Aman Ki Asha or Trade Sachet?
by Rehmatullah Kakakhel
As far as the Indian business delegates are concerned, they came, they saw and they conquered (certainly not the heart of a common Pakistani). The core issues like Kashmir and water accord were thrown on the backseats while the business interests were brought into the lime light. A couple of happy meals, photo sessions and some musical evenings in the forefront while discreet and dubious business deals in the backstage were in brief the ‘Aman ki Asha’. The Pakistan government and the Jang Group, while apparently daggers drawn against each other, were hands in hands behind the closed doors to ensure success for the juicy project. This so called peace campaign Aman ki Asha is in fact a joint venture of the Times of India (TOI) and the Jang publishing group of Pakistan.
Both the giant groups were working on this proposal for last many years and were looking for the right time for the curtain raising. The Times of India is known for its anti Pakistan write-ups, editorials and analysis; hence the collaboration of both not only raises suspicions but confirms their vested interests as well. However the TOI is one step ahead in a way that the group is going into this joint venture for a national cause for which the paper has his government‘s and the secret agency’s full support and the backing. There is strong perception that the TOI has signed in to this joint venture for; pure business interests, to put the Kashmir issue on the back burner, create misunderstanding between the political class and the establishment of Pakistan, categorically the armed forces and finally a full throttle to the cultural invasion to brain wash the Pakistanis. For these obvious reasons the Times of India doesn’t enjoy favourable reputation in Pakistan due to its negative and radical policy towards Pakistan, while on the Pakistan side people have started asking too many pricking questions about the Jang group also and that’s putting the group in a tight corner. People still wonder that how come the Jang group’s GEO channel sustain a long shut down, forced upon it during General Musharraf government’s tenure? The corroboration between the TOI and the Jang Group is in a way track three diplomacy which the owners of these two joint ventures have floated for the prosperity of their business empires.
The GEO programs are well researched and scientifically and psychologically planned, harmless from outside but carries lethal messages from inside. The popularity of the GEO channel has out rightly changed the psyche/ taste of the viewers in particular and the masses in general. The format of GEO’s programmes clearly indicates its inclination towards the Indian programs and cultural heritage which is discreetly being indoctrinated by them. The channel is eager to take lead seat and dominate the media policies at a later stage. The Jang group has some of the journalists (not all) aboard with dubious loyalties and sympathies for the foreign agencies who are known for their skill to exploit and flare up the issues. Seeing the Times of India’s track record it is too hard to believe that they would do some constructive thing to improve Indo-Pak bilateral relations. As a matter of fact the cooperation crave by the Jang group is its business objectives while the TOI has the same for further penetration in Pakistani media and political ranks for their ulterior motives and some signs were quite evident after the recent series of forums held in Pakistan.
Interestingly, in recent past the TOI and the Jang group planned to have their headquarters at Dubai but had to drop the idea with a heavy heart after the Indian government’s red signal to the TOI group since the Indians wanted to keep this joint venture directly under their thumb at all cost. The Jang group is in fact making identical moves to SAFMA which is very active to raise its voice for; peace & friends without borders, frequent visits to India and criticise Pakistani armed forces and the defence budget at every forum but if the Jang group is asked that what steps they have taken so far to highlight the burning Indian issues like Kashmir, Maoist movement, Naxalite movement, atrocities towards Dalits and discrimination towards the Muslims, Christians and the women folk then they have no answer to it. The GEO channel is known for giving extra ordinary coverage to the Indian programs, culture and showbiz.
Though on the other hand, they do telecast patriotic programs but only to earn credibility. If carefully watch, the GEO is found giving more air time to the American, Indian, European and then Pakistani events in the same order. Since last many years the VOA (Voice of America) has bought a costly slot during the prime time and frequently telecasts its publicity programs from GEO channel, which is a discreet psychological operation campaign, though no one has ever noticed or bothered about it. GEO’s role post November 26, 2008 massacre remained very dubious. Especially the hype created by this channel about Ajmal Qasab raised many eyebrows. The channel in the name of the freedom of press left no chance to malign Pakistan by trying to confirm that Ajmal Qasab was actually a Pakistan. The slogan ‘Aman ki Asha’ gives impression of a Hindi catchphrase and reflects Indian dominance. Interestingly, if carefully observed, the doves in the logo are of Indian flag ‘Taranga’ colours and logo has been designed in such a way that it looks as Lotus, which is Indian national flower used as symbol by some right wing extremist parties of India too. The likely reasons for kicking campaign Aman ki Asha off are; efforts to negate the two nation theory, to weaken the Pakistan politically and ideologically as Pakistan is the only country India fears, to keep Pakistan busy with GWOT and carryout nefarious designs under that cover, play the blame game at the fastest pace, create rift between the political hierarchy and the army command, to convince Pakistani public that Kashmir is not at all an issue for which both the nations are daggers drawn and last but not the least is to blow Balochistan issue out of proportion to put Pakistan on back foot. Currently a section of Pak media is more like lost and directionless, clearly violating all sorts of norms and ethics and professional codes while the Indian media on contrary behaving very responsible and standing beside their government in their silent war against Pakistan at every hole-in. Those who do not want the friendly relations with the Indians, under the current status-quo, are unfortunately being labelled as extremists which is a dangerous practice and will have serious repercussions in near future. It should be remembered that the Kashmir issue is still unresolved and would always remain a litmus test to gauge the Indian sincerity and as long as Kashmir and water issues are not resolved, peace in the region can not be erected on the puny pillars of Aman ki Asha, cultural exchanges and MFN statuses.