Media must not be used to pressurise Pakistan

by Bilal Qureshi

It has been obvious for a while now that the war in Afghanistan is not going well. After years of presence there, the Americans and NATO forces still face danger and attacks on daily basis. Some experts even suggest that the Taliban are becoming stronger, more brazen and are engaging allied forces more aggressively. So, what is the solution to this complex problem? “Pakistan is not doing enough” is the tried and tested response that Washington has mastered whenever questions are raised about the war in Afghanistan.

This is exactly what has happened again. A report in the Washington Post suggests that Pakistanis are not doing enough to defeat, control, curb, eliminate (use whatever term you see fit) the threat of the Taliban?

What? Yes, this is how Pakistanis react to it. People in Pakistan, both in the government and on the street are shocked and dismayed by this consistent drum beat of Pakistan is not doing enough mantra. Pakistanis point out, and they do have a valid claim here, that Pakistan has done everything it was asked in the fight against the Taliban. According to a journalist based in Pakistan, since 9/12/2001, Pakistan has been cooperating with Washington 100%. And as a result of this cooperation with the Americans, As a Pakistan has paid a very heavy price.

We all hear whenever an America or a Canadian or any solider or NATO soldier is killed in Afghanistan. And we should know about the heroic efforts and sacrifice of these fine soldiers who are fighting to keep us safe. But can anyone outside Pakistan tell me how many Pakistanis have died in this battle to root out the Taliban? Do people outside Pakistan know about the total number of bombings and suicide attacks carried out by the Taliban against the military and the civilians in Pakistan? Is it possible for anyone, especially those ‘sources’ who talk to the journalists from the Washington Post or the New York Times to talk about the total loss that Pakistan has to endure as a result of working with Washington?  Of course not, but this seemingly cavalier attitude by Washington is seriously damaging Washington’s credibility inside Pakistan.

The report in the Washington Post that suggests that Quetta Shura is responsible for almost all the mayhem and chaos in Afghanistan is just silly and absurd. According to folks in Islamabad, now that the North West region in Pakistan is relatively free of the Taliban, Washington is trying, desperately to find a new drum to beat to divert attention from the operation in Afghanistan.

These reports and these allegations by Washington are very destructive because these allegations give superb ammunition to those forces within Pakistan who are opposed to Washington’s efforts and presence in Afghanistan.

“Aha, did we not tell you that no matter what you do, America won’t be happy” is how these people gloat after American media quoting sources in Washington suggest that Pakistan is somehow complicit in this fight against the Taliban.

Finger pointing has never solved anything in the past, and it won’t help the joint efforts that are needed to crush and defeat the Taliban. Washington must learn to convey its concerns privately to Islamabad because by trying to mount pressure through the media just angers Pakistan. It should stop because it is in our interest that the nihilists Taliban are uprooted, their networks are destroyed and they should not find any support or sanctuary in Pakistan. But for this to happen, Washington has to play its hand carefully.

Remember, the issue of the Taliban is very complex. There are historic, religious and nationalistic forces are at play here. Actually, the fight against the Taliban is like defusing an active bomb – one mistake and boom, everything is gone.

Since we can’t afford to lose, so, we must understand to act in a way that does not jeopardize the mission.

12 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, baluchistan, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, violence, war

12 responses to “Media must not be used to pressurise Pakistan

  1. Luqmaan

    If it can be assumed that some govt is using the media to armtwist Pakistan, then Pakistan is free to ignore that media and stay out of the twisting game.

    Luqmaan

  2. Mustafa Shaban

    Bilal I agree with you

    Luqman: In a way you are rite but also media has its impacts and cannot be ignored sometimes. Instead we should counter it with our own logical arguments

  3. Bloody Civilian

    Pakistan is free to ignore that media and stay out of the twisting game.

    if by pakistan you mean the govt or state of pakistan… the author has made it quite clear that is not the issue. it is about many common pakistanis seeing it, rightly or wrongly, as disparaging, while at the same time they’re being cut down by the terrorists. and the group that the author has clearly alluded to in to whose hands this then plays. nobody has claimed that it’s either the most iportant or the most debilitating issue. not everybody in a third world country is as well-educated and sauve like you to know that the media has to do what the media has to do… to sell copy.

  4. Anwar

    First, the PK embassy needs to improve PR capability. And secondly, Pakistanis in this country need to write letters to the editors and openly question the news items…. I often write directly to the columnists… Either way, the goal is to shape opinions.

  5. Junaid

    First, the PK embassy needs to improve PR capability. And secondly, Pakistanis in this country need to write letters to the editors and openly question the news items…. I often write directly to the columnists… Either way, the goal is to shape opinions.

    Hahahaha

    Bakre ki maan, kaab tak kher manaye gi

    When its time to bomb Pakistan back to the stone age, letter and opinions would matter little.

    Hope Pakistanis can learn from Iraq and in the near future Iran.

  6. Luqmaan

    >What? Yes, this is how Pakistanis react to it.
    >People in Pakistan, both in the government

    both?

    >and on the street are shocked and dismayed
    >by this consistent drum beat of Pakistan
    >is not doing enough mantra

    & BC wrote……
    >>if by pakistan you mean the govt
    >>or state of pakistan…
    >>the author has made it quite clear
    >>that is not the issue.
    >>it is about many common pakistanis
    >>seeing it,

    I failed to convince Bonobashi that you can add spin to anything.😉

    Tell me BC, if the govt is made of something other than people (in pakistan)?

    And common pakistanis # govt ?

    (# => not equal to.)

    Is this the *real* problem? you want us to take notice of ? That there is a disconnect between the govt and the aspirations of the people?

    Luqmaan.

  7. bonobashi

    @Luqmaan

    Hang on there a minute, my young friend.

    We were talking about a different context altogether.

    First, regarding your question posed to BC, yes, it is obvious that there is a disconnect between the growing, sensitive civil society which is asking why democracy and rule by civilians is being denied to Pakistan, and the crusty ruling class, consisting of civilian and military place-seekers, who have dominated and dictated the channels of discourse for decades.

    Second, we did not talk about spin in this context, but in some completely different context. I agree that media can be given a spin; more or less, it does not matter. I don’t remember where I reproduced the bit about the British journalist, but this is an appropriate moment to remind ourselves that it is true of sub-continental journalism as much as it was of British.

    What we did discuss was the contention that the participants in this forum were putting spin on in different ways, and avoiding approaching the thorny question of the exfiltration of terrorists across its eastern borders. It was postulated that the rest of the discussion is quite an airy-fairy nothing without accepting that brutal reality.

    I beg to disagree. This forum is nothing if it does not represent a demand for change from the tacit alliance between the Mullah and the military which determines Pakistani foreign policy and neighbourly relations. The relationship is good for no one but the participants, the Mullahs and the military.

    It is worth noting that both are serenely confident that they will prevail in the end over their partners in this opportunistic alliance. The Mullahs are in it because they consider it tactically useful, and they are confident that in the long run, they can overpower the military theologically, and get the upper hand. The military are in it because they consider it tactically useful, and they are confident that in the long run, they can overpower the Mullahs militarily.

    As regards the forum, you will find defendants of the Mullahs; you will find defendants of the military, and you will find those who loathe both with an equal ferocity. The politeness and grace in their language does not exclude a fervour and a commitment that I have not seen in India since the Nav Nirmal movement of JP’s. This is something you have to establish to your own satisfaction through your own research, I can only point you in the right direction.

    For your information, you will find that your religious views are by no means extreme here; there are those who have a stronger dislike of organised religion than yourself, so be open to the signals.

    I repeat again, you have completely misread the forum and its contributors. I suggest you look at it as an independent resource, not as one at the end of puppeteers’ strings. Learn from the mistakes of other Indians like us.

    One last thing – stay away from challenging BC on facts; that is the second, actually third most dangerous thing to do here. You will have to deal with being deluged by a sudden flood, replete with citation. Also with an enthusiasm and energy that you will find hard to match, usually delivered with an irony that is subtle, or with a questioning and seeking, humble profile which will tie you into a thousand logical knots. Man’s middle name should have been Gordius.

  8. Luqmaan

    @bonobashi

    I very clearly said ….I failed to convince Bonobashi that you can add spin to anything.😉

    The smiley at the end meant clearly what it was supposed to mean.

    This place is new (to me) so let me learn the ropes myself. If I get bruised in the process so be it.

    And oh yea, lots of Atheists here. So heartening to note.

    Luqmaan.

  9. bonobashi

    @Luqmaan

    It’s only a one-time exception; I never intervene in other’s discussions unless some common platform opens itself. You’re on your own; good luck. Tip of the week: Walk purposefully, as if you knew where you were going. Avoid eye contact.

  10. Luqmaan

    >Walk purposefully, as if you knew
    >where you were going. Avoid eye contact.

    Bengal tiger’s advice?

    Let me see what happens in these shark infested waters.

    Luqmaan.

  11. Luqmaan

    @bonobashi sep30 2:41pm
    >yes, it is obvious that there is a disconnect
    >between the growing, sensitive civil society which is
    >asking why democracy and rule by civilians is being
    >denied to Pakistan, and the crusty ruling class,

    I am a firm believer in……
    1. The people get the govt they deserve.

    2. When you vote with your feet, everything false into place.

    You can even arm twist the government any day.
    For instance when Nawaz Shareef took out that huge rally, what happened ?

    Got to try.

    Luqmaan

  12. nick

    not only media one more bloody thing is comming babe
    US Recruiting Retired Pakistani Military Officers

    http://www.pakistaniheart.com/article/us_recruiting_retired_pakistani_military_officers.html