For now, there is no concrete explanation for the burning down of a yoga center in Islamabad. It was inaugurated by world famous Indian Hindu guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and co-chaired by Shahnaz Minallah, located in the upmarket Bani Gala suburb of Islamabad. A group of eight to nine armed men arrived on the site and threatened to burn the center down if they weren’t given money. After issuing the threat, they proceeded to tie present employees up and poured petrol around the center. Luckily, no staff member was injured but one can imagine the financial damage rendered by the malicious arson.

A little more worrying than arsonists on the loose is the shaky stance our local media has chosen to take on something as innocuous as a yoga center. TV show hosts in February managed to inject mild frenzy among national (and nationalist) viewers that perhaps the yoga center was compromising national security or – worse – challenging our values and lifestyles. Given how dysfunctional life has become in a post-9/11 Pakistan, one can only wonder what these imaginary values and ‘sound’ lifestyles are for they remain non-existent and entirely inaccessible to the majority of the country’s masses.

The primary role of media – be it electronic or print – should be to maintain an objective and forthright perspective on national issues. It should feel obligated to disseminate views that strike nuance among consumers instead of hyping up sensationalist views on harmless subjects. Considering how replete our nation is with conspiracy theorists and paranoia, we can do well without xenophobia and ill-founded takes on the country’s security situation on-air. We already are inundated with goons who think the world’s out to get them and the last thing we need is someone hinting that a yoga center will bring Pakistan to its knees.