(By Dr Shahid Qureshi – Chief Editor):
There was an open and frank discussion with Major General Asif Ghafoor the Pakistani Armed Forces spokesman aka Director General ISPR seemingly the second most powerful man in the country at Pakistan High Commission in London. Since the meeting was on and off the record so I can narrate my questions and would like you to use your imagination for the answers where needed.
I asked him about the current status of the ‘Dawn Leaks’, where national security of Pakistan and armed forces were targeted by Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz who ran a rouge media cell funded by Pakistani taxpayers in the prime minister house. The news group call Kashmiri freedom fighters in Indian Held Kashmir ‘militant’ and their martyrs as ‘killed’. Kashmiris are fighting an UN recognised and legal fight against illegal Indian occupation and it is not terrorism under any definition of international law.
Any one would object to the suggestion that Maryam Nawaz should go scot free after running sinister campaign against Pakistan armed forces and speak the Indian language and promote their narrative. It was indecisiveness of General Raheel Sharif that caused further damage and more damaging subsequent incidents when Nawaz Sharif met with the same reporter of Dawn Group in a VIP protocol. In both the cases Army Act was directly applicable but it seems not even slap on the wrist for breaking the law and damaging the national interest was done. A kiss and a hug reconciliation are only used in family disputes not matters related to national security.
The Geo and Jang group ran a sinister campaign against the sitting national security agency ISI Chief General Zaheer ul Islam for over eight hours with continuously flashing his pictures on its TV channel following the Indian narrative. According to a leaked video the deliberately tone down and undermining coverage of the national leaders and officials was questioned, which is factually correct.
There was a question about the billions of Rs funding of Pakistani taxpayers’ money to the private media groups. Any one watching these TV channels can empirically observe and evidently prove that these media groups do nothing but are involved in Pakistan Army bashing, ISI bashing and coining derogatory and offensive words like ‘khalie Makhlooq’ (monster aliens).
The question people are asking why Taxpayers hard earned money should be given to private media groups who are already damaging the national interests and providing fuel and ammunition to the international press? All the anti-Pakistan articles published in international press were written by local reporters.
The other issue was media groups not paying their staff at all or very minimal for example a very vocal and loudest Bureau chief in London of a famous TV channel is getting less than £300 a month. He would ask planted and operational questions which are not linked to his remit mostly supporting Indian sectarian angling. One participant media person himself confessed that he has to do a day time job to continue his media work and there is nothing wrong with this but Media Groups profiting from Pakistani taxpayers not paying staff is highly unacceptable. There were four people who admitted getting fully paid by their employers out of room of over 20 people.
It would be unrealistic to expect these people to go and network and compete with BBC, Financial Times, Sunday Times, CNN, Al-Jazeera, TRT, CGTN and other media journalists. To fight a media war Pakistan, need media persons with skills, knowledge and resources, simple patriotism is not enough or is it?
They cannot afford a £200 lunch or dinner and drink in a posh central London restaurant and apart from that where would they get the knowledge and skills to communicate with those international journalists. They can be low level informers or tipsters for them.
If you don’t act now anti Pakistan private media groups would become like MQM-A self-financing terrorist group as it generated money from land grabbing, china cutting, extortion and kidnappings but served the purpose for the foreign agencies. A stitch in time saves nine.
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and chief editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Azerbaijan April 2018, Kazakhstan 2015 and 2016 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. At Government College Lahore he wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Imam Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ and studied Law at a British University. He also speaks at Cambridge University. He is a visiting Professor at Hebe University in China.)
Disclaimer views expressed are not of The London Post