Here’s Why Ansar Abbasi’s Pathankot Conspiracy Makes No Sense

Mohammad TanzilMohammad Tanzil, inspector of India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) involved in investigation of the Pathankot terrorist attack, was gunned down in UP while returning home from a wedding. According to Ansar Abbasi, this adds to doubts about veracity of Pathankot attack because Tanzil was Muslim.

Pakistani security agency sources believed that India appears to have started to eliminate those “doubtful” Indians who actually came to know during the course of investigations of the drama of the ‘False Flag Operation’ at Pathankot.

Questions are being raised as to why the wife of the NIA officer has also been hit. Was it the result of possible fears that the officer might have divulged anything to his wife? Can the state be so callous that it starts killing its own citizen and a serving officer whose only crime was that he was a Muslim who had come to know the dark secrets of Indian statecraft?

There is so much wrong with this report. Are questions really being raised as to why the officers wife was hit? Isn’t the obvious answer that when gunmen carry out their hit they are not using laser guided bullets, and when they are spraying their target they will kill anything and everything in their path? Mohammad Tanzil was hit 21 times. That does not sound like a precise assassination, it sounds like a hail of gunfire. This may be the stupidest question of Ansar Abbasi’s, but it is not the only one.

Ansar Abbasi’s entire conspiracy theory is based on the idea that the investigator was killed because he was Muslim. This says more about Ansar Abbasi than anything else, however if it is true that he is reporting what he is told by our own security agencies, then it also explains a lot about our own national insecurity.

The assumption being made is that because Mohammad Tanzil was a Muslim, he would have discovered that the attack was a ‘false flag’ operation and therefore had to be eliminated before he spilled the beans. There are some obvious problems with this. If Mohammad Tanzil could discover that the attack was fake, so can others. Will India kill all of its investigators to keep them quiet? If the other investigators are willing to go along with the conspiracy because they are Indian, why wouldn’t Mohammad Tanzil? Are we supposed to think that because he was Muslim he was sympathetic to Pakistan? If so, why didn’t he remain Indian till his death? Could it be that he was a proud Muslim and a proud Indian, just like there are proud Hindus who are also proud Pakistanis?

As with most conspiracy theories, there is a much more obvious answer to who killed Mohammad Tanzil and why. Isn’t it also possible that he was killed by the jihadis who orchestrated the attack as revenge against a Muslim who was siding with India over Pakistan?

Jihadi groups inclulding Jaish-e-Mohammad who is suspected in Pathankot attack spoke openly about their plans to increase attacks against Indian targets. Do we believe they are lying? Or are certain quarters trying to ‘muddy the waters’ by spreading conspiracy theories in order to protect strategic assets? These are questions we are not likely to get answered by the likes of Ansar Abbasi.

Hawaldar Media Response to Charsadda Attack Plays Into Terrorists Hands

Before the tears even had a chance to fall into the dust, hawaldar media officers were busily spinning to establish the accepted narrative about the deadly terrorist attack on Bacha Khan University. There are no surprises as it is once again the standard conspiracy theory that blames ‘foreign hand’ for every incident.

Should we bother noting the sheer hypocrisy of these anchors? Are they not the same who condemned Indian media for blaming Pakistan for Pathankot before any evidence could be found?

There is not point in showing this as it assumes that these anchors have some shame left. Instead, let us ask what is the point of this behaviour?

On one hand, blaming India provides a defence of Army’s reputation. After years of declaring that terrorists have been defeated, the continued attacks are embarrassing. How can these militants who have had their back broken continue planning and carrying out such attacks? This raises difficult questions that many would prefer not to hear. If it is actually Indian RAW behind these attacks, though, Pakistan Army is facing a much larger and more sophisticated enemy.

On the other hand it is easy point scoring after the embarrassment of Pathankot attack. Some might say it is wishful thinking that India is involved in the Charsadda attack because it makes us feel better about ourselves if we can believe that India is involved in terrorism. The problem is that this narrative actually helps terrorists because it supports their own narrative. If India is behind attacks inside Pakistan, “pro-Pakistan” militants like LeT and JeM are seen as defenders of the nation. It is the same ‘good Taliban’ and ‘bad Taliban’ narrative that has brought us where we are today because “pro-Pakistan” jihadi ideology easily becomes “anti-state” jihadi ideology as we have seen over and over again.

Much noise is made about uniting the nation in order to defeat extremism and terrorism. However it is not enough to merely be united if we are not united against the real enemy. Using India as a bogey is easy, but it gets us nowhere. If we are going to see the day when terrorists are studied in history classes instead of attacking classes, we have to face the reality. Media’s anti-India spinning only makes that day further away.

Don’t Believe the Hype: Why Media Management is Self Defeating

The issue of fake hyper-nationalist propaganda websites has received a lot of attention, but why we need fake websites to feel good about ourselves is on only one part of a much larger problem. Since long we as a society have tried to manage our reputation both at home and in the world through clever ways of hiding embarrassing information and hyping ‘Pak Positive’ news. This creates a distorted view of ourselves that makes it nearly impossible to actually improve our situation.

Kamila Hyat notes that the problem begins in the way we hide information from students in schools.

The effort to prevent students from hearing views contrary to the accepted national narrative is deeply disturbing. It means we will churn out generation after generation of semi zombies, unable to move beyond a distinct perspective of the world or put their faculty of reason into use. This is a frightening development for any nation. A country whose people are unable to think for themselves, to read openly, to express their views with freedom and to embrace the tolerance that arises from all these factors is in deep trouble.

We already see signs of that trouble everywhere. The conspiracy theories, the manipulation of truth, the spin factories at work, the propaganda meant to represent a particular point of view have led us to a state of deep peril.

The problem doesn’t end there, though. We even try to hide information from adults. What other ‘democracy’ publishes newspapers with giant blank spaces in place of reports that don’t match the official narrative?

New York Times Pakistan blankWhat other ‘democracy’ sends armed soldiers into the homes of journalists to search through their cupboards?

Rangers search Salman Masood houseChaudhry Nisar has supposedly ordered an inquiry into the Rangers behaviour, but does anyone honestly believe that civilians can do such a thing? Besides, whether there is any inquiry, the intended message has been sent and received.

All of this media harassment is self-defeating. By not printing stories, they do not disappear. Rather, people become more interested in them and search them out. Raiding the homes of journalists seldom intimidates them into silence, at least not for long. And it actually gives the military the worst reputation than any media report when the harassment becomes the story itself!

Something Talat Hussain wrote rings true in this case:

Hiding our mistakes, sweeping challenges under the carpet and throwing a blanket of secrecy over the challenges we face isn’t the best way to build national consensus and mould public opinion. If we want the public to support a particular policy measure we must take them into confidence.

And finally, we should accept our own responsibility in fixing our own house but must not be driven by fear, panic or other such factors involved in a typical knee-jerk reaction.

We are so obsessed with protecting our reputation that we have become blind to the reality that our attempts to manipulate reality is actually making matters worse. Let reporters report the news, and if they uncover something embarrassing, we should fix it instead of trying to hide it. Only then will the national pride truly swell, and our reputation in the world will finally stand in its proper place.

Hawaldar Media and the Falsehood of the False Flag

Imran Khan, Ahmed Quraishi, Zaid Hamid and Ali Azmat

Saleem’s excellent investigative work that helped expose a covert propaganda ring has received a lot of attention. Spearhead Research has changed the registration information to a privacy company for its website and its other sites, and the other websites have begun disappearing completely. This is not surprising. The same thing happened a few years ago when Cafe Pyala exposed another covert propaganda ring. In fact, I want to thank Cafe Pyala for their excellent work as it has given the idea to start tracking these websites when they show up. Just because these are being quietly removed, it is all but certain that new ones are already being prepared to take their place. However, there is another point that needs to be made about this attempt to fool people with invented ‘news’ stories and orchestrated narratives. It doesn’t only take place on the internet. It is taking place every night in our homes.

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Did APP Help Bust An ISI Covert Propaganda Ring?

Associated Press of Pakistan, the official government news agency, reported on Monday that “a media report” has criticised Pakistan’s former Ambassador Husain Haqqani for speaking against the state. The “media report” APP is broadcasting comes from a website called “ZoneAsia-PK”. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t feel bad. Nobody else had either. Which is why I thought it was very strange that it was being quoted by APP. The author of the piece is noted as “Shehzad Malik…a Pakistani researcher based in the US with a Masters degree in International Relations”. I was curious about who this person was, so I decided to do a little checking. As it happens sometimes, one thing led to another, and I found myself looking at some very interesting information.

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