Fix News

Pakistanis Discuss Role Of Media On Society

By Waleed Tariq

Pakistan – Pakistani actors, academics, politicians and others discussed the
role and influence of media on society – and how it’s used by one culture to
dominate another – at a recent colloquium in Karachi.

Social sciences
students at the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology
(SZABIST) organized the event, ‘In Conversation with the Icons of Pakistan’: A
Colloquium on Culture, Media and Society.’
Waleed Tariq/




Fauzia Wahab


It took a
critical look at the past, present and future of television, music and its
interrelations with commercialization and colonization on Pakistan’s
contemporary culture and society.
In her opening
remarks, parliamentarian Fouzia Wahab, a prominent Pakistani politician
elaborated on the connection between media and culture.
Wahab praised
SZABIST students who dared to take on the challenge of finding out what
culture, media and society is, and for their spirit of inquiry, will and
determination in doing so.
People do not
talk about it, she said. In her view, society is continuously in a state of
transition be it communication, lifestyle or approach towards career. “Change
is coming and I hope with this talk, we can find out what this change is in
terms of evolution of culture, media and society in Pakistan,” said Wahab.
In the session,
‘Pakistani Drama: Kal Aur Aaj (Today
and Tomorrow) panelists drew comparisons of contemporary work with those of
yesteryear. Beginning from his journey from Radio Pakistan up to television,
Kazim Pasha contended that passion has given way to commercialization.
In earlier
times, he said, people were passionate about work.
“They were not
after fame or money, but talent,” Pasha said. In this context, he criticized
current private media for its excessive push for ratings and the constant
exposure of vulgarity on screen.
The celebrated
actor Shakeel backed up Pasha’s point of view.
“From bus they
(artists) have moved to cars but screen has not benefited from this change,” he
But in the end
Shakeel was hopeful for the better. It is his belief, Shakeel said, that Pakistan
is a volcano of composers, writers and actors who need government support and
promotion to take performing arts in the country forward.
They were not
the only ones to enlighten the audience.
Kazim Pasha in panel
A session on colonization
featuring academics Abbas Hussain, Salman Abedin and Durrya Qazi  focused on the elements of how one dominant
culture takes over a weaker one, with a special emphasis on Pakistan. Hussain
pointed out how colonization has contributed to the prevalent language divide
in the country between Urdu and English.
For cultural
domination, he said, language is the easiest of all.
“Literature is
an expression of culture and the easiest to export. You can’t bring the
guardians of Buckingham Palace but surely Shakespeare can come to India,”
Hussain said.
While Durrya
gave a balanced overview of colonization, Abedin talked about the essentials
which form national identity.
Qazi said that
colonization by Europeans began in the 15th century partly with good
intentions, and in her view, she said, merely anything we use today is not owed
to the West, be it the table, microphone or anything.
“I think
today’s time is globalization,” said Qazi. “Instead of dividing, we have far
more in common in humanity than differences.”
Abedin, an
academic at SZABIST, Karachi, highlighted how an amalgamation of economics and
advertising has played a significant role in the formation of a post-colonial
Pakistani identity.
Salman Abedi, Abbas Hussain, Durrya Qaz
Abedin also
termed film as the easiest ‘export’ for cultural domination rather than
domination, economics is at play. It’s not only about race,” Abedin said. “Economics
cannot be ruled out in the construction of post-colonial identity.”
Next in line
was the team of Banana News Network; a popular comedy satire show at Geo TV which
brought the audience into a lighter mood with their constant influx of
one-liners, jokes and humor.
participants included Danish Ali, Omran Shafique and Gumby.
The four sessions
were ‘Pakistani Drama: Aaj aur Kal, ‘Colonization and its Impact on Culture,’ ‘Humour:
New Horizons’ and ‘Essence of Pakistani Music.’
Each session
was followed by a question and answer period where students had an opportunity
to interact with the panelists. Students, SZABIST staff and faculty attended.