Monday, November 29, 2010

Going for a Wikileak

Isn't is quite remarkable that almost none of the major newspapers in Pakistan thought that the 'leader of the Muslim Ummah' King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and the 'brotherly Muslim countries' of UAE and Qatar egging on the United States to bomb their supposed sibling in faith, the Islamic Republic of Iran - as revealed by Wikileaks - was worthy of any major headline?

Without fail, all of them buried that bit in the secondary 'catch-lines', if at all, with possibly only the Express Tribune and Nawai Waqt attaching it some real significance. Most focused on Abdullah's views on Asif Ali Zardari, while Dawn and the Urdu Express decided that the American plan to take enriched uranium fuel out of Pakistan was the most newsworthy.

Here's how some of the main newspapers' front pages looked today:

Dawn:



Jang:



The News:



The Nation:



Nawai Waqt:



Express:



Express Tribune:




Pakistan Today:



(Apologies for not having The Daily Times up here but they still don't seem to have an e-paper on the web.)

Okay, so obviously in Pakistan, the leaks directly connected to this country are of most immediate interest to people here. But judged purely on the level of news worthy of geo-strategic importance and with potentially massive consequences, wouldn't you say the Saudi desire to take out Iran is slightly bigger than Abdullah thinking Zardari is a loser? Of course, that may be just my personal news sense but I still do find it intriguing that no one else in Pakistan's print media shares it.

Coming to non-subjective issues, however, trust The News' Group Editor Shaheen Sehbai to muck up in the few paras he pens for the main story in his paper. He writes:


"As part of millions of documents dumped on the Internet, Wikileaks put one cable, which gave details of what King Abdullah really thought about President Zardari.Talking to an Iraqi official about the Iraqi PM Nuri Al-Maliki, King Abdullah said: “You and Iraq are in my heart, but that man is not.” “That man” was Asif Zardari."


Er, no Mr Sehbai. When you're "talking about the Iraqi PM Nuri Al-Maliki", you're not actually talking about Asif Zardari. Please get over your obsessions, they are really affecting your thought processes. Or at least learn to read properly.

19 comments:

karachikhatmal said...

i met a author/diplomat this week who had met osama bin laden, and who told me how OBL was the most fascinating and lucid psychopath he'd ever met, and the list included pol pot. anyways, OBL had laid out how the west-beholden rulers in the arab world were heading for inevitable collapse.

what the wikileaks show is how right OBL was, because the Arab rulers still consider taking out a state-based threat like iran by any means possible far more important than dealing with their own shit back home. incredible.

and as someone mentioned on twitter, do you think that the kiyani meeting had a role in outlining these headlines, or was it the pakistani media's obsession with anything anti-zardari, even if it comes from a man who forms the pot to zardari's kettle?

Anonymous said...

Is Pakistan Today's website up?

Indian Pundit said...

Hello

Check out what Saudi king Really Said :

http://cablegate.wikileaks.org/cable/2010/02/10RIYADH178.html

“King Abdullah firmly believes that Asif Zardari is the primary obstacle to the government’s ability to move unequivocally to end terrorist safe havens there (“when the head is rotten, it affects the whole body”).”

Media simply mis-interpreted it.

lol

Nadir El-Edroos said...

Well, the media does have final say doesnt it. The documents may have been leaked, byt with hundreds of thousands of pages to sift through it can choose what to shed the spotlight on. So much for transparency! Then again, who cares what the Saudi king says, an aged ruler or a mysoginistic and undemocratic monarchy. There is much much more relevant information in these documents than the tabloid friendly stuff that most papers are leading with.

Akhtar said...

When I saw Jang and other Newspapers, I was really shocked that how print/electronic media can ignore such an important issue of "Arab's diplomatic efforts to bomb Iran" Nobody cares? where is the Islamic brotherhood?
Then I thought " How can dogs bite/bark to feeders" (sorry to dogs, I am referring here bureaucracy and media)

Fahash Nawab said...

Really, shame on all these newspapers and the electronic media for so blatantly sucking up to the Saudi king.

amazing, how it's okay to badmouth ones own president and the US, but suddenly go quiet when a rich Arab king fucks up.

Faraz Baloch said...

Oh Comon XYZ, since when Nation States have been driven by the religion, If the Gulf States want Americans to intervene in Iran it is for a simple reason that Iran has hegemonic designs all over the region, and the regime in Iran is Shia driven, countering a hegemonic country is the first rule of diplomacy for the smaller states. I find nothing wrong in the desire to quell Iranian wishes in the region. The cables attributed to Prince Zayed never even once mentioned any hatred against the Persian people. Pakistan is not part of the middle eastern politics and we really have no idea whats happening in ME so you really can not blame the Pakistani Press for not highlighting the same.

Ulta Seedah said...

I'll have what Faraz is having.

It seems to be a very potent sample of the magic mushroom. The sort that can make people think they are Alice in a Wonderland. Come on Faraz, share some.

Secondly, man, what did happen to Shaheen Sabahi? I mean, he is behaving like stark, raving, lunatic. And how on earth can idiots like him (and Ansar Abbasi) get away by filing such stories?

But then i guess the answer lies in the statement: They work for the Jang Group.

Scary.

Ulta Seedah said...

I'll have what Faraz is having.

It seems to be a very potent sample of the magic mushroom. The sort that can make people think they are Alice in a Wonderland. Come on Faraz, share some.

Secondly, man, what did happen to Shaheen Sabahi? I mean, he is behaving like stark, raving, lunatic. And how on earth can idiots like him (and Ansar Abbasi) get away by filing such stories?

But then i guess the answer lies in the statement: They work for the Jang Group.

Scary.

Ultta Seedha said...

Faraz says: "The cables attributed to Prince Zayed never even once mentioned any hatred against the Persian people"

Well, fine you do not seem to like Zardari, and I'm not all that crazy about the guy as well, but just realized, ZARDARI IS A PAKISTANI!!

Uff, these mushrooms.

J said...

shocking but not really. the reaction of the local (wahhabist sympathizing) press seems to say that no one is surprised by the saudi attitude towards iran. to the wahhabist regime anyone who does not follow their hate filled ideology should be put to death. it's the same rationale that suicide bombers use when they attack mosques, imambargahs, shrines, and other 'places of worship'.

Anonymous said...

Shaheen Sehbais' malady is not a new one. He has been suffering from it for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Look who is talking? I cannot stop short of calling it bigotry when a supposedly secular-minded blog invokes the religious factor and blasts Pakistani newspapers for not giving coverage to what is essentially a ME issue.

Neither Saudi Arabia nor Iran are angels. Although Saudi Arabia is much maligned, one should not forget Iran's role in supporting sectarianism during the blood-filled 1990s.

Heck, even a former Pakistani career diplomat Ayaz Wazir could not resist sharing a light-hearted anecdote about an unnamed Pakistani diplomat working more for Iranian interests than Pakistan on tonight's Doosra Pehlu on CNBC-P.

The best way of dealing with this issue is to keep one's lips sealed. And one should not forget Pakistan's role as a client and beggar state.

Ghar mein nahi daney aur amma chali bhunany

TLW said...

On the local press ignoring the Iran-Saudi story, its initially about Pakistanis glomming onto the Pakistan aspect of a story first. But there is also a deeper attitude where people in the press sweep under the rug stories about the Arab monarchies. It's conditioning to see them as "brothers" and it's an old habit to turn your face the other way when these Gulf states do something wrong, which is "all the time". Our blasphemy and Hudood laws operate some of the time; those buggers have laws on their books that operate medievally every time a crime happens.

I want to segue this rant into how nobody in Pakistan *ever* complains loudly in the press when the Saudis execute a Pakistani.

The western countries see their press raise a fuss and for some European citizens who get caught and sentenced in Saudi Arabia, this makes a difference. Our press looks the other way.

I believe it was Najam Sethi who said that the Saudis do bend to the pressure of the Western Media. Our media is physically closer to Saudi Arabia, if it started making a fuss about the human rights vortex that the Gulf States are for Pakistanis, it would scare the Saudis faster than they could persecute our citizens labouring over there.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so obviously in Pakistan, the leaks directly connected to this country are of most immediate interest to people here. But "judged purely on the level of news worthy of geo-strategic importance and with potentially massive consequences, wouldn't you say the Saudi desire to take out Iran is slightly bigger than Abdullah thinking Zardari is a loser? Of course, that may be just my personal news sense but I still do find it intriguing that no one else in Pakistan's print media shares it."


take a look at some foreign papers.

one of the things that they teach at a journalism school is: "News is always local."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/


http://www.nytimes.com/pages/todayspaper/index.html?src=hp1-0-P

http://www.elpais.com/english/

Anonymous said...

Lol@some of the comments.

Neither English nor Urdu press of Pakistan publish troubling news about Iran or Saudi Arabia. It is an unwritten agreement among the editorial boards.

Western media also gave much attention to Iranian election rigging and protests and all that Sakineh stoning sentence etc. But Pakistani newspapers stuffed those reports in the back pages.

One should understand the dynamics of this policy, which appears reasonable to me. I think I don't need to explain any further than giving these hints. CP readers are already aware of these matters.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a Shia but i realise that Iran will ALWAYS be our neighbour and not those American poodles in Saudi Arabia. Our country already had to bear the brunt of this Arab-Iran rivalry. Its a shame that instead of doing something about Israel's stockpile of nuclear weapons, these psuedo leaders of the Ummah are still after Iran.

Zeenia said...

@Indian Pundit: Thanks for drawing our attention to the correct "leak". But in this case the Saudi King is way off the mark. One has to live on Mars to credit Zardari or any civilian president for controlling the national security policy of Pakistan. It is military’s baby only. But then the Saudi annoyance is a part of the package for a public representative of a client state. Zardari has responded graciously calling the King 'Bara Bhai'. :)

Ayesha Ijaz Khan said...

@ TLW---I agree with most of what you are saying, but just since you said that no one ever talks about Saudi Arabia executing a Pakistani, I had written the following piece in The News when Qol Ayaz Moazzem Khan was executed in 2008: http://www.ayeshaijazkhan.com/sites/Travesty%20or%20Justice.htm

In addition, I had also mentioned the BAA Al-Yamama deal in one of my pieces for DT, which was big news all over the world and has been the subject of new revelation implicating Prince Andrew in the Wikileaks dump but again is not mentioned in Pakistani press.