Why Pakistan losing Media War – foreign funding or infiltration?

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By Dr Shahid Qureshi:

When you deliberately play with a weak team you are playing for the enemy. The heavy foreign funding from USA-India in Pakistani media created a ‘breed of media and journalists’ who can be hired for anything. They kill the anti-India stories in TV and press, for example Indian farmers are protesting in Delhi and have sieged the capital for over three weeks but no coverage. These protesting Indian farmers are publishing their own two news papers for the protesters only. BBC, TRT, Al-Jazeera and others are covering daily. When guys in the ISPR have few moments from releasing patriotic songs should run a security risk assessment on media persons and groups because in the end they will be the loser for not doing it.

The exposure of India run media networks by EU DisinfoLab, a Brussels-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) rocked the whole world and must be alarming for the Pakistani security establishment?

India run elements in the Pakistani establishment and politics adopted two prong strategy (a) Kill all anti India narratives in Pakistani media. (b) Side-line, demonise, harass, and even kill pro Pakistan journalists and academics.

That exposed the incapacity and failures of the security establishment and one hope it is on the mend now. Bhuttos, Zardaris and Sharif regimes on the instructions of their foreign masters removed very competent officers from the premier security establishments and sent in corrupt and incompetent.

The fact that Indian RAW was able to record conversation between General Aziz and General Pervez Musharraf raise many questions and suspicions as mentioned in the recently published book by an Indian former civil servant. The tapes were handed over to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad. These infiltrations led to the current disastrous media situation today.

The book on Mr Vajpayee’s tumultuous tenure, “Vajpayee: The Years That Changed India” by former bureaucrat Shakti Sinha, who served as Vajpayee’s private secretary for many years, goes on to say that the communication was kept up after a telling incident between Mr. Sharif and R.K. Mishra, a former head of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), the man selected for back-channel talks to end the conflict.

“…Sharif’s position was a tenuous one, and in a later meeting, he indicated to Mishra that they should take a walk in the garden, obviously suspecting that his own house was tapped. When Mishra reported this to Vajpayee, the latter took this as an indication that Sharif was more a prisoner of circumstances than anything else,” says the book

“Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee spoke to each other on the phone at least five times during the course of the 1999 Kargil war, with the latter veering to the view that Mr Sharif had been bamboozled by then army chief General Pervez Musharraf into the conflict, The Hindu said on Sunday, quoting from a new book by Mr Vajpayee’s private secretary.”

Pakistani politicians and officials are not sincere in building ‘soft image’ otherwise they would not have behaved the way they do?

The officers posted abroad obviously don’t understand the ‘risks and challenges’ Pakistan is facing in international media and diplomatic world especially United Kingdom. They lack basic manners and training as how to approach, cultivate and develop good relations that can make changes in the views and perceptions. There are few patriotic journalists who are fighting psychological war against Pakistan in the West and rest of the world without any support on their own. There is a need of more media training and human resource development.

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 restaurant’s owners and money changers. They are targeting Pakistani journalists from minority groups in London on the 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 various lobby groups automatically (c) Indians can instigate sectarian protest against Pakistan.

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 manpower 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.

For years I have been writing and warning authorities about media groups showing disputed Jammu 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.

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 (former chairman Pemra) as all of them are good in scoring their own goals and Pakistan bashing?

As someone said: “if it is important you will find a way if not find an excuse.”

(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 Presidential election observer for Kazakhstan, 2019, 2016 and 2015, Azerbaijan 2020, 2018 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. He did his MA from Government College Lahore. He wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Imam Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ also studied Law at a British University. He also speaks at Cambridge University and visiting professor in Hebe University in China.)

Views expressed are not of The London Post

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