TikTok Fire

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The popular video-sharing application TikTok is no stranger to controversies. May it be repeated plunges in the court-mandated ban lands or bizarre claims made by the infamous Hareem Shah and her TikTok Sarkar (taking the nation and its power headquarters by storm in one swing), this social media platform never fails to add some masala to the mainstream lacklustre. Yet, there is a fine line between entertainment and pure, unadulterated craziness.
When someone with a fan following of an overwhelming 11 million decides to set the Margalla hillside ablaze just because she can is a very pressing time for the state to step in and save the nation from its own share of disturbing disasters. That a case has already been registered against Humaira Asghar, famously known as Dolly, under the wildlife and environmental protection laws, while TikTok’s spokesperson wasted no time in showing its vigilance in the self-touted commitment to “remove, limit or label content that depicts dangerous or illegal acts,” do signify the shifting of the sands.
Just last month, another man was arrested in Abbottabad for attempting to start a fire to add the oomph factor to his videos. Considering Pakistan has landed in the furious eye of the flame-spitting storm, such irresponsible behaviour speaks volumes about the societal tendency to look over everything and anything for the smallest of material gains. For these so-called superstars, winning a few hundred “fans” is a noble pursuit that supersedes all moral, social and societal obligations (the less said about the environmental burden, the better for the fragile egos far and wide). However, the swift action by the administration does pose a discomforting question about the continued existence of giants like Monal that are still eroding the Margalla National Park–all in the name of development. Does this mean the wrath of the law works more effectively against those who don’t have the deep pockets needed to grease some palms? As some are busy reminding the authorities that such gross trampling of the environment could cost the accused a life sentence in countries like Australia, one can’t help but wonder whether such punishments would only be handed to those who run out of luck?