Post-OBL false narratives in Pakistani and foreign media

The Quetta massacre was the first significant retaliatory attack by Taliban/SSP terrorists after OBL's death.

For the LUBP readers, it is common knowledge that Pakistan’s military establishment routinely manufactures certain false narratives (to suit its particular requirements) which are systematically recycled by their right wing and (fake) liberal friends in the media and further propagated by naive consumers.

One such false narrative is the Charsadda bombing (Friday, 13 May 2011).

1. The Charsadda bombing has been termed as the first significant backlash against Pakistan in the aftermath of OBL’s killing in Abbottabad on 2 May 2011.


TTP’s first significant retaliatory attack was the ruthless massacre of at least 8 Shias in Hazara Town of Quetta on Friday morning, 6 May 2011.

However, Pakistani and international media provided little coverage to the Quetta massacre, and uncritically and dishonestly described it as a sectarian incident.

It may be noted that the military establishment and their proxies in the media routinely describe frequent massacres of Shia Muslims in Pakistan as incidents of sectarianism instead of describing them as terrorism by the jihadi footsoldiers of the ISI.

Thus, the Quetta massacre, not the Charsadda bombing, was the first retaliatory attack by the TTP/AQ/SSP network against the Pakistani nation.

8 Shia / Hazara killed in Quetta rocket attack

It may be noted that a bomb blast near a mosque in Charsadda on Monday, 2 May killed a woman and three children, just hours after the US announced it killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Also, there was an attack on an ANP Provincial Minister’s car Arbab Ayub Jan, (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Agriculture Minister) in Peshawar on Sunday, 8 May, as it were the ANP ministers (Bashir Bilour, Iftikhar Hussain and others) who boldly celebrated the killing of OBL in the Abbottabad operation.

2. The Charsadda bombing shows that Pakistan army is a victim, not colluder of TTP/AQ.


The timing and target of the Charsadda bombing suggests that there is much more to this horrible attack than what meets eyes. That the attack took place right on the day General Pasha was to explain his ISI’s ‘performance’ in an in camera session of the parliament, a few days before Senator Kerry’s arrival in Islamabad and at a time when the US is posing some tough questions to Pakistan’s military establishment, it was important to present Pakistan army as a victim instead of a partner of AQ/Taliban.

Also it was important for the ISI to restore or regain public sympathies particularly when certain pro-ISI rallies were being organized in Karachi, Islamabad etc and pro-ISI articles were being published in the media.

This may be noted that right from the Pakistan army’s Islamist jihad in Afghanistan since 1979, the ISI is known to have masterminded several bomb attacks in Peshawar, Karachi and elsewhere in early to mid 1980s to gather public support for the Afghan Jihad and also to instil fear in the masses.

This view is consistent with what Rusty Walker recently wrote:

“To confuse matters more, senior Pakistani police officials are now saying that the Charsadda suicide attacks were probably retaliation for an army offensive in Pakistan’s tribal areas and not for the death of Osama bin Laden as the Paskitani Taliban claimed. However, fewer people are falling for the smokescreens set up by the Pakistan security establishment to deflect attention away from their strategic goal of using Islamist mercenaries as an instrument of foreign policy. Those who can see through the security establishment’s double game should be clear in their minds that the Charsadda bombing was directed by ISI to prove to the US and to the Pakistani public that Pakistan army is a victim.”

There is therefore no wonder that several right-wing and (fake) liberal commentators in Pakistan’s electronic and print media were seen using Charsadda attack images as branding /advertisement to demonstrate Pakistan army’s commitment to fighting terrorism.

3. As some learned commentators (SK and ST) in the LUBP google group noted, another relevant (false) narrative is the supremacy of the parliament – interpreting the military in camera brief to the parliament as such.

[The following paragraphs have been adapted from an internal discussion, and are not my words.]

Most pro-establishment or uncritical analysts in electronic or print media keep referring to the supremacy of parliament ad nauseam, yet the fact is that no political leader ever suggested this course or invited army to provide the in camera briefing.

No commentator in the media bothered to highlight the hard reality that the civilian leadership could not decline the ‘request’ of the army chief to ‘brief the parliament’ when he freely criticized the ‘inaction’ of civilian leadership during his various addresses to army officers. In other words, the in camera briefing was not a case of civilian supremacy, just civilians arms got twisted to stand behind army when they did not volunteer. Hardly any Pakistani or foreign journalist cared to deconstruct and debunk this ‘forced supremacy’ narrative.

Pakistan army generals and their media proxies have used the supremacy argument to force share or shift the blame on the parliament and the civilian government. The intention was to shift the blame from the ISI and Pakistani generals to the entire country, so that the world and the US blame only and only Pakistan – in the aftermath of the forced unanimous resolution which started to flash on news headlines. Pakistani generals have shown to the world and also domestically that the entire Pakistani nation supports Pakistani generals, that the entire Pakistani nation supports ISI’s Jihad Enterprise. In other words, don’t stop supporting us, don’t stop your military and financial assistance, don’t press us too much because civies are with us on this!



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