The Myth of ‘Aman Ki Asha’
By Sajjad Shaukat
When idea of initiating ‘Aman-Ki-Asha’ (Desire for peace) was presented, the exponents of this initiative argued that it will provide a platform to Pakistan to make peace and end hostilities with India. They explained that it will also facilitate resolution of core issues between India and Pakistan like Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, and Water through a dialogue process. But, Aman-Ki-Asha which was promoted by the Geo and Jang Media Group in lines of Indian shrewd diplomacy against Islamabad has proved to be the myth. It provided New Delhi with pretext not only to keep all the issues with Pakistan unsettled, but also to distort the image Pakistan’s image, its ideology, Two Nation Theory, its Army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI). In other words, it was collaboration between Geo Group and India against Pakistan’s national interests.
However, the powerful presentations made by Geo Group convinced the politico-military leadership that the initiative is no doubt a noble effort. Unfortunately, Aman-Ki-Asha followed Indian agenda and created doubts in the minds of general public in Pakistan about Two Nation Theory. In fact, Pakistani nation is so inspired by the truth of Two Nation Theory that all past propaganda failed to create negative impact in this regard. Basically, Indian Hindus’ majority is against the Two Nation Theory, as it led to the partition of Indian. Indian designs to weaken the ideological basis of Pakistan have been facilitated through Geo and the Times of India, using Aman-Ki-Asha as an instrument of influencing opinions and creating misperceptions. Aman-Ki-Asha failed to facilitate resolution of various issues between New Delhi and Pakistan like Siachen, Sir Creek and Water including major dispute of Kashmir besides focusing on exploitation of different vulnerabilities of Pakistan, during global war against terrorism, instigating separatists in Balochistan, crating lawlessness in Karachi, muddling in the affairs of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and tribal areas by supporting Taliban or terrorists by using Indian Consulates, established along Pak-Afghan border. Similarly sectarianism has been intensified in various cities of Pakistan, while the nation stands divided on social, economic and political issues.
But, the collaboration between Geo media network and India has been exposed, as leaders of various political and religious parties including all the segments of society have been condemning the Geo and Jang Group by showing solidarity with Pakistan’s armed forces and ISI), in the aftermath of Hamid Mir episode which was manipulated by this media group.
On the same day, when its anchor Hamid Mir was injured by unidentified gunmen in Karachi, without any evidence or inquiry, Geo TV channel deduced hastily outcome, and displayed a photo of the DG ISI Lt. Gen Zaheerul Islam, while its some media anchors accused ISI and its DG in this respect, while Pakistan Army was also targetted.
Every thing became crystal clear when foreign media, NGOs and human rights groups reactivated their campaign against Pakistan, its army and especially ISI by supporting the so-called propaganda of the Geo TV, while favouring the misconceptions of Hamid Mir. Particularly, India avail the opportunity, and under the pretext of false accusations, its renowned newspapers, especially The Times of India including TV channels and high officials maligned ISI. In this connection, Geo media network which enjoys support of external enemies, itself indicates the evidence that it follows India which wants to destabilize Pakistan. In this context, on April 28, this year, voicing his support for the Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha called upon Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif through a letter to stop ISI from suspending Geo TV license. It has unveiled the intrigue between India and Geo network.
But countrywide protests and rallies in support of armed forces and Pakistan’s prime spy agency, ISI which started since the day, Geo TV channel defamed country’s security agencies, accelerated against the Geo Network after its channel showed blasphemous content on May 14, in its entertainment morning show “Utho Jago Pakistan” by playing a Qawwali (a genre of sufi music) “Ali ke Saath hai Zahra ki Shaadi” in the background of actress Veena Malik and her husband Assad Bashir Khattak’s wedding reenactment. It is a famous Qawwali about the marriage of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) daughter Syeda Fatima Zehra (R.A) with his cousin Hazrat Ali (R.A). In fact, it was part Indian cultural penetration in Pakistan through Geo Media Group. Now, besides the political and religious leaders, the intellectuals and general masses of Pakistan are raising slogans that Geo and Jang Group has been fulfilling foreign agenda, especially that of India against the country, and “shut down the Geo.”
Particularly, Chairman, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan who has also defended the stance of Army and ISI, announced to boycott Geo and Jang Group. In a press conference on May 17, Imran Khan displayed documentary evidence, revealing that Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, owner of the Geo and Jang Group is working against the national interests of Pakistan and is being funded by foreign countries like UK and the US State Department for shaping the national narrative on foreign agendas, while there is no audit of the Geo network which blackmails those who raise question in this respect. Imran Khan who has been protesting against the rigging in the elections 2013, repeatedly stated that PML (N) and Geo are the one team having common interests—Najam Sethi, an employee for Geo TV was made PCB chairman as a gift of Geo’s services, and rigging in the polls, while the ex-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also played his role in this regard. Imran Khan further added, “Media trial of ISI and its chief by Geo TV is extremely condemnable which was done as per agenda set by Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman.” He had also indicated that the “US and India will be gladly looking at the maligning of Pakistan’s armed forces by the country’s own TV channel.”
Earlier, Imran Khan also criticized the said TV channel’s Aman Ki Asha campaign in the eastern border and Jang Ki Asha (Desire for war) in the western border which shows its double standard, while rejecting foreign allegations that ISI or Army is supporting militancy in Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, due to Aman Ki Asha, Pakistan’s ideology and Two Nation Theory have been considerably damaged. Credit goes to the team of Geo and “Times of India.”
Every Pakistani knows that the separatists in Balochistan get all sorts of support from India in particular and America including some other powers in general, but Geo would not project Indian stance. Because, Pakistan Army and ISI are the main targets of Indian propagandists, as Indian media leaves no stone unturned to damage the prestige and tarnish the image of these national institutions, and Geo facilitates Indian agenda. For the purpose, terrorism in Pakistan has been promoted by glorifying the actions of terrorists and linking it with human rights and missing persons’ case. Nevertheless, since the Supreme Court of Pakistan has been dealing with case of missing persons, especially of Balochistan, while speaking in the tone of anti-Pakistan elements like India, Geo anchors has implicated Pak Army and ISI about the disappeared persons as well human rights violations. They ignored the reality that the missing persons have been killed in subversive acts, arranged by American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad through their affiliated militants groups. In case of Balochistan, foreign-assisted Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other separatist outfits which have been fighting for secession of the province kidnapped and killed many innocent people and the security personnel in the province, while claiming responsibility like the TTP militants. These insurgents groups are responsible for human rights violations in Balochistan and other places of Pakistan.
In the recent past, when Quaid’s residency in Ziarat was attacked by the Baloch separatists, Geo TV blamed ISI for the episode, but after a few days, BLA claimed responsibility, releasing a video in that regard.
When on November 26, 2008, terror attacks occurred in Mumbai, the culprit who was caught alive was Ajmal Kasab. Nobody knew who Ajmal Kasab was and where he came from, but Hamid Mir and Geo broke the headline that Ajmal Kasab is Pakistani and is resident of Faridkot village. Geo TV was repeatedly displaying it like an advertisement to distort the image of Pakistan and its security agencies, which clearly showed that it was the result of a deal between India and this media group. Although Indian RAW took a forced statement from him against ISI, yet on December 31, 2008, the FBI team which visited Faridkot said that no evidence could be collected, which could confirm Ajmal Kasab’s claim of being Pakistani national. In 2013, ex-investigative officer of the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation, Satish Verma disclosed that India itself arranged terror attacks on Indian parliament in 2001 in New Delhi and in Mumbai in 2008 to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.
It is notable that Hindu fundamentalist parties like BJP, RSS, Shiv Sena etc. which are promoting Hindu extremism have been committing gross human rights violations in India such as suppression of Muslims and Christians, attacks on their places of worship and so on. Besides, Indian military and paramilitary troops are also responsible for human rights violations in the Indian occupied Kashmir, while separatist movements in India continue unabated. These brutal atrocities and crushing the freedom movements have never been projected by Geo, while Balochistan issue remains favorite topic of Geo and The Times of India.
We can conclude that Aman Ki Asha has proved to be the myth, as the idea has created a negative impact on Pakistani public vis-à-vis Pakistan’s ideology, the Two Nation Theory, the image of Pakistan Army, ISI, the war against terrorism, insurgencies in Balochistan, FATA, cause of Kashmir, upsurge in sectarianism, civil military relations etc., while the disputes between India and Pakistan have further been sidelined as per Indian schemes. Hence, one can witness that Geo Media Group promoted Indian designs at the cost of Pakistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations