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.


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

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