By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Pakistan is a country where no law can harm you if you have the right contacts and the right people to protect you.
Contrary to popular diction mentioned above, the May 9, 2023, tragic incident sent a message to all that the law can clutch anybody irrespective of strong social or financial background if someone is found plotting a scheme against the state, involved in an act of stratagem, planning and intriguing against state institutions or subterfuge against the state. Pakistan Army took stern actions against those from its own cadre who were allegedly involved in attacking state symbols physically or metaphorically. However, things are otherwise if someone looks deep into the civilian side of the story without even mentioning the “Bail Spree” offered by the higher judiciary to the accused of the May 9, 2023 incidents.
The strong response from the military leadership resulted in erasing the name of the Chairman of PTI Imran Khan from electronic media and his name was consequently banned but even then politicians from the former ruling alliance preferred to mention his name. A former PDM minister expressed her stance in a talk show with anchorperson Asma Shirazi there was no harm in mentioning Khan’s name. Such expressions sent an ambiguous message that the political cadre of the country and the military might have not been on the “same page” over the issue of striking down Imran Khan and his party even after the May 9 incidents. It is also a known fact that the PDM government preferred to work with PTI-placed bureaucracy as well as the media team and this cycle was broken by the interim government through large-scale transfers/postings in the federal bureaucracy. However, somehow, somewhere PTI system is still working comfortably. A former member of the National Assembly from PTI raised the issue of a political bribe to former television anchor Dr. Moeed Pirzada in one of the PTI parliamentary meetings and the then minister of information Shibli Faraz justified the political bribe stating that the Prime Minister (the then Imran Khan) had prerogative to fund any private org. When Raja Riaz became Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly (after voting out Imran Khan from the PM Office) raised the same issue and claimed that Global Village Space of Dr. Moeed Pirzada was paid Rs.195 million in three years and seven months of PTI rule. According to insiders, the official version he got was that the act of the previous (PTI) government was justified because the PM had the power to fund any media organization. However, Pirzada denied the size of the amount and said the amount released by the Information Ministry was not the same that was claimed by Raja Riaz.
After the May 9, 2023 incidents, Global Village Space’s Moeed Pirzada accelerated his hatemongering against the Pakistan Army and his Global Village Space (GVS) became a tool to promote his hate speech by producing material linking with his Twitter campaign against the Pakistan Army.
Interestingly, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has never taken any action against the online platform of GVS although it regularly takes actions against material if it deems fit against Pakistan and bans such websites in Pakistan. Furthermore, Global Village Space magazine has active status on the Central Media List of the Federal Government and has the same status on the Digital Media List. This is still a bona fide media outlet although this platform is busy in hatemongering against Pakistan’s institutions, notably the Pakistan Army.
Global Village Space has been under controversies in the past also because the Declaration was awarded by flouting rules as rules indicate publisher must have experience in journalism and must not be a dual nationality holder. Even if the publisher is not a double nationality holder, he/she must inform the authorities if visiting abroad for over six months. GVS title is in the name of the wife of Pirzada and this is active status as a bona fide publication although the couple has been living abroad for long.
Piraza once considered a blue-eyed of the Pakistani military is nowadays trying hard to discredit the Pakistan Army and is using all infamous dictions being used against the Pakistan Army in the past like the “Military Mullah Alliance”, and he is constantly talking about “Military Commercial Empire” coined by Dr. Ayesha Sadiqa.
He talks about world history, and Pakistan’s history, politics, psychology etc. His readers expect that someday he will share his history, his marriage, his education, and his former jobs, and will also tell his readers the story of his safe passage from the clutches of UAE law enforcement agencies when he was detained for getting thumb impressions of his father on documents to withdraw the accrued profits and interest from investment certificates valued at about Dh20,000-Dh30,000. He was allowed to leave UAE thereafter to attend the funeral of his father.
It is also claimed that GVS had been favored financially several times by the state institutions secretly even before the formation of the PTI government. However, such claims cannot be rechecked/confirmed/verified/rejected for obvious reasons of sensitivity of the issue.
There are several questions that need official answers including why PTA has not taken any action against the publication although it is actively involved in hatemongering against Pakistan Army. why the Ministry of Information has not taken any action although the publication is publishing material flouting Article 19 of the 1973 Constitution which says:
“Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, or incitement to an offence”.
GVS is a platform that refuses to accept the above-mentioned article and its longstanding campaign against friendly countries (ref to the cipher fiasco in the past and Imran Khan’s statements against the United States of America), it provides material to disrupt public order and targets security and defence of Pakistan and spread material that is enough to tag as material for incitement to an offence against the state. GVS can be considered as a handbook of “How to Enjoy State Support While Keep Abusing the Pakistan Army”.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.