Agent Provocateur Her aik baat pai kehtey ho tum kai tu kya hai, Tum hi kaho kai ye andaaz-e-guftugoo kya hai When I hear the politicians screaming their guts out on television talk shows, to which the country has become addicted, and the accusations and the counter accusations that flow right, left and centre, I cannot but help remembering this verse from Diwan-e-Ghalib. Take the case of Punjabs Law Minister saying that the utility of the Governor of the province was as good as toilet paper after the passage of the 18th Amendment. Whatever the provocation, this is in just very poor taste. It is also very childish. The way the Governor and Rana Sanaullah keep aiming for one another can put street urchins to shame. Something that really irks me about our talk shows is that they, instead of being debates through which the viewers become informed and then form their own opinions, are plain shouting matches in which there is an abject lack of decorum. Nobody listens to anybody and the viewer ends up having a poor opinion of both sides, having to resort to a sleeping pill to sleep because of the prevailing choice of political leadership. Whatever we are like in real life is reflected in our daily talk shows. No patience, no tolerance, no foresight. What we do have in plenty are fake degrees, fake piety, fake morals and the irresistible urge to jump the line, wherever it may be. These daily diversions in the political arena take away attention from all our real and burning issues. As is normally the case in such public and live conversations on the electronic media, the slip-up from Fauzia Wahab, in her defence of the Presidents immunity was amazing, to say the least That the Khalifas of Islam were accountable to court because they did not have a constitution There is a quotable quote for times like these and it goes: Please ensure mind is engaged before putting mouth in gear Sometimes, as a viewer one is caught so off guard by the absurdity of a statement one hears from people in positions of responsibility that you have to call someone to cross check if what you heard was actually said. Fawzia Wahabs latest faux pas definitely fell into this category. Another unintentional gaffe that I found ticklish was when Siddiqul Farouk was holding forth on a channel just a day before the Federal Law Minister was to appear in the Supreme Court. The anchor person asked him his opinion of Babar Awan. He is a professional liar, pat came the answer. I did stop in my tracks at his candidness but when he repeated the word I realised that he was saying lawyer in a very Urdu accent which came out as liar All the relief that the politicians are capable of giving us, it seems, is merely comical. No concrete help seems to be forthcoming in the budget that is, frightfully, just around the corner and there are no measures in the pipeline to counter the day-to-day issues of the daily grind for the common man. The pressures just keep mounting and life continues to be a challenge for citizens while the leaders of different political parties cross swords and mend fences at will. None of us, on the outside, quite understand who the ally of whom is really and whether it is for real or just an act. While the Swiss court saga and the unwritten letter to it has taken a backseat for two weeks, which is the time granted to the Law Ministry by the Supreme Court to read the documents in French and have them translated, the BoP scam has come centre stage. The only light at the end of the tunnel appears to be coming from the superior courts which , one hopes, will unravel and untangle some of these corruption scams, if not be actually able to bring back the loot. Postscript: For somebody whose day is really marred if there is no newspaper first thing in the morning, I just cannot understand why our younger generation is, by and large, so averse to the concept of reading newspapers. By the younger generation I mean the whole spectrum between, say, 18 to early 30s. And I mean those who have been fortunate enough to have studied at the best educational institutions and are forever on cell phones, Face book, or net surfing. Somehow, the habit has not even been transferred to the children who have seen their parents get uptight on the day of the newspaper holiday In this day of the shortcut and the quick fix, it is such a pity that the new generation does not comprehend the joy of reading the daily paper. The news stories, the editorials, the opinion columns, the interviews, the special features are all given a miss. They will search for any information that they want on the internet and do know a lot about things which interest them but feel they do not have a need for knowledge of things outside of that. Even young people employed in the corporate sector will mostly just look at the business page or scan the paper for news or pictures related to their field and/or their competition. Or, at best, read the job opportunities for a better opening. Period. Where is one to put the blame for this? Is it the schools or is it the new technology that is phasing out the written word? Whatever the reason, the non-newspaper reading is depriving our educated 'nex gen of developing rounded opinions and becoming well-informed citizens of the world. In the rush to climb the ladder to the top quickly, the very things that are the necessary key ingredients for success are being compromised, leading also to half-baked, self-consumed young professionals. The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: