Supposedly professional Indian news outfits like the Times of India, Hindustan Times and India Today have recently been publishing dramatic reports about the Pakistani ex-president Pervez Musharraf ‘admitting’ to having deceived the US and ‘unlawfully diverted’ American aid and equipment. An interview the ex-president gave to a Pakistani news channel is vaguely attributed to as source of the ‘revelations’.
An examination of the actual interview revealed, unsurprisingly, that the president said no such thing. In response to a question, he only deliberated on the ludicrous nature of claims that American aid was being ‘misused’. He simply pointed out that new equipment is issued to the regiments and units of the Pakistan Army; not to a particular campaign or theatre. Units of the army are regularly rotated out of the Western Front to their peacetime locations in the east [near India] and they cannot be expected to leave their combat gear out in the mountains when being re-posted. THAT cannot and is not considered a diversion of funds or a breach of any agreement or understanding, the general implied.
How Musharraf’s words can possibly be translated into ‘Musharraf admitted that he had violated rules governing the use of the military aid, and justified his actions by saying he had acted in the best interest of Pakistan’ and ‘he said he did not care whether the US would be angered by his disclosure’ is beyond understanding. Musharraf never considered his words to be a ‘disclosure’ of any sort, in fact he was pointing out what he thought was obvious so the notion of him ‘not caring’ about spilling beans doesn’t even apply. Such blatantly conceived un-journalistic distortions are beyond anything resembling professional fault and firmly in the realm of malicious disinformation campaigning.
Predictably anti-Pakistani enthusiats throughout the world (including top Indian officials) jumped on this as if it were some long expected ‘vindication’ of their baseless accusations regarding Pakistan hoodwinking the west on its role in the WoT. The fact that Musharraf didn’t even mention any checks and restrictions placed by the US (let alone talk about breaking them) didn’t deter enthused politicians and ‘observers’ alike from ranting themselves hoarse at Musharraf’s ‘irresponsibility’ or Pakistan’s ‘duplicity’. Such was the strength of the propaganda, and the naivety of those willing to believe it, that Musharraf was forced to issue a clarification, saying that nowhere did he imply that the US was disregarded or unaware about how their assistance is used.
Some would suggest that Musharraf be careful of what he says in the future. But that’s entirely beside the point since what he said did not remotely resemble what was published by the Indian press and reported by the Indian media in their typical sensationalist fashion. The more worrying development is the increasing number of people, unaware of the instinctive tendency in India to malign their hated rival at every opportunity, end up considering Indian sources to be neutral. The lesson here is simple: the Indian press and media should not to be confused for a balanced or objective source of information in regards to Pakistan.
To drive the point home we have another, slightly more amusing, example of ‘reporting’ from the Indian press. The Times of India ran another interesting piece of late titled ‘Musharraf rewarded militant who slit throat of Indian officer’. The source of the report was apparently the Urdu newspaper column of a rather sensationalist journalist Hamid Mir. It is not common for the mainstream Pakistani press to give much credence to his work and others of the same quality, but the Indian press obviously thinks otherwise. Claims of the Pakistani high command practicing barbarianism, and appreciating beheaded Indian bodies, would be received well in India undoubtedly. But the same couldn’t be said of the preceding paragraph in the referred column, which would perhaps explain why it was conveniently omitted entirely:
“Indian Army killed 14 civilians on February 25, 2000 in Lonjot village of Nakial in Azad Kashmir. Indian commandos crossed the LoC, spent the whole night in a Pakistani village and left early morning. They slit the throats of three girls and took away their heads with them. They also kidnapped two local girls. The next morning, the heads of the kidnapped girls were thrown towards Pakistani soldiers by the Indian Army.”
This was the motivation behind the Indian officer’s supposed mutilation, according to Hamid Mir. Thus, if such utterly unverifiable tripe about something that allegedly happened years ago is suddenly relevant enough for the Indian media to report, then they could’ve at least quoted it in its context. If Hamid Mir is so credible, why be so selective with his article? Is it because the Indian press considers the allegation of Musharraf rewarding a militant for beheading an Indian army-man more serious than Indian soldiers beheading five innocent girls and throwing their heads at Pakistani soldiers? Obviously, professional integrity or moral accountability is not much of priority.
If raising awareness about breaches of international law in the Disputed Territory was the purpose of the article, wouldn’t it make more sense to draw attention to the Indian Army’s well documented atrocities in the rebel infested territories of Kashmir instead of publishing nonsense, even that distortedly? It would appear the purpose of the once respected Indian press is only to stroke the hate of those who choose to harbour nothing but contempt for Pakistan. Pakistan has genuine reasons to be wary of its large, and fairly obsessed, neighbour after all.
US funds were diverted to strengthen defence against India: Musharraf – Pakistan – World – NEWS – The Times of India
Pakistan diverted US funds to strengthen defence against India: Musharraf- Hindustan Times
US funds used to strengthen against India: Mush: Rediff.com news
Musharraf admits US money used against India-News-VIDEOS-The Times of India
‘Musharraf rewarded Pak militant who slit throat of Indian officer’ – Pakistan – World – NEWS – The Times of India
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