The four actors who star in Ehd-e-Wafa, a Pakistani TV show sponsored by ISPR | Photo: Twitter
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This is a story of four Pakistani friends. Three of them are collateral damage in the service of one. The end.

That’s how things are done by Pakistan’s ISPR.

These four men represent the four pillars of the Pakistani state, in this latest production of the Pakistan military’s PR wing, the Inter Services Public Relations’ much-hyped television drama Ehd-e-Wafa (Promise of the Faithful). One is a politician, second is a journalist, third is a bureaucrat and the fourth (drumrolls) is an army captain. Though the army is not a pillar of the Pakistani state in letter, but who cares about those fine-print details.

Envisaged by the ISPR and executed by the privately owned Hum TV, Ehd-e-Wafa was lapped up as a patriotic story, as is the case with most propaganda productions. The only difference being that the Pakistani civilians are always wrong, while the men in uniform never get anything wrong. Now that shouldn’t come as a shock.

Unlike older serials such as Sunehray Din or Alpha Bravo Charlie — made on the life of aspiring young cadets and officers — Ehd-e-Wafa is not about a tough career in the army. Rather, it takes you inside the head of the uniformed men, and how they see the roles of other institutions — media, politics, bureaucracy — in Pakistan. In any other country, the legislature, executive, judiciary and media would be the four states. But in Pakistan, the military has inserted itself into this list.

Thanks to arch-enemy and neighbour India, all four institutions are on the same page. There is no institutional bickering.

The TV show ends on a high, with all four men reliving the victories after the Pulwama attack and the Balakot air strike. All are together in the mission to defeat India, the real enemy.


Also read: Imran Khan can’t keep Pakistanis away even from shut mosques. It’s coronavirus vs ‘faith’


Arnab to Abhinandan, everyone makes an entry

The insidious politician becomes chairman of the National Assembly’s Kashmir committee, whose job is to internationalise the Kashmir issue. Sounds familiar. Shahzain appears on Arnab Goswami’s TV show (Ameesh Goswami) and is really going at the host. Although, the script writers should have known better that no one but Arnab Goswami gets to talk (shout) on his show. There is a reenactment of Abhinandan Varthaman’s interrogation and shows him saying those famous lines — “I’m not supposed to tell you this” or that the “Tea is fantastic”.

As if we’ve forgotten that random desi uncle who asked Abhinandan, “Aapki shadi ho gayi hai (are you married)?” We are suddenly seen reliving 2019 all over again. There is a reference to “Pulwama ka drama” and “Balakot ka flop show”. In this rather bizarre interrogation, Abhinandan is asked if he intended to launch a surgical strike against Pakistan. How does one launch airstrike in a parachute is an idea lost on me. Abhi (as his badge reads) is taunted on how Kulbhushan Jadhav was sent to Pakistan by his government and now he is here.

Unrelated, but very jingoistic.

Had Abhinandan stayed a little longer he would have been interrogated over the outbreak of coronavirus in Pakistan as well.

No surprises that the winner in this LoC skirmish is the army captain who miraculously crosses over, finds the Pakistani soldier, brings him back, gives some strong words to Bharatiya faujis and yes, gets shot at on his way back. Oops. But no issues, he survives, so he is still a hero.

Saad, the leader of the SSG (Special ‘S’ Gang, as the friends call themselves) is the army captain, and it goes without saying that he’s the best thing to have ever happened to Pakistan. He has all the honours, he is a topper, his daddy is a serving major general. He’s the kind of man you’ll take home to meet your parents. Nothing can ever go wrong with him. He is a born leader, he’d break rules only to motivate his troops and, of course, for the good of his country. Now where have we seen this film before? Remind us of the actual coups in Pakistan by the disciplinarians.

Saad would end up living in the room of the captain, Karnal Sher Khan, who is depicted as a national hero. But don’t expect to see any mention about the fact that Kargil war hero Karnal Sher Khan’s body was initially refused by Pakistan, as it said that its soldiers weren’t part of the operation. But later the body was accepted and he was awarded Nishan-e-Haider, Pakistan’s highest gallantry award.

Even in Ehd-e-Wafa, Pakistan didn’t lose the Kargil War. Thanks for small mercies.


Also read: Why Pakistan is the most chilled out in a world hit by coronavirus


Good for nothing politician, no merit in civil services 

Who becomes a politician in this TV show? Shahzain Malik — arrogant, manipulative, feudal and a cheat. As a student, he was least interested in studies, wore an attitude like ‘Mere baap ki seat hai, main toh elect ho he jaunga’. Like it or not, those who don’t want to be anything in this world become politicians. Well, yes that’s one takeaway.

Malik won’t mind shooting down a horse because it didn’t win a race for him. Yes, that’s how inhuman he is. He also first gets his journalist friend kicked out of a TV channel, and then helps him get hired again. Only this time, he wants him to know he was behind it. Now who does that? Malik marries to gain political favours and breaks promise with his in-laws.

Also, in the world of Ehd-e-Wafa, there is no merit in passing a civil services exam. It is the easiest thing ever. Ask Shehryar, the man who clears CSS exam in two months and knows which position he will get even before his interview. Implied sifarish (nepotism) is what would get him anywhere. So, if people in the real world spend years preparing for civil services exam, that doesn’t really stand for anything in Ehd-e-Wafa. Shehryar is poor and he is an assistant commissioner serving the people as an honest officer — that is all the respite the civilians can expect.

Shariq is the journalist who will go on to accidentally record a murder scene. When he goes to the owner of his organisation, the latter gives him a long speech about the role of media and later calls up the murderer to get paid for the video. Now we understand what they think of the Pakistani media. Channel owners are all in cahoots with criminals and the only way you can shine as a journalist in Ehd-e-Wafa is by being on your own and pursuing the truth. Just make sure that the truth doesn’t involve the brave pillar of the military and you’d be fine. Media has terror links. But has any military personnel ever had links with a terrorist? Don’t ask.

It is not the first time that politicians or journalists have been shown in such villainous manner on Pakistani dramas. But the ISPR run with taxpayers’ money is making a self-promotional show to tell civilians that they are the real villains. How is that promoting unity?

The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.

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31 Comments Share Your Views

31 COMMENTS

  1. It’s just a drama serial bro.
    It’s not real that is why it’s called a drama.
    If you want to fight, carry on but literally there is no reason to do so.
    Goodluck👍🏻

  2. Please read this my fellow Indians:
    Well this TV show is not that much high with India as shown and is mostly linked with the rules of friendship. The “India” were just for the last two meanwhile the rest showed love,patriotism, friendship and just like the title, Promise of the Faithful (not only to the country but to each other) and if you don’t believe me, go and see Ehd-e-Wafa on YouTube and you will find it better than your typical dramas such as “Thapki Pyar Ki”

    • I have been to pak with out visa.
      During 1965 war indian army went beyond Lahore and found the area. India could have moved further. The then congress government done the mistake and made a cease fire as requested by russia.

  3. Wow, I was very surprised to see how much the Indians love our politicians and the media. Yes of course you told the truth that the military personnel ever had links with a terrorist? So YES، your Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, who provided military-grade RDX to Hindu terrorists to blow up the Samjhauta Express. Don’t you remember? So first ask your own politicians, military and your so-called free (😂😀) media “Not to make links with terrorists.

    • “Had Abhinandan stayed a little longer he would have been interrogated over the outbreak of coronavirus in Pakistan as well.”….HaHaHa….That was classic burn…

  4. @Rajvir Singh: huh aren’t we blind and methodically stupid…..ut rhetoric would hold some sort of ground if hundreds of thousand of ppl in ur country weren’t coming out on streeys to protest a law that is actually based on religious prejudice.. The secular face u put up is just a farce to hide the demonic class system that engulfs ur entire country..

  5. @Gopal: Don’t worry son, we protect our women and empower them with freedom of speech unlike ur so called secular state where women’s respect is savaged and ravaged literally in public places.. It’s astonishing and plain ludicrous hearing a safety concern for a woman coming from a guy who is a citizen of the rape capital of the world.

  6. nailainayat is nothing but seeking for cheap publicity a flop&3rd class jurno working for RAW

    You know what nailainayat you are nothing but a loser nobody cares what you think you don’t matter Get a life

  7. A web page own by an Indian with Indian mentality script….
    Hahaha….😃😃😃
    I think you did not watch even a single episode of this drama but you made a statement….
    o Bhai maroo mujhay marooo

  8. Who are you? I doubt when you see yourself in mirror you will ask mirror a question too? Is drama is only left for romance, cheat, abuse and political topics only. This drama was liked by audience who wants to see change in midyokar minds. No more Sita Gita or merae pass tum hou. Even High rated dramas have flaws. Well you can’t handle few scenes from loc and neighbour’s. It’s better you live in your nutshell and pretend all is good and OK. Close your eyes put ear buds too so when you woke up you can judge the book by its cover again. Pathetic review.

  9. 😂😂😂 you can only expect such a third class article from such a third class writer, fortunately it’s not some hindu extremist country where freedom of expression is not granted, so the writer will have a long time to learn, get her facts straight and improve her writing.

  10. This drama portrayed politicians and journalists as the way many are currently. Many politicians are corrupt in numerous countries, and you must be blind if you think many are going to be portrayed positively in any media. However, Malik ends up becoming a changed person and works for the better good of the people, showing that people can change if they choose to and are willing to, and that can benefit everyone as well as the county itself. Many journalists, in turn, are often bribed by politicians as well. Was it wrong to portray that side of the media especially when it’s unfortunately common these days? I think not.

    The whole purpose of the drama (which you’ve seemed to have overlooked), is to show that unity only comes when everyone tries their best to do the right thing – it wasn’t about portraying people in a negative light, or to show that many people don’t come with flaws. It was literally about being honest and true to your virtues and standing together, making decisions that are for the benefit of the group, and creating a better future for generations to come.

    But then again, what can I expect from a journalist from Pakistan who’s writing for an Indian paper.

  11. I appreciates you, tried your best.Second time you need to analyze the movies you made against Pakistan.You will find alot of foolish things there.

  12. In pakistan yes military is the fourth pillar when we have trouble they come out to help us not our politicians,media and others .proud of pak army

    • Actually, this writter a “tout” in disguise is trying to create a rift between different segments of Pakistan which is quite obvious, but mind u , we are awake.
      By mentioning a Muslim name can’t fool us . For sure u r being operated by ur Indian masters.
      What a shame … on u and

  13. India ke Hisse me hamesha Pakistan ki zameen ka tukra aya aur Pakistan ki AWAM ke hisse me aik josheli taqreer aur aik ISPR ka darama.
    Siachen ke baad Sunehre Din, Kargil se pehle Alfa Bravo Charli
    Aur Kashmir lautne ke bad Ehd e Wafa.
    Yehi naseeb hai humara

  14. “Had Abhinandan stayed a little longer he would have been interrogated over the outbreak of coronavirus in Pakistan as well.” 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  15. Excellent piece. Lately, I haven’t read anything which packs reality, sarcasm, and perhaps cynicism in one hefty punch!

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