Mohammad Taqi, Zaid Hamid, and GHQ

Zaid Hamid with COAS Gen KayaniLiberal columnist Mohammad Taqi was allegedly fired by Daily Times under pressure from Army. Daily Times Editor Rashed Rehman has also reportedly resigned on principle as he saw the newspaper being squeezed by Army’s iron grip. Though Daily Times has not been as widely read as other newspapers, still it provided an important voice for liberal thinkers who had the courage to ask difficult questions and post alternative points of view from the increasingly narrow popular thinking. The loss of one columnist may not seem like much, but it is difficult not to see that something has changed at Daily Times when Mohammad Taqi and Rashed Rehman’s departures are immediately followed by right-wing editorials that sound like they were written by ISPR and columnists from right-wing think tanks close to the military parroting the official line on ‘full spectrum nuclear deterrence‘.

If Mohammad Taqi’s irreverant questioning put Daily Times on the bad side of GHQ, it is worth asking what it would take to get on the good side. The answer has also appeared this week, with a post by a very different analyst: Zaid Hamid. Writing on Facebook, the ‘Brass Tacks’ founder defended against charges by “enemies, Indians, Khawarij and liberal beyghairats in pak media” that he does not really have influence at GHQ. Actually, he said, he does to prove it he provided copies of official letters appreciating his work including one from DG-ISI.

12273564_906400229414789_2387819198072223133_o 12291296_906400226081456_8211211317157419561_o 12299275_906400289414783_2599281199248676804_n 12311094_906393966082082_3771527968878825900_nArmy’s willingness to pressurise media against asking questions or straying from the official line on sensitive issues is well documented. What is less well documented is Army’s support for certain right-wing personalities including those that promote a pro-jihadi agenda. Maybe now we are starting to see the picture…

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