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Media love affair with Taliban ends – End of Jamaat-e-Islami – Media, Musharraf, Mossadeg

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After years of challenging Musharraf (Dr. Shahid Masood, Hamid Mir and Ansar Abbasi at Geo TV, or Talat Hussain of AAJ TV who wanted “writ of government” in Lal Masjid but then turned to criticizing the government immediately after) and forgiving all actions of the Taliban as “radd-e-amal”.

Using the innocuous sounding “Taliban” (i.e. “student”) when the better name would have been “fitna” or “Khariji” (who rose against Muslims and who Hazrat Ali had to put down).

Not highlighting the foreign funding and interests of the Taliban.

These channels instead perpetuated that “hundreds of women and children were killed in Lal Masjid operation”. Which has turned out to be false.

When Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer repeats that falsehood, no anchor stops him and corrects him.

Why ? What is the role of anchors in talk shows ?

Is a presentation of facts and separating the truth from the chaff not part of the role of media – i.e. to INFORM. Not to disinform.

Media and PPP/PML-N

It is this media frenzy – just because they wanted to cut down Musharraf (the political alliances of journalists with Benazir Bhutto and some with Nawaz) – they chose to “go light” on truths related to the Taliban.

But by this behaviour they added fuel to the fire. They whipped up a lot of pro-Taliban into a frenzy. And that probably contributed to bloodshed because some segments of society were not given the correct picture by the media.

It was treachery.

The person who created the media out of the feudal-dominated environment (with PML-Q also opposing opening up the media), was instead pilloried by this same media.

It was THIS behaviour which made the media out to be a truly “ghattia” entity. When they are NOT able to distinguish between people and their intent.

When they interviewed Benazir Bhutto they were careful to not mention Surrey Palace (Dr. Shahid Masood interview with his hands in his lap and with a sheepish smile).

When they interviewed Nawaz Sharif they did not bring his escapades in previous tenures.

There ARE a few journalists who have retained some independence. However they are not among the more “celebrity” journalists like Hamid Mir, Dr. Shahid Masood, Ansar Abbassi.

They also REFUSED to ever criticize the Taliban. They never recognized that the Taliban were indistinguishable from “Khwarij” or ghaddars.

As Pakistanis – regardless of how good or bad U.S. is – we only have real control over ourselves.

If short-term strategic interest was in NOT fighting the U.S. at the state level, then the Taliban turning against Pakistan was a movement to spoil that strategic move.

The media supported the Taliban in this respect.

They have chosen to push the opinion of non-representative (and foreign supported) groups like the Taliban over the opinions of local supporters.

They also pushed misconceptions that “no foreign fighters” exist among the Taliban.

And the reason may have partly been they were afraid of the Taliban. And if was FAR safer to criticize Musharraf than the Taliban.

What use is such a media ?

A Turning Point

We are now seeing the beginning of a turning point.

First came the flogging video of the girl in Swat. That might have been a U.S. sponsored move, or an NGO move. But it did it’s job.

However the media is not able to establish the reality of that video – they inject doubts because the Taliban start to say it is a fake. But then there are reports that Muslim Khan (spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban) had accepted it earlier.

This is another (deliberately acting “nanna” ?) on the part of the media. They will “prove” that Baitullah Mehsud was not involved in Benazir murder by saying that “he has denied it”. As if that is a great proof.

When it is known to all how many maulvis in small mosques in villages badmouth the holding of top office by a woman and have criticized Benazir for that.

Their targeting of Benazir is not out of the ordinary.

The problem is, once the Tehreek-e-Taliban choose to fight the state, they provide a cover for assassinations. Whether they did it or not, their activities provide a “possibility” that they or similar groups may have done it.

If this is naivete or stupidity it is unclear. But in any case if the Taliban is that naive, then they should not be dictating strategy and foreign policy to Pakistan.

As stupidity can lead to MORE trouble than corruption (Zardari). As a stupid person can be manipulated by outside forces. While a corrupt person CAN reform if an issue is close to their heart.

When the Taliban opposed Musharraf, it was opportune to use them against Musharraf. Now that PPP and PML-N are in power, there is less incentive to use the Taliban, and so THIS is also a reason for the diminishing value of the Taliban for the media.

The U.S. also realized the need to remove Musharraf. Because as long as he was in power (and PPP, PML-N were pulling the strings of the PPP and PML-N affiliated journalists) there was NEVER going to be a media that aligned itself fully against the Taliban. Instead the media was going to USE the Taliban to weaken Musharraf. The media was going to praise the Taliban because showing them in a good light would make Musharraf look bad in the public’s eye.

It is interesting how the person who created the media, and who they were always at ease in criticizing, is an “Aamir” and “worst dictator”. Even when the PML-Q was the culprit, the media has PRESUMED perfect power for the President. There is a reason why Musharraf was most effective in his first tenure – because he was in charge. In the second tenure, it was the Chaudhry brothers and others who were running government. Sure, Musharraf was convincing when he wanted to be (after all he is able to convince hostile journalists after an hour with them in India), THIS aspect of his leaderhip qualities are ignored, and instead some “exercise of power” is the only explanation the media can stomach.

And the people the media is unable to criticize – the Taliban, PPP and PML-N are their heroes.

We are seeing shades of the old “print media” here – since a lot of them were the first hires by the new TV media channels.

Musharraf retains a 15% support group within Pakistan (Gallup poll during his worst period when everyone was criticizing him). It is no surprise that a lot of thinking people turn out to be Musharraf supporters (not because he was so great, but because the alternatives are so pathetic).

And these 15% are core supporters – not because they are fans but because they know from reality that there are very few people like Musharraf available as leaders in Pakistan.

With the performance of PPP and PML-N and Iftikhar Chaudhry becoming visible, and with the Taliban beginning to be identified more correctly (now that PPP/PML-N are having to fight them), we are starting to see an unraveling of the case which had been made against Musharraf.

From the Lal Masjid accusations (now it turns out no women and children were killed).

It is amazing why the government was not able to put out a better explanation when it happened.

One was the replacement of Sheikh Rashid by Durrani who exhibited some sleepy I-don’t-care attitude which would have infuriated anyone.

Then the sequence of failures one after another.

Then the lack of will on the part of the PML-Q in supporting Musharraf in interviews and debates.

Many times when OBVIOUS arguments were availabe, they were still not used. There was an episode on a smaller TV channel where one viewer chastised the PML-Q representative on the show for “what kind of PML-Q representative are you – I can do a better job explaining the improvementd during Musharraf era”. And then the viewer proceeded to rattle off a number of accomplishments.

Many viewers will recognize this persistent pattern in the PML-Q in this matter. Many will recognize the weary tones when they had to defend Musharraf.

PML-Q – An Unhappy alliance

And the reason was that PML-Q FROM THE START was an unnatural party for alliance with Musharraf. But having evicted the most corrupt leaders of the PPP and PML-N, Musharraf was left with the task of constructing a civil body. And he had to induct some local political talent. It was this step which damaged Musharraf’s credibility in many people’s eyes when he cobbled together a party of politicians – many of whom were ALSO corrupt. But then there is a dearth of non-corrupt politicians.

In Musharraf’s defence – perhaps in a dose of realpolitick he realized that if he chose amateurs (like Imran Khan) they would be devoured.

It also did not help that people like Imran Khan DID NOT step up to help an honest leader when he DID emerge (after all the years of calling for non-corrupt leadership).

Instead he found it more convenient to (much later) ally himself with the SAME corrupt politicians he badmouthed earlier.

Imran Khan is further reducing his credibility by allying himself with the Taliban – since the Taliban are now going to take a beating in the media.

Along the way the PML-Q ALSO did all sorts of dealings with the Lal Masjid folks – Ijaz-ul-Haq being a former ally. And because the PML-Q was SCARED of going against the “rustic religious” base.

A FAR greater match for Musharraf was the PPP voting base – if not the PPP leadership itself.

Corrupt better than Stupid

It was the increased pressure from media and other sides, that eventually FORCED Musharraf to concede that even corrupt leaders should be allowed back as he needed all the help he could get against the Taliban. And when the media was using the Taliban against him as well. So Musharraf needed some other people to come in who represented the moderate public – and in the crisis it was no longer as important to screen out corrupt politicians anymore.

The PPP and PML-N on their part used the media and lawyers. The lawyer’s movement was a PPP movement designed to get better terms in negotiation (NRO) with Musharraf. Sheikh Rasheed in an interview revealed that Benazir wanted 2 out of 3 demands. And Musharraf was against letting the corruption cases lapse, and was flexible to 3rd term relaxation (which BB wanted so could become PM again). But according to Sheikh Rasheed, the Chaudhry Brothers (PML-Q leaders) were adamant against 3rd term and wanted Musharraf to grant her freedom from corruption cases. This may have been a political consideration for the Chaudhrys since it would prevent Nawaz Sharif ALSO from holding 3rd term as PM. This was revealed a few months ago in a TV talk show by Sheikh Rasheed.

Ideally Musharraf could have been President, and Benazir the PM – however long that would have lasted is unclear. But it is possible that they could have worked together.

However that was not to be as Benazir was assassinated and all “understandings” were forgotten by Zardari – while all the benefits had already been taken advantage of by him.

The PPP’s interest in Iftikhar Chaudhry did not go beyond using him as a pawn to pressurize Musharraf for better terms. Benazir was going to say later that “conditions had changed”. However Zardari fresh from the shock of his wife’s absence could not create a sufficiently cogent response when Nawaz Sharif use that against him.

There is no love lost between Zardari (or Benazir) and Nawaz Sharif. Zardari cannot forget that Nawaz Sharif put him behind bars.

In fact Musharraf was FAR less of a threat to the PPP than Nawaz Sharif.

After the PPP removed it’s (large) Jiyala base of lawyers from the movement, the lawyer’s movement was left unable to generate a single big crowd in Islamabad (Aitzaz Ahsan saying the lawyers were all protesting in their local Bar Councils). He and a couple of lawyers was all that he could muster.

It took Nawaz Sharif some time to coopt the lawyer’s movement since PML-N has a weak base in the lawyer community (which is dominated by PPP and Jamaat-e-Islami).

However eventually he was able to revive the zombie lawyer’s movement (which had become adrift after the removal of PPP support), but this time it looked even LESS like a lawyer’s movement than a purely Nawaz Sharif movement. Geo TV reported lawyers were paid Rs. 4000 to enter Islamabad (and for their expenses).

And the reason probably lies in the half-hearted role that PML-Q played in “supporting” Musharraf.

Support Trends for Musharraf

Prior to the Chief Justice issue, Musharraf enjoyed moderately strong support in Pakistan. Just a few short months and an intense media campaign was enough to confuse enough people to make the whole process work out for the politicians.

As some people (Zaid Hamid) have said, the Musharraf ouster – from the “mistakes” to the “media” and “civil society” – have a strong resemblance to the ouster of Mossadeg in Iran by the CIA (which is well documented). THAT oparation succeeded beyond the CIA’s expectations.

So in this way the media essentially created the backdoor for the same corrupt politicians to come back in.

So like Jinnah, Musharraf was also working with “khotay sikkay”.

However at the worst period, a Gallup poll suggested Musharraf still enjoyed strong support from 15% of the population.
This is NOT a trivial number given the INTENSE negativity against Musharraf. It also suggest that there are at LEAST 15% of the population which THINKS and is not swayed by brainwashing that easily. And this bodes very positively for Pakistan. That is, there are AT LEAST 15% people who ARE capable of distinguishing between good and bad, even in times of crisis.

And a further 30-40% were people who were confused by all the problems and just wanted him to leave. I would not rate these types of people very highly. But they are the “lota” in that they will slosh over to Musharraf’s side if things take a turn.

Then there is a core group of pro-Taliban who will only “understand” when the Taliban start destroying schools in their area. These are the people who do not think, who are always surprised by the outcome of things. And who always “learn” AFTER the fact. It is ALWAYS easy to learn after the fact. Even a “gaddha” can understand after the fact.

Unfortunately a lot of people in our government belong to this category also – in fact there maybe fewer gaddha in our population since they see real issues and are not isolated from them like our government officials can sometimes be.

With how things have turned out with PPP, PML-N and Iftikhar Chaudhry, and the Taliban, it will have removed many of the clouds over Musharraf.

I would not be surprised if right now he enjoys 30-40% popularity.

On an unrelated note

One of the reasons why Nawaz Sharif does not want to join the cabinet in the center is precisely to insulate himself (however much he can) from the INEVITABLE difficult time ahead (worldwide recession) and the INEVITABLE bad press when the state has to go against the Taliban. He has been studying the public’s attitudes. When the environment becomes “saazgaar” he will throw himself more against the Taliban, but so far they had been hedging their bets. In many ways Nawaz Sharif is less of a leader than a follower of public sentiment. In that he is like Clinton – where he will craft himself to be what he thinks is the current trend, but when crunch time he will be unable to decide and be worrying how this will play on the media.

Like Clinton did in NOT going in early into Bosnia – just because the U.K. Foreign Minister Hurd was lobbying for a “delay” until some “ground realities” were achieved – i.e. a destruction of Bosnian Muslims.

To his credit Joe Biden (current VP) was the ONLY U.S. representative who vociferously advocated action to prevent genocide in Bosnia. He was ignored. I think Bob Dole may have also been slightly in the same camp (not sure).

Holbrooke was ALSO one of the better people during that period. As he advocated a strong response. And he is a “no nonsense” type of person.

However, it is to be realized that these “more wise” U.S. people were not doing this “for Muslims” necessarily. But because they were wise – and they understood a catastrophe would be a “daagh” that the U.S. would not be able to wash off. The wiser ones were ignored by the typical short-term thinkers. The same type of thinkers who went into Afghanistan to fight the Soviets but came away without a Marshall Plan to develop Afghanistan which had been “spent” for the amusement of the U.S. But seeing that Afghans were “khuddaar” that they could “get away without paying much more”, the U.S. got the hell out of there in a hurry. This was another “ghattia” behaviour on the part of the U.S. which is perhaps one of the CORE events that destroyed (or did not rebuild) millions of Afghan citizens lives after the war. And did not give them a stable home after that.

It also says something about Obama that having seen himself as an odd man out in the Senate, he has chosen similar minded people from among his colleagues – for example Biden, Chuck Hagel and Dick Lugar. These three are generally not as anti-Pakistan. Chuck Hagel is somewhat anti-Israel as well. However they are obviously not the only influence on Obama.

Links:
Media love affair with Taliban ends – End of Jamaat-e-Islami – Apr 30, 2009

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Written by pwyoutube

May 3, 2009 at 11:38 am

One Response

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  1. Great article. Pakistani media (political anchors) have the blood of innocent pakistanis on their hands, blood of those who died from terrorist talibans

    Ali ALi

    November 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm


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