The Massive Date Day

Rukhsana Shama
Posted January 26, 2012 from Pakistan

I have been drifting to skepticism or may be more precisely, I should say a negative state of mind as far as progressive discourse in Pakistan is concerned. My final blow towards the utmost negativity was assassination of Salman Taseer and consequent reaction of the so called ‘moderates’ of the country. I almost gave up the hope that we as a nation give room for agreeing to disagree, that we can think of coexisting despite the differences or we can find unity in appreciating diversity.

Today a tiny ray of hope emerged from nowhere, or should I say from Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan, I logged onto facebook and the first thing caught my attention was an event created by Mahwish Rizvi titled ‘Massive Date at the Park’. The event has been created to bring out karachiites (people living in Karachi) to come to the Bin Qasim Park that Maya Brigade took over with their hunt/chase few days back and have a peaceful show up to stand by citizen’s right to privacy and freedom of choice. ‘The Massive Date Day’ would be commemorated on the 30th of January.

Maya Khan (A TV anchor) runs a morning show on local TV channel. The morning TV shows are often anchored by these women, who further the stereotypes, promote the established norm while they continue enjoying their lives coming from elite/privileged class. In this particular programme (17th January, 2012) Maya Khan went to the park and harassed the couples by breaching their privacy and asked them as to why they are sitting together, do they have any legal document proving their relation with eachother etc. etc. The sheer breach of privacy and illegal, unconstitutional act didn’t end here, rather she went on to chase the ones who denied to give any response to her and her team and almost drag them to face the cameras and respond.

The initiative of ‘Massive Date at the Park’, and before that the mass condemnation of this particular illegal activity through social media websites and at PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) give me hope. In fact I would call it ‘uprising’ of its own kind. This ‘uprising’ against illegal and unconstitutional, moral policing has forced the TV channel and anchorperson to apologize (although, Ms. Maya hasn’t accepted that what she did was outrageously wrong) and created this positive energy around to speak out and be heard.

I am looking forward with anticipation that Karachiite would go and join this ‘Massive Date’ and lets fight the hypocrisy and dual standard of this society. Let’s keep the ball of hope rolling and let’s make it a snow ball. Go Krachiites go…

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