Twitter divided after campaign accuses Aamir Liaqat of fanning sectarianism

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Aamir Liaqat Hussain is a household name in Pakistan, perhaps for the anchorperson-turned politician’s penchant for leaving a trail of controversies in his wake.

Aamir Liaqat Hussain is currently running a marathon Ramzan transmission from entertainment channel ‘Express’. One of the segments of his transmission, ‘Aamir Online’ has recently become the subject of a controversy on Pakistani Twitter. The segment features several religious scholars from different schools of thought, who respond to queries made by live callers.

Recently a live caller shared an issue she faced in her life. She, a Shia by faith, was married to a Sunni man, who objected to her offering two prayers together.

Although the scholars voiced their disagreements but all three agreed that Islam had provision for offering two prayers together. Fortunately, there were no polemics and the discussion ended in a very amicable manner.

However, following the programme a hashtag started making rounds on Twitter that urged the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to ban Aamir Liaqat Hussain’s show. The campaign was premised on the speculation that the anchorperson had the religious scholars ‘fight’ on the live show.

By the midnight the hashtag  #PEMRAShouldBanAamirLiaqat was trending at number 2 in Pakistan.

The campaign appears to be engineered as a group of Twitter users, @TeamConfronters announced the hashtag and time of campaign and asked its followers ‘to be ready’ for the campaign.

The followers of TeamConfronters responded to the call as the hashtag started rising up on the trending panel.

Twitter users accused the anchorperson of spreading hate and called for banning him.

This Twitter user accused the channel of stoking sectarianism in the country.

He was ridiculed, character assassinated and called names.

Even abused.

Users accused the anchorperson of defaming Islam and called for permanent ban on him.

Some Twitter users who watched the show live or went through recordings later pointed out that there had been no fight amongst the religious leaders as claimed by the campaign.

The widespread reaction may have come after some social media pages posted ‘click-baits’ to attract views. One such page indeed portrayed it as a fight.

The graphic says Aamir Liaqat held a polemic between Sunni and Shia clergy which led to sectarian clashes and social media war.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) did issue a notice to Express Entertainment for hosting discussions on a sensitive matter on live television. The notice said the host did not intervene when the discussion took a sectarian turn nor the channel used time delay to omit the objectionable parts.

TeamConfronters celebrated the PEMRA action as validation and success of their campaign.


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