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Pakistan: Islamic Televangelist Caught Out by Behind-the-Scenes Video

Categories: South Asia, Pakistan, Film, Religion

Dr. Amir Liaquat Hussain [1], a Pakistani Islamic televangelist and host of numerous religious shows, has become the epicenter of bloggers’ criticism lately after a behind-the-scenes video was released. The video depicted Dr. Amir, a notable religious scholar who otherwise poses as a humble, moral man, uttering abuse and profanities as well as religious blasphemy.

The footage has caused a storm among Pakistani netizens, and has been pulled from most online sources since Geo TV [2], a channel where Dr. Amir started his career as the host of religious program ‘Aalim Online’ (Religious Scholar Online), claimed the copyright. Nonetheless, this was not to deter the online audience from heaping bitter criticism and sarcasm on the man.

Twitter profile picture of Dr. Amir. [3]

Twitter profile picture of Dr. Amir.

Cafepyala wrote a detailed post [4] about the leaked video, the prospective culprits who accomplished this feat and a cross-analysis of the response to this video generated by Dr. Amir. Liaquat himself:

What it reveals is the utter hypocrisy of not just Mr. Jaahil Online [Ignorant Online] himself but also of those in direct charge of the ‘religious’ programming and indeed of the overall broadcaster itself.

Commenting on the video response and the way he refuted the video, declaring himself a peace-lover and pious person, Cafepyala writes:

Recall that Aamir Liaquat once condoned on his program ON Geo, a declamation that Ahmadis were wajib-ul-qatl (those whose killing can be justified), which was followed by the subsequent assassination of two Ahmadis and Aamir Liaquat’s live telecasts being suspended by Geo. “The tongue that speaks of the Prophet, Peace by upon him,” he says in his most recent program on ARY, “could never utter obscenities.” If that is not the worst form of hypocrisy in the name of religion, I don’t know what is. Has this man no shame at all?

Teeth Maestro [5], the blog which coined the term of ‘Jaahil Online’ (Ignorant Online) in place of the actual ‘Aalim Online’, condemned the televangelist with the following words [6]:

The video I feel may have emerged to blackmail him somehow as some segments of the clip are from quite a few years back but even then, it’s interesting to note that under the garb of the humble religious Islamic scholar breeds a dirty mouthed person who seems to be deliberately making fun of the religion of Islam and has been known to breed hatred to an extent as to incite violence against Ahmedis as well.

The issue referred to by the two excerpts above, concerns a telecast by Dr. Liaquat which incited hatred [7] against Ahmadis [8]. Within days of the telecast, two Ahmadis were assassinated in Lahore. Nearly all media critics held Mr. Liaquat responsible for this tragic incident.

A post at Jazbablog notes [9] about the leaked video:

An off the record video of Dr. Amir Liaqat’s show has been revealed the devil character of this so called Aalim, who has impressed millions of people from his versatile anchor’s skills. The video which clearly is not fake, has shown him abusing his producer, supporter staff and even the guest Molvies, who he invited in his show to speak about Islamic issues.

Dr. Liaquat, who tweets via @AamirLiaquat [10], has claimed the video was dubbed and heavily edited:

@AamirLiaquat [11]: Everyone knows it is a world of technology. They have manipulated and tempered few clips and dubbed the abusive worlds in my voice

The masses were quick to respond to his tweet-replies. Samad Khurram (@SamadK [12]) an ardent Pakistani tweeter, asked him:

@SamadK: [13] @AamirLiaquat [14] can you give us audio samples of abusive words in your voice so we can compare them with the dubbing?

The debate has also brought to light a number of other issues. Where should the line between public life and private life of a celebrity be drawn? Perhaps Dr. Amir’s ex-employer Geo TV is to be held far more responsible over this because it was the one who launched his career and brought him immense fame.

There has been no response from the government or the electronic media regulatory authority of Pakistan (PEMRA) [15]. And Amir Liaquat continues to host his show at ARY [16].