Taliban threats and journalists’ revolt

By Farman Nawaz


Last Sunday senior journalists – Hamir Mir, Absar Alam, Javed Chowdry and Muhammad Malik – got together in a TV program and very openly and straightforwardly condemned Taliban and indirectly intelligence agencies for threatening journalists.

It happened for the first time on TV screen that senior journalists and anchors whose sympathies as far as I remember are always with pro- Taliban sections in army and ISI, dared to speak against Taliban and intelligence agencies. The reason of their annoyance is the threatening phone calls and emails from Taliban spokesman Ihsan Ullah Ihsan to some journalists. Secondly these journalists are also unhappy with the response of the security agencies in this matter.

It is said that Taliban has decided to stop attacks on Pakistani security agencies and to target media groups and journalists. The reason of this shift in policy of Taliban is the recent wave of Anti-Taliban agenda of media because of attack on Malala Yousafzai. Taliban thinks that some journalists are the associates of Christians and Jews.

It also astonishes that why Taliban has threatened those journalists who always sided with Taliban. There are dozens of secular and anti-Taliban journalists who are explicitly speaking and writing against Talibanization and fundamentalism, why they are not targeted. I don’t know about the present but in the past Hamid Mir has links – journalistic in nature – with Taliban. He interviewed Usama and his recent secret telephonic conversation with Taliban agent was even available online. Similarly I have never seen Javed Chowdry, Malik and Absar Alam talking against Taliban or the forces that support Taliban.

These journalists were indirectly blaming intelligence agencies for the reason that the agencies have also made administrative treaties with some segments of Pakistani Taliban. However the question that if agencies support Pakistani Taliban then who is responsible for suicide attacks on the forces, was equivocated. These journalists directly targeted and derided Mollana Fazal ur Rehman and Qazi Hussian Ahmad of their role during Lal Masjid Operation. It was also revealed that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan leader was present in parliament Laugues before Lal Masjid operation and Ghazi Abdul Rasheed and Maulana Abdul Aziz, the brothers who ran the Lal Masjid called Hamid Mir that religious parties and Taliban have deceived them.

Hamid Mir also blamed agencies for the murder of North Waziristan based journalist named Hayat Khan. He said that army did not want to disclose at that time that drones are coming to Pakistan while Hayat Khan was persistent to disclose the reality of the drone attack in Mir Ali. Similarly Taliban spokesman was derided for the coward behavior of Taliban to attack an innocent girl Malala. Rehman Malik was derided to support Afghan Taliban during the second government of People’s Party in 90’s. Surprisingly Salim Shehzad murder could not appeal to the conscience of Hamir Mir.

In the last these journalists concluded that they are not afraid of Taliban or their supporters and they will strive to collect fund for the reason so that if any journalist is kidnapped or murdered then his family will be supported from that fund. They also disburden themselves from the blame that this program could be a media policy to pave way for the North Waziristan operation.

Finally they ended the program making their slats clean. Placing the gun at the shoulders of Taliban the whole burden was indirectly placed on the shoulders of Pakistani intelligence agencies.

The black sheep of print and electronic media were given clean chits. Sorry to say, it’s my own community, but it seemed that only journalists are true patriots of Pakistan while religious parties, government, and intelligence agencies are responsible for all this mess. However it is also a fact that whatever they said by and large it is also a truth. It would be better if they could also point out the black sheep of their own community. The way Malik Riaz scandal has disclosed some facts about journalist community, this time it was a chance to disclose the reality of the journalist who are working for the vested interests of local and international fundamentalists.

The accusation that may be intelligence agencies are involved in this matter will seem true if these agencies are not bothering to provide security to the journalists. The mysterious silence of intelligence agencies in this matter is also implicative.


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