Furqan Shayk’s video ‘Gul Khan in UK’ has finally been removed from Youtube after a tremendous commotion was raised by patriots on social media. Pashtuns in particular and Pakistanis in general had vented out their anger on the protagonist’s profile and warned him of the consequences of keeping the so-called satire posted on the video sharing website. Those who had frequented his page could sense that tempers were visibly raised and had it not been for Furqan taking off the video eventually, the situation could have become worse. Now that the storm has passed and the clouds settled, it’s time to analyze what was wrong and what lessons need to be learnt, particularly given the power of social media in today’s age and time.
There is no doubt that the content of the video was stereotypical, divisive and inflammatory at best. There is also no doubt that the people or the community that it portrayed so derisively doesn’t take such provocations lightly. Pashtuns are known to harbor utmost love and passion for their culture which is an inevitable part of their lifestyle. It is their lifestyle that has kept their Pashtunwali, Milmastia and Ghairat intact despite the turbulence of history, political movements, propaganda and countless wars in their regions. It is this lifestyle that a father teaches his son to follow. And it is this very lifestyle that got ridiculed. Furqan should have treaded carefully.
Furqan is not the only one who makes satirical videos. If he really wanted to fit in the bill, he could have taken help and guidance from fellow Pashtuns. Pakistan is brimming with creative talent. He could have partnered with any creative soul and produced a balanced yet an effective satire. The result would have been one that could have really delighted the viewers. Yet he performed solo and that is where the problem lied. Without any sufficient input from divergent perspectives, the creativity was hampered and the result was a boxed, one sided and skewed portrayal of reality. As a Pakistani videographer living in the 21st century, he should have known better.
Our work represents our country. An attack on one community is akin to an attack on the nation as a whole. While we have been under different sorts of attacks, it is about time we realized that social media is a major platform where we can be pitted against each other, which is exactly what our enemies want. Gone are the days when an army would announce an attack one day and a fierce battle ensued at the borders the other day. This is an age of 5th Generation warfare where hybrid strategies are utilized to neutralize the enemy without even the use of conventional forces. Social media is the new potent force. Anyone ignoring this new reality should be reminded that the entire Arab Spring initiated over the social media and the result is that today all those countries stand in ruins, far from the might that they once had. While they were unable to see what was in store for them, we are not blind. We should not and must not repeat those errors. Those who still don’t understand and continue to fall for the enemy’s hybrid tactics will find that there are patriots in this country and outside who will decipher any potential divisive agenda and do what is needful.