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American Journal: Day One

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Shoukat Zardari capturing images of train derailment Shoukat Zardari capturing images of train derailment

Monday, October 8, 2012

Commentary: Shoukat Zardari, Anchor for AWAZ-TV in Karachi, Pakistan

My first day was great in the newsroom of WRCB-TV and I started my day with an introduction to the news team. News Director Derrall Stalvey has become boss and friend to me. Every time he is ready to hear me and ask me about any problems . The hospitality of the people here is not different than the people of Pakistan so I feel as I am back at my home.

It was a great experience to go out with reporter Jonquil Newland to cover a train derailment in Dade County. I was feeling absolutely the same as we do in Pakistan. The difference which I saw was the rescue work going on there. Normally in Pakistan when there are incidents like this we see a lot of people near by that, doing nothing except disturbing the rescue work. It does not mean that Pakistani people have lack of sense, but we have a lack of response system there in Pakistan.

I visited Chattanooga's Walnut Street Bridge which reminded me about the Kotri Bridge in Hyderbad built over the Indus River. Jonquil was a helpful lady and the photojournalist Jared Guest was just like N.D sharma there in Pakistan. I hope sherad will not mind it. Every one seems to me as old friends here in the newsroom.

Yesterday I met Mr. Steve Bebb, a local district attorney. He has never been to Pakistan. It was a wonderful dinner with Mr. Bebb and WRCB Assignments Manager Melydia Clewell. There we discussed Pakistan's most popular case against President Zardari, but at the end he reserved his comments on that. Mr. Bebb was very much concerned in knowing the peace in Pakistan and especially the security situation for Americans there.

He said in his southern U.S. accent, "Will there ever be peace in Pakistan?" I told him yes, and that except for a few areas there is already peace. This is true especially in the province of Sindh, where I am from. People there are secular and liberal and believe in love, peace and harmony.

Let me tell you all the picture of Pakistan which you see here in media is totally different than the reality. If you go 400 miles outside of Karachi you will never see an anti-American sentiment because the residents of that area represent many generations of the Indus Valley civilization. It is a civilization which you might have heard about. It's a 5,000-year-old civilization and people back in 3200 B.C where not only rich in culture but in economy and social norms as well.

After that I went back to hotel and was sharing all this on Facebook and Twitter with my country.

Editor Note: Shoukat Zardari is visiting WRCB for the month of October to learn about U.S. media coverage. He is part of a foreign journalist visitor program supported by the U.S. State Department. WRCB is one of 14 American media organizations hosting a Pakistani journalist. Click here to learn more about Mr. Zardari's visit.

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