Western policy makers should also consult alternative media of Pakistan
The following is an interview conducted by Ali Abbas Taj with US Congressman Keith Ellison (D). Keith Ellison the first Muslim Congressman in United States House of Representatives. The interview touches upon the key area of information exchange between the United States and Pakistan.
The central thrust of the interview is on the veracity of the information supplied by the Pakistani media. Due to a variety of reasons, this information has not helped the United States in its policy initiatives with Pakistan. For instance, with the situation in Afghanistan, the US has to rely on information the reflects the military establishment point of view.
One has to appreciate the fact that many segments of Pakistan’s media work under severe constraints. Who can forget the murder of journalists like Saleem Shahzad or Wali Babar. That allied with corporate interests and the hold of Pakistan’s military establishment on the media compromises the quality of the information exchanged.
It is a fact that Pakistan’s mainstream media, includng the seemingly liberal English language press, remains subservient to the discourses and agendas of Pakistan army, and is keeping the US and European governments and policy makers in the dark about Pakistan army’s ongoing connivance with banned Islamist militant groups including but not limited to the Al Qaeda, Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (currently operating as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (currently operating as Jamaat-ud-Dawa). In contrast, LUBP (an alternative media blog) has an extensive archive of more than 300 articles and reports which are an evidence of Pakistan army’s ongoing support to Jihadi-sectarian militants. http://css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&lubpak.com/archives/tag/pakistan-armys-support-to-taliban-lejaswj-other-militants
A case in point is the recent prison break in Bannun in April 2012, between 150 and 200 militants attacked the jail and released around 384 dangerous prisoners, 20 of whom are described as “very dangerous”. This attack could not have taken place without the connivance of Pakistan army, and remained largely hushed up in Pakistan (and consequently international) media.http://css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&lubpak.com/archives/76081
Massacres within Pakistan at the hands of militant groups sympathetic to Al Qaeda and Taliban remain unreported or misrepresented in Pakistani media, e.g., more than 3000 Shia Muslims have died in the last four years in Pakistan at the hands of ISI-sponsored LeJ-ASWJ terrorists. Hundreds of anti-Taliban Pashtuns and secular Balochs have been killed. Most of this information never reaches the international media or becomes grossly twisted or misrepresented because of foreign correspondents reliance on local sources with an agenda.
During the interview, Ali Abbas Taj highlights the importance of alternative media. Such media would include LUBP, Al Ufaq, Baloch johd, Pakistan Blogzine, Chagatai khan, Seraiki Wasab, Pamir Times, Khyber Watch, Daily Tawar etc.
Ali Abbas Taj is the founder-moderator of the Facebook Dicussion Group Jaag Pakistani Jaag. He is the editor of World Shia Forum and designated author at LUBP.
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