Pakistani media men just flaunt to prove how independent they are, they criticize military and ISI, day in and day out. There are indeed patriotice elements in Pakistan print and electronic media who are aware of their national responsibility.
Dr Mohammad Jamil
Latest WikiLeaks release of three cables from American embassy in New Delhi to US State Department regarding Indian atrocities and acts of barbarism on Kashmiris, Rahul Gandhi’s remarks about Hindu extremists and US diplomats’ observation of India’s bureaucratic inertia and corrupt or populist politicians. Before giving details of the latest leaks, it is appropriate expose some of Pakistani media men who relish Pakistan-bashing by enemies and detractors of Pakistan. They had questioned the veracity of diplomatic cables from US embassy in India carried by English daily of Islamabad; nevertheless with new revelations position of the Islamabad daily has been vindicated. This group had carried the same news in its daily English and Urdu newspapers; later described them fake and apologized for not checking its veracity and the source before publishing. They are now trying to create ‘awareness’ among media men that they should not release news without checking its authenticity. But the problem is that there is competition in print and electronic media, especially the latter for their passion for breaking news; and they do not have the time to check the veracity of the news. However, one of its anchors in his remarks on Indian TV assured that he would investigate those behind fake WikiLeaks, which is despicable.
Meanwhile, US embassy cables vis-à-vis India have been released by WikiLeaks, which have been published by The Hindu and other Indian dailies on 17th December. Rahul Gandhi is reported to have told the American ambassador last year that Hindu extremist groups could pose a greater threat to his country than Muslim militants. Rahul told US Ambassador Timothy Roemer last year: “There was some support among Indian Muslims for militant groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba – blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks”, adding “however the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community.” WikiLeaks has released another diplomatic cable on Thursday night that read: “U.S. officials had evidence of widespread torture by Indian police and security forces and were secretly briefed by Red Cross staff about the systematic abuse of detainees in Kashmir”. The dispatches, obtained by website WikiLeaks, also reveal that “U.S. diplomats in Delhi were briefed in 2005 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the use of electrocution, beatings, sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees”.
The Hindu referred to another diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks and wrote: “U.S. diplomats complain of bureaucratic inertia, a lack of capacity, oversensitivity, corrupt or populist politicians and a bureaucracy stuck in the era of the cold war”. It is worth mentioning that Press Trust of India and NDTV carried news on 29th November that among a quarter million secret US documents released by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, a total of 3,038 classified cables are from the American embassy in New Delhi. However, details of the cables related to India were not immediately available, mainly because of inaccessibility to the WikiLeaks website, which was experiencing heavy traffic.
It is unfortunate that the said media group did not carry the very genuine and authentic cables released by WikiLeaks. However, this speaks volumes about the group’s independence. Anyhow, there are other ‘brilliant’ analysts and panelists in Pakistan’s electronic media sarcastically saying that Pakistan is looking for strategic depth in Afghanistan.
One is astonished to hear an anchor on Pakistani channel that “America has a point when it says that Pakistan is only conducting military operation on the militants that pose threat to Pakistan, but turns a blind to the Haqqani network holed in North Waziristan”. Are they not Mir Jafars of Pakistani media? It can be argued that when America and India, who have no borders with Afghanistan, wish to protect their strategic interests in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s desire to see a friendly government next door sounds logical and reasonable. Pakistan, indeed, has genuine concern, as Afghanistan was the only country that had voted against Pakistan’s membership in United Nations in 1947, and except a brief period of Taliban era, the relations remained strained. In comparison, look at India’s writers, intellectuals and media men, all of them support India’s stance on Kashmir except one odd case of Arundhati Roy who supports freedom struggle of Kashmiris. It appears that India has expertise in public relations, and they have much more resources to amuse some of the Pakistani journalists and writers. There is also another possibility that there are clandestine business relations because corporate India is one of the leading trading hubs in the world.
Secondly, one would not come across any Indian condemning Indian intelligence agency RAW. On the other hand, Pakistani media men just flaunt to prove how independent they are, they criticize military and ISI, day in and day out. There are indeed patriotic elements in Pakistani print and electronic media who are aware of their national responsibility. But others also abound who have become chivalrous and obstreperous as a result of the newfound media freedom. Pseudo-intellectuals and a few politicians also continue to spread despondency in a bid to prove that Pakistan is a failed state, at a time when India is trying to get Pakistan the stigma of a state supporting and promoting terrorism. However, it is only the urban-centric anchorpersons and their ‘brilliant’ panelists that remain preoccupied with proving each and every act of the government, military and intelligence agencies wrong. During their TV programmes, they take bleeper from Indian journalists who support their government on every count, but our ‘intelligentsia’ does not feel qualms over denigrating Pakistan. These anchorpersons and analysts often badmouth the military while discussing Martial Laws of the past, though elected governments, civilian and military dictators were responsible in equal measure for having brought the country to the present pass.
There is a perception that elements at the social pyramid - the educated class, pseudo-intellectuals, or intelligentsia both Mandarins and Resistantes - have not performed their rightful duty of providing adequate leads to the overwhelming illiterate and immensely religious hoi polloi. Anyhow, it is moral obligation of the right thinking and responsible media men to react strongly to irresponsible behavior, no matter who commits the act. So the irresponsible minority needs strong sanctions from within the media to protect the good name and integrity of those who act responsibly. Media in the past had played prodigious role during Pakistan movement in uniting the Muslims of the subcontinent. And it was because of this unity that Muslims of the undivided India were able to carve out a separate homeland under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam. During 1965 war also, the media had made a commendable contribution towards uniting the nation and boosting the morale of the armed forces. The result was that Pakistan could resist and repulse attack by India - much larger in size and having enormous resources. At this point in time when Pakistan is confronting challenges to its internal and external security, Pakistani media men should rise to the occasion and play its role to counter hostile Indian propaganda and protect national interests.