As expected, the Military Government of Pakistan has finally lost its patience and the live coverage of CJ’s bar addresses and live talk shows have been banned from today.
This means there is every chance that we won’t be able to see Live with Talat Hussain or Hamid Mir’s Capital Talk and possibly Dr. Shahid Masood’s Mere Mutabiq for sometime at least. Some of the less dangerous programmes like Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Saath may survive in my view. Meanwhile, in related news, Karachi journalists are now recieving threatening letters with bullets in them.
Our beloved Information Minister Mr. Ghalat Biyani held a press conference today and warned media. He said that government is talking to TV channels and either they trying to convince them to impose a self-censorship which is basically say nothing against Pakistan Army and national security institutions and No Live Coverage of CJ. We will find out exactly what happens in next few days and how far owners of electronic media channels can resist. Those of you following CJ’s Abotabad District Bar visit today must have noticed a sudden change in electronic media coverage, a partial blackout. We are only seeing repetition of recorded clips on all the channels. PEMRA has issued strict orders to all channels NOT to broadcast CJ’s speech today. ARY ‘s transmission has already been banned in Islamabad and Rawalpindi since yesterday mainly because of anti army slogans during Ayaz Amir’s show in Islamabad last week. Talat Hussain also hinted last night that there is a possibility that viewers won’t see him on Aaj TV in coming weeks.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has vowed to challenge this move in highest courts and a petition will be filed on Monday. This step was expected after yesterday’s Corps Commanders Conference which apparently taken strict notice of an organized campaign against National Security Institutions by a minority. Lahore High Court Bar has slammed this move by government. According to Daily Times:
The LHCBA on Friday denounced the government for taking steps to ban the live coverage of the lawyersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ movement. LHCBA representatives said in a joint statement that Information and Broadcasting minister Muhammad Ali DurraniÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s statement about changing the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority rules were against the independence of the media. LHCBA president Ahsen Bhoon said a free media was essential for the development of a country. He said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe military government wants to use the media for its ulterior motives.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚? He said the lawyersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ movement would continue till the end of the military government. LHCBA secretary Sarfaraz Cheema condemned the Sindh chief minister for allegedly accusing the lawyers for taking foreign grants for the movement against the government.
This whole thing has been triggered after heated speeches and slogans against Pakistan Army during last week’s seminar in Supreme Court Auditorium. Personally, I think some of the speeches and slogans were not at all appropriate and should have been avoided. One can argue about the role of military in politics since 1954 and the corruption that exists at the highest levels. But we should not blame the entire institution that includes ordinary army jawans and junior officers who have nothing to do with politics and who perform their duties in extremely tough conditions so that we can feel secure from internal and external threats.
Its the junior officers and soldiers who die for us in the battle fields and they deserve highest regard. Having said that, it should be clear to our respected generals that since top military leadership is ruling this country (there is hardly a civilian institution that is not headed by a Brigadier Saab these days) and involved in all kinds of politics (who can deny the ugly role of ISI in politics?) therefore they should also learn to take criticism like politicians do.
The days of Muqadas Gaye treatment are over. A conclusion should be made whether Pakistan is supposed to be a social welfare state for people of Pakistan or a National Security State for an institution. And what is this National Security anyways? Have we ever defined it? Once a question was put by a PPP MNA in national assembly asking if army officers declare their assets annually and file their returns like average Pakistani and they got official answer that this question cannot be answered since it is a National Security issue.
While all this is happening, its ironic that parliament and elected members are nowhere to be seen in any major decision making. Chaudhary Shujaat came up with an immature remark that all the lawyers who are talking against military should be shot (goli maar deni chahiye).
Is he not provoking violence?
I hope that common sense prevails before things get out of hands and Pakistan Army gets out of politics and they get back to their real duties. The last thing any sensible person wants is an increase in hatred against the military in ordinary people and possibly a violent clash.
One shouldn’t forget the example of what happened in Argentina and that will be disastrous and a great tragedy for people of Pakistan.