[The local Television's program about Scouting , with interviews and the entire experience of representing the Scout Movement with the Media People- Luis Aguayo]
On 1st July, a local television station decided to do a programme on scouts and the problems that confront them. Members of our contingent were also asked to come along and be a part of the audience. The stage was set at the Masoleum of Quaid e Azam, the founder of Pakistan. Along with the cool breeze that ran across the open grounds surrounding the tomb, the picturesque setting in the background made for an enthralling experience that was soon to follow.
It was interesting to observe the camera crew get their act together. Orders were barked by the producer with a commanding ferocity and the spot boys hustled to follow his orders. Cameras and lighting equipment dotted the scene and the crew kept on checking and double-checking to ensure that the procedure went smoothly and no hiccups were experienced in the middle of the show.
It is my pleasure to report that one of the scouts present in Pakistan contingent for the Jamboree holds the title of the Best Scout of Pakistan and is a President Gold Medalist. Saif Ali was invited to occupy the front seat and be a part of the discussion of the talk-show which was named ‘Sawaal Hai Pakistan Ka’ (meaning – Its Pakistan’s Question). He was seated alongwith dignitaries which included the Secretary of Pakistan Scouts, Pakistan’s International Commissioner and other various high-ranked officials in the organizational setup.
The show kicked off as soon as arrangements were in order. It was hosted by Rizwan Jaffer, a scout himself and now a media personality and a former President Gold Medalist scout. He recited his script silkily and took great pains to ensure that we all realized that he was an ex-PGM scout and hence we should respect him and attach great importance to what he said. Who says scouts don’t have bloated egos?
Interspersed among the various commercial breaks and discussion with the guests were question-and-answer sessions in which we could ask the guests to clarify any point they had previously stated or better, inquire them about the way they ran business at the Pakistan Scouts Association. It would be an understatement if I said that the questions flung at the officials were controversial in nature. Some scouts who were disgruntled at the way scouting was done in Pakistan fielded stabbing questions while also making sure they gave constructive ideas on how to make things better. It was heartening to see that none of the criticism was taken personally and this extraordinary public encounter of high-ranking officials with ordinary scouts wasn’t another Communist regime-esque wishy washy performance where even a hint of constructive suggestion is scowled at. In my opinion every person in a position of authority needs to come clean in front of the people he/she is serving. Period.
Also present among the audience were Girl Scouts who had just returned from a camping trip in the hill station of Murree. It was remarkable for the fact that in Pakistan Girl Guides are normally kept at an arm’s length from scouts and not normally allowed to take part in joint activities due to certain cultural constraints. However, Pakistan broke new ground by recently dropping the word ‘Boy’ from Pakistan Boy Scouts Association, shortening it to just Pakistan Scouts Association in a bid to usher in a new era of scouting in which gender segregation is not a worrisome issue to contend with.
At the end, the programme was wrapped up with a performance of the scout law which was recited by all present with much gusto. A quite embarrassing situation also transpired due to some laughable antics by an official but I’ve been sworn to secrecy to never let it out It was all in good faith though, and all of us dispersed after a final series of vociferous slogan-chanting requested by our National Secretary and we departed, group by group, to our respective dwellings in the bustling metropolis of Karachi. I was lucky I lived nearby and all the boys from our troop had much fun walking all the way back to our homes, with much mirth and laughter lighting up the journey back (cos boys always have fun. Always!!