Half Truths are like half bricks; you can throw them farther
By Usman Khalid
India is relying on the Zardari-Gilani administration to deliver ‘economic failure’ to make Pakistan a vassal state like Bangladesh. But that is the subject of something I wrote before. Please click on the link http://www.rifah.org/site/
The focus of this piece is the role and influence of Journalists with an agenda.
With the increase in the number of TV channels and the viewing habits of Pakistanis, TV journalists influence public opinion more than the politicians. This is welcome because it brings about ‘awareness’ independent of the state education and information system.
But our ‘friends’ in the USA and India found in this an opportunity to influence Pakistani public opinion their way. The Obama Administration, has decided to put most of its money to use for ‘subversion’ by infiltrating the media of Pakistan. USA has made no secret of it; aid money has been openly earmarked for ‘journalists’ and media owners. India has been smarter. It used the private sector to woo the Pakistani media.
The Times of India and Jang Group of Pakistan got together in a project ‘Aman ki Aasha’ (Quest for Peace). The thrust of this quest is to promote cultural links in which Hindu influences – in music and art – are dominant. The objective is to sideline the struggle for freedom of the Muslims of India which continues – albeit for different objectives – in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (where Muslims are a majority) for joining Pakistan, as well in the rest of India, where the Muslim minority has been repressed and impoverished by design.
That the journalists in Pakistan are eager to establish contacts came out in outbursts by an American diplomat (abridged version below), which was reported widely in the press under the title, “My dog is fussier”.
“We talked to an American diplomat whose job requires frequent interaction with the Pakistani media. This report will not assign a pseudonym, or declare the gender of the American diplomat because that was the condition of cooperation. We will not tell whether the diplomat is still in Pakistan or has moved out.
“Pakistani TV journalists are some of the easiest to buy or manipulate,” said the American diplomat.
“Their price is ridiculously small. A drink, a lunch with a second or first secretary in a place where they can be seen by their admirers, invitations to official receptions, or at most, a trip to the states, is all you need to buy their loyalty,” said the diplomat.
“My dog is usually fussier,” the diplomat added in disgust.
The fact of foreign efforts for subversion is well-known as are those who pedal the Indian or American propaganda. The objective of all subversive efforts is to;
1) Discredit the two most important institutions of Pakistan that underpin its viability, stability and its power – the Judiciary and the Armed Forces
2) Discredit the state of Pakistan by underlining that its polity – principle of national solidarity – Islam – is flawed, and that Pakistan has become a ‘security state’ like erstwhile Soviet Union which denies resources for health, education and welfare etc.
3) Discredit the structure of the federation to promote centrifugal forces.
4) Erode the resolve of Pakistan to help Kashmiri struggle for self determination and other nations in India who seek Pakistan’s support.
5) Create suspicion about the usefulness of the nuclear deterrent and undermine resolve to maintain strategic parity with India.
The primary focus and the ‘line’ of each subversive is different but all of them together strive to achieve the five objectives listed above. Former Ambassador (to USA) Hussain Haqqani and another Journalist – Ahmed Rashid – direct their fire on the alleged ‘alliance’ of the Mullah and the Military. This is utterly absurd. The state objectives are determined by geo-political realities and the state polity. The armed forces, which are the prime instrument for the achievement of those objective, have to be loyal to those objectives.
Ayesha Siddiqa got a lot of publicity in the USA for writing the book “Military Inc’ on the ‘commercial and industrial ventures’ of welfare funds of the three services. The book pedalled many lies. It said, the fauji enterprises are owned and run by the GHQ, Air HQ and Naval HQ and pay no taxes. That is untrue. The Fauji enterprises are public owned companies listed on the stock exchange, which have consistently earned a profit and paid taxes to the state and dividend to the shareholders. The role of Defence Housing Authorities as developers also came under attack by her. For decades provincial and federal government spent billions to develop housing colonies and have succeeded in creating new unplanned slums. Defence Housing colonies have not used a single penny of state funds and have built the best run housing colonies in the country where civilians can and do buy property and live in relative peace. What is wrong with that?
Typical of another category of subversives is US educated academic Dr Pervaiz Hoodbhoy – a physicist who is popular on the lecture circuit in India and the USA because of his abusive language to decry, Islam, Pakistan and everything that is of value to Muslims.
Such language coming from a Muslim is music to western ears because it is more effective than the voice of Daniel Pipes and his likes. In a recent article “Let us become proudly beghairat,” he concludes: “A curse upon Honour! It brings to a nation nought but militarisation, conquest, conflict, and the pain of war.” It amazes me that we allow such subversives to teach our children. Does he really believe that Europe should have submitted to Nazi occupation? Should the peoples of India have submitted to British occupation? If the answer is, no, why should the Kashmiri put up with Indian occupation? Cleaerly, his mission is to help India consolidate its occupation of J&K.
He is more than subversive; he is traitor!
The most effective subversion is carried out on our TV screens. In what call “GEO Technique” of subversion, the principle followed is: “Half truths are like half bricks; you can thrown them farther”. In its programme “Aapis ki baat”, Najam Sethi practices the technique perfectly. The description of facts are by and large correct; it is conclusion which always is: “Pakistan should do what the USA (or India) want otherwise the consequences would be dire.
Every night Najam Sethi issues warning of dire results on behalf of America or India for one hour. His wife – Jugnu Mohsin – does the same in a morning show, “GEO Shan Se” for two hours. I cannot be sure if the people believe Najam or Jugnu. But the technique is good. In both programmes the anchors are very likeable persons. Neither anchor expresses any opinion; the viewers are likely to believe what is said because the very likeable Shan (anchor of GEO Shan Se) and Munib (anchor of Aapis ki Baat) do not disagree.
The most vicious attacks on Islam and Pakistan are made on GEO TV by Hasan Nisar on programme ‘meray mutabiq’, which in English means, “According to Me”. It is not just the title which is presumptuous, what is said is even more so.
In the promo of the programme, Hasan Nisar pontificates, “Nations that distort history are ruined by history” – whatever that means. After saying that he begins to distort history of Islam and Pakistan. He finds no merit in Islam or Pakistan; he reviles both in a vicious language that Daniel Pipe would dearly like to replicate but does not dare. He presents the India view of history in which Muslim rule was the dark age. Surely he must know that Moghul rule India was a rich country and an orderly society that it was called the ‘golden sparrow’ and 25% of the world GDP was produced in India. In any other country, Hasan Nisar would have been off air during his first programme for his vile language.
But why does the state of Pakistan put up with so many subversives and so much subversion. It is because the ruling coalition comprises political parties that are anti state i.e, hostile to the polity of Pakistan. This government has failed miserably in doing anything good – in economy, administration or maintenance of peace, law and order.
But it is well equipped to provide themes for subversion and its targets are the military and the judiciary. President Zardari does not care if his minsters loot or plunder, but he does care about who to use to undermine the military and the judiciary. The master minds of the this elaborate system of subversion are Asif Zardadri himself and Asma Jehangir, who defended Hussain Haqqani before the Supreme Court in the Memo case and ‘boycotted” its proceeding to precipitate the mistake of allowing him to go to abroad on a promise to return on four days notice.
The best known organised group that promotes the Indian line in the name of is SAFMA headed by Imtiaz Alam. This group is so well funded and so openly pro-India that it has little credibility outside the charmed circle of fellow liberal secularists. But their influence should not be ignored because there are several politicians including federal and provincial ministers and senior civil servants who get into the inner circle of rulers because of their ‘secular-progressive’ views.
A journalist friend of mine says there are two types in politics and the media –sharabi (drunks) and namazi (those who offer prayers regularly). Since birds of feather flock together, the two categories do not mix socially or politically. On a closer look it becomes clear that the hard core of the PPP, MQM and ANP are all sharabi. Their alliance is indeed natural and is likely to remain solid.
It has been considered wise to ignore the subversives in the past. Their influence is waning and their line discredited when it is not fiercely opposed. But there are two reasons why it is unwise to ignore them; it is important to remove them from the academia and the press:
1. Their presence in the corridors of high academia and power is used as rationale for attacks by suicide bombers and criminal groups.
2 The enemies of Pakistan – within and without – use the existence of suicide bombers and militant groups as evidence of Pakistan being a failed state or a terrorist state or even both.
Clearly a coalition of secular liberal parties that rule Pakistan today is a part of the problem. The patriotic majority looks the other way because the civil war is between the two extremes and they are usually not the targets; they are victims only in co-lateral damage.
This explains how civil strife has continued in Pakistan without any serious effort to calm the situation. Since the ruling coalition – of liberal secularists – is a party in the civil strife, it has no need or desire to stop the strife. They are arming their side to win in the streets and want the police and the military to take sides – their side – as they are bound by law to obey the elected government.
The military has a dilemma: does its duty to the state require it to stop the fighting take priority over its duty to obey the elected executive. According to law and the constitution, their duty is to stop the fighting and take action – if required – against even the ruling coalition.
But the position is not so clear cut. In walk the lobbies allied to Indo-American line and interests through their ‘friendly’ anchors and other journalists. They can and do marshal the argument for India and America even though the counter-argument of ‘patriots’ is stronger and has a much bigger following.
Until now the focus of all writing – in Pakistan and the West – has been to decry the armed forces for their “anti-democracy” role and the “corruption by avaricious Generals”. Since there is evidence of both, the TV channels and the newspapers focussed on that and the probability of another coup d’état. However, evidence of corruption by senior military officers was largely hearsay and has since dissipated.
But the evidence of corruption by politicians including several Minister fills the TV screens for the ‘eager to know more’ public. No one in Pakistan would like the military to take over the reins of government. But the military – particularly the intelligence agencies – have statutory role to deal with subversion. They get a bad name for ‘abducting’ political activists of the right as well as the left, for no dividend in terms of national security.
If Makhdoom Javed Hashmi could be sent to jail for slandering the armed forces in private, there is more reason for stiff sentence to those who slander the armed forces in public.
The pendulum has swung too far in favour of subversives. If timely corrective measures are not taken, a military take over would become necessary.