Professional journalism or conspiracy?


Dr Muhammad Khan

PROFESSIONALISM in journalism calls for honesty, authenticity and a great respect for national sovereignty, integrity and national interest. Cyril Almeida’s article of October 6, 2016 was in violation of all aspects of a professional journalism unless intended to be so. Even then, the issues of national security need confirmation from political leadership and military authorities before their publication. If Dawn Newspaper and the author of the article feel so sure about the authenticity of the news, they must reveal the source, rather putting blankets over him. May be for an ordinary news item on domestic or international issues, a reporter or the author can keep the source undisclosed, but on the issues of national interests, there cannot be secret source.
Surprisingly, some of the media houses are questioning whether there is any aspect of national security and national interest in the article. The fact is that, through this article, the Military as an institution has been targeted in the most professional manner. The article in question is not an ordinary issue, rather a breach of trust and indeed, initiation and confirmation of an anti-Pakistan narrative. This narrative has its origin from many external power centres, India and US being its major proponents. Since the crux of this narrative is to defame the only organized institution of Pakistan; Pak Army, which has been the agenda of international power centres, therefore the article and developments thereafter can neither be ignored nor should be put under the carpet. The concerns over the publication, shown in the Corps Commanders conference on October 14, 2016, are very candid and timely. Had there been no concern shown in the highest military forum, it could have negatively impacted the morale of the troops, physically combating the terrorists for years and years now. It should have been known to the newspaper, the reporter and those leaked the news to the author that, how difficult it is to fight the terrorists; who are equipped with most modern and sophisticated weapon system given to them by the enemies of Pakistan. Sacrificing one’s most precious thing (life) calls for greatest motivation, firm determination and great cause ahead; security of the state and people of state.
For the soldiers on ground, there cannot be good or bad terrorist, they treat them equally and as enemies of state and people of Pakistan and eliminate them, before they could reach over to the population centres to kill the Pakistani masses. Therefore, those thinking and commenting otherwise about the military, must have realized that, they are safe, enjoying their lives and writing such articles only because someone is sacrificing and protecting them all time.
Besides, the timings of the article are very significant. Pak Army under the incumbent Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif has defeated the terrorists in the areas severely hit by terrorism and brought the country out of the menace of terrorism. In fact, through a very hectic anti-terrorism campaign by Pakistan Army, there is a return of peace, internal stability and normalcy in Pakistan, which people have greatly appreciated. Not only the people of Pakistan, but also indeed, the world have been appreciating the achievements of Pakistan and Pak Army in its fight against the menace of terrorism. Pak Army achieved what NATO and US could not do in Afghanistan in last 15 years. The newspaper and those behind this write-up, rather appreciating these national achievements have tried to discredit it to the extent of defamation. This all seems to be a well-orchestrated strategy, executed in the most professional manner as per the desires of anti-Pakistan forces. This all could not have been possible by the author in isolation, nor could the Dawn newspaper all alone would have done it, since its objectives are global, benefitting those who have been waiting to ridicule Pakistan and its armed forces for a long. Now, they got a narrative, originating from Pakistan and that too, the secret came from the highest level of meeting. As declared by the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, this report of Cyril Almeida is indeed a charge-sheet which entire world is using against Pakistan. The Government initially decided to place his name of ECL, until facts are determined through an inquiry. However, despite that the writer and Newspaper stand by this report without disclosing the source, on October 14, 2016, his name was removed from the ECL, either under international pressure or else because of its own reasons, better known to Government authorities.
More than Dawn Newspaper and Cyril Almeida, it is important to know the source of this news and intent; who and why the information was leaked and published too. Indeed, the source would reveal the intent and the network, which had worked out this narrative. Since the entire narrative is against the Pak Army, which is the only strong force operating against the terrorists, the global spying networks and enemies of sovereignty and integrity of the state, therefore, let us not obscure this plot, like many others in the previous history of Pakistan.
In the process of finding out the broad objectives, let us be realistic and analytical as to who could be the beneficiary in the development of this narrative; both at domestic and international level. Whereas, there is an absolute clarity about the international forces, operating against the state of Pakistan and its powerful armed forces, the domestic elements, acting as tool to these forces can also be identified with sincerity and determination. Any effort for the putting this issue under the carpet would mean promotion of international agenda against the state of Pakistan. Relegation and defamation of the military would mean assisting and pleasing the enemies of state, rather strengthening the political writ. Let us there be no point scoring on the issue of national interest.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.