The fact of a media conspiracy against Zardari has been discussed for some time as onlookers scratch their heads in wonder at much of the seemingly outrageous anti-Zardari rhetoric that is published. But have the conspirators finally overplayed their hand and revealed themselves? It looks like this may be the case, as the scheme appears to be backfiring on them and showing the media conspirators in a bad light instead of the president.
This week has seen a number of slips by the self-righteous intellectual elites who have been waging a media war against Zardari since the day he was elected. From the very beginning, before he had any opportunity to make any mistakes at all, Shaheen Sehbai and Jang’s The News International declared “the present Zardari-led set-up will not last long…”.
Jang has executed an unrelenting media campaign of slander and smears against Zardari and any and all political allies since. This week, when even going after Zardari’s son, The News messed up and admitted their political campaign against the president.
Chairman of the PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari dramatically declared last night that he would not address the Birmingham rally on Saturday, August 07, putting cold water on the plans that he would be launched as the party chief and adding a new sense of drama to the countrywide campaign against President Zardari*.
* emphasis added
This blog has pointed out this week that the media venom that is being published against Zardari for his trip to London has been intellectually insupportable. It turns out we aren’t the only ones who have noticed.
A new report in BBC today calls the media attacks “unprecedented” and shows that the international community sees the media conspiracy against Zardari as a disgraceful act.
And indeed, the current anti-Zardari campaign in the media started before the floods hit the headlines.
The criticism began after British Prime Minister David Cameron made remarks in India on 28 July where he accused some in Pakistan of “looking both ways”, exporting terror to neighbouring countries.
On 31 July, Pakistan’s Geo TV reported that the chief of the ISI intelligence service, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, had cancelled a scheduled trip to the UK because of Mr Cameron’s remarks, but Mr Zardari was continuing with his planned trip.
Pakistan’s ubiquitous TV news presenters began questioning President Zardari’s patriotism and personal integrity.
The print media was not far behind.
While President Zardari’s European tour had been “reduced to a pleasure trip” after Mr Cameron’s remarks, “the army reacted in a timely and dignified manner” by cancelling the ISI chief’s UK visit, an editorial comment in the Pakistan Observer newspaper said.
The News newspaper called Mr Zardari’s visit a “pursuit of his own dynastic aggrandizement”.
The floods only intensified this initial criticism.
Actually, BBC reported that despite being freely elected by the people, the democratic government is under attack from all sides – especially the media.
The government, which is already under attack from all quarters – the military, the judiciary and the political groups that support Islamic militants – finds itself on a difficult wicket while dealing with the media, says a senior member of the government, who requested anonymity.
Again, this personal hatred for Zardari is nothing new. The elites have been waging this media campaign against the man since day one because of no action he has done or not-done, but because it is a personal vendetta.
Recall Tarek Fatah’s column from last fall that revealed the racism that fuels so much of the hatred of Zardari.
Only if one recognizes this internal racism of the Pakistan’s ruling Punjabi elites, including the media, can one can get to understand the near hysterical nature of the opposition to President Asif Ali Zardari that takes on a vicious personal nature.
At times it seems the hatred targeted at Zardari is sheer jealousy. More than one such gentleman has said Zardari did not deserve to have been the husband of Benazir Bhutto; a position they feel should have been reserved for them or one of their fellow Punjabis who fake colonial British accents, false Muslim bravado, but back their patriotism with genuine Canadian passports.
Zardari, after all is a Sindhi, from a people most upper class Punjabis think off as backward, lazy, illiterate serfs who are unpatriotic and thus not deserving to be at the helm of affairs. This Punjabi elite cannot get over the fact, the man they hated, from a people they despised, has ended up as the president of the country, and that too without their blessing.”
Think this is incorrect? Try again. Remember the vicious racism that was exposed when Zardari was wearing a Sindhi topi? And where was this racism exposed? Again it was the media elites.
Following comments of a private channel’s anchorperson criticising President Asif Ali Zardari for wearing a traditional Sindhi topi during his foreign tours, the people of Sindh reacted severely and spread an SMS throughout the province to set December 6 as the first-ever ‘Sindhi Topi Day.’
But it is not only the latent racism of this upper class that fuels such hatred of Zardari, it is also the personal superiority that they feel. They believe that Pakistan is their playground to control, and that for someone like Zardari to be president is not fair.
Again, this is easily demonstrated by recent events and the very words of these bigoted elites. Consider the “fake degree” crisis – a “crisis” that even Cyril Almeida called a joke”. This was actually another moment that these elites exposed themselves and their bigotry as being “New Feudals”.
Do you remember when Ansar Abbasi was so self-righteous that he dared to refer to the degrees of MNAs as “hilarious”? Now, of course, the ECP has declared that at least 90 percent of these degrees are perfectly valid and nothing is wrong with them.
But Ansar Abbasi thinks they are “hilarious” because he holds a degree from the University of London. These media elites hold in open contempt everyone who is not part of their little club. It is so bad now that even the British are openly appalled by their hatred.
It’s time for these self-righteous media elites to go back to their drawing rooms where they can sip their bootleg gin and stroke their foreign degrees and act superiour to everyone in the privacy of their own homes and not in the newspapers and TV programmes.
After all, as much as they wish they were really English gentlemen, it is the real Englishmen who are now laughing at their very scandalous behaviour.