Publicity Stunts

  • 20 Jan - 26 Jan, 2024
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Fiction

“So Mr Ahmad, as you know that the topic of our discussion is World War two. My question is that what leads to events like these and can these happen again in future?”

“You see respected Professor Shahrukh, if you ask me, the causes of that long lasting war were basically two things. Revenge and greed. It was revenge for World War one that led to…”

“…But my question is what caused it?”

“Yeah!” Mr Ahmad Malik replied politely, “that’s what I’m telling you. It was greed. Greed for natural resources. And more importantly land.”

“But right now you just said it was revenge for the previous war.”

“Please sir, please let me explain first. This war fought between 1939 and 1945 was Germany’s dictator’s greed. You see this dictatorship was the sole problem that led to…”

“Dictatorship?” Shahrukh asked a bit rudely. “You’re saying that dictatorship was the problem.”

“Not just, but one of the problems.”

“First of all, I don’t understand how you’re bringing dictatorship into this war and secondly, you’re calling it a problem. Our country has always been successful under the periods of dictators. Tell me if I’m wrong.”

Ahmad Malik remained silent and looked down. Shahrukh spoke after few seconds trying to appear calm:

“Alright fine, forget this. But tell me, can there be another war like this? And if yes, then would our country be involved?”

Mr Ahmad Malik remained silent. He didn’t speak for a while which infuriated Shahrukh. Shahrukh spoke raising his voice:

“Ahmad Malik you are on my show. I’m not paying you to sit quietly here. Tell me what your opinion is.”

“I am sorry… I am not here to get myself insulted.”

“No one is insulting you. I’m just asking that is our country capable of being a part of such a war.”

Mr Ahmad Malik spoke after a moment of silence:

“Yes our country is capable of it. There is terrorism and these days it is quite difficult to differentiate between a criminal and a cop.”

“Hold on! Excuse me here,” Shahrukh got even angrier but it appeared that he was just over reacting. “You’re telling me that our country’s police department is corrupt?”

“The traffic signal blast incident. The siblings’ murder. What do these events tell us?”

“Shut up! Just shut up,” Shahrukh spoke wildly. “Audience, pardon my language and my attitude but this man here is abusing my country’s police officers. How can I tolerate this?”

One of the guests sitting next to Mr Ahmad Malik tried to calm Shahrukh. But he spoke misbehaving with him as well:

“Don’t speak in between! This man is abusing honest and genuine police officers of my country for the terrorists who use fake uniforms of cops in order to destroy their reputations, and you are telling me to calm down?”

“I was there during the traffic signal blast event,” Mr Ahmad spoke. “I picked up the dead bodies of…”

“Get out!” Shahrukh spoke bluntly. “Leave my show or else I’m leaving. I’m sorry everyone but I just cannot tolerate anything spoken against my country.”

Mr Ahmad Malik appeared a bit surprised. Shahrukh spoke again standing up:

“Go out Ahmad Malik. Leave my show or I’m leaving this channel forever.”

Mr Ahmad Malik stood up and began to walk. The video clip ended.

Yahya’s eyes were left wide open. He was mixed up with so many emotions that he was left severely traumatised.

They call it a fight he wondered regarding what his friends told him. It was a brutal injury. An insult. A hurtful insult to a saint.

He threw his laptop aside and sat up. He stood up trying to understand what he was actually feeling. He was actually developing intense hatred for Shahrukh Rizwan and at the same time feeling hurt for what happened with Mr Ahmad Malik.

Mr Ahmad Malik… I’m so sorry for what happened he wondered. I am equally hurt, as much as you are. Please don’t think you’re alone. The entire nation is with you.

He saw his phone ringing. He didn’t pay any attention to it as his mind was too occupied with the thoughts of Shahrukh Rizwan’s latest controversy. Next minute, he went back to pick up his laptop and watch the entire video again.

Next morning, Yahya was at his university. He was sitting inside the class room. It appeared as if his eyes lacked sleep. His classmate sat close to him and asked:

“Are you feeling well? It seems you are not okay.”

“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep last night.”

“I see!”

Some other classmates were talking in their group. Yahya could hear them clearly. One of the boys asked the group:

“Hey guys, did you see Shahrukh Rizwan’s show yesterday?”

“Oh yeah,” one of the boys asked. “It was so upsetting.”

“I didn’t,” some girl replied. “What happened?”

Yahya couldn’t help but overhear them. The same boy spoke:

“Shahrukh Rizwan kicked Mr Ahmad Malik out of his show!”


Angry Yahya stood up and thought of teaching his class mate a lesson regarding how to choose words for a person like Ahmad Malik, but instead he stood up, walked away and left the class room.

Minutes later, while he was sitting alone at the cafeteria, he saw Javeria coming towards him. As she got closer, she said:

“Hi Yahya, what’s up?”

“Oh hi, how are you? Come, sit!”

She sat opposite to him and asked:

“Your eyes look swelled.”

“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep yesterday.”

“Oh…Was it because of the video I told you about.”

Yahya looked at her for a while. The answer was yes, definitely yes but he replied turning his eyes away:

“Which video are you talking about?”

“Oh no, don’t tell me that you haven’t seen it yet.”

“Oh, that one!” he replied trying to hide his emotions. “Shahrukh Rizwan’s little publicity stunt? Oh yeah, I saw it.”

“Oh, so you agree that it was a publicity stunt?”

“Well yes, just to defame that honourable person. Shahrukh Rizwan has done something really cheap that might ban him in the upcoming days.”

“Well, he should be banned. A kind and honest man Mr Ahmad Malik, he was just trying to share the fact that cops are usually involved behind some crimes and Shahrukh Rizwan simply asked him to leave the show. How inhuman of him.”

Inhuman is not enough to describe him Yahya spoke in his thoughts. He is beyond that.

“So are you going to make a video on that?” Javeria asked.

“Well, I shouldn’t… I mean that person just demanded some attention. And if I make a video in response then it will simply make him victorious. He will get audience’ attention and he will achieve his purpose.”

“So you won’t make any video on this?”

“I don’t know, but I should not make one.”

After few minutes of no talk between them, Javeria spoke:

“Hey, you know what. Few days back, I was getting a free pass of his show. I was planning to go on that show, but now I’m not going to.”

“Oh…I see!”

Yahya was struggling really hard to hide his emotions and not say anything bad regarding Shahrukh Rizwan. He had no option but to distract himself by looking around and not paying attention to Javeria’s words.

 Next day, Yahya saw several videos on YouTube that were nothing but a response to Shahrukh Rizwan’s actions. Everyone who uploaded their video responses on this incident condemned Shahrukh Rizwan completely and sympathised with Mr Ahmad Malik.

Yahya saw more than five videos in two hours and his mind was now badly obsessed with this issue.

All he could hear were the words of different people echoing around in his head:

Shahrukh Rizwan kicked out a pious and virtuous man out of his show.

The word ‘manners’ is nowhere in Shahrukh Rizwan’s dictionary.

Shahrukh Rizwan must be banned for what he did.

Everyone has the right to share their thoughts. Where is freedom of speech?

Such type of shows spread nothing but hatred. Shahrukh Rizwan must be banned from appearing on any television program.

Yahya was so disturbed mentally that he was looking out for different ways to ventilate.

One morning, Yahya went to some computer shop to get a print out. He handed over the USB and desperately waited for the print out.

Five minutes later, he was leaving the shop with more than ten A4 size hard copies of Shahrukh Rizwan’s different photos. He was carrying all of them on a file and was headed towards his home.

As he reached home, he received a text message from Usman. He read the text message:

Good news! Shahrukh Rizwan got banned again.

He looked aside feeling a bit satisfied and spoke:

Banned? Okay, but that’s not enough. He deserves a lot more than that.

He kept the file aside and then logged in to YouTube on his cell phone to see the latest news on Shahrukh Rizwan.

Meanwhile at Shahrukh Rizwan’s home, he was sitting upset and angry in his room. He saw his young son making his way towards him. He looked at him and smiled:

“Hey, how are you?”

“Dad, are you upset about this?”

“This ban? Oh no, not at all. It’s just for a couple of days. Everything will be normal soon.”

“Dad…Can I say something?”


“Can’t you change?”

These words hit Shahrukh like a thunderbolt. He felt moved and deeply upset considering the fact that his son didn’t appreciate his acts on TV.

“I’ll try,” Shahrukh replied with a tender voice. “I’ll have to.”

 Next day, Yahya who had pasted Shahrukh Rizwan’s three printed images on bathroom’s walls, stood right in front of them. He was holding a large quantity of black ink. He focused on the picture at the centre and threw almost half of the bottle on that picture. Shahrukh Rizwan’s face in the image was covered with black ink now.

He kept on doing this for another few hours in order to ventilate his anger but it wasn’t working at all. He kept on saying bad words and throwing bad stuff on his face in the pictures. Unfortunately, he realised that whatever he tried to do was useless and he had to do something real in order to expose him badly.

One week later.

Another video that started getting viral on social media finally reached Yahya through Watsapp. He read the title of the video:

Shahrukh Rizwan apologises to Mr Ahmad Malik.

He clicked on the link in order to see the complete four minute video. The video was shot at Shahrukh’s home.

In the video, he was sitting next to his library on the couch and was saying:

“Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, how are you? Hope you all are doing fine. This video of mine is nothing but a message for Mr Ahmad Malik. I would like to openly apologise for what I said and what I did with Mr Ahmad Malik. He is a great and one of the kindest persons to walk on this planet. It was my mistake. I got a bit too emotional and overreacted that day. I admit that I shouldn’t have done that.”

Yahya paused the video and closed it. He commented in his thoughts:

Just another attempt to win back his audience and get the ban lifted from over his show. It’s all fake.

He left his room and walked towards the living room. On his way, he met his mother. His mother asked him:

“Are you watching Professor Shahrukh Rizwan again?”

“First of all, please don’t call him professor. And secondly, I’m not just watching him, I’m planning him destroy him completely.”

“Yahya, please stop this. This obsession of yours won’t have a positive outcome.”

Yahya ignored her and walked away.

 For a whole month, as his obsession began to get worse and really uncomfortable,

he decided to finally see a psychiatrist. He had an appointment for one evening and he finally went to see Dr Bukhari, the psychiatrist.