Thursday, 9 June 2011

{EOB}Targeted Media Campaign Against The Pakistan Army

Shumaila Raja The Writer

These days the international and national media in particular, and the regional and local media in general, are focusing on Balochistan, mostly maligning the Pakistan government as well as the law enforcement agencies, including the Pakistan Army and FC, for being responsible of the deteriorating situation in the province.

Some sane voices have also been heard in the print section and on TV channels, which provide the other side’s viewpoint, impartially analyzing as to what is exactly going on and why the government and the security agencies are being targeted. The end result seems to be a well thought-out and skilfully designed sinister campaign to create a negative image of the Islamabad federation and the Pakistan military, seemingly to achieve the desired ends.

Unfortunately our national trends are to believe in the rumors, instead of relying on the independent and indigenous sources of information. Instead of succumbing to the negative propaganda, it is our national duty to expose the hidden hands behind the conspiracies and show the real picture to the people in order to enabling them to decide themselves about the corrects and wrongs happening there. There are heterogeneous reasons of the prevailing lawlessness and other social ills, which include involvement of foreign hand in the deteriorating security situation in Balochistan. It has now been established, admitted by Indians themselves and endorsed by the west’s independent media that India is directly involved in acts of terror, extremism and violence across the province, aiming to instigate an insurgency through the so-called Balohistan Liberation Army, and to stop Pakistan from becoming hub of great economic activity in the region in future.

The lethal propaganda unleashed against the government at Centre and the military establishment indicates that the enemy is cultivating in the minds of Baloch nationalists that Islamabad aspires to occupy their natural resources. It is conspicuously highlighting the incidents of human rights violations in Balochistan by drum-beating the so called miseries of Baloch people like disappearances and displacements caused by the military operations, whereas it is noteworthy that no military operation has been conducted anywhere in Balochistan, ever since 2007-2008.

The campaign aims at creating and widening a gulf between the Baloch people and the people of other provinces, especially Punjabis, particularly in the context of Gwadar Port project by making it believe that the project is aimed at turning the Baloch into a minority. The enemy propagandists are instigating the Baloch nationals residing in foreign countries to sponsor and commit acts of terrorism in Balochistan. And part of the campaign is to downplay the establishment of military garrison areas (cantonments) in three different areas of the province, which General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in his recent visit to Gwadar has announced to not only abandon the work on establishing cantonments but also to call the army units back to their barracks – in order to show that the military leadership sincerely wants to give the feeling that it has nothing to do with meddling in political affairs and the issues which can only be resolved through political means.

While General Kayani’s announcement to withdraw army units from Sui and other areas in two months time is a highly welcome move, the government and armed forces should agree to a ceasefire so as to pave the way for peace in Balochistan; the government should identify key actors of the Balochistan conflict; engage all the tribes and resettle the displaced tribes; and involve local Baloch in the large scale economic activities.

Another theme is being highlighted by the media that the security apparatus of the country is the main coercive tool being used against the natives to deprive them of their livelihood. The people have the grievances that media is not reporting the brutal realities of Balochistan in a meaningful manner. Despite the fact that the province is of great strategic interest to the world, its people suffer from persistent, systemic and widespread human rights abuses by the state authorities. The Human Rights Watch gives verdict while producing “indisputable” evidence which points to the hand of the FC, ISI and its sister agency, Military Intelligence (MI) behind the killings and kidnappings.

The government has failed to convince the general public on issues like the killing of 11 people by unidentified armed men at a Frontier Works Organization (FWO) camp in Palari area of Gwadar district, targeting of “settlers” and government officials, and killing at least 16 Punjabi-speaking people in the Bolan area last August. The responsibility of all such incidents had been publicly accepted by the insurgent groups like BLA or BRA, but despite that there had been propaganda against the army, which had no logic after the BLA-BRA claim. The common people in Balochistan today are very well known to the fact that the military is positively contributing towards the development, education, health and social security of the province under the visionary leadership of Gen Kayani.

The case of Zarina Mari had been propagated in the media and amongst the social circles which poised to earn bad name for the security forces. Nobody took notice to the case later found to be fake and concocted as the eminent Baloch leader Senator Mohabat Khan Mari, a politician from the same constituency where Zarina Mari was being referred, publicly declared in TV program “Aaj Live With Talat” on February 9, 2009 that, “the story about Zarina Mari is baseless; in fact no such woman does exist”.

One needs to understand that there are hidden hands which are supporting, funding and fuelling insurgency in Balochistan through safe havens provided to the militants in different countries for destabilizing Pakistan. It is not a secret now that a government of Balochistan-in exile (GOB-Exile) was established by the militants in April 2005 with its headquarters in Jerusalem, which is a proof enough as to who is funding and fuelling this great game project. The Indo-Israeli links as websites show are very much evident of this fact. Besides, America is not the only interested player in Balochistan, the activities of Mir Suleiman, Khan of Kalat operating from UK, holding anti Pakistan rallies and maligning Pakistan for forcible annexation of Balochistan, have its own dimensions. Furthermore the presence and involvement of Indian Consulates in Afghanistan bordering Balochistan along illegal arms supply route, arrest of Gazin Mari in Dubai in March 2006 for channeling funds to BLA from Dubai, arrest and release of Harbayar Mari in UK, and facilities of Indian visa to insurgents, etc, give answers to a number of questions. Isn’t it enough for us to wake up?

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