LAHORE: The airing of a promo of former Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan’s interview on GEO TV took Twitter by storm, sparking a heated debate among senior journalists, analysts and other Twitterati. The advertisement of the interview by Saleem Safi for his programme ‘Jirga’ invited wrath on the microblogging website. Many questioned the journalistic ethics of media but also condemned the undue glorification of a terrorist. “Ehsan Ullah Ehsan has been involved in the killing of 1000s of innocent Pakistanis, should be treated like a terrorist and punished”, wrote journalist Asad Munir in one of his tweets. Munir also shared an old tweet where Ehsan had threatened him and Raza Rumi (editor of this paper). Senior journalist Ejaz Haider while sharing his article said, “Ehsanullah Ehsan is not the reformed brother of Mother Teresa. he is a terrorist…” Writer and rights activist Saleem Javed tweeted, “Only in #Pakistan: A mass-murderer terrorist becomes state’s special guest after many years of bloodshed.” Columnist Mohammad Taqi said in one of his tweets in Urdu [translated here] that the one who should be tried before a jirga (tribal council) is now a guest at Jirga (the TV programme). Journalist/columnist Marvi Sirmed said in a tweet, “So, a ‘liberal anchor’ sahib making a case for amnesty to Ehsanullah Ehsan. Cho chweet!” Some also questioned the very conduct of the interview of a terrorist in the army’s custody. In a tweet, Ali Salman Alvi said, “So Ehsanullah Ehsan has been interviewed for Geo News by Saleem Safi. In absolute awe of the operation Radd-ul-Fasaad.” Another journalist Umber Khairi said, “So high profile terrorists r ‘guests’ on prime time TV… This is Rudd al Fasad? Zara e Azb? And why does this guy look so smug?” “Why would @SaleemKhanSafi portray a hardcore terrorist like a national hero? #Ehsanullah is behind killing thousands #HangEhsanullahEhsan”, wrote Karachi-based tweeter Farwa Batool. Aseefa B Zardari, a rights activists and daughter of former president Asif Ali Zardari, slammed the government as well by writing, “A mass murderer on tv who seems to be enjoying his state hospitality …#NAP Where is the govt? #Napping”. “Tou #EhsanullahEhsan ko saray gunnah maaf? All those thousands of murders he called and claimed responsibility for? Forgotten? #Pakistan,” tweeted Mehreen Zahra-Malik, questioning the special treatment being given to the former TTP mouthpiece. Senator Sherry Rehman also questioned the need for having that interview in the first place. She said in a tweet, “Why is Ehsanullah Ehsan being given the opportunity to sanitise himself? After killing thousands of our citizens and colluding with India?” Awami National Party leader Bushra Gohar urged the media not to glorify the terrorist by saying, “He should be punished for the claimed terrorist attacks & not made a hero by Pak media & estab. Justice for the martyrs & their families.” “Very odd indeed … we allow terrorists to come on tv for interviews. What’s up here anyway?” wrote Shandana Khan, a tweeter. “In #Pakistan, if you blame/implicate #India and #Afghanistan in your heinous crimes, you are cleansed & become a celebrity. #Ehsanullah”, tweeted US-based analyst Asim Yousafzai. Another politician and rights activist Barrister Alizeh Iqbal Haider said, “Shocked how media channels and journalists happily hosting this man who murdered/threatened their own fraternity. Will nothing unite you?” She said in a follow-up tweet, “We treat a cold blooded mass murderer like a celebrity and then wonder why the world is suspicious of where we stand against terrorism.” Twitter was also bombarded with sarcastic messages. “Pakistani media finds a new celebrity. TTP commander Ehsanullah Ehsan, who is in Pakistan Army’s custody, gave an interview to Geo News.”, wrote journalist Roohan Ahmed. It may be note that following heated discussions on the media as well as in government departments, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority barred the news channel from airing the recorded interview of Ehsanullah Ehsan. The regulator issued a press release, stating that it was “against the rules of PEMRA to give air time to a terrorist or terrorist organisation”.