By Farhan Ahmad
When I started field reporting, I was very excited because I was equipped with relevant academics, full of energy and a mission: A mission of voicing people. After I got a couple of years’ experience, the incident of Bacha Khan University happened. I went to the spot from Peshawar to report the event. I was very worried for students and wishing that it will not be as bad as APS. After covering the event whole day, I met a social worker which I don’t want to name here. She told me I want to express my views about this event and obviously I welcomed her. She was speaking very gently which gave me an impression that she is very touchy woman and is very heartbroken for the losses. After the interview was done, she told me come with me and she took me to a corner and offered me some money to cover their solidarity rally which was to be occurred tomorrow. By the way I didn’t say anything and came back to DSNG and started our journey back to Peshawar. After couple of months, the incident of Mashal Khan occurred. I went there to report with same feelings which were at the time of Bacha Khan University tragedy. I reported the event, met Mashal’s family. At Mashal’s house, I met a person who called himself a social worker and literally he is running an NGO for the rights of women. He was also talking very gently and again I got the impression that he is a gentleman who is having such genuine feelings towards human beings. After a couple of days, he called on my phone and said I want you to flash some tickers on your news channel and don’t worry about your benefit, you will be very happy. Now instantly, that lady social worker came to my mind and I asked him how will you make me happy. Obviously, he said I will pay you some money. Now I was very curious and decided to investigate the reality that what makes them do these kind of things. Anyways, this investigation idea went to back side of my mind and I again started working on my routine. Another event came and there was a solidarity rally by a social movement taken place outside the Peshawar Press Club. I went there to cover the rally and met one of my University friend in the rally, she was also a part of that movement. She came to me and asked to take an interview from the head of their movement. Like an obedient friend, I went to her and had an interview with her. After the rally, my friend came to me and asked me to come with them to their office to have a cup of tea. Again just like an obedient friend, I went with her asking my team workers to go back to office because it was my last assignment of the day. Talking to them over a cup of tea, the head of the movement asked me why don’t you work with us. Astonishingly, I asked her how can I work with an NGO leaving my journalism. I chose to be a journalist. She replied with a taunting laugh, you’re useless for us if you are not a journalist. Immediately, the lady social worker who I met at first came to my mind. Anyways, I enjoyed my tea with them and took my leave. On my way back to home, I pledged myself that I will investigate into this matter and will dig out what exactly it is. I called one of my friend working in an NGO and asked him to meet me. He is a very trustworthy person so I disclosed everything to him. He started laughing and I was also ashamed of my ignorance but thanks to him he made it up to me. He asked me come tomorrow to my office and I will solve this puzzle for you.
I called my office asked them I am not available in the morning so assign me evening duty. I went to his office and in his car we went to Charsadda where he took me to a village namely Tooti Khel. He knocked at the door and we went inside the house where a lady was lying down on bed. As long as my friend told her “Khpal kas de” she got up and greeted me. I was hyper shock. Then he took me to another house where three disable children were lying down in a row and when I saw their mother who was wearing a burqa seemed to be a very pitiful woman, my heart started aching. As long as my friend again said the same sentence “Khpal kas de” she took off the burqa and she was wearing such a nice attire. She greeted me and I was like choking her but I controlled my emotions and left the house. Then similarly he showed me few other houses from outside and disclosed their reality to me.
The whole story was that all the people were swindlers and they were the bait for donors of NGO. NGO’s take photos with them and send it to donors and get donation. I decided to go and see that lady, I met at first. I saw her and told her straightaway, I want to make some money what can I do for you to get that? She welcomed me and said you just make videos for us even they don’t need to be aired just edit it with your news channel logo. Then I went to the same person I met at Mashal’s house. The same conversation but he asked to flash the tickers and take snaps of the television screen. At last I went to see the head of that movement and once again the same conversation but this time I was shocked. She told me I will dramatize the rape stories and you just have to on air that dramatized rape story. I requested for more details and she said I will make girls agree to say that on camera that they have been raped or harassed or other things and you have to on air it at your channel. Anyways, heartbrokenly I left her office and went to my home. I wrote a text message to all the three so called social workers and warned them to stay away from me otherwise I will report the whole story on television. And what happened after that? I started receiving phone calls from politicians and other media-men. Amongst, who were trying to oblige me, some were trying to bribe and some literally tried to threaten me.