Why is a fauji propaganda site registered to Moeed Pirzada?

fake news‘Fake News’ is an old business in Pakistan. From the front pages of Dawn itself in 1971 to today, the powers that be have been obsessed with using media in attempts to redefine facts instead of using facts to understand reality. Over time, there have been several reports that have exposed these operations including the famous ‘connecting the dots‘ by Cafe Pyala and most recently the excellent piece by Umer Ali. Along the way, though, there have also been those who have been willing participants in this fake news circus. People like Ahmed Quraishi and Faraz Karamat. Now questions are being raised about another media personality, Dunya TV host Moeed Pirzada.

A little known website ‘Global Village Space’ was quietly launched in 2016 and promotes the writings of well-known ‘perception management’ operators such as Brig Gen (r) Asif Haroon Raja who is regularly featured on other propaganda websites such as the infamous ‘Veterans Today‘ which was a special project of Hamid Gul and more recently Russian propaganda websites. Also featured on ‘Global Village Space’ is Syed Haider Mehdi, another former military officer who is featured on ‘Command Eleven‘. ‘Global Village Space’ also features personalities from Russian propaganda operations.

None of this is very surprising as such operations have been exposed for years. However what makes this case interesting is that according to public records, the website ‘Global Village Space’ is registered to none other than Moeed Pirzada.

Imagine my shock when I saw the Director of Eurasia Future, Adam Garrie sharing these stories on Twitter, exclaiming: “Make Pakistan Sovereign Again”. In another tweet, he wished Pakistan could get rid of Nawaz Sharif. Several individuals involved with Eurasia Future are also regular contributors for Sputnik International and Russia Today (RT).

Mr. Garrie also writes for Global Village Spaces, a well-known pro-establishment Pakistani news and analysis website registered under Moeed Pirzada’s name. Is it a mere coincidence then that he was the first news anchor in Pakistan to take up this fabricated news story on his TV show?

Shocked, we decided to check this claim and found it was confirmed by the website hosting records.

Moeed Pirzada has never pretended to be unaware of this website. Actually, he is listed as an ‘author‘ (but not the owner) where he posts conspiracy theories and praise for Army. He also regularly ‘re-Tweets’ its anti-government posts and conspiracy theories from his own account.

This all raises fresh questions about whether Moeed Pirzada is a ‘journalist’ or a planted mouth piece? Are the rumours of his close relationship with the establishment more than just rumours? Obviously, Dunya needs to investigate whether their star anchor is secretly working behind the scenes as part of a propaganda scheme. Rumours are mere rumours, but Moeed Pirzada’s ownership of a fauji propaganda site have become a proven fact.

Malala’s Return & Pakistan’s Conspiracy Theorists

One of Pakistan’s two Nobel Laureates and an icon for young Pakistanis, Malala Yousafzai, returned to her hometown last week. However, instead of welcoming her, there were many who spoke out against her, her calls for tolerance and moderation, and saw her return as some foreign conspiracy.

As Raza Rumi wrote in The Daily Times: “The return of the Nobel Laureate and brave Pakistani icon Malala Yousafzai to her homeland is a matter of pride. The Pakistani state can rightfully take the credit that successful counter-terror operations in places like Swat have reduced the threat of violence by militias linked to the Pakistani Taliban. It was encouraging that the Prime Minister and his colleagues in the federal cabinet celebrated the event and honoured the young woman who, in real terms, has been Pakistan’s best global ambassador — courageous, resilient and focused on education.”

As Asad Hashim argues in his piece titled ‘The Shape of Hate’: “Malala Yousafzai represents everything that the patriarchy cannot allow to exist: a woman who refuses to be silenced. A person who consistently fights for her gender’s rights, and who, after an attempt was made to kill her, continued to raise her voice. Consider the others Pakistani society has vilified in the way it does Yousafzai. Mukhtaran Mai, the survivor of a community-ordered gang rape, was another woman who refused to be passive, in the face of being subjected to truly horrific violence. In return, society tore her to shreds, placing the responsibility of the violence done to her on her own shoulders, justifying it and demanding her silence.”

Further: “What is the greatest crime Yousafzai is accused of? Of being a Western ‘agent’, of being a myth created to malign Pakistan and to denigrate its values. She is celebrated at the United Nations, wins a Nobel Peace Prize, and rubs shoulders with world leaders. Any room she walks into, anywhere in the world, she is instantly the centre of attention, a universal symbol of all that is good in the world. That she is as loved as she is explains, perhaps, that she is as hated, too. To those who consider the West to be a malicious player in the region, it immediately rankles. The criticism of Yousafzai seems aligned with a rabid, xenophobic nationalism that abhors dissent. It jumps quickly from ‘she brings shame to Pakistan’ to ‘she hates Pakistan’s nuclear weapon’ to ‘she criticises Pakistan’s military’.”

As Rumi argues: “Malala haters promote the following critique: she has not achieved anything significant to earn the global acclaim; and her international promotion as a symbol of resistance for girls’ education and rights is a ‘conspiracy’ to defame Pakistan and Islam which in the popular conservative opinion — set no less by the state itself for decades — are interchangeable. The attack on Malala has also been subtly justified as a reaction against the US occupation of Afghanistan and the drone strikes that take place. Even Imran Khan said something to this effect back in 2013. Critics also hold that Malala ran away from Pakistan while other victims of terrorism are still in the country. The most oft-cited comparison is with some of the survivors of 2014 attack on an Army public school (APS) in Peshawar. This misplaced critique also echoes what the state has been doing since the attack. First, the narrative that those who die in cold-blooded murderous offensives are somehow giving ‘sacrifices’ for the country. This is why parents of the APS were awarded medals; as if they had sent their children to war. Somehow facing bullets at the hands of terrorists — and if you are lucky to survive, risking your life again — is akin to nationalism. This is as warped as celebrating victims of murder as patriotic heroes.”

Finally, “At the heart of this problem remains the ongoing ideological battle within Pakistan. Even though the military has changed its line in recent years and the politicians are more circumspect about glorifying militants, decades of propaganda about jihad has influenced millions. As Malala’s diaries as a teenager in Swat show: her activism even before she was shot was clearly anti-Taliban. The progressive Pashtuns, unlike rest of the country, do not distinguish between the good and the bad Taliban — a distinction that much of the rest of Pakistan has accepted. In fact, for those who identify with this latter view, the Afghan Taliban are resistance fighters and, not to forget, valuable for Pakistan’s strategic influence in Western and Southern Asia. This is why the ones who try to kill a schoolgirl may not be as bad as someone who gets shot and tries to rebuild her life in a most constructive and glorious manner. There is widespread brutalisation of the mind that finds it ‘normal’ to attack and depreciate a victim of horrendous violence. And sadly, many young Pakistanis display this tendency when they regurgitate lies and disinformation about Malala on social media.”

Has Gen. Bajwa initiated ‘Operation Radd ul Media’ ?

There are widespread reports of Pakistan’s most watched TV news channel Geo being shut down in most parts of the country. Unlike others, Geo has refused to join the anti-civilian rule and anti-democracy propaganda currently common on Pakistan TV channels. But who can make hundreds of cable TV distributors jettison the most watched news channel with the flick of a finger?

This is the translation of the above

TV anchor Kamran Khan says: “These days media is discussing the ‘Bajwa Doctrine.’ This is based on the ideas articulated by COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa in a briefing of three dozen media personalities in Rawalpindi. He spoke on the economy, foreign policy, judiciary, and even the size of Nawaz Sharif’s recent rallies. He declared a major media group as subversive.”

Other reports inform us that Gen Bajwa went to the extent of saying that he had ordered the closing down of Geo TV because he considered the Jang-Geo media group anti-army and subversive. If this is true, it is very troubling. It is not the Pakistan army’s job to sit in judgment in the patriotism of the media and to shut down ‘offensive’ media outlets.

No Pakistan it is not all ‘for the first time’

 

Pakistani media has a penchant for believing that whatever happens in Pakistan has never happened before and is happening for the first time. This is partly because of sheer laziness on the part of reporters, a lack of journalistic hard work and research and finally the belief in the age of social media that anything you read on social media is true.

 

So on the occasion of Pakistan Day when Indian diplomats and military attaches attended the parade, the Pakistani media went gung-ho about how this was the first time this had ever happened. According to The News: “In an unprecedented move, an Indian delegation led by High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria, Deputy High Commissioner J. P. Singh and Defence Attache Sanjay Vishwasrao watched the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on Friday.”

The New Pakistan team wishes that Pakistani journalists had conducted research and did some fact checking before describing events as ‘unprecedented.’

 

Twice in the past Pakistanis have served as Chief Guests at India’s Republic Day Parade – Governor General Ghulam Muhammad in 1955 and Food and Agriculture Minister Rana Abdul Hamid in 1965. Further, Indian diplomats have attended several Pakistan Day parades between 1973 and 2007. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto invited Indian diplomats to attend the parades and during General Zia ul Haq’s time there were occasions when Indian embassy representatives, including Military Attaches, attended the parades.

 

It is a simple matter: the rules of protocol make it unusual for the entire diplomatic corps based in Islamabad to be invited but one embassy (Indian) excluded.

 

Pakistanis always like to play down anything that shows India as being anything other than having evil intentions towards Pakistan. This process started during the time of General Ayub Khan and has continued to this date.

 

Ayub was invited to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day in 1965 but instead sent his Food and Agriculture Minister Rana Abdul Hamid. Soon after was the Rann of Kutch war and then Operation Gibraltar that led to the war of 1965. After all, US Patton tanks and Sabre jets had arrived by now so war had to be initiated!

 

This fear of India also extends to the economic realm. Under WTO regulations and under the aegis of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) India offered Pakistan MFN (Most Favored Nation) status in 1996. Pakistan has yet to reciprocate the Indian offer, almost two decades later. The argument made inside Pakistan is that trade ties with India will not be allowed to improve till the Kashmir dispute has been resolved. The argument is also made that boosting economic ties with India will hurt Pakistan’s economy even though Pakistani business organizations have argued the opposite: that ties with India will help Pakistan tremendously.

 

Not only was the Indian High Commissioner’s attendance at the Pakistan Day Parade not a first, it came 63 years after a Pakistani head of state was chief guest at India’s Republic Day Parade.

 

Research, dear Pakistanis, research…

Forced disappearances, Naqeebullah & Rao Anwar

The issue of forced disappearances once again came to light this week with the arrest of Rao Anwar, former SSP of Malir, in the Naqeebullah Mehsud case. That it “took a street movement, the insistence of the Supreme Court and the outright arrogance of those harbouring Rao Anwar, the Karachi police officer who had become a fugitive from the law after being cited in the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, to finally ensure he ended up in custody” speaks to the abysmal conditions of the Pakistan’s law and order establishment.

The current case relates to the case of Naqeebullah “a young man from Waziristan, trying to eke out a living in Karachi, was picked up while entertaining a couple of friends over a cup of tea in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area in early January this year. Some 10 days later, he was shot dead allegedly in an encounter with the police. Police, most notably, Rao Anwar had dubbed Naqeebullah a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militant but when the young Mehsud’s friends and family took to the social media and then the streets to dispute the claim and also spell out how he was picked up before being killed some 10 days later, a storm started to brew.”

Protests by young Pakhtun activists forced the Supreme Court to take notice “after it became apparent what had actually transpired. With the statements of the two friends, who’d been picked up with Mehsud but, thankfully, released, it appeared like an open-and-shut case.” When “when the Supreme Court asked police and intelligence agencies on more than one occasion to find and produce Rao Anwar they continued to dodge the issue. However, when the Supreme Court insisted angrily, resistance started to weaken and CCTV evidence appeared which led to (via the Nadra database) the identification of the agency personnel who’d accompanied the police officer to the airport some 10 days after the murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud and in their supreme self-confidence made no effort to hide their faces.”

According to an editorial in Dawn: “Clearly escorted by the Islamabad police and the anti-terrorism police, there has been no explanation offered for where he arrived from and how he came to be in the presence of a significant law-enforcement detail. Mr Anwar’s mysterious disappearance is no ordinary matter. He is the prime suspect in a murder that has captured the nation’s attention and spawned an unprecedented protest movement. No less a figure than the chief justice ordered his arrest, but for two months no intelligence, security or law-enforcement agency in the country was able to inform the Supreme Court of Mr Anwar’s whereabouts.Yet, the fugitive policeman was able to have letters delivered to the Supreme Court, and frequently communicated with the media. If it was not complicity on the part of some state elements, then it was gross incompetence by the security and intelligence apparatus that allowed Mr Anwar to evade official arrest for two months. The public deserves to know more.”

Former editor of Dawn, Abbas Nasir notes, “Reporters and TV viewers were amazed at the manner in which Rao Anwar came to the Supreme Court — in a car that was driven through a gate which, reporters say, does not even open for the attorney general of Pakistan. That it was not a sudden appearance but one that was orchestrated was equally evident from the presence of a dozen or so policemen, including anti-terrorism commandos, who surrounded Rao Anwar when he alighted from his car and ushered him into the courtroom.”

The main issue however is that of forced disappearances and summary executions. There “seems to be no commitment or effort on the part of any institution to undertaking judicial reform which is the only route to ensuring the provision of justice at a very basic level and protecting the life and liberty of citizens. And, when viewed against the battle the country is waging against terrorist groups, the legislative and judicial framework appears wholly inadequate. Where extrajudicial killings and disappearances are, and should be, repugnant and unacceptable in any civilised society, the system finds itself incapable of prosecuting and sentencing those guilty of heinous crimes. Here lies my worry and concern. One Rao Anwar can be taken out of commissioning for a while perhaps but the pressure and, to some warped minds, the rationale remains to ‘take out’ those considered guilty. Such a situation and attitude will always lead to bloody miscarriages of justice.”

To learn more about Rao Anwar please see this Dawn expose