Amin Hafeez has won more than a few fans, and critics, with his rather unconventional reportage.
He chats with cattle, asks goats if they can speak English. But Amin Hafeez insists he is a journalist at heart with nothing but public interest in mind.
Hafeez is a Pakistani TV journalist with 32 years’ experience who has the country amused, if not hooked, with his rather unconventional style of reporting.
Take for instance a report aired on Geo News Tuesday, about the country’s increasing population – not of humans, but donkeys.
The video of the report features Hafeez interviewing donkey owners and workers at a donkey hospital in Lahore. Hafeez signs off the report straddling a donkey, but just before the video ends, he takes a tumble and falls. Predictably, the video has gone viral.
In another report, this one from 2016, he is seen “interviewing” a buffalo about its experience climbing a pedestrian bridge. “Did you find this task difficult or easy?” he asks. In yet another, he can be seen talking to goats and asking them, “Do you speak English?”
Often, he breaks into a dance while interviewing the crowd for his reports.
‘Love the job’
Even though Hafeez has amassed a massive fan base in Pakistan since he entered the field of electronic journalism with Geo TV in 2002, he has received criticism as well.
Senior journalist Hamid Mir once chided Hafeez on air when the latter was covering a rally of former cricketer Imran Khan, who is now Prime Minister.
When he interviewed a female fan of Khan who said she wanted to marry him, Mir asked, “Amin Hafeez, could you please explain whether you go to rallies for political reporting or do you go for romantic matchmaking?”
However, Hafeez doesn’t believe his reportage is frivolous and only meant for laughs.
In an opinion piece he wrote for the Geo TV website in July last year, Hafeez wrote, “I am told, repeatedly, that I pick stories that are non-serious. That is not true.”
“…As far as bringing humour to my news reporting is concerned, it isn’t unintentional,” he added, “There are certain issues, mostly social issues, which will not be paid any attention to otherwise. So, I try to do things differently. I hope to keep you, the viewers, as engaged as possible.”
Hafeez said he had been a journalist since 1986, reporting on terror attacks, judicial proceedings, political happenings, transgender rights and the weather as well.
Explaining his “interview” of the buffalo, he wrote, “I couldn’t think of a better way to talk about the lack of pedestrian crossings in Lahore, which forces people to dangerously run across the roads during heavy traffic.”
Hafeez, who has established his own unique style of signing off, with a tone that has become a mainstay of his reports, says he loves every bit of his job: “I get a lot of feedback from people some of which is good, some not so much. Either way, there is nothing I would rather do than report the way I do.”