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LinkAsia | Feb 22
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Pakistani Twitter followers of the handle @majorlyprofound are going through withdrawal after the popular tweep disappeared weeks ago. Known for sarcastic and anti-nationalist tweets, the Twitter star used of humor to frame what was happening in Pakistan. Our contributor Wajahat Khan reports on life after majorlyprofound.
The search continues for Pakistan's most missed tweep. When the anonymous, anti-establishment, anti-system, and frankly, anti-everything Twitter user, once known simply as majorlyprofound, went AWOL a few weeks ago, the virtual disappearance of "Major", as he or she was once called, caused a twitter-wide man-hunt across the internet that ranged from a New York Times feature to a Foreign Policy Magazine News Alert that Major had been "threatened, abducted, or even killed", to rare attention from the Indian media, to even a dedication on precious column space in the relatively old-school Pakistani print press.
But what was the big deal? Why was there so much international, and internet, attention about the closed account of a user who always used the picture of a goat and who made deliberately idiosyncratic spelling mistakes? Because @majorlyprofound was this country's darkest and perhaps most subversive internet wit.
He equated Pakistan's terrorist infrastructure with the academic standards of Harvard. He mourned Pakistan's military defeats by India with razor sharp sarcasm. He even suggested, in a brave rarity for local cyberspace, that Pakistan protects terrorists. And he did it all in a tongue and cheek, culture and country way that resonated far and wide with subjects everyone in Pakistan thinks about but is too afraid to tweet.
@majorlyprofound's disappearance caused a cascade of speculation and concern. Of his over 10,000 followers.
Some, like this Indian fan, hoped he had not been taken by jihadists. Some, like this female fan - one of the Major's thousands - hoped he was having a Dark Knight Rises moment. Even journalists, like this editor of a major newspaper, fuelled speculation by suggesting that Major was an actual army officer who had been deployed to North Waziristan for a military operation against militants. Interestingly, the Major's alleged connection with the feared Pakistan Army solicited rare compliments from tweeps from neighbor and archrival, India.
Days after the disappearance, a few successor accounts, like the ambitiously named @majorlyprofounder, have sprouted in his wake. But his fans still await a fresh tweet update. However, the bottom line is a simple one. In a country where there are decreasing spaces and places for a counter-narrative, where it is increasingly difficult to criticize Pakistan's military, its religion, its government, its institution, even its nationalism, @majorlyprofound is being missed, majorly. From Islamabad, for LinkAsia, this is Waj Khan.