The country knows them by their names; I call them tele-warriors.  Every day, they wage war on boredom, truth, democracy, sanity and other secular ideals corrupting the minds of my Pakistani bretheren and sisteren. They are determined, organised and willing to get paid for their beliefs.

While armchair analysts brood over trivialities like objectivity, these barstool soldiers go for victory and they look damn comfortable doing it. Below, some fundamentals of their game:

1. The (bitter versus the better) Truth:

They report and report furiously, undaunted by trivialities like whether there’s actually anything to report at all. After all, that limitation is for weak men – for journalists. These mainstream primetime mavericks, these cable news cowboys – They couldn’t care less. They don’t tell the truth, they make it better, they make it sexier. Their prize is not the Pulitzer; they’re aiming for the Emmys. They put the show in news show and the tainment in infotainment and they do it unapologetically. Journalism will not stand in their way.

An example:

Truth (boring version): “Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban because she spoke up for education and against blowing up schools for girls in Taliban-ruled Swat.”

TV Truth (hits-the-sweet-spot version): “Malala Yousafzai was shot because she is the youngest member of the CIA, who, after receiving training in grammatically-mediocre letter writing, head-butting bullets and looking uncannily like Little Red Riding Hood, came to wage a crusade with the help of likeminded education terrorists against extended summer vacations for Swati girls.”

2. The Anchors:

No war is complete without its soldiers and we have some real verbal gladiators in our midst. The great arena of our times is the Talk Show. It’s not for the faint of heart, the cold of blood or the sane of mind. With screaming matches that would have put Sultan Rahi to shame, these TV shows have come to define the Pakistani evening.

The chief protagonist, or rather, antagonist, or even assailant, is the anchor person (so as not to be confused with an anchor alien or a ship anchor).

The best of the best:

1) No Jam Sethi, or NS to those who love him. i.e. The Other Pakistan:

The question that has haunted so many of his enemies over the years: “Who is really tweeting; NS or his sparrow?” His source of intelligence might by tweety but he can be credited with flipping the talk show model on its head. His total disdain for guests has led him to be his own guest on his own show – how’s that for an idea? Considered by many as an agent of the West embedded long ago to destroy Pakistani cricket, he has the perfect cover: that of a journalist. While his term as the PCB chairman has been more turbulent than Ch. Nisar’s mood swings, he remains a defiant supporter of liberal fascism. More power to you, Sir.

2) Mubasher Lickman:

This man is obsessed with the truth and hailed for his humility and candor. But his best quality is his perfectionism. In fact, he’s such a perfectionist that he practices with his guests for hours before any show. Enough said.  

3) Hamid Pir:

This man’s ability to conjure stories out of thin air has always been legendary.  With more threats to his life than diapers in a diarrhea outbreak, he is a truth teller who has made a lot of former friends his enemies. He first made waves by being the last person to interview Osama bin Laden – an interview so good that OBL decided to only ever do solo videos after it.

4) J.C (Not Jesus Christ, but Javed Chaudhry)

The man has more anecdotes than goals Brazil is willing to concede in one game. And his apocryphal tales are not restricted to the media alone. He is also a man of science who has hosted many Islamic TED talks on varied subjects such as evolution and revolution. So don’t let his Uncle Sargamesque shenanigans fool you. This guy is a genius gladiator who by his own admission is smarter than Aristotle and Plato – combined. Here, is his takedown of Darwin and his theory of evolution (warning: moronic material featuring monkeys, pants, coffee etc). 

3. The Panel

1) S Rasheed.

Much has been said about Rasheed and lots more has been said by him about everything. Political prophet and raving lunatic rolled into one, he’s the complete package when it comes to paneling.

2) Upset Omar

Former CEO and middle-parting specialist, he is the face of middle-aged Pakistan. If God parted anything after the Nile, it was Omar’s hair and he will not let you forget his divine gift.  He represents a Pakistani minority that has been long marginalised: the upper middle salaried class. Suffering from ICS (irritable child syndrome) he is upset at most things in Pakistan and plans to go from upset to angry very soon. Beware. Pakistan Paindabad!

Adam Ghaznavi wanted to be a comic but ended up working at a Startup


Twitter: @adamghaznavi