Radio stations seem to now see themselves as a slightly cheerier alternative to Prozac for the citizens of Pakistan, particularly those in Karachi.
Newsline staffers, perpetually scouring the media and the internet for your benefit, have heard a number of DJs imploring Karachiites to keep their cool amidst the sweltering heat. Compassion and concern drip from their every faux-accented word.
Cityfm 89 is leading the way in this socially responsible new initiative. They promise to “keep you calm during Ramadan.” Some sources claim that the channel has, in its wisdom and sincerity, even started to minimise the playing of louder rock and electronica music lest they push listeners’ blood pressure to dangerously high levels.
This obsession with maintaining ‘calm’ might be more earnest than Orwellian — maybe some inner peace would be a good thing after the violence and bloodshed that were the hallmarks of July. It’s also possible, of course, that this is all an attempt to prevent the car crash rate from spiking as it does every Ramadan. We here at Newsline remain unsure. But we do know you can look forward to a lot of Dido and Coldplay on the airwaves for the next few weeks. At least angst-y teenagers will be content in their perverse way.
Akbar Shahid Ahmed is a Washington-based reporter for the Huffington Post, writing on U.S. foreign policy. He has contributed to Newsline since 2008.