A Pakistani news anchor has received a notice from a government watchdog for not being serious enough while uttering the durood or salawat after taking the name of Islamic prophet Muhammad.
The anchor in question is Nida Yasir, who hosts 'Good Morning Pakistan' on ARY Digital. The notice was sent to the channel by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, which is widely known as PEMRA. The body is perhaps best known to Indians as the one that in patriotic fervour sometimes blocks Indian television programmes in Pakistan.
The notice did not threaten any action, and was titled 'Advice'. It however underlined how selectively touchy the post-Zia Pakistani state machinery can get.
"It has been observed that during the Morning Show titled "Good Morning Pakistan" aired on "ARY Digital" on 13.04.2018, programme host Ms. Nida Yasir , while pronouncing name of the Holy Prophet "Muhammad" uttered salutations/ drood casually," read the notice.
"This casual attitude on the part of the host is quite unprofessional and had hurt sentiments of vast majority of Muslim viewers," the notice alleged.
The durood or salawat is the blessing that some Muslims utter each time they take the name of the prophet Muhammad. In Arabic, it is usually uttered as, "Sallallahu walayhi wasallam". In English, this is spoken as 'Peace be upon him' and written as 'PBUH' after Muhammad's name.
The notice 'advised' the channel to "be mindful of the religious sensitivities and practiced norms in true spirit to that no wrong message is disseminated among the viewers."
Such provisions are usually not enforced very tightly in Pakistan, and end up being used either when there is a serious breach of protocol or at times as a harassment tool by authorities.