Creating a Scene… and Proud of it!

Creating a scene, and being proud of it.

This has become more of a tradition in Pakistan. Such behavior has actually become quite widespread among the representatives of the Pakistani nation and a lot of its displays have been noticed of late. Adding a new member to the list, joining the revolutionary Abdul Qayyum Jatoi.

The latest display came from Dr. Muhammad Ali Shah, a Karachi-based orthopaedic surgeon and Minister of Sports of the Sindh Province representing the MQM, who like a lot other medical doctors in the country are into other fields, in his case sports, politics and yes, show business. In fact, he is not really associated directly to show business, but frankly even serious news on Pakistani media has become nothing short of show business and making this remark keeping in mind his love of being the center of attention.

On the opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi, Dr. Shah was with the Pakistani contingent as the Chief de Mission. A controversy or instead a spectacle ruined the pleasant feeling triggered by the cheer of the Nehru Stadium crowd for the Pakistani contingent. Pakistani athlete Shujauddin Malik was supposed to be the flag bearer and at the time, Dr. Shah, who was already holding the flag for unknown reasons, refused to hand it over to Malik and carried on with the march, waving to the camera.

Isn’t he looking nice? Glad the camera didn’t miss him. Wait, is that his name on the screen? And is that DD commentator out of his mind? I feel sorry for him. Maybe he is naïve enough not to recognize a famous and popular personality like Dr. Shah because he lives on the wrong side of the border.  But all the factors point towards the fact that the Pakistani contingent had “officially” submitted Malik’s name to the organizing officials as the flag bearer. Just goes to show we have just the right people representing Pakistan on all fronts, from sports to politics.

So what’s so wrong about that? He wanted to carry the flag like a proud and patriotic Pakistani and is the most enthusiastic guy in the group. Great. I don’t really have problems with that, he could march on the streets carrying the Pakistani flag every single day, but the ceremony requires that one of your leading athletes should carry the flag and lead the contingent. Athletes were carrying flags f0r all other contingents of all other countries. Either all of them were insane or Dr. Shah knows something they don’t.

The bottomline is that he created a scene. OK, so what, forget about it. I never even wanted to write about it. But what is worse, is that he didn’t acknowledge that he made a mistake, defended it with a sense of pride, and despite being a senior official engaged in a stupid tussle with Shujauddin Malik, which ended up demoralizing the athlete and which is still in news on the date of publishing of this post. How ridiculous. Currently the responsible media of Pakistan are milking the issue to sell their precious news airtime.

When you are leading, even the little and seemingly insignificant things count, and Dr. Shah displayed his leadership by carrying the flag, which is alright, but going out of his way to do so, and by making things even worse by mistreating an athlete and abusing his authority, he certainly showed people what not to do if they ever find themselves in his shoes. As the Pakistani contingent landed back home after the games, Dr. Shah shamelessly defended his action and instead of acknowledging his mistake, said that he would do it again if he gets the opportunity.

I hope whoever has followed what has happened does not offer him another opportunity. Or be prepared for another spectacle. And watch them be proud of it.

If anyone is following the kind of comments both the gentlemen are passing about each other, you would surely realize how embarrassing and shameful this episode has turned into. Even if we consider for a second that the athlete overreacted in expressing his disappointment over the row and should have performed better in the games, “putting the country first” (had he been fit, that is), was the senior most official and the all-knowing guru of sports Dr. Shah even aware of his responsibilities?

At the end of the day, he has just shown us what he really is. A shameless exhibitionist who can go to any limits to get the attention of the cameras. He is not the first, he won’t be the last.

Dr. Muhammad Ali Shah, Thank you for making us proud, and for creating a scene and being proud of it. It only helps educating kids at home watching you.