Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Target is not Geo, but democracy, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Target is not Geo, but democracy, Dr Shabir Choudhry       20 May 2014

Geo and Jang Group are under attack. Apparently it looks to simple people that Geo is getting this treatment because of Dr Shaista Lodhi’s controversial TV show, which was highly objectionable. Geo Management showed its sense of responsibility- public apology, suspension of the programme and enquiry in to matter.

If there were no ulterior motives of those who are pulling strings from behind, and those who have become tools in hands of the powers that be, then this matter should have been put to rest and Geo Management should have be complimented for their timely action.

Despite public apology and other actions from the Geo Management people with ulterior motives and people with personal grudge want to punish the entire Jang and Geo network for unintentional mistake of a small team.

Another TV network, which has become a tool in hands of anti Geo and anti democracy elements also committed the same crime what Dr Shaista and her team committed. This TV channel did not even offer an apology, yet no action is taken against that channel; and no one speaks about it. Why? Is it because the men in big boots are behind this channel?

In my opinion all those channels and organisations that are stirring up this matter after the public apology are committing blasphemy by repeating that show; and have become big sinners. They are creating rifts in the society and promoting hatred and intolerance which is clearly against the teaching of Islam.

Solidarity with the army

Why people of Pakistan have to express solidarity with the army after every few years. This doesn’t happen in other civilised countries. Has the Pakistan army shown its solidarity and care with the people of Pakistan? I can give many examples where the army has only protected their interests at the cost of public welfare. Is army engaged in a war with another country that they need public support? Yes, there is a kind of civil war going on in the country, but who is responsible for that? Who created these Jihadi groups and nourished them? Who used them as strategic assets? So don’t throw everything at the doors of politicians and the civil society organisations.

Situation of the army and its image in the society is much better now when some of their touts are yelling that the army needs support, and people need to express solidarity with the army. Where were these people when army officers, including Generals and jawans were being killed by so called strategic assets; and army men were not daring to go in public in uniform. That was the time to express solidarity with the army. However, at that time these pro Taliban and pro Jihadi parties remained quiet and showed solidarity with those who were attacking the Pakistan army.

Aman ke Asha

Geo and Jang Group are under attack for promoting peace and tolerance. In view of these foot soldiers Geo has committed a crime or perhaps treachery by promoting Aman ke Asha. These people need to revisit history and learn from the practise of our beloved Prophet Mohammed PBUH who always promoted peace and tolerance. Did he not conclude a pact with the people of Makkah, called Pact of Hadeebia, which at that time, was perceived as humiliating by many?

Aman Ki Asha, in my view, is an attempt of thinking people of Pakistan and India who believe disputes could be resolved by a process of negotiations; and that use of gun only exacerbates the problems and adds to the suffering of the people. As hate promotes more hate, similarly violence generates more violence and we do not need that in South Asia. We need to resolve our disputes by talking to each other and live in peace and harmony and face challenges of the 21st Century.

If there is peace and harmony in the region it is better for economic and social development, and people will benefit from it. However, peace and harmony might not be in the interest of those who promote extremism, violence, hatred and intolerance, as their business flourishes with the status quo where extremism and hatred has engulfing the society.

I believe Geo and Jang Group must have consulted senior and thinking people of the establishment before becoming part of the initiative Aman ki Asha, and only after a green signal from them they launched this daring and challenging project. All thinking people can see advantages of peace in the region, as it will boost trade and economic activity which will surely help the ordinary people.

It is unfortunate that anyone who challenges the writ of extremists and the establishment is branded as a traitor; and at times, labelled as a Kaffir or an agent of Jews and Hindus. This mindset must be challenged because too many people have assumed this right to issue certificates who is patriotic and who is a traitor, and who is a Muslim and who is non Muslim. Islam allows people to choose what they want to practise; and we have no right to impose our will on the society and dictate how people should worship the Almighty.

In my view some sections of the establishment do not like peace and prosperity in Pakistan and in the region; and they surely don’t want to lose their control over levers of power. Nawaz Sharif government is determined to assert the civilian control, generate economic revival and bring peace in Pakistan and in the region. That is not in the interest of some sections of the establishment, and they have activated their proxies to pressurise the government and create a situation where they can be back in the driving seat again.

So the target is not only Geo and Jang Group, the real target is democracy in Pakistan. If these proxies continue to create instability and play this game, then it can end Nawaz Sharif Government, and God forbid, with it, future of Pakistan. It is still not too late, and in the view of the above these foot soldiers of the establishment should call it a day and let democracy and civil society sort out problems in their own way.

Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs

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