In celebration of Independence Day, singer-activist Shehzad Roy and ace cricketer Shahid Afridi made an appearance on Time Out with Ahsan Khan, speaking about their charitable work and possible forays into the world of politics. 

Roy, who routinely engages with social issues, most vehemently raising his voice for the rights of children in the country, spoke about the link between music and activism. “I always say, music is a very powerful way to spread the word. It’s a way to reach people easily.”

On the prospect of joining politics, Roy chose to comment on how Afridi would make a great politician due to his ability to say what is on his mind without hesitation. “Like [Shahid Afridi] just said, insaaf [justice] and education are the two main things in society. There’s a party already made in the name of insaaf, now I‘ve been trying to convince Shahid sahab to make a party as well. We were coming here together in the car and I kept trying to convince him but he said he doesn’t want to. I think Shahid is a very daring man. Daring in the sense that even amongst friends, we aren’t sure what is going to make him lose his temper. So, the daring man can take greater steps. The way he hits those sixes during a match.” 

Sharing whether he’s open to the idea of joining politics, Afridi explained, “It’s not like I have completely disregarded the idea of getting into politics, but I usually prefer to live one day at a time. I don’t know what my plan will be tomorrow or the day after. The greatest of planners is sitting up there, so I prefer enjoying every day.”

On the topic of what moments have brought him the greatest joy so far, the cricketer explained, “2009’s WorldCup was very important to me. Mainly because it was against Sri Lanka and there were bomb blasts in Pakistan at the time and all the teams refused to play here. Overall, there was disappointment in the air at the time. So, at a time like that, winning the WorldCup was very important. That’s a win you can never forget. The two sixes at the Aisa Cup have separate fond memories attached to them, so these are the things that I will remember for the rest of my life.” 

Answering the same question, Roy shared, “There are a lot of times I look back on that bring me joy, but two, in particular, come to mind, since what happened may end up saving millions of children. When we implemented the curriculum dealing with protecting children from sexual abuse in all government schools of Sindh, and now it’s going on a national level. And when corporal punishment was banned, these were things that made me think how much violence we faced as children.”

He added further,  “Communicating this is very important. I remember we invited a brilliant CFO for an interview on my show, and we asked him about corporal punishment, and he said, ‘If my parents didn’t hit me, I wouldn’t be a CFO. They hit me with a belt that’s why I am where I am today’. I told him that if that was the case then he should continue getting beaten up so that he can become CEO and so on and so forth. This is the mindset in our country, and we need to change it. Children respond much better to love than they do to violence.”  

Responding to Roy’s statements, Afridi said, “Some children don’t respond to love, so there should be some punishment. Treat them with love, but make sure they know they are being watched. It’s very important. All five fingers on your hand aren’t the same, and neither are children. I agree with what Shehzad is saying, but some children need to be treated sternly. This isn’t a mindset.”  

The singer replied, “I’ll agree with him because I don’t want to become a victim of corporal punishment here on the show.” He added, “When you become a father you realise that sometimes it’s difficult to get your children to listen to you. But, once you understand how to manage them, it becomes easier.” 

Afridi retorted, “Do parents have the time to give their children 24 hours? If parents abandon their worldly affairs and end up spending all their time with their children then sure, that makes sense.” 

The cricketer later went on to criticise TikTok, encouraging Roy to campaign for a ban on the app. He explained, “[Shehzad] raises his voice for so many social issues, he should get TikTok banned. I don’t like TikTok. There are so many children in remote areas of Pakistan who haven’t received an education, but they’ve received WiFi. Even to be on the internet, you need to be educated. Look at how TikTok is being used in the country. Our entire younger generation, 12-13 years olds, have phones in their hands. My daughter is 19, I have given her a cell phone now. These children get diverted by things like TikTok when they should be focusing on their goals.”

Roy responded to Afridi saying, “That is true. Even in films, you have ratings, like PG-13 and others. With WiFi and YouTube, there’s no way to control what a child is consuming, until and unless you manage what they’re doing. A lot of parents don’t understand how to apply parental controls to these apps. So, this is dangerous for children. They may end up engaging with adult content and creating it as well. So, I feel as opposed to banning it completely, it needs to be regulated.”

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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