By: Sabena Siddiqi –
The assassination attempt on Hamid Mir, a prominent journalist has started a dispute between the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and Geo News. The television station directly accused ISI of being responsible for the incident, not only that, it also went on to display a photo of Lt. Gen Zaheer ul Islam, the DG ISI, on live television. The news channel further exceeded itself by getting another senior journalist to ask the DG ISI to resign, along with this, Amir Mir, the brother of Hamid Mir accused ISI of being responsible for the attack.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence is asking the government to shut down Geo TV the largest television news station in the country. The Defence Ministry has asked PEMRA, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, to revoke Geo,s license and initiate criminal proceedings against its editors and management. PEMRA officials said the charges were serious.
Geo broadcast accusations that the Inter-Services Intelligence is responsible for an attack on its anchor Hamid Mir. Soon after this Geo tried to backtrack and employed a softer approach to no avail. A panel heard the petition on Wednesday.Ever since it was launched, Geo has become a propaganda tool to spread rumours, highlight India and downplay anything of credit to Pakistan . And worst of all, it is used to create scandals and target Pakistan armed forces and ISI. Geo is trying to create a clash of institutions and create conditions of chaos since a long time, that is the general impression.
At the time of the Mumbai attacks, Geo was front line in finding Pakistani involvement, trying to find links everywhere. The whole story collapsed when a former Indian CBI investigator revealed that India itself was behind the attacks on Indian parliament in Delhi and Mumbai with the objective of strengthening anti-terrorism laws.
In most matters, Geo succeeds with the help of its anchors, to paint a negative image of Pakistan. Coverage of Pakistan Army is minimal and even martyrdom of soldiers is not highlighted, the channel has a distinct Indian look with a lot of coverage of Indian movies and songs even in the news. It is at times truly bizarre, as Pakistan needs balanced, unbiased coverage without an Indian flavour.
There have been three incidents recently where Geo managed to drive a wedge between politicians and the army. First being when Geo through Salim Safi made sure that Munawar Hasan of JI say what he never meant to say about the question on Shaheeds/ martyrs. Repetitive rephrasing brought out the unsuitable answer which later cost him his seat as Ameer of JI.
The second instance was when Hamid Mir asked Khawaja Asif tricky questions and made sure the clip was repeated many times daily so that it creates a new situation in the country.The third instance is when Ansar Abbasi, with great bravado, asked the DG ISI to step down, once more the PMLN will face a problem. Exactly why do Geo’s talk shows stir up controversies on purpose, they try to keep the armed forces busy in non – essential matters.The general public and the government gets their attention diverted from real issues like storage of water resources, development work etc.The Geo line at many times betrays an Indian stance which means there is some kind of Indian influence on the owner Mir Shakil ur Rehman. Most Geo or Jang group employees openly declare their dislike for the Pakistan army, but why do all this, as they are a Pakistani channel at the end of the day. Popular shows and colourful programs also serve to keep the masses glued to Geo and getting fed their spins.
Geo specially promoted Aman ki Asha , a certain scheme to influence the Pakistani train of thought on matters concerning India with little or no benefit to Pakistan. The general drift seems to be to influence Pakistani masses on the Indian point of view and ultimately influence Pakistan’s internal and foreign policies. On the other hand, India does not allow a single Pakistani channel to be aired across the border.
The unequal Aman ki Asha offering is the main factor of Geo’s identity, a cultural invasion of sorts in an attractive package. Notwithstanding all this Hamid Mir and Geo were never banned from any functions, press conferences or meet the press dinners. In fact, Hamid Mir was always ubiquitously present at events hosted by the army and even ISI, not only this he would get answers to his questions in a friendly way from army officers.
This shows that the Pakistan army and ISI never considered him a threat or they would have banned him from army functions. After all this, his brother Amir Mir makes direct allegations on the ISI on live television, a Geo anchor demands the resignation of the DG ISI, it looks like it has been done with malicious intent.It would be relevant to read Article 6 of the constitution: Article 6 High treason 6. High treason —1 [(1) Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.]
It could be a conspiracy against the Pakistan Armed Forces, trying to involve it in the attack and that also sans proof. There are provisions in the Army Act to court-martial any person that accuses an institution or its head without proof. Why did Hamid Mir nominate himself as an ISI target according to Geo, if he had evidence he could have taken it to court.
By declaring ISI as a likely killer, he would have encouraged RAW and Mossad to down this sitting duck and bring criticism on the Pakistani intelligence agency. When Hamid Mir, Najam Sethi, Ayesha Siddiqua feel under threat from the ISI why have they never taken the matter to court?
If so, maybe they feel intimidated by ISI due to some act committed by them.
The same thing was done when Saleem Shehzad , a journalist , was killed some years ago , in whose interest is it to present the ISI negatively but in that of enemies of Pakistan.
Was the attack on Hamid Mir a diversion from some important happening-taking place in the same timeframe, Pakistan Military Academy had an important event on the same day and was greatly admired and Musharraf was shifted to Karachi.
If ISI wanted to kill Hamid Mir, wouldn’t it have employed a better course of action being the in the world’s best intelligence agencies. It was aware of Hamid Mir’s movements after arriving in Karachi but the assassin had a miserable aim , this just doesn’t wash.
And it didn’t wash, as soon as Hamid Mir regained his senses in hospital today, he denied that he had told anyone about the assassination plan and denied the Geo version of implicating the DG ISI, this just shows that Geo had some interest in twisting the incident against the Pakistan armed forces.But the harm has been done and no degree of denial will stop court proceedings and a cancellation of Geo,s license at the very least.Media has a very responsible role to play in nation building, sensationalising events for ratings only plays with people’s minds.
Hopefully, other channels will have learnt to behave responsibly now and check their facts before streaming it live on national television.
Disclaimer – The London Post not necessarily agree with the views expressed by the writer.