Zardari bashing reaches ABC News blog – by Sarah Khan

It was saddening to see how an engineered video clip defaming President Asif Zardari made its way to ABC News blog. Here is the article which inspired me to write this post particularly because I was in the audience on that day:

ABC News’ Nicholas Schifrin reports from Islamabad, Pakistan:

A few weeks ago, a short video of Pakistan’s unpopular, democratically elected president began playing on endless loop on the dozen private channels here. In the clip, he is giving a speech in Urdu to a crowd that apparently wasn’t listening to him too closely (not uncommon in Pakistan). As he speaks, you can hear background chitchat from the inattentive audience. Well, he could hear that same chitchat too, so at one point he looked down at someone and yelled, in English, ”Shut Up!”

There are a few obvious things to be noted about this article.

  1. First of all, the use of ‘unpopular’ and ‘democratically elected’ in the same sentence betrays the biased mindset of Mr Schifrin. (Let us hope that while browsing certain cheap blog posts about President Zardari, Mr Schifrin is keeping himself abreast of the landslide victory that President Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party and its allies earned in recent elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, Quetta and the NWFP.)
  2. The video seems to be fabricated by the same anti-democracy mafia which has in the past produced various forged items, such as the forged letter of Benazir Bhutto to Peter Galbraith (former US diplomat).
  3. The short video itself is so obviously engineered.
    1. It does not provide enough information to form a conclusive opinion about the context of the utterance of the words “shut up”. People, who have posted comments on various blogs, are extrapolating using the model of Zardari that they have in their minds. They are doing this exercise without knowing the actual context of this video.
    2. People who have used this engineered video for Zardari bashing obviously do not know anything about what was said immediately before and after this.
    3. The video has been posted on various sites, particularly those with pro-Imran Khan or pro-Jamaat Islami tendencies. Most are using this as a propaganda tool.
    4. One site even had a post that Zardari was saying shut up to democracy, another had the video doctored and played again and again so that it seemed he kept saying this over and over again, towards the left and right of his audience (one can read words ‘PTV’ in reverse). That sort of behaviour is obviously unethical and unprofessional.
    5. Also, look at the expressions of the people standing behind President Zardari. Obviously they seem to be unperturbed or are not looking at a particular person because no such words were said by Zardari to a specific person or persons in the audience. The words were meant for certain members of the Pakistani Taliban Union of Journalists.
  4. I was personally present in that public meeting, and I listened to the full speech by President Zardari. This is what he said in his speech:

    “jo log jamhoori hukumat per tanqeed kartay hain, aur jab hum jamhooriat ka difa karte hain tau who siasi adakar hamain munh band karnay ka mashwara daitay hain, un key liay mera aik hi jawab hay, shut up” (translation: those elements who are critical of the democratic government in Pakistan, and when we defend democracy they advise us to keep silent, I have only one message for them ‘shut up’!”)

  5. Thus the “shut up” was part of the speech itself, in which President was referring to certain agents of the anti-democracy establishment in Pakistan media (commonly known as Pakistani Taliban Union of Journalists).
  6. Without knowing the content and context of the video clip, writing a whole blog and drawing conclusions from a partial video is a weird thing to do. Apparently, Mr Nicholas Schifrin of ABC News is more interested in attracting a few visitors to his blog post instead of safeguarding the credibility of ABC News.



Latest Comments
  1. Fatimah
  2. Zahid Khan
  3. Sarah Khan
  4. zahid
  5. Shoaib Mir