Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shahbaz Sharif's Big BooBoo and His Agent Provocateur

In the understandable outrage over Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif's reported remarks day before apparently imploring the Taliban not to attack his province (because, hey, 'the PMLN is as against foreign dictation as you guys'), there was one element that escaped most people's attention. And that was the role of MrImpartialJournalistHimself Hamid Mir. Yup, with talk of appeasement of the Taliban doing the rounds, how could he not be somewhere close at hand, we should have known.

Ironically, this has come to light on Mir's own programme, Capital Talk, when PMLN's Ishaq Dar brought up what Hamid Mir had said in his speech just before Sharif's. The following is a transcription of the interaction between Dar and Mir about the issue...

Dar: Basically yeh jo aap ki taqreer thi, aap ki apni taqreer thi jis mein aap...
Mir: Haan, main bhi tha wahaan par, main ne..
Dar: Let's link now to that.. your viewers must know. [Mir laughs] Aap ne kaha, 'Main ne aik saal pehlay Sharif..' Main ne uss ke woh liye hain, woh pieces mangwaye hain, keh aap ne kya farmaya wahaan.Aap ne kaha ke 'Main ne aik saal pehlay Sharif biradraan ko yeh kaha tha ke aap ne Musharraf ko nikala hai, jo ke Amreeka ka chaela tha, aap ki policiyan uss ke khilaaf hain, aap dictation bhi nahin le rahe, androoni aur bayrooni quwwatein aap ke khilaaf mutaharik ho chuki hain, aap aur aap ki party aghiaar ke muqaablay mein deewar ban chukay hain...' Yeh aap ko quote kiya hai jo wahaan maujood thhe..'Lahore khoon mein naha jaaye ga.' Now, is hawalay se Mian Shahbaz Sharif yeh keh rahe hain, agar uss ko hum bhool jaayein tau totally woh... shukar hai unhon ne, main ne abhi ghaur kiya, 'agar' ka lafz unhon ne use kiya, kiya unhon ne..
Mir: 'Agar'
Dar: Agar! Tau matlab yeh hai, ke yeh saari cheez jo hai, iss ko agar accept kar liya jaaye, jo theory aap ne wahaan pesh ki...


English Translation of the interaction quoted above:

Dar: Basically, your speech, your own speech which you made there...
Mir: Yes, I was there too, I...
Dar: Let's link now to that, your viewers must know. [Mir laughs] You said, 'One year ago I said to Sharif...' I have got them, I got the pieces [of your speech], what you said there. You said that 'One year ago I told the Sharif brothers that you have ousted Musharraf who was America's puppet, your policies are against his, you are not taking dictation either, internal and external powers have become active against you, you and your party have become a wall against the foreigners' [designs]...' This is what you have been quoted as saying by those who were present there...'Lahore will be bathed in blood.' Now, with reference to this, Mian Shahbaz Sharif is saying..if we forget [what you said in your speech] it would sound totally... Thankfully he said 'if', I just noticed, he used the word 'if'...
Mir: 'If'...
Dar: If! Meaning that this whole thing, if we accept the theory that you presented there...


You can watch this bit of the programme in the clip below. Ishaq Dar's portion begins around 5:22 and continues for a couple of minutes.




Now, I'm not going to go into the merits of what Shahbaz Sharif actually said or didn't say - and Dawn, among many others have taken him to task for it - though for the record I agree with those who believe the Sharifs do have a soft corner for religious extremists or that they at least bend over backwards not to alienate what they believe is part of a solid vote bank for them. What interests me right now is MrImpartialJournalistHimself.

After watching / reading the portion quoted above, do we, the viewers, have a right to ask the following questions?

1. Was Hamid Mir being an impartial and analytical journalist with respect to the PMLN?
2. Is it his position as a journalist that allows him to provide security advice to the Sharifs and be on the roster of speakers at a madrassah at least two years in a row?
3. With respect to the security advice Mir admits himself to have tendered the previous year to the Sharifs and the (later assassinated) head of the Jamia Naeemia, does Mir know something he is not telling his viewers or the government, and if so, how?
4. Was it fair of the media to attack what Shahbaz Sharif said without providing the full context of what he was responding to, particularly when it involved one of its own?

Stuff to think about.

14 comments:

Umair J said...

Brilliant post...

Firstly: Criticism of Shahbaz Sharif for what appears to be an irresponsible statement is largely legitimate. People are hardly expected to know the entire context, especially a context that stretches back a year. (and a context that was retrospectively revealed on a talk-show), hence the public and the media is completely right to sling mud at Shahbaz Sharif...in fact the PML (N) government in Punjab is setting new standards of bad governance because they've realized that they're under no pressure as far as political power in the province is concerned. If anything, and i say this very cautiously, the governor and the media are at one level placing some manner of soft constraints on the exercise of their power...which is probably a good thing at this point.

Secondly: The PML N pandering of religious groups (such as the SSP) can either be seen as a party policy..or a function of how local politics operate in this country. Without defending the Muslim League at any level, we should keep two other facts in mind. Firstly, the PPP candidate in Bahawalnagar (another hotbed for extremism) was also seen hobnobbing with some members of an extremist group. Secondly, in 1994, Sardar Arif Nakai's provincial government in Punjab (which was formed with the PPP) contained at least 2 members of the SSP in its cabinet.

Thirdly: Hamid Mir is a twit...and he's getting too powerful for his own good.

temporal said...

if the gov. can collect an yearly tax on folks who call themselves maulivs, maulanas, journalists...it could have substantial revenues to cut the deficit

that was a digression

since when hazrat maulana ayatollah hamid (closet taliban) mir is a journalist?

Waqar said...

The Jang Group, as a whole, is full of these right-winged twats who all believe that they are all mighty and powerful. Ansar Abbasi is the same, so is Kamran Khan and Dr Shahid Masood. They are the ones who push the line of the Army/ISI and Taliban onto the group, despite significant opposition, and the group's big daddy is all sympathetic... because Ansar cant be wrong, Kamran is my son-in-law, and what would we do without Hamid. High time for some other group to become as influential and trash Geo on air.

Anonymous said...

as regards Hamid mir, i have not a slightest of doubt about his own hidden agenda.his talk show on shahbaz Sharif's speech, defending his stance is amply reflective of that.He, kamran khan,Dr shahid Masood and 'all-time,upright,honest Ansaar abassi,are a notorious group who have,over a period of time have conviently taken up as Media Hooligans or more rightly Vegabonds. But I must confess here who has brought them to this level....i think we the viewers. we pakistanis love to watch sensational news, mirch masala type..consipiracies etc. i have atleast stopped watching thier programmes long time ago.

nayyares said...

Geo has stop broadcasting in 2008 here in South African region, and since then i am unable to see their "Topi Drama" talk shows!

Hamir Mir is easy, lazy and less knowledge talks factory, I never saw Hamir Mir produced, wrote any research documentary... his most talks are so called "Charb Zubani". Moron's TO-DO list is full of Characterization, "Pay more Get more" policy! though Zardari, mashAllah have earned handsome bucks and God blessed him 3rd position in Pakistan's net-worth list, still he is unable to buy Hamid's services, either it is a bit hard for Hamid to take a 180 degree shift or he wants to keep his old clients!

Hamid ure Geo Khapey, Pakistan ka Khuda Hafiz! ;)

cheers

Anonymous said...

Hamid Mir truly is a gas bag. Which is not to say that Shahbaz Sharif's statement wasn't wholly irresponsible. But someone really needs to clips Hamid Mir's wings (not through draconian government imposed media restrictions, but by helping people think for themselves).

Anyhow, inspired by this blog I've decided to start my own rant and rave about Pakistani media with a slightly humorous bent (or at least trying to be humorous). Give it a look if anyone ever has time: http://kalakawa.wordpress.com

Tabinda said...

@ kalakawa: good start (referring to your blog)..
@CPM: im hearing quite a lot about Malik Riaz (bahria town owner) and Zardari's 6 billion deal.. any info on that????? apparently MR was offered a position (Governor Punjab)for which he paid this amount and later (since Salman Tasser was given the position) the amount was compensated by letting him (MR) have his first cousin replace the Chairman CDA..............

nayyares said...

@Tabinda, wait wait wait, how come Malik Riaz offers Zardari 6 billion, if his net worth according to sources is 800 million ?

check: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Pakistanis_by_net_worth

is this a miracle or you talking in Pakistani Rupees?

Tabinda said...

@ nayyares: I wonder how :)? .. no , seriously I'm not sure about the amount or even about the story.. that's why requested CPM to check if there is any truth in it or its just another rumor!

Anonymous said...

@Tabinda & @nayyares, it reminds me the story of S.Afridi's (Deans Plaza, Peshawar) father, when Mullan Fazel-ur-Rehamn took 1 caror rupee, return ticket, 5 start hotel stay, to help him releasing his father from Saudi authorities, who was caught in drugs deal, still S.Afridi father was beheaded...and when S.Afridi went to Mullana about claiming his money back, Mullana replied, "i did Hajj with that money and did DUA for his Maghfirat, inshAllah, i will adjust your 1 caror in future projects" ;)

Ammar said...

It is quite understandable when the people furiously oppose any reconciliation with Taliban. As per a news report today around 5704 citizens have lost their lives in this war against extremism. Pakistan stays committed to the cause of eradicating extremism and any elements who would seek a dialogue with Taliban should expect a public backlash.

Tayyab Mahmood said...

@ Amir... please correct your figures..

According to the latest estimates of none other than the ISPR, 30,457 Pakistanis — 21,672 civilians and 8,785 military personnel — have been killed so far in the war against terror; when in 2009 alone over 10,000 people were killed; when in 2009 and the first two months of 2010, 78 officers and 2,273 soldiers of the Pakistan Army were killed and 6,512 injured, many of them horribly disfigured and maimed?

Are we who started this WAR against Terror? Are we the Nation who hatched 911? Are we the Nation who produce 19 hijackers of 911?

Then why our Homeland is hit-hard by this so called War against Terror. We seriously needs to review our policy of this so called War against Terror. We are acting like Mercenaries (Rent A Army & Nation).

Sadia said...

No sane person would quarrel that the Taliban have a distorted image of Islamic principles. However the idea that they are alien paid agents is quite ridiculous as estimates range around in thousands of Taliban agents, firstly what country can maneuver such an widespread network and more importantly we need to recognize the perturbing issue of home-grown militancy in which we are self-suffienct !

Anonymous said...

No Doubt Mr Hamid Mir Was defending CM Punjab & just Look at his face expressions He is definitely on his Pay role