Negative criticism of Army, ISI now a media fashion
By Zaheerul Hassan
American unilateral operation in Abbottabad in May las year opened the flood gates of criticism for Pakistan from all quarters. An already hostile international media found it all convenient to unleash their most venomous war against Pakistan, Pak Army, ISI and Pakistan’s Nuclear Programme. Most of the online International Newspapers (with the exception of Arab and neutral countries) highly criticized Pakistan for being oblivious to the presence of OBL deep inside Pakistan. Leading the bandwagon were the Wall Street Journal, The Washi-ngton Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph UK and Indian papers like Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Hindu.
The tide has, however, somewhat receded with regular articles still appearing here and there. But unfortunately western campaign remained successful in winning and molding some irresponsible segments of unfledged Pakistani media against the government, security agencies and ISI. Some of the blogs/forums blogging community went too crazy in arousing inflammatory sentiments against Pakistan Army and ISI. Being so-called liberal forums, writers on these sites kept no holds barred in losing all decency in their onslaught.
Moreover, some of political leaders of major parties also started defaming and criticizing ISI chief Lt General Pasha on the issue of extension and Memogate scandal. On March 6, 2012 Chaudary Nisar openly criticised General Pasha on the issue of extension. In this connection, addressing journalists, he indirectly threatened the government that he has the option of knocking the door of Supreme Court in case of extension of Lt General Pasha. It is not understood that why Chaudary Nisar kept on opposing ISI and Lt General Pasha at all forums.
Interestingly, on the news of appointing Lt General Zaheerul Islam as new DG ISI, Chudary Nisar once again said that General Pasha’s change was necessary because of security laps. Such type of efforts of politicians like Nisar seems to be either part of foreign agenda or an attempt of tarnishing the image of ISI and alleging General Pasha amount because of some personal grievances against the General.
Undoubtedly, I can say that Lt General Pasha is an upright, patriotic, straightforward and a professionally sound soldier who always defended Pakistan’s’ interest and remained steadfast while dealing with his CIA’s counterpart. However, another professional soldier General Zaheerul Islam is replacing General Pasha on March, 18, 2012.
General Zaheer had remained at helm of affairs of ISI earlier too. He is used to be known as a true leader and never compromised on national interest. Thus coming back to his old organization as chief will help in continuation of policies in the national interest too.
Anyhow, the unfair bashing of Armed Forces/ISI through media by certain elements has been a source of concern for the soldiers as well as the patriotic people of Pakistan.
This has not only shown the Armed Forces/ISI in bad light but has also proliferated divisive themes/messages among domestic audience creating false perceptions of mistrust and unjust sense of conflict between the national institutions and the government.
As media reports on Memogate scandal erupted like an endemic on the entire area of Pakistan, the intruding analysts left no stone unturned in propagating against Army/ISI. They clearly projected a case against Army/ISI for their alleged involvement in creating political mess in the country.
Such hawkish analysts misperceiving the prevalent politico-social milieu misconstrued the real spirit/intention of Army/ISI. The effort was aimed at provocative coverage of events to create further mistrust between Army/ISI and Government. The events were negatively projected without showing any regards for the Armed Forces.
It is regrettable to say that negative criticism of Army and ISI has been turned into a media fashion. Immature anchors of a major segment of country media have started depicting terrorists as heroes. The case of detainee terrorists, foreign sponsored abductions and killing of innocent people in Balochistan and case of distribution of funds by ISI are deliberately been broadcast against Security Forces and ISI.
For the couple of months most of our so-called analysts on the direction of foreign masters have tried to spread rumours in the masses, like: (one) Senate elections would never be allowed to take place, (two) Much before the Senate elections the political government would be dispatched, (three) Since Armed Forces and Government are not on the same page, therefore, something extraordinary was likely to take place fearing that Army will take over the control of the country; (four) Most of the significant think tanks (majority US based) kept harping the old tune of depicting Pakistan as a country “on the edge” due to its worsening security situation. (five) Social Networking Sites like Facebook and Twitter are private but highly powerful forums which have increasingly assumed greater significance in terms of influencing public opinion. Here these people were quick to upload their anti armed forces feelings. Sane voices were also heard but the percentage remained very low.
In reality the events unfolded differently, bringing shame and discredit for such analysts and opinion makers. Senate elections have been held peacefully. The civilian government remains in power and Pak Army/ISI and government are very much on the same page. New ISI Chief has been announced after meeting of the troika (President, Prime Minister and COAS).
In short undue politicizing of security agencies and ISI need to be curbed by all segments of the society since anti-state forces get the chance to play their agenda with objective of weakening Pakistan.
At the same time government should devise some laws, related to evidence since common man of the society is afraid of appearing before courts because of terrorists’ fear. Moreover media policy is utmost important to protect independent opinion and security agencies as well.