Indo-Pak Standoff gives a chance to review Pakistan’s media strategy

By Agha Iqrar Haroon

Indo-Pak standoff gives a chance to review journalistic trends of world media and one can fairly say that Pakistan must work hard to gain its space in international media where sympathies for India were strongly seen. However, contrary to expectations, North American and European media show balance in reporting and give a “Mix” of reporting while Middle Eastern media looks impressed by Indian version of news and mostly stood with “Indian side of story”.

Without mentioning negativity of Middle Eastern media, Russian news outlets and Central Asian media houses, I tend to share balance reporting of English speaking and Eastern European media. Except Al Jazeera, Middle Eastern media published and broadcast what Indian media was promoting.

Russian media openly stood with India and major Russian outlets like RT, RIA and TASS reported Indian version of Indo-Pak standoff.

By following international media since Pulwama incident, Indian strikes inside Pakistan and Pakistan’s preemptive non-military strikes inside India, here are my observations:

US Media was mixed and it included Pakistan viewpoint also.

European media was mixed and it included Pakistan view point also.

Middle eastern media was one-sided and only promoted Indian viewpoint.

Chinese media was also Mixed did not stand with Pakistan as its government stands and mostly mixed or Indian view point on Jaish issue.

Russian media mostly stand with India. RT, RIA and TASS stand with India.

Central Asian media mostly kept silent or promoted Indian version indirectly.

In eastern Europe, media was Mixed or Balance and Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine media showed responsible journalism.

Now see where we stand—–

Here are some excerpt from the international media indicating their balanced or Mixed reporting:

New York Times: “The view that little had been damaged was supported by military analysts and two Western security officials, who said that any militant training areas at the site, in the Pakistani province of (KPK), had long since packed up or dispersed. Balakot and its surrounding area hosted numerous militant training camps until 2005, when a powerful earthquake struck the area, devastating its towns and villages. As international aid groups poured in to provide relief, militants packed up their camps and went elsewhere, to avoid being detected”.

London-based Jane’s Information Group, which tracks the defense industry: “a lot of intelligence sources say those camps in Pakistan had been cleaned out .. This is more political symbolism than anything else. Mr. Modi had to show some demonstrable action on India’s part, ahead of elections.”

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Washington Post: “Initial reports from local police officials and residents who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed that a strike took place in a mountainous area a few miles outside town, but they said they saw no signs of mass casualties.”

Daily Telegraph: “Villagers in the area told Reuters they heard four loud bangs in the early hours of Tuesday but reported only one person wounded by shrapnel. “We saw trees fallen down and one house damaged and four craters where the bombs had fallen,” said Mohammad Ajmal, a 25-year-old who visited the site.”

The Guardian: “The attack was celebrated in India, but it was unclear on Tuesday whether anything significant had been struck by the fighter jets, or whether the operation had been carefully calibrated to ease popular anger over the 14 February suicide bombing without drawing a major Pakistani reprisal. Local media in Pakistan as well as Reuters quoted residents of Balakot who said they heard four to five blasts overnight which damaged homes and left large pockmarks in the ground.”

AZERTAC NEWS AGENCY: Prime Minister OF Pakistan Imran Khan has once again offered India to resume the dialogue process to resolve their bilateral issues, saying war would lead the two countries nowhere but to catastrophe.

“Better sense should prevail between both our countries. If war is thrust upon nations, then there is little control over its consequences,” Imran khan said in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday.

Eurasia Diary: In our desire of peace, Pakistan will be releasing Indian pilot in our custody – Imran Khan. Pakistan will release the Captured Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan tomorrow (on Friday) as a peace gesture, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday.

“In our desire of peace, I announce that tomorrow, and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer (Wing Commander Abhinandan) in our custody,” the prime minister said while addressing the Joint Session of the Parliament in Islamabad.

The prime minister said that it is not in Pakistan’s interest to escalate tension with neighbouring India. “War is not a solution. Escalation is not the answer. If India escalates, then so shall we. This shall not bring forth any plausible solution to our issues,” the prime minister said.

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EurAsiaAz News: Pakistan rejects Indian claim of targeting alleged terrorist camp near Balakot. The meeting was attended by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak, the Minister for Finance Asad Umar, the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mehmood Hayat, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and other civil & military officials.

The NSC meeting strongly rejected Indian claim of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot and the claim of heavy casualties. It noted that once again the Indian government has resorted to a self-serving, reckless and fictitious claim.

The Report News Agency: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi would not attend the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit being held in Abu Dhabi as a token protest against the invitation extended to the Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. While addressing the Joint Session of the Parliament in Islamabad on Friday, the foreign minister said that he will not participate in OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Abu Dhabi.

BelTA News Agency: It is with great concern that Belarus has been following the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan, with both of whom Belarus maintains friendly relations. Belarus has consistently pursued a peaceful foreign policy and has been strongly advocating the resolution of any disputes exclusively by peaceful means. “Our country also resolutely condemns all forms and manifestations of terrorism regardless of the origin and motives of terrorists,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Unian News Agency: Pakistan says it has shot down two Indian Air Force jets in a major escalation of the Kashmir conflict. A spokesman said one plane had fallen inside Pakistani territory and a pilot had been arrested. There is no comment from India. Indian reports said a Pakistani aircraft had been shot down.

New Time and Radio NV Ukraine: In recent weeks, relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated so much that their military destroyed each other’s fighters in the Kashmir border area. We tell what happened. The main events of the conflict take place in the Kashmir region, which until 1947 was part of the colony of British India.

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After the division of the colony into independent India and Pakistan, Kashmir became a controversial region. His Hindu ruler annexed the territory of the principality of Jamma and Kashmir to India. However, the majority of the population of Kashmir is Muslim, and Pakistan has tried several times to conquer this territory. On February 26, the Foreign Ministry of India announced the bombing of a training camp of Islamist militants from Jaish-e-Muhammad, located in Pakistan’s territory of Kashmir.Indian Foreign Minister Vijay Gokhale said that a large number of militants, their commanders and instructors had been eliminated. Source Reuters in the Indian government reported that 300 militants were killed. Pakistani authorities called India’s actions a violation of the Line of Control in the disputed territory and stated that the Indian Air Force attack was unsuccessful and as a result, no one died.

On the morning of February 27, the official representative of the Pakistani Armed Forces, Asif Ghafoor, said that the Pakistani military shot down two fighters of the Indian Air Force. According to him, one of the aircraft fell on the territory of the unrecognized state Azad Kashmir, the second – on the part of the region controlled by India, and one Indian pilot was detained by the military.

What to Review?:

Pakistan unfortunately has no Press and media people in majority of embassies due to reasons best known only to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Indo-Pak standoff is a chance for authorities in Pakistan to review their strategy to inject press and media people in their diplomatic Corps because India has a strong edge at embassy level having several officials dealing with local media and placing Indian version of news.

Disclaimer:

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 Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.