Here’s what’s happening across the border: Pakistan’s budding ‘chaiwala’ turned politician, and Atif Aslam’s troubles over New York concert.
Hamid Mir quits Geo, joins GNN
Hamid Mir, the controversial journalist famous for interviewing terrorist Osama Bin Laden, has reportedly left Geo TV and joined upcoming news channel GNN News as president, reported Pakistan Today. In a tweet by journalist Salman Hassan, he welcomed Mir on the news channel:
— Salman Hassan (@salmanhassan77) August 10, 2018
Mir’s exit from Geo TV comes days after he admitted in Supreme Court that the staff at the news channel was not being paid timely. Following which, the court ordered the channel to pay its employees at its earliest, reported Dawn.
Mir has interviewed many notable personalities such as Shah Rukh Khan, Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton, Nelson Mandela, and has survived at least two assassination attempts. GNN is owned by Gourmet Bakers, which is Pakistan’s largest retail chain of food products.
Pakistan Twitter savours humour over bakery running a news channel
As the news of Mir joining GNN broke in Pakistan, Twitter users took it with a pinch of salt. Within hours a new trend emerged on the social media platform where people came up with their own creative renditions of hypothetical programmes that could be aired on the news channel run by food giant Gourmet Bakery.
If Gourmet Food Network extends the naming premise to programmes
*Ketchup with the Headlines at 7pm
*Siyasi Kitcheri at 8pm
*Power Ka Tawa at 9pm
*Dawaat Special Interview 10pm
*International Platter and Defence 11pm
*Rooh Ki Afzah Ramzaan Transmission 7-10pm
— Fasi Zaka (@fasi_zaka) August 10, 2018
This also served as humorous material for people who came up with imaginary names of similar news networks — like ‘Kissan Ghee News Network’ and ‘ARY Gold Refinery News Network’.
A Twitter account also posted a group picture of the anchors hosting programmes on GNN.
The team of anchors and talk show hosts at the upcoming TV news channel, GNN (Gourmet News Network). pic.twitter.com/jbWnveTVfH
— Nadeem Farooq Paracha (@NadeemfParacha) August 10, 2018
Some also pointed how Gourmet has a finger in every pie, from food and beverages, to furniture and now news.
It is true and their other projects:
And now Gourmet News Network 😊
— Dr. Khawar Randhawa (@Khawarrandhawa) August 10, 2018
For others, the existence of GNN remains a bitter pill to swallow.
Now bakery owners will run news channels. What the hell is wrong with our media industry. Gourmet News Network, really?
— Disillusioned Citizen (@fahdamin123) August 10, 2018
How will one take Gourmet News Network seriously? Shows will probably be sponsored by Milk Pak cream and butter and a few sugar companies.
— Purple Rain #WearAMask (@amnaw) August 10, 2018
However, Pakistan Media Watch told its citizens that the full form of GNN wasn’t ‘Gourmet News Network’ but General News Network.
To those who dont know about GNN & calling it 'Gourmet News Channel', the channel is owned by Gourmet bakery owners but it will be called 'General News Network'. Gourmet Bakers bought Jaag TV 2 years ago from Samaa owner Zafar Siddiqui n re-launching it as GNN after re-branding pic.twitter.com/pLavBH6i3T
— Pakistan Media Watch (@PakPressWatch) August 10, 2018
Pakistan may have just found its own budding Narendra Modi
From the streets of Bajaur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan may have found its own budding version of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Gul Zafar Khan, a ‘chaiwala’ turned politician from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), sealed his position in the 25-July election as the Member of National Assembly (MNA) from NA-41 Bajaur constituency, reported Geo News.
Khan, who lost polls back in 2013, emerged victorious in the recent polls against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate Akhunzada Chatan and independent candidate Shahabuddin Khan, reported The Express Tribune.
Sharing his journey, he said “I come from a very humble background but with the party’s help I was able to raise the necessary funds to run in the constituency.”
Khan, who once sold tea at a tea stall, broke several stereotypes to win against all odds. He also comes with his own targets to accomplish. “My target is to bring more children into politics as first there was a restriction on politics and there was Frontier Crimes Regulation,” he said. Khan also aims to improve institutions and impart education to all.
US military programmes won’t feature Pakistani military officials
President Donald Trump’s administration has quietly started to cut off the intake of Pakistan military officials for coveted training and education programmes in US, reported Reuters.
Every year, the US arranges an exchange programme under its International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme, where officers from foreign countries are invited to attend various military schools in the US. This year 66 seats were kept aside for Pakistani soldiers.
However, according to a US State Department spokesperson, the reserved seats will be taken off due to Trump government’s effective suspension of Pakistan from US military programmes.
This is the first known impact of Trump’s decision this year to suspend security assistance to Pakistan to force the country to crack down on Islamic militants.
Atif Aslam faces wrath of Pakistanis over New York concert
Pakistani singer Atif Aslam was slammed on social media for singing his Bollywood hits at a concert in New York, reported Dawn. Some reports which got circulated across online platforms claimed it was a ‘Pakistan Independence Day Parade’ concert.
Twitter users were furious with Aslam for not singing patriotic songs during the parade and demanded an apology from the singer.
— Jahan Zaib Virk (@JahanVirk) August 8, 2018
However, many of Aslam’s fans including singer Shafqat Amanat Ali later came forwarded to defend him. Some of them, who had attended the concert, cleared the air and stated that the function was not about Independence Day.
I stand in support with @itsaadee for singing his songs at the parade. Music is not Indian or Pakistani. It is just music! Singers r synonymous with their songs which r loved equally by fans from every country. Should have briefed him if they wanted national songs #AtifAslam
— Shafqat Amanat Ali (@ShafqatAmanatA) August 7, 2018
Fake rumors are existing that Atif Aslam sung his Bollywood song in "Pakistan independence Show" at USA. And he didn't keep Pak Flag as well. But reality is ~
it was a Common music concert Where Paki & indian crowd was there. And it wasn't "Pakistan independence show"
— Khurram (@Saykhurram) August 7, 2018
Aslam himself responded to the tweet against him and thanked his fans for standing up against the ‘fake propaganda’.
— Atif Aslam (@itsaadee) August 9, 2018
PTI announces nominees for National Assembly speaker and Punjab governor elections
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Friday announced Asad Qaiser and Senator Chaudhary Muhammad Sarwar as nominees for the post of National Assembly speaker and Punjab governor respectively, reported The Express Tribune.
The nominations were announced by party vice chairman Mehmood Qureshi who said the reason for selecting Qaiser was his experience and familiarity with parliamentary practices and traditions.
Qaiser was earlier speaker in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly from 2013-18. Sarwar, on the other hand, was Punjab governor from 2013 to 2015.
The party said it wants to make the best use of Qaiser’s knowledge and experience. However, there were corruption allegations against him in 2017 by former party member Ziadullah Afridi who demanded his expulsion till he was exonerated by the court. Qaiser rubbished the allegations.
Asad Qaiser: PTI’s nominee for speaker National Assembly. pic.twitter.com/LDAhFARNLJ
— Khushal Khan (@Khushal_Khattak) August 10, 2018
Bilawal Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party announced Syed Khurshid Shah as the opposition’s nominee for the post of National Assembly speaker.
After loss, independent candidate to donate election banners for social good
Mohammad Jibran Nasir, an independent candidate from NA-247 (Karachi South-II) and PS-111 in the recent elections, announced in a tweet Friday that he donated all the election panaflex banners for the lining of water holes in Tharparkar and Kohistan to make rain water last longer.
Nasir, a lawyer and a human rights activist, lost to Arif Alvi from NA-247 and Imran Ismail from PS-111, both PTI candidates.
The panaflex banners will be distributed by Pakistan Water Partnership and Indus Earth Trust, a Pakistan-based non-profit.
Contributors: Alind Chauhan, Anagha Deshpande, Manisha Mondal, Priyamvada Grover, Prateek Gupta, Soniya Agrawal and Rupanwita Bhattacharjee