Putting the ‘media’ in ‘comedians’

John Mccain

One of my favourite parts of Eid is always the new comedies that are released for the holiday. For example, ARY “News” reported that US Senator John McCain has called for Gen Raheel to be given an extension. To proof this report, ARY posted a Tweet by the American Senator showing a photo of him awkwardly shaking hands with our Army Chief.

John Mccain and Gen Raheel

Even US Senators are saying #ThankYouRaheelSharif! I can’t wait for the next ARY “News” reports about other important John McCain statements. For example, surely this is the US Senator telling Afghanistan that Taliban are the true freedom fighters!

John McCain Abdullah

Surely this is the US Senator telling American troops that they will now follow orders from the World’s Number One General COAS Raheel Sharif! Why don’t they show the American troops celebrating their liberation and raising the Pakistani flag?

John McCain talking to US troops

ARY was not the only channel carrying truly great comedies this Eid. There was also this hilarious news report by Ahmed ‘Qurazy’ for Neo

Don’t believe what you read about international isolation! American officials are the MOST PATRIOTIC Pakistanis! F-16s? Didn’t you see ARY’s report about US Senators singing the praises of our Army Chief? What? What about F-16s? The American Congress said they wouldn’t sell us F-16s because they want us to have EVEN BETTER planes than F-16s! Being such Pakistani Super Patriots, of course the American officials hate Husain Haqqani!

With so much tragedy in the world this year, it was so wonderful to know that I can always count on our professional co-media-ns to bring a lighthearted laugh on this blessed holiday. What is even better, though, is knowing that they will continue to bring us such comedies all year!

Did Hafiz Saeed Just Overtake Gen Raheel’s Throne?

_56949135_jex_1246109_de27-1The country’s most recent Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar recently gave a controversial interview to Geo News in which she declared that Pakistan cannot win Kashmir through war. According to the former FM, making progress on Kashmir will actually require improving relations with India so that a productive dialogue can be held.

The interview was published shortly after jihadis supported by Jamaat-ud-Dawa carried out fedayeen attack killing 8 police in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The attack was widely celebrated by official JuD accounts.

Pampore attack was also done three days after Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel declared that Pakistan is against all proxy wars, leaving him humiliated in the eyes of the world as it appears obvious that the Army Chief has either given a bald faced lie or Army has completely lost control of its Frankenstein Monster.

Analysts have debated whether military and civilians are actually on the same page. Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s latest attack has shown that it may be neither civilians or officers who are driving the national agenda.

Former DG-ISPR says Army has been covering up corruption problem for years

Major General Rashid QureshiEveryone knows that officers are honest and politicians are corrupt, but what if I told you that military officers might be just as corrupt as their civilian counterparts? You would say I am crazy, of course. But what if DG-ISPR told you? Now will you listen?

This is exactly what has happened in the fallout of six high-ranking officers being forced to retire due to fault. Explaining the shock felt within the military and the unusual silence from Army’s media wing, former DG-ISPR Maj-Gen (r) Rashid Qureshi said that corruption has been a problem in the military since long but the institution has kept an official policy of hiding it from the public.

“The policy of the armed forces is that matters related to the personnel of armed forces are dealt with, and remain within, the institution.”

The Major General’s statement was corroborated by former Judge Advocate General (JAG) Army Brigadier (r) Wasaf Khan Niazi:

“I have conducted several court martial proceedings and dealt with the removal cases of a number of officers but none of them appeared in the press.”

By forcing six high-ranking officers to retire due to fault for their role in corruption, Gen Raheel has shown what he meant by ‘across the board accountability’. It is commonly accepted that Gen Raheel’s move was a brilliant political strategy to force political parties to clean their houses. However questions are now being raised about the extent of corruption within the military itself, and whether this move by COAS was a publicity stunt or whether there will be a full and independent inquiry into military corruption and how the institution has been covering it up for decades.

Gen Raheel shows telling uncomfortable truths is patriotic

Ayesha Siddiqa Military IncCorruption within the ranks has been an open secret since I can remember. Entire books have been written on the topic, but little has ever been done because pointing out any corruption or faults in Army, especially officers, has been rejected as ‘demoralising’ our forces and ‘defaming’ sensitive institutions. Now, though, history has been made as no less than Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif has confirmed that at least six high-ranking military officers were involved in corruption and inquiries are ongoing against even more.

Details are still coming to light, but one point is very clear: Unless we are prepared to start accusing Gen Raheel as a RAW agent, we must admit that noting the faults of national institutions, even sensitive ones, is a patriotic duty.

It was not long ago that Ayesha Siddiqa who has written extensively about corruption in the ranks was termed a RAW agent in the Green Book, the official journal of GHQ. I do not expect an apology or a correction, though this would not be unwarranted given Gen Raheel’s actions. The need of the hour is to start recognising that the real patriots are those like Ayesha Siddiqa and Gen Raheel who have the courage to tell uncomfortable truths in order to make the nation stronger.

Deja Vu All Over Again: Gen Raheel Declares Victory Against Terrorists

Zarb-e-Azb victory photoApparently it is time for the Spring Media Offensive. According to reports, COAS Gen Raheel has given the order to begin the ‘final phase‘ of Zarb-e-Azb operation. The Army chief said at a briefing that remaining terrorists should be eliminated from their hideouts. It’s very encouraging and shows that the war against terrorists is finally coming to an end.

Hopefully it will come true this year. It didn’t work out after Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman announced that operation Zarb-e-Azb has ‘backbone of terrorists‘ last spring.

It didn’t work out the year before when military officials declared that operation Zarb-e-Azb had ‘crippled‘ command and control system of TTP. A few days later, the ‘crippled’ Taliban carried out audacious attacks on Samungli and Khalid airbases.

It didn’t work out when DG ISPR Major General Asim Bajwa announced that due to operation Zarb-e-Azb, Taliban capacity to carry out terrorist attacks had been neutralised, only to have his announcement followed by the suicide bomb attack at Wagah border crossing.

It didn’t work out when PM Nawaz Sharif announced that Zarb-e-Azb had dealt a ‘fatal blow’ to terrorists in December, only to have his statement followed almost immediately by the barbaric attack against APS Peshawar.

However this is a new year. It is Gen Raheel’s last chance to finally put the nail in the coffin of terrorism and leave office as the hero that he has been built up to be. As for the rest of us? What can we do but hope that this year’s declaration of victory is the one that finally comes true.