Safoora Misinformation Campaign Demands Answers

Safoora Bus Attack

It has been one week since terrorists boarded a bus and began carrying out cold blooded killings. Their victims, dozens of innocent Ismaili Muslims whose only fault was not subscribing to the same extremist interpretation of religion as their murderers. Despite obviously being the work of jihadi terrorists, almost immediately the attack was blamed on RAW. Our own intelligence agencies told media that they had obtained evidence of India being behind the attack, which was dutifully reported by unquestioning media. Political leaders, too, were taking in by this line with no less than CM Sindh who is working closely with the military on Karachi law and order operation announcing that he had been told intelligence agencies had “solid evidence” of India’s involvement in the attack. Now, however, the tune is changing. This is an embarrassment for media, political leaders, and most of all our own intelligence agencies. Worst of all, it is helping the very terrorists we are trying to defeat.

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RAW Accusations and Our National Credibility

Army’s broad accusation against Indian RAW of “whipping up terrorism” in Pakistan has been followed by allegations that RAW is responsible for specific terrorist attacks inside Pakistan. Various news channels reported that RAW was involved in the killing of Sabeen Mahmud. These reports were based on the statements of high level security sources.

Several news channels have now reported that ISI has obtained proof that RAW was behind the Safoora Chowrangi massacre.

These are serious charges. If they are correct, it means that a foreign agency has carried out a cross border killing of dozens of innocent civilians. This is a crime against humanity that carries serious consequences at the global level. If these accusations are correct, we can expel the Indian High Commissioner and all Indian diplomats as “persona non grata”. Our UN Ambassador can present the evidence before the UN and India can suffer economic sanctions or worse to compel it to stop its nefarious crimes. The true face of India can be exposed to the entire world.

However, what if we don’t do anything? What if we just report these accusations in Pakistan media and point fingers and talk about “evidence” without ever using the evidence to take appropriate action under international law? People like Zaid Hamid and Ahmed Quraishi have been blaming RAW since years, and this has destroyed their reputations. Now Army and Foreign Office are singing the same tune. If they fail to actually show any evidence and take the appropriate diplomatic and legal measures, we could face a future where our most sensitive institutions suffer the same blow to their own credibility in the eyes of the world.

“Something Went Wrong”: The Chilling Effect Of State Terrorism On Journalism

Something went wrong

When Najam Sethi discussed the assassination of Sabeen Mahmud on his show, an interesting thing happened. The audio feed cut in and out during the program. Many viewers ignored the brief periods of silence, chalking it up to technical problems with their sets or with the the transmission. Only later was it realised that the missing audio was probably not an accident.

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Pulling the Plug: Is the Era of Media Freedom Over?

TV off air

The historical irony that a military dictator ushered in an era of journalistic freedom has not gone unnoticed. Gen Musharraf unleashed the media dogs, and the media dogs bit him squarely. For the next few years, the media served a purpose, though, keeping check on our new democracy by showing no restraint against any civilian politician. But as the curtain begins to close on Pakistani democracy, the era of media freedom too appears to be drawing to a close.

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White Elephants On Parade

circus elephants

Farrukh Saleem’s billion dollar gamble came up short last week, but rather than admit fault, he has simply doubled down. Only this time, he’s beginning to show his hand. After predicting that ‘the price of independent horses is bound to go through the roof’ following Senate elections that saw little evidence of horse trading, the columnist shifts from complaining about politicians being corrupt to complaining about them being ineffective – especially compared to that other power centre, GHQ.

At least Farrukh Saleem tries to be subtle, though. That much cannot be said for his colleague Shaheen Sehbai who rather ham-handedly calls for the military to take over…without actually taking over. Continue reading