By Dr Shahid Qureshi: –
When you deliberately play with a weak player you are playing for the enemy. Pakistani politicians and officials are not sincere in building ‘soft image’ otherwise they would not have downgraded the press section of the London High Commission with a junior officer a press attaché instead of a senior level Press Minister.
According to official notification press attaché’s post was deleted and only Press Minister’s position was left to be filled with a senior officer. No press minister was appointed in last three years by the Nawaz Government in Pakistan High Commission in London. The officer in place obviously don’t understand the ‘risks and challenges’ Pakistan is facing in British media and diplomatic world in London? They seem to have no basic manners as how to approach senior journalists and respond to their queries. As these journalists are the real people, who are fighting psychological war against Pakistan in the west and rest of the world.
As a senior British journalist I have not been invited or aware of any working lunch or dinner or exclusive inter action with the London based British press and international media by the press office. The hard work other press officers in other embassies doing are to stay in touch and influence British press is tremendous. Obviously these diplomats clearly know that they are on special duty of 24/7 away from their country in London as per service rules. But Pakistani boys stationed in London are filled with incompetence, arrogance and ignorance and are on long holidays paid by the state? Even a constructive criticism hurt their inflated egos, instead of looking into matters or issues raised some of them try to undermine the person raised the matter. It is called ‘shooting the messenger’.
I have not seen any article or even letter to the editor published in the British media? Their main reliance is on the British Pakistanis working in BBC or other media outlets. They must understand they cannot influence ‘editorial policy’ of BBC, ITN or other organizations.
I believe that anybody who likes to write or shows interest in media and journalism should be supported and encouraged but they cannot be called journalists as it requires specific expertise and accreditation by the professional bodies in the UK. It is like to make difference between a ‘ward clerk in a hospital and a Surgeon of the ward.
If you don’t allow a ward clerk to perform surgery instead of a consultant surgeon on your body because you know he or she is not skilled or trained, how can you allow or even acknowledge someone as a journalist who is not qualified? That is an injustice to the professional journalists and make your judgement questionable. Pakistani media organizations are not appropriately paying their journalists but expecting them to perform like CNN and BBC reporters. How can they do their job as London is most expansive place in the world. This practice has made Pakistani journalist very vulnerable and open to abuse i.e. recruitment by the foreign agencies.
Obviously Indians are recruiting Pakistani media persons via some restaurants owners and money changers. They are targeting mostly Shia Pakistani journalists in London on grounds: (a) They can infiltrate Pakistani media and get live reports from Pakistan High Commission’s events and other official programs (b) they can come close to pro Iran lobby automatically (c) Indians can instigate Shia protest against Pakistan for ‘Shia genocide’ at any time outside Pakistan High Commission, No. 10 Downing Street Official residence of British Prime Minister or Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s private residence in London. The above has happened already and this a national security issue and not a sectarian matter so all need to work together. Read More:
There are reports that one billion US$ which Indians have allocated to sabotage CPEC some part of it has arrived in London and going to invested in Pakistani media channels and some journalists. Sadly, there are usual suspects in this anti Pakistan project and some of the absconders who ran from Pakistan for providing support and man power to private mercenaries, terrorist organizations like Xe and Blackwater providing their input as advisors to these new sectarian media outlets.
To tackle this problem Government of Pakistan who pay billions of Rs. to the media houses in Pakistan should pay or some part of that money to the journalists based in London and elsewhere. Obviously media owners are not paying them and so these journalists are surviving on State Benefits and charities. Pakistani people who run charities are paying small amounts to journalists for adds as they can by law or some immigration advisors or accident help line crooks using them for their publicity and projections. Insurance Fraud Bureau officials linked with Ministry of Justice and metropolitan police told me the names of Pakistani background individuals involved in accident claims frauds. An accident insurance claim fraud cannot succeed without full co-operation and collusion of an Orthopedic Surgeon, a solicitor, and a garage mechanic. Similarly, a team of accountant, solicitor and company director is required to do a ‘bankruptcy’ which is legal and sometimes seen as white collar crime. Their details can be obtained at Insurance Fraud Bureau website.
For past 15 years I have been writing and warning authorities about media groups showing disputed Jamu and Kashmir as part of India in violation to the UN security resolution which also produced an official map stating ‘disputed territory’. I warned Pakistani authorities about this kind of incomplete map of Pakistan shown on the website of the Singapore Shipping Authority who was contracted to run Gawadar Port. I will leave rest to your imagination as who were running the affairs of Pakistan well it was ‘rent boy’ Shaukat Aziz as prime minister and his boss General Musharraf as president.
I have been constantly observing same on major Pakistani news channels. Few months ago I posted screen shots of incomplete maps of Pakistan and showing Jammu and Kashmir as part of India by GEO TV and ARY on face book. All the diplomats posted abroad are on 24/7 duty and report minor incidents back home or even so in 40 hours working week when a press office costing millions failed to observe and monitor its own channels it should shut down and concerned should be sent back for incompetence. What kind of British monitoring happening? The reality is these guys come here to get paid and do nothing.
One can easily complaint to the Ofcom for this deliberate negligence or in case of newspaper to the British Press Complaint Commission. BBC has its own complaint policy and it always reply to the complainant within a 28 days’ times frame. Indians banned Al-Jazeera for showing improper map according to them.
Pakistani media in London need support, media education and understanding of psychological warfare. Obviously this cannot happen overnight but one has to start from somewhere. I was talking to someone about investing in media education. He said. ‘We don’t have any money’. I told him that your leaders can have a ‘semi naked dance party’ and spend millions in one night but they are not willing to spend any state money on media education of their young journalists’. I said: ‘that is a real treachery as you are deliberately leaving a front open for your enemies where tanks and planes won’t go but become useless in front of enemy propaganda’. It is all about priorities in life of a nation and its leaders. Various Governments have tried and tested Hussain Haqqani, Hamid Mir, his brother Amir Mir, Absar Alam (chairman Pemra) as all of them are good in scoring their own goals and Pakistan bashing?
Our experience suggests that main stream British media approach Pakistani press office or officials only when something ‘terrible’ happens in Pakistan. That is not a proactive media policy? Handling international media at an important station like London need ‘special skills, knowledge and determination a job which a typical civil service officer with very limited resources cannot do. I suppose the current approximate cost of around approximately £200,000 running a press office in London is not enough? Is this office value for money or need more resources that is a question for Government of Pakistan?
Well, Nawaz regime don’t care as it allowed the Zardari’s political appointee High Commissioner Wajid Hassan to continue in London. He was the only High Commissioner in the history of world diplomacy who never visited his country (Pakistan) during his tenure, not even when ‘Abbottabad Commission’ summoned him. He was found red handed in removing Bhutto-Zardari’s corruption ‘Swiss Case’ documents from Switzerland while he was Pakistani High Commissioner of Britain. It was not in his jurisdiction.
An incompetent press attaché who could not write a press note and was told by her boss now secretary information Imran Gardezi, ‘please don’t bother to write I will do myself as it was always full of mistakes’. She was instrumental in banning journalists who were exposing their activities.
When I exposed Wajid Shamsulhassan and his boss Zardari’s corruption he banned me from attending official events at the Pakistan high commission for years. That is what happen when a country is ruled by criminals and crooks. Read More:
Actually it was late Benazir Bhutto who introduce me to Wajid Shamsulhasan at a dinner in central London. Late Ms. Bhutto told Wajid Shamsulhassan: ‘keep in touch with Dr Shahid, he is a friend, an investigative journalist and analyst with Al-Jazeera’. My Chief editor Rehmat Shah Afridi of ‘The Frontier Post’ told me on the day he was released that: ‘Ms. Bhutto was speaking to him every week’. ‘BB gave me her own copy of charter of democracy in 2006 and signed for me.
I have done few programs with Mr. Wajid Hasan at Al-Jazeera TV. So it was not the case that he did not know me. I have done program at BBC with current Pakistani High Commissioner H.E. Syed Ibn Abbas and gave him my views on issues. I find H.E. Syed Ibn Abbas a good professional diplomat with lot of skills and knowledge as well as people skills.
The arrival of new Pakistani High Commissioner H.E. Syed Ibn Abbas, a career diplomat who brought some life and real activity for the community in Britain. He has done some tremendous work in community engagement. It is not relevant now how he was able to break the vicious circle of political appointments in London. Since all Pakistani politicians, officers and elite have kids, wives, other wives, mistresses ‘dumped’ in London with all the ill-gotten wealth through corruption mostly. They need a High Commissioner who provide a ‘concierge service’, housekeeping and room service to them in London.
I must admire H.E. Syed Ibn Abbas as he opened his official residence’s doors for the community, not only him but his wife also stood by him in greeting hundreds who turned up on Eid events. Thank you High Commissioner.
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and 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), Turkish TV, LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Kazakhstan 2015, March 2016 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. He wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is a PhD in Political Psychology and also studied Law at a British University)