Dear Faisal Qureshi, just stop the hypocrisy. Please.

Dear Faisal Qureshi,

Let me start by saying that while I am a film critic whose reviews are published weekly in Pakistan, I rarely watch Bollywood ‘films’. In fact, the last time I tried, my brain snapped shut, and I vomited uncontrollably for a few minutes. Later, I was diagnosed with Post Bollywood Stress Disorder (PBSD), a mental health condition provoked by a shockingly bad Bollywood film.

I was sure I would never watch something as horrific again, until I saw your video response to Indian actor Saif Ali Khan’s comments on the Pakistani ban on his film, Phantom.

Now, I must admit, at the very least, you sparked my interest.

After recovering from your video, thanks to a few pills of Imodium, I had a look at the trailer for Phantom. I do agree that this actioner looks like typical Bollywood nonsense where the ideas are recycled from counter-terrorism TV shows such as 24, and films such as Zero Dark Thirtywith the overall tone as subtle as a gorilla conducting a rectal exam. I also agree that Khan is naive to complain about Pakistan blocking his Citizen Kane when similar films of ours are banned in India.

I believe films are an art form, and there is nothing artistic about a film which takes thematic decisions based purely on commercialism or patriotism.

Meanwhile, Indian film critics have already ripped Phantom to shreds over its jingoism while the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is all set to sue the filmmakers for its dangerous portrayal of its workers.

That being said, Qureshi, while some of your points can be appreciated, your video was even more offensive than the film you were targeting, which certainly takes special doing. This would be like being defeated by a fish in a tree climbing contest, or coming across as the real eccentric after a debate with Donald Trump, or losing to Kamran Akmal in a catching contest, and we know that the Akmal men couldn’t even catch a disease in the middle of an Ebola outbreak.

In fact, let me take a few minutes to applause.

I have never seen such a potent combination of misogyny, sexism, and misdirected saber rattling, packed into a 12-minute long video. It is as if Junaid Jamshed, Hamza Ali Abbasi, and Aamir Liaquat had a baby. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the cartoon show Captain Planet, but I imagine these gentlemen held up their rings, combined their powers, and formed you.

Your attempts to belittle Khan by repeatedly calling him ‘behan’ (sister) and ‘bachi’ (little girl) are so demeaning, I bet even Jamshed is sitting at home thinking,

“Dude, that’s a little sexist.”

And we are talking about Jamshed, Qureshi. Yes, you’ve made Jamshed ‘women shouldn’t drive’ Jamshed seem like a champion for women’s rights by comparison.

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By the way, what’s wrong with being a girl, Qureshi? With that crippling attitude towards women, Qureshi, I sincerely hope you don’t have any daughters; after all, girls should be raised to be the equals of boys.

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Towards the end of the video, you indicate that you are calling Khan a woman because he was cross-dressing in a role he played. Well, Qureshi, that’s his job as an actor. As part of an industry which churns out a few hundred films a day, I am sure Khan has played the role of a man, woman, cop, thief, politician, soldier, singer, dancer, student, cat, dog, mouse, tree, and bowling ball.

In my experience, men who mock the masculinity of others are often insecure about their own.

It is also difficult to believe that you are advocating piracy. Just because the product we are consuming is not tangible, doesn’t mean consuming it for free is not stealing. What’s more, thieving from someone we find to be distasteful is not a practical solution, or your detractors would be lined up outside your house.

Finally, my biggest concern after watching your latest video is how you are labelling those who disagree with you as being against Pakistan.

No, Qureshi, we aren’t against Pakistan, we are against you. I am not sure who you think appointed you Captain Pakistan, but there were no elections, Captain Steve Rogers.

As Shaan Taseer says in his publicly available Facebook post, it is easy to be pseudo patriotic when your target is in another nation. The actors of Bollywood aren’t going to break dance you to death from India. Meanwhile, if you have real courage, then how about a similar video about some of the real more immediate threats to Pakistanis?

Photo: Shaan Taseer Facebook page

Also, Qureshi, to stoop as low as to label a respected freelance journalist such as Faraz Talat as being ‘treasonous’ and ‘maligning the nation’, is dangerous and manipulative.

You go on to say,

“This nation knows how to deal with enemies, both foreign and domestic.”

Are you threatening Talat for having a different opinion from you? Are you encouraging your followers to harm this writer? Is this a responsible attitude to take?

Photo: Faisal Qureshi Facebook page

Either you lack the capacity to understand the nuances of Talat’s eloquently written blog or you are deliberately painting him falsely as a ‘traitor of the state’ in order to bully him. I am sure you’ve seen some of the threats issued by your readers encouraged by your misleading words. These are people who fail to comprehend the written word, Qureshi, so it is your responsibility to at the very least to not mislead them.

From what I understand, Qureshi, you took selfies at a Gay Pride Parade in New York. As a believer in equal rights for all, I am proud of you. But any person could easily misrepresent your noble picture to win support in Pakistan.

Photo: Faisal Qureshi Facebook page

Isn’t that what you tried to do to Talat?

Think about it.

In the end, Qureshi, I am just disappointed. You are a journalist, and in a country considered the world’s most dangerous for journalists, your thinly veiled threats to please the masses are irresponsible at best.

from The Express Tribune Blog http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/29231/dear-faisal-qureshi-just-stop-the-hypocrisy-please/

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