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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Vanishing Blog

Oh yes, you read the title right, 'the vanishing blog', it is about a blog that was suddenly taken off the internet, hence my labeling it the vanishing blog. It wasn't just on any random Word Press or Blog Spot URL, rather it was one of the blog's of Express Tribune, one of the most widely read English Language news websites in Pakistan. I do not know the exact amount of time the blog was made available on Tribune blogs (, but it could not have been more than a few hours at the very most. Many issues come to mind, is removal an attack on free speech, was the initial publication of the blog irresponsible content gathering on part of the web editor or a whole host of other things, we may not know for a while. The reality stands though that Express Tribune published a blog today on the 6th of Feb 2013 which openly attacked one of their more well known reporters, some one with a television show of her own. Express Tribune's very own Maria Khan, who was given the ultimate insult in media of being labeled the next Maya Khan.

Now we all remember Maya Khan, don't we? For those who can't remember who Maya Khan was, long story short, she was a former morning show show host that chased an unmarried couple through a public park in Karachi with a small army of women and camera crew, and thanks to social media, we all took notice of that. However this isn't about Maya Khan or what she is up to now, rather about Maria Khan and this blog that gotten taken off. Mostly about the blog. If you Google this blog, you can still find online, it is just not there on public viewing on Express Tribune's website. For those interested, the following is the URL.

If the blog URL does not work, this is what you will see..

For those not interested in reading the whole story and the interesting comments that follow the original blog. The gentlemen who wrote it labeled Maria Khan as the next Maya Khan for a gutsy initiative that she took in investigative journalism. For the liberal left, their still sitting on the line, this was intrusive and a pathetic excuse of moral policing that a medical graduate turned journalist should not have done blah blah blah. I happen to see the show myself on Express Tribune's Urdu language news channel, and this was a program about a raid on a brothel in an up market neighborhood of Lahore, where a Chinese woman was running it under the disguise of a massage parlor, which too coincidentally itself was operating unlicensed i.e. without permission from the proper authorities. Last I checked, this was called investigative journalism, and the journalist in Question Miss Khan was accompanied by Punjab police and not an army of middle aged women. If the police was involved, chances are they might have had a search warrant off sorts or even if they did not, you do not risk damaging a raid by going through slow corrupt bureaucratic channels of this country.

The bungalow in Lahore, even if it was not a brothel and a massage parlor was still operating illegally and needed to be investigated. During the course of the television program which also aired on Tuesday the 5th of Feb, some young women found in the premises admitted that the house was a sex shop and sexual activities were going on, the servants outside such as a chowkidar and sweeper claimed it was a massage parlor visited by Shoqeen men. These counter claims were not helped by the fact, that this place had an abundant supply of condoms, enough to fill a pharmacy, as well as alcohol among other things that one would find in a souped up brothel frequented by the gentry. To make matters, men started phoning the premises and the journalists claiming their MPA's and want the raid to end immediately. Considering all that we saw, if anything, we should give kudos to Maria Khan for taking this initiative and risking her well being in the back drop of threats from provincial ministers against sexual exploitation that some girls claimed they were facing. Instead what do we do, start attacking Maria Khan and label her as the next Maya Khan, just the level of that insult makes me sick. This was probably not the only brothel of its kind operating in Lahore or any other major city in Pakistan, but in order to bring an end to such places requires gutsy moves to bring them down one by one, and any young women saved from the sex trade are valuable lives. Each place shut makes a difference, and the fact that such places exist in the first place, reflects our mentality as a society, where everything goes as long as we do not know about it. 

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