Sunday’s coverage of national news in the electronic media will be remembered for its betrayal of all the principles that underlie the profession of journalism. None of the channels did justice, in their coverage, to the largest political gathering of the day held by the Pushtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM). While live coverage was given to much smaller rallies of the PTI and the PPP as well as the youth convention of an extreme right-wing party that is at the very verge of oblivion, the largest political movement to have emerged in the country after the 2007-08 lawyers’ movement was blacked out. This must stay with the country’s media as an embarrassment and should make media professionals, as a collective, do some soul searching about their profession. PTM’s Sunday rally was without a doubt the biggest political show in the city of Peshawar in recent history. When so many Pakistanis gather in a public arena and demand nothing more than a right to dignified existence, our state institutions must understand that something must have been terribly wrong with their policies vis-à-vis the region. Instead of going on the defensive, the institutions will do well to listen patiently to the grievances of these persecuted and war-torn citizens of the republic. The protesters have been explaining their demands again and again, and the authorities have yet to meet them even half way through. Rao Anwar is under arrest and faces prosecution of Naqeebullah Mehsud’s murder. But that is not the only crime he has been accused of. A good faith effort from the state will require a thorough investigation of all charges of extrajudicial murder against him and other officials. And Anwar is just the tip of the iceberg Manzoor Pashteen and his colleagues in PTM have pointed towards. Their complaints about enforced disappearances need to be addressed by ensuring safe return of those disappeared and action against those involved in the matter. Our institutions must prove, and do so quickly, that they are concerned about excesses committed by security personnel that have been highlighted by the PTM. Unfortunately, the pace at which the authorities are proceeding so far suggests otherwise. This must be addressed urgently, if Pakistan is to sustain gains made from the continuity of the democratic process in the last decade. * Published in Daily Times, April 9th 2018.