as some may argue may raise the need for conversation into what looks appropriate and what doesn’t. However, it certainly doesn’t warrant bashing a person outright, without first fully verifying the incident.
Intention is tricky to judge, so why are we so sure of Senator Nisar’s? However, it is not difficult to use some logic and ask better questions. We must demand better from media outlets. So that real-time incidences of child abuse are not undermined and real perpetrators of harrowing crimes are brought to justice. And, so that people like Nisar Muhammad are not made the collateral damage in our irrational rage.