No contradiction when it comes to Gen. Kiyani – by Adnan Farooq

One expression of hegemony that in Antonio Gramsci’s view sustains rulers in power, is self-censorship practiced by mainstream media professionals. Here is a case in point:

Noted Geo-anchorperson and Jang-columnist, Hamid Mir, in his column last week (November 04) titled “Yeh Nawaz Sharif Bhi Kehtay Thay” claims that on September 14, 1999, he informed Nazir Naji to convey to the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, that his government would be shown the doors if he did not mend his ways and stopped interfering with the state institutions.

One wonders if Mr. Hamid Mir had access to such sensitive information, why he kept it to himself or only shared it with Nazir Naji. Was Nazir Naji the only person in Pakistan who could save the democratic system by merely sharing it with Mian Nawaz Sharif.

Mr. Mir asserts in his column that he mentioned two advisors to Mian Nawaz Sharif and criticized his government policies during a live PTV talk show hosted by the late Khalil Malik. The show was ‘fortunately was being watched’ by Mian Shahbaz Sharif. He received a call from Mian Shahbaz Sharif soon after the PTV talk show was hooked off.

If one goes by journalistic ethics, Mr. Mir should have shared this information with the peoples of Pakistan in the same columns of his newspaper so that people and civil society could be mobilized to pre-empt unscrupulous General Pervez Musharraf from overthrowing an elected government and pushing the country in the throes of dictatorship for almost a decade.  It certainly involved risks. But to champion democracy when Musharraf’s boat was about to sink, is nothing to boast about.

To withhold ‘forehand information’ of a planned coup by a power-hungry general is indeed a breach of audience’s trust. Had Mr. Mir performed his professional duties and forewarned his fellow countrymen, ambitions of a crook general could possibly be thwarted.

Most of the columnists in Pakistan boast of having breakfast with the president/prime minister when s/he made an important decision. Such assertions in their write-ups by these ‘veneer’ journalists are indeed aimed at impressing the poor readers. The common man is least interested whether any journalist has breakfast with prime minister, a lunch with foreign minister or dined at the Presidency/GHQ. What a reader deserves is crystal clear information so that media audience can form an opinion.

Silence on Forbes, clamor about Transparency International:

Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Ishfaq Pervez Kiyani has been placed at 29th number in The Forbes Magazine’s List of The World’s Most Powerful People.

Forbes Magazine compiles an annual list of the world’s most powerful people. Slots are allocated based on the financial resources and an individual’s controls as well as influence on world events. According to the Forbes Magazine, Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China, is the most powerful man on the earth followed by Barak Obama, and Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, the King of Saudi Arabia.

The list has been complied with different dimensions of power. First, do they have influence over lots of other people? Do they control relatively large financial resources compared with their peers? Are they powerful in multiple spheres? Meantime, the political maniacs and parrots in the ruling clique have been out to label every national or international survey/report about Pakistan as malicious aimed at ‘tarnishing the image of the country’. For instance, the present ruling team has termed the recent reports by Transparency International, Gallup Pakistan and the World Bank as false and fabricated, just to malign the Pakistan Peoples Party’s coalition government.

The World Bank has reported that every fourth Pakistani is living below the poverty line – courtesy the ill-sighted economic policies of the ruling elite headed by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The government has vehemently denied the report, saying that the government’s agriculture and industrial policies are bound to bear fruits and soon there would be ‘prosperity in the nook and corner of the country’.

The Transparency International (TI), in its recent report, has said that Pakistan has jumped to 34th position from last year’s 42nd in corruption indicators. The government machinery is head over heels to repudiate the report in newspaper columns and television talk shows round the clock.

The government has not stopped by contradicting the Transparency International report in the media but has also started using strong arm’s tactics to intimidate the TI staff in Pakistan. The TI has formally lodged a complaint with the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan regarding its staff’s harassment by the agencies.

Now, as far as the Forbes Magazine’s List of The World’s Most Powerful People is concerned, none of the government officials has collected courage to deny or even whisper about its veracity. Either the PPP government should dismiss Forbe’s list or explain: how come the army chief occupies slot no. 29 on Forbe’s list while democracy is alive and kicking in Pakistan.

Source: Viewpoint



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