By Mohammad Jamil
Whether it was the decision to enter into defence pacts with the West; becoming frontline state during Afghan jihad or joining the war on terror with the US, our civil and military bureaucracy and inept political eminences in the past have had the penchant for self-inflicted affliction. During 1965 and 1971 wars with India, the uselessness of the defence pacts had become obvious, yet our leaders did not abandon the policy of putting all eggs in one basket. Now they have also bought some of our anchorpersons, analysts and ‘brilliant’ panelists, who advise Pakistan to obey the super power, even if it is against our national interest. It is well thought out policy that WikiLeaks disclosures are made whenever they wish to put Pakistan on the mat. According to recent WikiLeaks’ leaks, the US authorities described Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency as a terrorist organization. The leaked documents distributed by WikiLeaks website stated that “the US saw the ISI as a threat at par with al-Qaeda and the Taliban”. Can these ‘eminences’ understand that the US after facing defeat in Afghanistan is planning to make Pakistan a whipping boy? And god forbid if anything happens to Pakistan, they all stand to lose.
It has to be mentioned that after 2008 elections the PPP-led government had tried to bring the ISI under ministry of interior on the behest of Pentagon or US administration to make it ineffective. For some weeks now Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of PML-N has started a smearing campaign against the ISI, not realizing that the agency is trying to identify the CIA and Blackwater operatives roaming around the cities of Pakistan. Anyhow, Chaudhry Nisar is once again playing hawk; but the PML-N is likely to lose the support of the people, as it already stands isolated whereby there is hardly a political party of substance that stands with it. According to reports, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was the one who had advised Mian Nawaz Sharif to act tough with civil and military bureaucracy. Of course, Mian Nawaz Sharif got rid of a President, two army chiefs and one chief justice, but ultimately wasted 10 years of his prime life in exile. The timing of Chaudhry Nisar Ali’s tirade against the ISI is also wrong when the US has already opened the front with the ISI especially after the Raymond Davis case. Anyhow, the people of Pakistan are angry over the insults being inflicted on this nation by the Americans so blithely.
There are indeed patriotic elements in Pakistani print and electronic media who are aware of their national responsibility, and they do not project our enemies’ point of view. But there are others who are 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.
However, 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 their role to counter hostile Indian and western propaganda and protect national interests. It is not being suggested that they should become embedded journalists and hold brief for the government, military or intelligence agencies, but should act in a responsible manner, which is emblematic of patriotism.