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When Zardari `shut up` an inattentive audience!

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 18:11

Islamabad: Pakistanis are fretting
over the blocking of Youtube for some hours by authorities to
prevent people from seeing a video in which President Asif Ali
Zardari told an unruly section of a gathering to "shut up".

The video clip that has been cross-posted at
several websites shows Zardari saying a forceful "shut up" to
members of the audience while delivering a speech at a recent
rally.
The blocking of Youtube by the Pakistan
Telecommunication Authority figured prominently on Twitter and
several new versions of the ‘shut up’ video have surfaced and
are being circulated.

One "remixed" clip has Zardari talking to the
audience with a dialogue by Amitabh Bachchan playing in the
backdrop, followed by the Black Eyed Peas? song "Shut Up".

Adil Najam, editor of a popular magazine, wrote:
"If authentic, and it seems to be, the video is striking, but
also sad to see.

There is not much that one can say by way of comment.

Such behaviour is embarrassing for any politician,
but especially for the President of a country."

Najam was the first the post the video on his
website.
"In fairness, I should add that I have not (yet) been
able to find any information on the context of this: where was
this, what did the person in the audience say (it was probably
a pretty demeaning thing in itself), and - most importantly -
what did Mr Zardari say immediately after this," he wrote.

"I certainly hope that his immediate reaction
was to stop, realise his mistake, and apologise.

If he has not yet, he should," he concluded.

Comments expressing shock at Zardari?s behaviour
are piling up on several websites.

"I guess the likes of Mr Zardari have (or) will
realise that ?jab awaam bolne lagegi tab shut up karna mumkin
nahin? (when the public starts speaking it will not be
possible to shut them up)," read one comment.

Some jumped to the President?s defence.

"Can we see the rest of the video? Someone in the
crowd was irritating him and so he had to react.

Such outbursts are nothing new to world leaders,"
Nadeem Ahsan wrote.

Last year, the Pakistan People`s Party-led
government amended a cyber crimes law to include a provision
that threatened anyone sending text messages or e-mails that
"slander the political leadership" with 14 years in prison.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 18:11

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