Western Media’s Bellyache With Imran Khan’s Rise

As is the ritual, The New York Times headline mentions Paki­stan’s election with signature propaganda style. Pakistan is de­scribed in a grim manner as an “Islamic Re­public with nuclear weapons”. I have never seen The New York Times describe Israel as a ‘Jewish state with nuclear weapons’ or India as a ‘Hindu state with nuclear weap­ons’ or the United States as a ‘Christianity-dominated country that elected a lunatic Ku Klux Klan endorsed President with a “much bigger” and “more powerful” nucle­ar button”. To detect the pain of the West­ern media with the possibility of Imran Khan becoming the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, one does not need to read between the lines. They are very visibly upset.

In some of their reports by Jeffrey Gettleman, the allegations of politicians being threatened and blackmailed by the Pakistan Army are presented as undisputed facts with a short phrase snuck in there that the “human rights groups have said”, in an attempt to fulfil the journalistic require­ments of mere reporting and not giving or manufacturing an opinion. But make no mistake, this is not journalism, but rather cherry-picking of sources who would pro­vide one-sided view to further strengthen the propagandistic narrative: that Imran Khan and the Pakistan Army are the vil­lains. Otherwise, even scant attention was not paid when the same human rights groups condemned CIA’s drone strikes in the tribal areas that were killing innocent people and creating more terrorists.

People like Nighat Dad, Reham Khan and Husain Haqqani are interviewed to make the reporting appear as coming from experts and dissidents of the country. These people and many others like them should rightly be labelled as opportunists who pass themselves as patriots represent­ing the true aspirations of the people of Pakistan. Nothing can be further from the truth. Among foreign analysts, the choice of Christine Fair is again part of the same pattern. Fair is a staunch anti-Pakistan fraud intellectual.

In a debate between Christine Fair and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Glenn Gre­enwald on Al-Jazeera programme UpFront, Fair called Greenwald a ‘liar’ and hardly let him speak causing host Mehdi Hasan to ask her to stop. Etiquette was not the only weak­ness in Fair, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Shadi Hamid called her arguments “surprisingly weak”. After the debate, she took to Twitter and expressed pride over her ill-mannered behaviour by saying that she “shut that lying clown down”. Elsewhere on social media she has called Pakistan “an en­emy” and said “We invaded the wrong dog-damned country”, implying the US should have invaded Pakistan instead of Afghani­stan. In a Facebook post she further said, “India needs to woman up and ‘squash’ Paki­stan militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically.”

Having such frauds on the show speak about Pakistan is going to create a skewed perception about Pakistan and its loyal military. There is a thin line between jour­nalism and propaganda. A free journalism, if something of the sorts exists, would have reported both sides of the argument. And that is not even doing the nuanced journal­istic work. That is just elementary journal­ism: that you present both sides.

Furthermore, the reporting goes on to aver that the Supreme Court of Pakistan ousted Nawaz Sharif from office and even­tually sent him to prison under the Army’s pressure. Again, this is an example of jour­nalism that treats hearsay, propaganda or opinion as facts. Not a word is being dedi­cated to mention the Panama Papers that resulted in ousting Nawaz were not cooked in Aabpara or Rawalpindi. I am confident, Panama does not have cities or towns by those names.

The Article First Appeared In The Express Tribune

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