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!

Army’s Media Operations: Who Are They Trying To Convince?

Hypernationalist Military Media AllianceAnother report has appeared in the international media about Army’s use of media to raise their own image as national saviours but disparaging civilians as ruining the country. This is a topic that has been discussed many times in the international press, including global media power houses BBC and New York Times. If the whole world sees through GHQ’s spin operation, the question is what are they getting out of the billions spent on these official and ‘un-official’ media operations?

It doesn’t makes sense as long as we believe the media operations are meant to convince the outside world. But what if, instead, Army’s media operations were never meant to convince the outside world. What if all these billions being spent were meant only to convince ourselves?

There is nothing wrong with reporting good news. Actually, it is important that people be informed of Army’s successes so that we do not lose hope during a time of war. However it is equally important that people not be given false hopes by reporting that things are better than they are. We have been told since day one that terrorists had their back broken and were no longer a threat, but attacks continued! Yes it is true that attacks have declined, and we should be proud of this,  but we should not pretend that the problem is gone. Giving the people a false hope is begging for disappointment.

Same is true for Army’s treatment of civilian officials. Nobody denies that there is corruption in the government and that it is a problem, but why do we ignore the same or even greater corruption in Army? This is no secret either, but by not reporting the facts what happens is we are left with rumours. Media reports can give some information on this, but because the Army is controlling the media, nobody knows what to believe anyway.

The world is not fooled by ISPR. This is clear from the reports that the international media gives exposing ISPR’s operations. So who are they trying to fool? And is it working? These are the questions we should be asking.

AQ Khan’s Offshore Accounts Exposed: Military Officers to Follow?

A Q KhanThe Panama Papers are not going away. Nawaz Sharif spent the day in parliament discussing the scandal, and there appears to be little sign of resolution as opposition parties walked out in response. After calling for Nawaz to resign, Imran Khan has also found himself facing problems as he was exposed as having offshore accounts also. At least Immy was honest and admitted that his offshore company was created so he could avoid paying taxes. However Imran turns out not to be the only ‘Khan’ exposed in the scandal that won’t go away. It is not learnt that AQ Khan has also been exposed in Panama Papers.

AQ Khan has denied having any offshore companies and claimed that his family members signatures were all forged as part of a huge conspiracy against him by Habib Bank.

“I have never even heard the name of this company,” A.Q. Khan told Dawn over phone. “Neither did my wife and daughters. My brother, who died a few years ago, was with Habib Bank and, as you know, bankers are always up to their tricks and hanky panky,” he said without mincing words. “My wife and daughters never signed any documents to create this company. The signatures (on the incorporation paperwork) are surely false. My brother never discussed it with me and my family only heard about this company after the Panama Papers release.”

It’s not just what AQ Khan knew about these companies that is now coming under scrutiny, though. Many are also asking how this was not discovered until so late. One name that appeared in Panama Papers list was wife of AQ Khan, Hendrina. This is not a very common name and surely a researcher would have noted it, especially a researcher like Umar Cheema who is not only a Jang/Geo reporter but also a member of the ICIJ that broke the story! Is this another case of Army’s strangle hold on media?

Surely the powers that be knew that things could not be hidden forever. Now questions are being asked who else has been ‘missed’ in the long list of offenders? So far it has been civilians who have been in the bulls eye of the Panama Papers scandal, but we know thanks to former DG-ISPR Maj-Gen (r) Rashid Qureshi that Army has been covering up corruption among military officers since long. Will we soon learn than the names of military officers appear in the Panama Papers but were not previously reported? Will these too be blamed on ‘hanky panky’ at Habib Bank?

Media Mujahideen’s Silly Selfies

After Ahmed Quraishi’s unceremonious departure from Express News, it was only a brief delay until he was back on the air. This time he has been given a platform on Neo TV, the new private TV channel launched by Chaudhry Abdul Rehman who believes that ‘Pakistan is in a cultural and ideological war‘ and promised to ‘defend Pakistan’s culture and ideology from the Platform of Neo’.

Ahmed Quraishi should feel right at home with Neos idea of media not as means of informing people but a propaganda tool for fighting wars. What is funny, though, is when the media mujahideen get so involved in their soldier fantasies that they lose all perspective and begin to believe that they really ARE soldiers.

We saw this first hand with Zaid Hamid who filled the internet with photos of himself playing dress up like a child.

zaid hamid clown 1zaid hamid clown 2Now Ahmed Quraishi is also suffering from the same delusions.

ahmed quraishi clownWhy does this happen? Is it the massive insecurity from being around real soldiers so often? These clowns would be very funny but unfortunately it is hard to laugh because they, and those who are funding them, obviously think this is helpful for the country. It is bad enough that real journalists are trying to work with a boot on their neck, but this is just too much.

Phony anchors spinning propaganda ‘narratives’ are not soldiers and they are not defending the country. They are only defending their careers at the expense of the real journalists. And please stop taking selfies with guns, boys. You are only embarrassing yourself!

Nuclear Insecurity

Pakistan nuclear missileA new report from Harvard University notes concerns about the security of the world’s nuclear weapons. Despite the very frightening details of the report for Pakistan, many media groups are celebrating the report because it suggests that ‘India’s nuclear security measures may be weaker than Pakistan’s. Across social media the media reports were tweeted with a feeling of delight, as if the insecurity of India’s nuclear weapons is something good for Pakistan instead of a dangerous threat! However, what is even more ridiculous is that those cheering this report for giving India a black eye are completely ignoring the even worse findings it has for Pakistan.

Putting Pakistan “at risk for nuclear theft”, the report says: “Overall, the risk of nuclear theft in Pakistan appears to be high,” citing “some of the world’s most capable terrorist groups, an environment of widespread corruption and extremist sympathies” as risk factors.

The possibility of collapse of the government in Pakistan or an “extremist takeover cannot be entirely ruled out”.

While there is “no clear trend, either upward or downward” regarding the level of risk for Indian nuclear sites, it highlights a trend “toward increasing risk” in Pakistan as its nuclear arsenal expands and the strategic doctrine shifts toward tactical nuclear weapons.

Some have accused that pointing out the warnings to Pakistan contained in the report is being ‘seeing the glass as half empty’ while celebrating the warnings to India is ‘seeing the glass as half full’. This is a dangerous mindset that must be overcome. India’s problems are not our victories, and ignoring our own problems does not make them disappear.