Geo vs ISI: Camera and the Dagger

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Hamid Mir, Geo News, ISI, Pakistani Media, Quite recently an unfortunate incident occurred in the city of Karachi which has morphed to a countrywide conflagration. On 19th April 2014, renowned journalist and anchorperson Hamid Mir was shot and wounded by unknown gunmen while he was visiting Karachi. Now thanks to Allah he is quite safe and steadily recovering. However the subsequent reaction to this was highly unfortunate and damaging to the nation at large.

Within minutes of the attacks Hamid’s brother Amir Mir stated on Mir’s employer Jang group’s Geo TV channel that the intelligence agency ISI and its head, a serving Army general were responsible. This led to a shock to the entire country. The ISPR condemned the attack and prayed for Hamid Mir’s well being. The ISPR spokesman said an independent inquiry must be carried out immediately to ascertain the facts. He added that raising allegations against the ISI or the head of ISI without any basis was highly regrettable and misleading.

However this did not deter Geo TV from pursuing what many term as a vilification campaign against the intelligence agency. Moreover analysts of Jang group demanded the resignation from the DG ISI while nothing has yet been proven. Hamid Mir is no newcomer over blaming the establishment for any ill falling on him. However, Hamid Mir to be sure has no dearth of enemies. The TTP have openly threatened him and have tried to assassinate him at least once. The Americans too have shown their displeasure over his journalism.

While the person who attacked Mir must be punished by the law and such an action cannot be condoned. However the use of this incident to attack respected institutions of Pakistan cannot and will not be tolerated. Time and again, scores from different backgrounds have blamed the “establishment” for various reasons. Pakistani politicians have blamed the agencies from events like electoral defeats to massive turnout at opponent rallies. Murders have been blamed on the agencies. For e.g. the murder of Habib Jalib Baloch was blamed on ISI before it was found that his own relatives were behind the killing, the deaths of the parents of Justice Javed Iqbal were blamed on the ISI, later the fact arose that the  Judge’s own brother was responsible.

What is worrisome is that with time these attacks and allegations on the agencies has not decreased but increased. Almost in a knee jerk reaction, every major act of significance is heaped on to the ISI. What the question arising at this time is why suddenly our defense institutions have become fair game for every allegation imaginable.

Perhaps the factors behind this are both local and global. The Pakistani media has grown from an indicator to a stakeholder. And like all stakeholders, it wants to increase its influence and power to reap maximum benefit. Geo has been rather notorious for trying to browbeat civil governments into doing its bidding. It has clashed with PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) on frequent occasions. On another association GEO tried to get a greater say in PEMRA president of its own choosing. Among other TV channels GEO has the reputation of being hegemonic. It itself has been blamed for unethical actions by former employees and competitors.

Now Geo faces a problem, in the ratings war it has been slipping to other groups. In the news arena it faces serious challenges from Dunya news.  In dramas it is hard put to defeat Hum TV and Urdu 1. Even in the films arena, where it has boasted total domination it has been humbled by ARY Films. Now out of the shadows Bol TV is coming on the stage and already gathering several renowned names of the industry. The unfortunate attack on Hamid Mir seems to have become an opportunity for Geo to create a sympathy wave for itself to hold on to its perch. Geo did no such thing when one of its reporters was killed in Karachi during 2011 possibly because it did not face such a threat then.

However there is another instrument against this anti ISI narration, a journalist association SAFMA (South Asian Free Media Association) is rising to prominence among the media community. It boasts several important members including Hamid Mir himself. SAFMA claims to promote “freedom of expression, tolerance, a free press” yet however it has been criticized for hurling abuse at other journalists and verbally mistreating the institutions of Pakistan particularly the military. It has also been alleged to be in league with India’s intelligence agencies as well as being silent on press freedom in Occupied Kashmir. No one knows what its end game or objectives are but what is clear is that currently SAFMA members are on the front of this new anti ISI campaign.

Outside the borders things are horrifyingly similar. The Indian media is notorious for knee jerk anti ISI rhetoric. The western media isn’t far behind. An anti Pakistani military campaign is gaining momentum. A book, The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014 by Carlotta Gall has come out and the blame for America’s setbacks have been laid on the ISI. Gall’s sources are gut instinct and hearsay. Another article by Mira Sethi (Daughter of Najam Sethi, a Geo employee and SAFMA member) has labeled the Pakistani military as the greatest obstacle to peace and development. All these voices say the same thing; in order for America to succeed the Pakistani military must be broken.

Perhaps what we are seeing is a convergence of global, corporate and personal interests morphing into a self sustaining crusade. Militaries have been known to survive periods of intense isolation but deprived of their bedrock of public support they perish. It seems that some forces have initiated a new and more insidious type of warfare with the aim of dominating Pakistan against their greatest hurdle: the Pakistani Military.

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Jawad Falak is currently pursuing MSc in International Relations from NDU. He has a keen insight on current affairs and is interested in the world at large.

Discussion20 Comments

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    Have you ever bothered considering that elements of ISI could actually have turned rogue?

    Instead of sounding like Geo, i.e. making allegations without any evidence, how about trying to prove that the ISI isn’t guilty.

    Even your Supreme Court found the ISI guilty of making people “disappear” in Balochistan…. something that the ISI denied for decades.

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      How about minding your own business for a change. The problem is that pakistan is being rules by scoundrels. Had it not been the case, shoodras like you would not have the courage to say a word!

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      People are also disappearing in Indian Held Kashmir too, besides extra judicial Killings is rampant in Indian Occupied Kashmir by Indian RAW ,CBI and military, up to date there are half million Kashmir freedom fighter have been killed by India occupied forces.

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        Typical hare brained response. Are you saying that because Indian Army might have killed Kashmiris, it is OK for ISI to kill?

        Or are you simply in denial that the ISI can ever do something like this?

        Do try to read the question before showing off your ignorance…

        The point is not about India. The point is – what if the ISI was actually responsible. Wouldn’t you like due process to be invoked to get rid of the rogue element?

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        Millions of Muslims killed (?) by Indian Army in Kashmir but not a single muslim has sought to take refuge in Pakistan or elsewhere. Muslims from Afghanistan took refuge in Pakistan and India, from Bangladesh to India, from Burma to India and Bangladesh, from Israel to various Arab countries… why muslims are not taking refuge else where when the Indian Army is suppressing them so much and killing them.
        The world knows the difference between Fact and Fiction, only Pakistan does not.

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    Cows urin drinkers are not allowed to show off thier teeths. Ms. India…n, just turn your head and share with us some few cases that the indian military did with indian muslims & J&K? You peoples might be good in assumption but not in REALITY..!
    Furthermore, we simply love EA & EVERY activity of the ISI, as it is mostly in country’s favour i.e. smashing hindustan…

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    INDIAN, have you considered shutting your mouth and minding your own business? Or is this (poking your nose in others business) a favourite past-time of Zionist-Hindus like yourself???

    LONG LIVE PAKISTAN, LONG LIVE ISI! Aamiin.
    Pakistan Zindbaab, Paendabaad
    ALLAHU-AKBAR!

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    Mashallah great piece by Jawed, you have nailed it.

    Begins with misinformation transcends into public outcry to break the resolve and will of our beloved armed forces and intelligence.

    The last pillar which remains in Pakistan uncompromized and unwavering under pressure from within manufactured and funded from outside.

    SAFMA is a disease and Hamid Mir and the Jhang Group and “many” others are the bacterium attempting to weaken the Pakistani immune system.

    Pakistani Afwaj and ISI the whole of Pakistan stand with you. While our voices are unheard and appear silent because the the mantle are given to miscreants within our political system, judiciary, Media and many self proclaimed academia and corrupt analysts.

    But those supporting Pakistan are many it’s ideological ideals, the legacy of our founding fathers wisdom lives on among the many and we stand by our brave.

    Each and everyone owes it to themselves to spend just one hour a day defending the Indianis and exposing Indian agents within our Pak Sar Zameen.

    Just one hour ech and every one of you will carry so much weight and ensure the real image of Pakistan is not wiped out from the pages of history and expose your enemy both within and their paymasters East of the Indus.

    I notice another Indian troll lurking and quick to comen a very accurate depiction and tactic of treacherous poisonous enemies of the state.

    It seems the paymaster stay close to these leeches and have have a great expectation from their nefarious tactics.

    Personally I welcome martial law one that remains for 4 years and in that time one by one each and every one is hanged.

    We are defamed if it is democracy even though the puppet strings exist elsewhere and we are defamed under martial law.

    One thing is for certain under martial lawe the country has been safer and affairs of the state better run.

    Do not worry about the West they need our strategic location and will always beurging around to maintain their influence. Martial Law will not bother China and our regional allies.

    Under a strong martial state we will all work towards a stronger safer and prosperous state. The corrupt larger parties run by feudal aĺansaralhaq Lords need to be dismantled and give room to a new generation.

    Pakistan stands at a decisive cross roads and this requires decisive pragmaticeaters hip with the nation’s interest and right now WE can only trust the army.

    The fat punjabi true to himself is proving he is worthless as the previous government. Imran Khan is naive and confused and we are under attack from within and outside therefore only through a martial state can we secure our borders and out Pakistani interests first and begin cleaning up the mess from within.

    Continue the pressure on not only GEO but the entire Jhang Group who are a hidden Indian lobby within Pakistan. Jhang Group is not alone but their are many many more and we all know very well who they are and this government is doing nothing because it to is complicit in anti state activity weakening Pakistan.

    We can not let Pakistan become a client state or fragmented society as this is a road towards anarchy that serves Indian and other foreign interests.

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    The piece is very balanced and conclusive on the issue. Geo should face the charges through legal regulatory authority. If proven guilty, they should be taken off air, if not, authorities can then apologise them.

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    Totally agree with Mr Haq great post and WE need to stand together united shoulder 2 shoulder with our brave afwaj and intelligence against the traitors who exist as an unofficial Indian lobby.

    The Jhang Group is just part of a wider treacherous group being used to weaken and divide the Pakistani society and destroy the strength of the Pakistan army.

    Play your deceitful games but we the nation of Pakistan shall never relent and will survive and continue will we stand long after you are gone.

    Pakistani Army and to the ISI we salute you and the days you hurt and bleed the nation bleeds with you. Let the pan Zionist movements aligned to Hindu lobby’s and extremist spread misinformation outside of our Pak borders and let their little puppets spread misinformation within our borders.

    Never fear we are the sons ,daughters and grand children of a generation of Shaheed and will pay our dues in blood if we have to.

    Continue to strive for a safer Pakistan we only ask of one thing and this is to hold each and every traitor accountable and no tear will be shed and a reminder to others that when their bodies are hanged that no good comes from selling your nation and your people for a pittance and with it your soul for an eternity in hell.

    Pakistan we love you ISI and Pakistan Army is our honour and guardian we salute you.

    Our curses upon the enemies of the state as said earlier we all know who you are each and every one of you and soon you will begin your escape leaving Pakistan under some form of pretext and if so good riddance because if you remain you will pay the price for your treachery.

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    Given today’s scenario, only one thing can bring peace, progress and prosperity in Pakistan i.e. division of Pakistan. Had Afghanistan not objected to it CIA, MOSSAD, KHAD and RAW were about to execute the plan of making Balochistan, Pakhtunistan and Sindhudesh independent. But Afghnistan’s objection was that Pakhtunistan and Balochistan should not become independent but become part of Greater Afghanistan. US and India agreed to Pakhtunistan going to Afghan but Balochistan remained an issue. Also, MOSSAD was discontinued from the strategic meetings due to sensitivities of Afghanistan. Untill US, India and Afghanistan reach a unanimity, the af-pak border will continue to witness large scale violence as part of the design. Denuclearizing Pakistan and neutralizing China was prominent on US agenda that have to be achieved simultaneously with the division of Pakistan. Since all the break-up units will be known by various different names like Punjabistan, Sindhudesh, Balochistan and Pakistan, the new units will not carry the baggage of being defeated and hence that will achieve a long term peace in South Asia.

    Since this news has leaked out, I am sure the strategies have changed and that will be known only in future.

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