A Conversation: Bloggers on Blogging in Pakistan

Posted on March 18, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, About ATP, Science and Technology, Society
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Adil Najam

Radio program Aap Ki Duniya on Voice of America’s (VOA’s) – now of the Wasi Zafar outburst fame – hosted an hour-long Round Table on blogging in Pakistan.

Hosted by Murtaza Solangi, the program featured a conversation on the state and future of blogging in Pakistan with four bloggers: Awab (of TeethMaestro and Karachi Metroblog) Ramla (of Next>), Hakim (of MicroPakistan) and myself (Pakistaniat). You can listen to it here:

[Audio:http://pakistaniat.com/audio/VOA-Pakistan-b logging.mp3]

Although framed in the context of the role of the Pakistan’s blogistan (‘blogsphere’ for non-Pakistanis), the lively conversation was, in fact, broader and looked also at why people blog, whether it makes a difference, and what the future potential of blogging might be. It also looked at the issue of blog bans in Pakistan, and the follies of such policies. I enjoyed the conversation very much. Not only because I can now match ‘voices’ to names but also because it made me think more clearly about why we spend so much of our time on this, whether it is really worth doing, and what it might mean in a broader context.

I am not arrogant enough to assume that the world will change dramatically just because a few of us are writing blogs. On the other hand, I am convinced that at least for those few of us who write and read these things, a world with blogs is different from a world without – at the very least, it is different in how we interact with that world.

To blog, at least for me, is about conversation and about community. The magic moment comes when you realize that there are others out there who want to be part of your conversation of your community. For us at ATP, that has always been out motivation. This is why I chose the photogrpah above (I do not have a full reference for it, but it is an AKRSP photograph from the Gilgit area). The photograph too – just like blogging in general and certainly ATP – is about conversation and about community.

As I said during the show, at the very least this becomes a way of catharsis – bhaRass nikalna. But when your thoughts echo back to you and you realize that there is someone out there who is not only listening to you, but maybe even nodding their head. It is then that you realize that this is more than just bhaRass nikalna. And it can be – not yet, but one day – it can be much more.

37 responses to “A Conversation: Bloggers on Blogging in Pakistan”

  1. on a lighter note, I don’t know why Ramla laughed when Adil mentioned Omar Qureshi indirectly during conversation to discuss about the importance of blog in journalism. :-)

    anyways congrats to everyone who participated.

  2. My Pakistan says:

    It was wonderful experience and I hope it will inspire others to blog.
    I agree with Atif that we can also blog on Radio or TV, as we are doing on internet. It is wonderful idea and hope one day it will be as real as today’s internet blogs are.
    I have started blogging in Urdu and think that blogging is a sincere effort to address current issues and offer corrective actions for betterment of our society.
    Now Urdu blogging is on rise too and people have started to recognize blogging at all levels.

  3. nice conversation and some pertitent points to ponder upon.

    I am wondering whether the mainstream media can actually host tales from blogistan in audio/video formats during their broadcasting. For instance, this VOA recording has a better channel placement than text. Atleast it reaches to a far bigger audience.

    So far public opinion has been very limited on mainstream media and is controlled. How about a bloggers show once a while on tv focusing on one agenda at a time?

  4. @Eidee – To be honest when I started blogging I had initially used an anonymous pen name, but when I started talking about politics I honestly felt its important to speak out, to hide behind a pen name is OK but I choose to stand behind what I said. I have braved my heart to write against the merciless MQM and most recently against dictator Musharraf but in the case of MQM I was frustrated at seen typical Pakistani drawing room politics, they would talk of the crimes in Karachi but did not have the balls to say it publicly, as a karachiite and a true believer in Pakistan I had to stand behind what I said even when I wrote a number of worrisome articles against the MQM. Agreed during those times blogging was an unknown phenomenon hence not well read but at least I wrote what I felt.

    The Teeth Maestro is now just a cute quirk that sometimes attaches a little mystery. To an extent my father was one day having a talk with Dr. Altmash Kamal on politics, one day, one thing led to another and AK said that he frequently read blogs but this Teeth Maestro guy is interesting and he chooses to remain anonymous, my father smiled but did not divulge the actual fact letting the mystery remain intact, I am not saying he knew me personally but he probably had happened to glance at a few of my blog posts that have made their rounds on emails amongst Pakistanis. So the mystery is just a different twist.

    To wrap it up, I think for the betterment of Pakistan, some people have to come out of their closet and set an example, then only will others follow, hiding behind a curtain and casting the stone is simply buuzzdilly especially if you dream of a better country, which I do.

    Am I worried about my safety in Karachi, definitely YES but then since 1986 millions have survived the torture cell threats and to remains hiding under the treat and not speak out, then I believe one should rather die, imagine the frustration amongst Karachiites who cant speak up of the crimes committed against them. Its time to speak out, either with or without you name BUT people must speak out and blogging is a perfect medium to do just that

  5. omar r quraishi says:

    adil i was just going to post that edit myself

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