Baryaal’s Weblog

Pied Piper’s Papa from Pakistan

Asma & Burni – Watchdogs of human rights who watch only when it’s right!

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Ansar Burni, following that blockbuster press conference with Kashmir Singh, took the pain to walk along with the former spy right up to the Indian border, and would have jogged even to his village, had India allowed. Indian Authorities returned the favour, within a few days, with the tortured dead body of Khalid Mehmood, a cricket fan who went to watch the Pak-India dosti series in 2005, and was imprisoned, tortured, killed in captivity, to be returned and buried.

The irony is that our humanist minister, who was all over our screens in Kashmir Singh’s episode, and proved himself to be a master media manager, was nowhere to be seen either during the reception or the burial of Khalid Mehmood’s body, since that would have been a mega PR disaster, and humans rights only begin where disasters end.

Just as we thought nothing could top this height of hypocrisy, came another bombshell.

Yes, we have another world champion of human rights, who can beat all others of her kind hands down in any table talk, by the name of Asma Jehangir. She is presently in India exchanging smiles and gifts with Narendar Modi, the famous director and sponsor of the Gujrat Hindu-Muslim massacre. Asma also had the opportunity to visit Kashmir, where she kept ABSOLUTELY mum on the human rights situation. Asma explains that she is in India as HR Representative of the UN, thus meeting Modi is her right, receiving gifts an official courtesy, and speaking against HR violations is beyond her mandate.

Would someone remind this second watchdog of human rights of ours, that the same UN once had sent a Representative, Geir Pederson, to Lebanon in the heat of the recent war, who, as soon as he set his feet firm on Lebanon’s soil, blew the whistle on Israel and so loudly that the world was shaken awake right away!


Written by baryaal

March 12, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Brrr…. Thank you Coke, for not playing it safe

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 It’s refreshing. The new Coke campaign headlined by a loud “Brrr.” Crisp and catchy, the Brrr might have no meaning, yet says it all. Even more refreshing is the fact that it adorns the recently overly politicised billboards of the city, replacing the pale wooden faces of the thanks god its over election campaign.

Of recent, the punch in advertising has gone, at least here in Pakistan, thanks to the suited and tied (sic) brand manager, who acts as the go-between (read Postman) between the ad agency and the client. (Blaming him is too easy, but seriously). Starting off, he will brief the agency team for the “the most creative campaign ever,” and take great pains explaining to you the off-the-cuff concepts that his wife had conceived, in some wild moment of the night, and also his personal favourite TV commercial starring some Cowboy character for a water brand (that he can’t recall anymore) of some foreign country (that he can’t recall anymore).

In the final phase of concept development, he seldom will have the grey to grasp the storyboard, or the guts to present it to his superiors. “Let’s play it safe,'” he’ll caution, and there you go, all over again, to shuttle back and forth, until you come up with the most-boring-play-it-safe-brilliance that you proudly took several weeks to deliver. If any hint of a creative thought, or good taste, still lingers, let the focus group take good care of it.

So why the boldpan in the beginning almost always ends on the play-it-safe?

Perhaps, it has something to do with the gaping holes in our boundless aspirations and limited capacities. We’re always inspired by this Indian ad or that English reality show. We start big on every endeavour in life, and start cutting corners as soon as we begin to realise in the thick of things that our big dreams don’t match our own small realities, and abilities.

Coming back to the Brrr of Coca-Cola. If you still can’t make sense of all the fuss I am making about, wait until you get to work at one of those places about which some guru in Paris had once complained: “Don’t Tell My Mother I Work in Advertising: She Thinks I Play a Piano in a Brothel.” Yes, the guru had it ripped off from some Accountant’s book, but isn’t that what advertising is mostly about? The rip offs.

As it looks, the Brrr isn’t a copied copy. Unless you claim to have shouted a Brrr at your opposing cricket team, for the very first time in your childhood,following that abandoned match, which you would’ve won, had the other side not run away with the bat and ball. But to that I will again say Brrr…

Although the TVC is weaker than the outdoor, you can watch it here:


Written by baryaal

March 10, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Ad Review

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Zardari’s Bluffing – Amin Fahim, the Prime Minister in Waiting

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Prior to the elections of 18thFebruary, Amin Fahim looked all set to become the next prime minister of Pakistan. And he most probably still is, since nothing has changed except the minor political necessities that arose due to PPP’s weaker than expected performance in Punjab.

In all probability, the entire search-for- prime minister show is being staged only to address those minor necessities.

The name of Shah Mehmood Qureshi keeps the PPP’s Punjab chapter happy, after the party graciously conceded the chief ministership of the province to PML (N).

On the other hand, the name of Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar is a ploy to annoy the Q League leaders of Gujrat.

Above all, the whole exercise projects the party as a true democratic entity where decisions are made on the basis of thorough consultations with each and every member.

In the end, it is most likely that Amin Fahim will emerge as the PM and Asif Zardari will take permanent residence in Lahore to keep the party alive and active in the biggest province.

UPDATE 1: Well, let me just accept it. I was wrong.

Written by baryaal

March 8, 2008 at 5:25 pm

Hard landing of our “Soft image”

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The bunch of whiz kids at the power corridors also tried their skills at other legendary myths of the “Brand Pakistan” variety, but the “Soft Image of Pakistan” was outlandishly out-of-this-world.

Right from its fabrication, our soft image limped on for months, propped up by the soft-faced and soft-spoken female models, who toured the world to put in Pakistan’s share to the global softness pool. In the beginning, everything at least appeared to be going soft and well.

Trouble started when others took the brainy official strategy and modified it to their own advantage. 

Cheered by the idea that the world hears softer voices clearer and understands them better, the black burqa brigade came heckling into the open, in middle of the capital of the enlightened moderates, to take all things soft head on. They didn’t spare even our para-jumper tourism minister and the all-favorite Chinese masseuses.

Within days, our soft façade got cracked.

In chorus came another image-shattering extravaganza, as hard hitting as the former. While we anticipated jovial goras all over the place in the “Visit Pakistan Year 2007,” the former Chief Justice decided to implement his own version of Visit Pakistan. Riding on the shoulders of his black coat brigade, he went every corner worth a peek, and painted the remaining of our image in black. If there was anything left of our soft image, the 12th of May and the wide array of suicide bombings after and before it, above all the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto, took it once and for all.

Now, that he is freer than ever, will someone tell our President-cum-Opposition Leader that image is not only how you want others to see you; it is how you actually look. For a soft image, we need a softer reality.

As a first step, he must go.

Written by baryaal

March 6, 2008 at 11:22 pm

The mad dog’s way to get discovered

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Yesterday, a one liner news item appeared on the daily Jang’s website: “Mad dog in Hyderabad, (Pakistan) bites 20 people…”  This is an achievement for a dog to be a small dog and take a headline, in the presence of so many big dogs who occupy our media all year long. So what qualities did the small dog posses to make this impossible possible?

  • Firstly, the dog was really mad because he risked it all by sampling 20 randomly selected human beasts for his fame.

  • He was good at math, counted his score, and got counted.

  • He was aware that biting too few won’t get noticed, unless he was biting Americans. Thus, he also perfectly knew which side of the world he was walking, and biting. 

  • He had some mass biting training and was sufficiently good at preplanning, for he got them all cornered God-knows-where and took them one by one.

  • He was dying to get discovered, and got discovered.

Missing Details

  • The reporter is silent on how he ascertained the dog’s gender, and whether the first victim was the dog’s boss L

  • No one knows what happened to the dog after his biting spree was over. I fear the worst L

Written by baryaal

March 5, 2008 at 11:58 pm

Posted in Media Monitor

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From Kashmir Singh to Ansar Burni

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Kashmir Singh sneaked into Pakistan blinded by his patriotic Indian zeal only to waste his life in a death cell.

He has been returned after making sure that he will not be able to fool around ever with the idea of serving his country in another country again. He has learnt his lesson, but the cost is horrific. 35 precious years of a lifetime wasted.

Ansar Burni was looking for a perfect opportunity to bring some life into his otherwise good-for-nothing caretaker ministry. He got it too. Gleeful amidst the flashing cameras, he made sure to sit tightly locked to Kashmir Singh, not to be separated or missed in any photo or video opportunity.

Obviously, he wanted more, and while Kashmir Singh talked, Ansar constantly dialed on his cell, most probably trying to contact Kashmir’s family to add some more spice to the whole episode. When finally, Singh’s family got on the line, the content hungry media denied him even the much deserved opportunity to be able to talk to his family in privacy for the first time in 35 years.

The channels broadcast live a conversation which otherwise should have been a private family reunion. Ansar Burni being the human rights activist turned the speaker of his mobile on, to let the world listen.

So who got what? Media got an hour of free content without doing much work. Kashmir got his freedom. Ansar added to his popularity, and Musharraf got a much needed prayer that otherwise would have been hard to come by, in Pakistan’s present political scenario.

I am still wondering which of the two is harder to bear: 35 years of rotting in a death cell, or being treated like a monkey by the media for 15 minutes.

Written by baryaal

March 4, 2008 at 5:39 am

Talking the Talk…

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This is the age of super talkers; talkers, talkers, and more talkers. They stalk us everywhere in the office, at the barber’s, on the go, and even in our own drawing rooms. TV, FM, or the net. We get them in the millions, all always talking and all making little sense.

In no time, talking has emerged into a multi-billion dollar industry. Only in Pakistan, they proudly and repeatedly remind us that we have got more than 50 channels – more than 50 table chair channels! All right, they may be channels in the eyes of the famous-for-its-ordinance PEMRA, but to an average entertainment starved, frustrated and tired viewer that I am, they are source of little entertainment and more frustration. If simply putting tables and chairs together and making idiots with oral diarrhea sit around and chatter, makes a studio room a TV channel, why have only 50? Why not fifty thousand, five hundred and fifty five!

But what drives these talkers to chatter ceaselessly, all day and all night?

The more I think, the more I am assured that these so-called programme hosts and their half witted talking heads are out there really and only to entertain their own selves. Yes. The sadists they are, they get pleasure from the mental torture they inflict upon our minds and souls. The same must also go for the so many writers and DJs, who itch to write and talk, mostly nonsense, in tones as if they were the saviors of mankind, the beholders of high morals, the purveyors of social justice, and the experts in everything on the face of this earth.

Ever heard a film actress talking of modesty? I have. Ever seen a massive former Punjabi film actress trying to teach the virtues of dieting? You soon will.

It is not that I am against the freedom of speech, since even if I was, acknowledging that would be politically incorrect and disastrous for the purpose of this page, which I dream will one day be counted among the top talkers from Pakistan. Yes, I am eagerly looking forward to establish myself as talker rather than be the lame-duck listener that I am and suffer in silence the unbearable rant of every Tom and Mrs.  

Moral: Talking is the best source of entertainment, listening to others bull is the worst kind of boredom.

Written by baryaal

March 4, 2008 at 12:23 am