Need to guide the media
By Asif Haroon Raja
Gen Musharraf after coming to power through a military coup on October 12, 1999 decided to boost up and modernize electronic media by allowing foreign ownership in the name of freedom of expression. Private TV channels were given a free hand to broadcast their own programs and news in 2002. Till that time, apart from few private channels, PTV had remained the sole channel. Within few years one hundred TV channels cropped up and most were owned by foreign groups. Among the TV channels, Jang/News Geo TV gained greater prominence and became popular because of its colorful programs. Anil Ambani from India, an American Group and Mir Shakilur Rehman family jointly owns this independent media corporation.
It is now a well-known secret that Jang-Geo Group is funded by the US State Department, British House of Lords, CIA, MI-6 and RAW. This group is major beneficiary of $60 million allocated by Obama administration for Pak media. Geo and The News as a policy prop up secular and anti-Islam anchors and journalists to promote secularism and undermine Islam. Marvi Sirmed, Farzana Bari, Tahira Abdullah, Kamila Hyat, Hasan Nisar, Ghamdi, Pervez Hoodbhouy, Aysha Saddiqa, Asma Jahangir, Najam Sethi, Imtiaz Alam, MAK Lodhi and some others are among the favorites.
Since 2004, Pakistan faces a media world war. In international media, Pakistan’s warts are magnified out of all proportions, while its finer features are ignored or downplayed. A few TV channels particularly Geo TV groomed and nourished by foreign agencies are mandated to supplement Indo-US-western media war against Pakistan by badmouthing Pak Army and ISI.
Lending strength to the Indian propaganda, Hamid Mir wrote an article and reiterated in his TV program holding Pak Army squarely responsible for all the atrocities committed in former East Pakistan in 1971 and suggesting that Pakistan must apologise to Bangladesh. For his prejudicial stance, he was rewarded by Bangladesh government. PPP government awarded him Hilal-e-Imtiaz. It may be recalled that his father Waris Mir also spewed venom against Pak Army during and after the 1971 war. He was also conferred Hilal-e-Imtiaz posthumously for his so-called laudable services.
Geo TV in its exuberance to promote Indian interests diligently works on the Indian theme of ‘common culture’. This is totally in contrast to what Quaid-e-Azam stated and which became the raison de etre for demanding a separate homeland for the Muslims. There is no denying the fact that Hindu and Muslim cultures are totally different and there is hardly anything common between these cultures. Language, script, literature, poetry, music, architecture, dress, food, method of serving food and method of greeting are different. All the rituals on the occasions of birth, marriage, death, and finally the way of thinking are also different.It may be recalled that the Joint Select Committee on Indian Constitutional Reforms of the House of Commons Session had stated in 1934: “Two-thirds of India’s inhabitants profess Hinduism in one form or another as their religion; over seventy five million are followers of Islam; and the difference between the two is not only in religion in the stricter sense but also of law and culture. They may be said to indeed represent two distinct civilizations. Hinduism is distinguished by the phenomena of its caste which is the basis of its religion and social system. The religion of Islam on the other hand is based upon the concept of the equality of man”. (House of Commons UK 1933-34, Volume1, para 1).
A highly controversial Aman-ki-Asha venture co-sponsored by Jang-Geo Group and Indian newspaper sprouted from nowhere professing to work towards removing age-old rifts between the two neighbors and promoting peace and harmony. The apparently noble venture is RAW funded and is aimed at making Pakistan submit to Indian demands. While highlighting the virtues of peace, the promoters of this program keep counseling Pak leaders to opt for peace but never counsel the belligerent and uncompromising Indian leaders who want peace on their terms. They want trade, and that too with balance of trade heavily tilted in favor of India, minus Kashmir. They want Pakistan to accept Indian hegemony and live in peace as a vassal State of India.
Aman-ki-Asha went for a six in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks in November 2008 because of highly vitriolic military, diplomatic and media campaign launched by India against Pakistan. The purpose behind the Indian media onslaught was to discredit ISI and get it declared a rogue outfit.
The lone key witness Ajmal Kasab, allegedly an ISI/Lashkar-e-Taiba man, was declared a Pakistani. Rather than confronting Indian hostile media by exposing scores of glaring loopholes in the story cooked by India as had been done by ARY, Hamid Mir authenticated Indian story by taking his team to a village Faridkot and declaring that Marhatti-speaking and Raam worshipping Kasab belonged to that village. Kasab was never presented by India to Pakistani investigators/judiciary or to Interpol since it knew that he was a phony. He was secretly hanged to death inside the jail premises despite the fact that he kept pleading that he was not guilty. It has now been announced by a teacher of Ajmal Kasab in Faridkot that he is very much alive and didn’t understand which Kasab was hanged by India.
Rather than combating Indian media’s belligerence and highlighting the glaring loopholes in the story concocted by India, Geo remained on the defensive and blamed Pakistan agencies, Lashkar-e-Taeba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa for the sins committed by India. Mir and other Geo anchors didn’t deem it fit to highlight the role of Maharashtra anti-terrorist chief Hemant Karkare who was the first brave Indian police officer to expose Hindu terrorism in 2008. Earlier on, Geo had turned a blind eye to the sensational details provided by I.K. Shukla about Hindu terrorism in India in his report in Milli Gazette dated September 26, 2005. Likewise, startling disclosure made by Swami Aseemanand before investigating magistrate Deepak Dabas on December 18, 2010 that he and several other RSS extremist Hindus were involved in Samjhota Express, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif and Malegaon blasts, and that Mumbai attacks were conducted by RAW agents with the help of Mosad were also ignored by our media.
Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde removed all doubts of RAW’s complicity by giving an interview to Washington Post on January 20, 2013 that BJP and RSS were promoting Hindu terrorism through their training camps. He said that the duo was behind the blasts in Pakistan bound Samjhota Express, in Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid and the Malegaon mosque in Mahrashtra. He added that the accused blamed the minority community for the crimes. Congress leaders defended Sushil’s stance and confirmed that right wing terrorism was a reality in India. Satish Verma, former Indian Home Ministry officer and investigator spilled the beans by stating that both December 2001 and November 2008 attacks were orchestrated and pre-planned by incumbent government to pressure Pakistan, discredit ISI and freedom movement in Kashmir. India’s Home Ministry Undersecretary Ravi Mani submitted signed affidavits in the court to substantiate Satish Verma’s report. Yet our media and so-called free and liberal Geo remained mum. One can imagine what would have been the reaction of Indian media had such revelations come to surface against Pakistan.
RAW is deeply involved in destabilizing Balochistan using Afghan soil. Bundles of proofs were provided to Manmohan Singh and Karzai. Chuck Hagel and several other US/western notables are on record having stated that India is pumping in huge funds to destabilize Balochistan. Yet, for unknown reasons our media doesn’t find any fault in RAW’s doings. India has built 62 small and major dams in occupied Kashmir over rivers whose water belongs to Pakistan under 1960 Indus Basin Treaty. Pakistan is being systematically turned into a desert. Like our political leaders, Pak media is also tightlipped over this grave issue which threatens the very existence of Pakistan. Preachers of Aman-ki-Asha feel shy to raise this issue.
India is an ethnic museum ruled by 2.8% Brahmins. It is rived in social injustices, class discriminations, religious prejudices and Hindu bigotry. Rape is used as a weapon in occupied Kashmir; in rest of India rape is practiced as a fashion against low caste Dalit girls. Indian Muslims are treated worst than Dalits, the lowest class within Hinduism. Indian security forces equipped with black laws are involved in most terrible human rights violations in 20 insurgency prone Indian States and in occupied Kashmir. RAW is ill-reputed for its clandestine operations inside and outside India. Large numbers of Indian Army senior officers are involved in corruption and sex scandals. Pakistani prisoners languishing in Indian jails are treated inhumanly.
BJP under Modi is now bent upon imposing Hindutva in India, which will perpetually consign Muslims and other religious minorities to second rated citizens deserving no rights. Our media never touches upon India’s anomalies and excesses but blows up even small weakness of Pakistan. Geo take the lead in subtly discussing settled issues like creation of Pakistan, acceptance of truncated Pakistan, two-nation theory, Objectives Resolution and ideology of Pakistan to mislead the younger generation.
PEMRA should be reformed and asked to formulate a comprehensive media policy and guide the print/electronic media to divert its energies from harmful programs towards constructive and motivational programs aimed at building nationalism, patriotism and bridging divides within the society. The media should assist in building rather than tarnishing the image of the defenders of Pakistan. Notwithstanding media’s fruitful contributions, its negatives should be turned into positives.
The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst/columnist, author of books, Director MEASAC Research Centre.firstname.lastname@example.org