Rezaul Hasan Laskar: An Indian journalist in Pakistan embedded in ISI’s narratives

Embedded in the narratives of Pakistan's military establishment & urban elites

Disclaimer: While we may not agree with the entirety of this post, we nonetheless are concerned about how foreign correspondents in Pakistan are gradually embedded in the wishy washy, vague, ambiguous discourse developed by the ISPR mouthpieces in Pakistani media.

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Do u know the name of the pro-ISI journalist who tried to obfuscate Shia massacre in Khanpur by attributing it to an electric transformer?

It is the same journalist who also published pro-ISI stories on Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s “principled” resignation on the Raymond Davis’ case.

Ironically, this is a Indian journalist currently based in Islamabad who is more loyal to the ISI than the domestic stooges of the ISI.

He misrepresents the systematic Shia target killings in Pakistan by the ISI-sponsored militants as acts of routine sectarian violence.

Despite being a low-standard journo, this man has successfully injected pro-ISI narratives in Indian media. Routinely lies & misrepresents.

We really hope that our friends in India will carefully monitor this yellow journalist’s activities.

Update: After critical comments by Laibaah, Mr. Rezaul Hasan Laskar was a part of an ugly campaign to get her account banned on Twitter.

Rezhasan Rezaul Hasan Laskar
Dear all, this is a request: kindly report @Laibaah as spam to #Twitter. her latest tweet describes me as spox “of ISI and Taliban”. folks i think it’s about that time when we should seriously think of reporting @Laibaah as spam to #Twitter. I’m going to start.

http://pakistanblogzine.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/fourth-suspension-of-laibaahs-twitter-account-by-almadar-mengal/

Will Mr. Laskar agree with the silencing of his own voice from Twitter or media only because some of his readers may not agree with his reports and narratives? Should Laibaah’s friends and supporters organize a similar campaign to block and report Rezaul Hasan Laskar’s Twitter account (@RezHasan)? A media person must never be a part of a campaign to curb free speech. Mr. Laskar must apologize to Laibaah and her friends and followers, and must immediately withdraw his report to Twitter and resolve to respect freedom of speech in the future.

Please read this article, one of the boldest on this topic by a Pakistani writer #Laibaah who asked for accountability of Pakistani generals. http://pakistanblogzine.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/appeal-to-international-community-impose-travel-restrictions-on-all-senior-officers-of-pakistan-army/ Within 48 hours of writing and publishing this article, Laibaah’s Twitter account was blocked and reported by a number of pro-army/ISI Tweeps. Unfortunately, such pro-ISI tweeps used an Indian journalist Rezaul Hasan Laskar to start a block and report campaign against @Laibaah.

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On Rezaul Hasan Laskar’s dubious reporting from Pakistan

Critical readers of Pakistani and international media are aware of how certain foreign correspondents based in Pakistan are carefully sucked into pro-military establishment narratives by a tight network of urban (seemingly liberal) writers and activists, who remain very soft on Pakistan army/ISI while very harsh on politicians and the civilian government.

For example, on 15 January 2012, he tried to obfuscate the murder of at lest 18 Shia Muslims in Khanpur, Rahimyar Khan (Pakistan) by ISI-backed Jihadi-sectarian terrorists by peddling and spreading the ISI-esque propaganda that it was not a bomb attack but an electric transformer explosion.

Reaction on Twitter:

PolPundit PolPundit
@Laibaah1:”We condemn @Rezhasan & other ISI-backd journos who r nt naming ISI and ISI-backed LeJ-SSP as killers f Shia Muslims”

alisalmanalvi Ali Salman Alvi
When was the last time a transformer explosion killed 9 people in Pakistan??? #RahimYarkhan #Shia

Laibaah1 Laibaah
It is ISI agents in media such as Rezhasan who will never name ISI-backed LeJ as killers of 8 #Shia Muslims in #RahimYarKhan #Khanpur

Laibaah1 Laibaah
58 Shia Muslims killed in Iraq, 10 killed in Pakistan on Imam Hussain’s Arbaeen. Saudi children of Yazid are alive. Shame on ISI-backed SSP.

Hazrat Hazrat
We condemn RezHasan and other ISI-backed journos who are not naming ISI and ISI-backed LeJ-SSP as killers of Shia Muslims in #RahimyarKhan

MAli2 M. Ali
We urge all rights activists & Shias to lodge police report against RezHasan and other ISI-backed journos who are obfuscating Shia killings.

AbdulNishapuri Abdul Nishapuri
Shame on you, liar! RT @ Rezhasan Police confirm blast at Khanpur, #Pakistan, caused by Aalam touching electric wires, transformer exploded.

AbdulNishapuri Abdul Nishapuri
Those ISI-sponsored journos (RezHasan etc) who are obfuscating the murder of 9 Shias in #Rahimyarkhan are accomplice of LeJ-SSP killers.

MunawarN Munawar Noman
@Rezhasan Shut up, you ISI-agent. Now you are trying to politically correct once you are fully exposed for obfuscating Shia killings!

AbdulNishapuri Abdul Nishapuri
You failed to obfuscate & now saying “Our sources telling us now that blast targeting Shia procession in Khanpur was caused by bomb”. Shame!

For another example, read this post: Foreign journalists in Pakistan: Embedded in the narratives of military establishment and urban elite

Indian journalist Rezaul Hasan Laskar is one such journalist who is commonly seen in Islamabad and also in social media recycling and uncritically propagating the narratives of urban elite friends and apologists of Pakistan army.

Here is a quick sample of his articles:

Praising a false victory by Pakistan army against its own proxies, i.e., TTP:

Troops defeat Taliban in Pakistan’s Bajaur region
Posted: Sun Mar 01 2009
Pakistani troops have defeated and forced Taliban militants out of the troubled Bajaur tribal region, bordering Afghanistan, after months of fierce fighting, a top security official claimed on Saturday.

The paramilitary Frontier Corps, which is spearheading operations against the local Taliban in Pakistan’s tribal belt, has “secured” Bajaur Agency, Major General Tariq Khan told a group of reporters, who were taken to the area by the military.

“They (Taliban) have lost. They have lost their cohesion here…The resistance has collapsed,” said Khan, the commander for anti-militancy operations in five of the seven semi-autonomous tribal regions.

Pakistani security forces have claimed that over 1,500 militants were killed in Bajaur Agency. Khan said Afghans, Egyptians and Sudanese were among the militants killed, while 97 personnel from the army and Frontier Corps also lost their lives and 404 others injured during the operations.
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/troops-defeat-taliban-in-pakistans-bajaur-region/429310/

In Swat, troops engage Taliban in street fighting
19 May 2009
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/in-swat-troops-engage-taliban-in-street-fighting/462121/0

Pakistan’s offensive against the Taliban entered a decisive phase on Monday with troops engaging militants in street-to-street fighting in urban areas of Swat for the first time, as they closed in on Mingora after entering two key towns in a pincer movement.
Troops had begun moving into cities and towns after militant hideouts, training camps and ammunition dumps in mountainous areas had been hit with artillery and air strikes, chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said.

The Army had hit the Taliban “very hard” even in the previously inaccessible Peochar area, he said. Three top Taliban commanders were among 27 militants killed in clashes in the past 24 hours across Swat.

“The ground offensive has now started in cities and town. Before that we were fighting in the countryside, in the mountain ranges and valleys and this was deliberately planned as such,” Abbas said at a news briefing.

“We are closing in towards Mingora. We have started street fighting, urban warfare in Matta. We will be reaching other towns whenever the force ratio allows,” he said.

Three Taliban commanders — Okasha, Malanga and Riaz — were among the 27 militants killed in the past 24 hours of fighting. Three security personnel, including an officer, were also killed and 17 injured in “fierce clashes” in different areas of Swat.

Troops that entered Matta town on Sunday were conducting cordon and search operations while soldiers were also engaged in clearing and securing Kanju, another town in Swat that was a key Taliban stronghold.

Abbas said troops were “expanding their foothold” in Peochar, where local Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah is believed to be hiding. Soldiers had secured a training centre that was also being used as a logistics base and 12 militants were killed in this operation. Another 15 militants were killed when troops razed Fazlullah’s former headquarters in Imamdheri, Abbas said.

Convenient mouthpiece of army/ISI:

Need your backing to win war against terror, new ISI chief tells Pak House
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/need-your-backing-to-win-war-against-terror-new-isi-chief-tells-pak-house/371194/
Posted: Thu Oct 09 2008,

Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the Director General-designate of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, on Wednesday told a rare joint session of parliament convened to forge a consensus anti-terror policy that political support is imperative for winning the war against terrorism, hours after the issue figured prominently in the US presidential debate.

Pasha briefed members of the National Assembly and the Senate during the in-camera session on the overall security situation and ongoing operations against the Taliban in the tribal areas and the restive North West Frontier Province.

The session remained inconclusive and will again meet on Thursday to review the worsening security situation and discuss the sudden surge in attacks on political and religious leaders by the militants.

A statement issued by the National Assembly Secretariat said the House was informed that internal security operations had to be undertaken in the tribal areas and the Swat valley of the NWFP to curb the menace of terrorism. The armed forces have “successfully conducted the operations with the support of the local people, who have risen against the militants by forming ‘lashkars’ (militias) in the affected areas”, it said.

The House was also informed that the government is “making all efforts to defeat extremism and terrorism and to bring peace and prosperity to the affected areas”.

Harsh critic of political government, promoting a pro-ISI stooge

Qureshi wants to know why he was sacked as FM
Tue Feb 15 2011
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/qureshi-wants-to-know-why-he-was-sacked-as-fm/750078/

Apparently stung by PPP’s stonewalling, Shah Mahmood Qureshi has pleaded with the leadership to tell him why he was dropped as foreign minister.

“My heart is broken. I have gone and pleaded with the leadership. I have asked please, please tell me why I am not being given the portfolio of the foreign minister? I have asked them what is my mistake? I need to know. I am not above scrutiny, but what wrong did I commit?” he said.

Qureshi skipped the swearing-in ceremony Friday after learning that he would not be reallocated the foreign affairs portfolio. His subsequent comment that a US official arrested for killing two Pakistanis did not have diplomatic immunity has reportedly also angered the PPP leadership.

Qureshi contended that he had “delivered” on the foreign policy front. “Yes, in these three years, I delivered. The results are before us. The Indo-Pak talks have resumed, we started Strategic Dialogue with the US, with Afghanistan our relations have improved,” he said.

Never names army/ISI as patrons of those who are killing Shia Muslims in Pakistan.

Shia political leader shot dead in Pakistan
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/shia-political-leader-shot-dead-in-pakistan/415416/
Posted: Tue Jan 27 2009

A Pakistani Shia political leader was shot dead in Quetta on Monday. In a separate incident, six people were killed and more than 20 injured in a bomb blast in Dera Ismail Khan.

Hussain Ali Yousafi, chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the southwestern city of Quetta, police said. The assailants fled after shooting him. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

At least six people were killed and 20 others injured in Dera Ismail Khan when the bomb, a timed device planted in an auto-rickshaw, went off in a busy area located a short distance from the town hall and a hospital.

A car that was passing the area bore the brunt of the blast, which also damaged several nearby shops, police said.

Describes Shia massacres by the Deep State as an act of routine sectarian violence:

28 Shia Muslims shot dead by Lashkar militants in Pakistan
Published: Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011,
http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report_28-shia-muslims-shot-dead-by-lashkar-militants-in-pakistan_1589572

Banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants Tuesday shot dead 28 Shia Muslims in two back-to-back attacks that also left several injured in the restive Balochistan province of southwest Pakistan.Tuesday shot dead 28 Shia Muslims in two back-to-back attacks that also left several injured in the restive Balochistan province of southwest Pakistan.

In the first incident, gunmen forced the pilgrims going to Iran out of a bus, lined them up and sprayed bullets killing 26 of them on the spot and leaving six more seriously injured. This is was one of the most brutal attacks on the minority community in the recent past.

The bus was going from provincial capital Quetta to the border town of Taftan.

The injured were taken to hospitals in Quetta, located about 40 km from Mastung.

Shortly after the attack on the bus, militants ambushed a vehicle carrying Shias at Akhtarabad on the outskirts of Quetta, killing two men. Several others were injured.

The Shias were on their way to Mastung to collect the bodies of their kin.

The militants who carried out both attacks escaped.

The banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack on the bus in calls made to newspapers in Quetta.

Mastung is considered a hub of the LeJ, a notorious sectarian group that has carried out numerous attacks on Shias across Pakistan.

Serves as an uncritical spokesman for army / ISI:

US linking ISI with Haqqani network ‘very unfortunate’: Kayani
Published: Friday, Sep 23, 2011,
The war of words between Pakistan and the US on the Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) alleged links with the Haqqani terror network escalated today with Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani describing US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen’s accusations as “not based on facts”.

In a statement issued by the military this evening, the powerful army chief described Mullen’s remarks as “as very unfortunate and not based on facts”.

He added: “This is especially disturbing in view of a rather constructive meeting with Admiral Mullen in Spain.”

The Pakistani military had maintained a studied silence as several US officials linked the ISI agency to the Haqqani terror network and called on Islamabad to take action against the Taliban faction based in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Kayani responded a day after Mullen accused the ISI of supporting the Haqqani network in carrying out a string of deadly terror attacks, including an assault on the US Embassy in Kabul on September 13.

Mullen said the Taliban faction was a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s spy agency.

The Pakistani military statement said: “On the specific question of contacts with the Haqqanis, (Kayani) said that Admiral Mullen knows fully well which all countries are in contact with the Haqqanis. Singling out Pakistan is neither fair nor productive.”

The statement did not name the other countries that are in contact with the Haqqani network.

Kayani categorically denied US accusations of “proxy war and ISI support to Haqqanis” and said the “blame game in public statements should give way to a constructive and meaningful engagement for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, an objective to which Pakistan is fully committed”.

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report_us-linking-isi-with-haqqani-network-very-unfortunate-kayani_1590816

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