Islamabad, Pakistan: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed civil bureaucracy to fight out and mitigate the abusive media campaign against Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir, calling the new campaign “vile, sinister and malicious”.
This is not the first campaign launched by PTI against Pakistan Army and surely not the last one. Pakistan Army is under fire since Imran Khan was voted out from his PM office and everybody who can access social, electronic, and print media understands that the foremost target of PTI is now COAS Gen Asin Munir. The hate-mongering against Pakistan Army eventually resulted in the horrific incidents of May 9, 2023, because PTI Chairman Imran Khan continues to engage in a malicious campaign against the military in an attempt to put pressure on GHQ for his way back into power after failure in a methodically planned attack on the state symbols.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif believes that the time of Khan’s politics of intimidation, violence, and hatred is over but things may be otherwise because Imran Khan seemingly getting constant support directly or indirectly from the state PM Shehbaz Sharif is heading. Have we seen any scientific, proactive, focused, and successful media campaign from civil state institutions to protect the military from the onslaught of PTI? Whatever the counter and sometimes reactionary response comes to protect Pakistan Army, it comes from the armed forces’ mouthpiece — the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR). The perceivable tilt of Western media in favor of Imran Khan can only be objected to by the civil institution dealing with media and information management. Pakistan Army cannot write letters to foreign media houses contesting the issue that media ethics are mostly forgotten by foreign media that avoids challenging wrong information provided by Imran Khan during his interviews and for transmitting hate speech against the state of Pakistan.
Imran Khan’s roots in domestic as well as foreign media are too strong because they had been nurtured by the state institutions for over a decade in the past and PTI has strategic placements of pro-PTI analysts, political observers, and writers in middle eastern as well as in European media. One can see the lists of “political experts” of foreign media outlets working in Pakistan and one can find the majority of “experts” who are PTI active supporters and even workers. Imran Khan’s media managers are constantly in contact with foreign media offices in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar and successfully managing places in foreign media television shows and printed content.
According to information received from PTI circles, the series of interviews of Imran Khan has been arranged by lobbying groups for putting pressure on or at least create justification for the Department of State of the United States, the US Congress, and President Biden Administration to talk about Khan’s situation in Pakistan and to raise more funds for families of arrested persons and raising fund for further advertisement in Europe and North America targeting Pakistan Army. PTI is also working for arranging money for visits of foreign journalists to Pakistan who then would produce reports in favor of Imran Khan.
One must appreciate so strong, loud, and clear message from PM Shehbaz Sharif, however, authorities under him look shy to be as proactive as PM Sharif in mitigating the sinister campaign against Pakistan Army
It looks like the PDM government is yet to take a lead role in dismantling Imran Khan’s campaign against Pakistan Army for reasons best known to PDM leadership but one reason can be a behavioral response of “enjoying a situation in which the creature is biting the creator” but this immature behavior is quite dangerous for the state because Imran Khan is allowed to spread the messages of confusion, spreading hate against Pakistan Army, creating fears, negativity and filthy discourse in society and only an enemy of the society can do it. It is perceivable that PDM leadership is waiting that Imran Khan would be over due to serve actions taken by the military after he through his followers attacked military-related buildings, military installations, and even the symbols of martyrs. However, if PDM is really (as it looks) standing outside the arena and letting the military fix Imran Khan solely, then PDM is playing a dangerous move on the political chessboard because Imran Khan is getting exceptional support from his foreign supporters. In these circumstances, losing grip on him would be disastrous.
PM Sharif believes that by targeting the military, Imran Khan is only exposing himself and the people of Pakistan, and the political parties strongly stood behind Army Chief Gen Munir and the armed forces, and will thwart any attempt and conspiracy at undermining Pakistan Army’s prestige, honor, and integrity.
One must appreciate so strong, loud, and clear message from PM Shehbaz Sharif, however, authorities under him look shy to be as proactive as PM Sharif in mitigating the sinister campaign against Pakistan Army. PM Sharif has ordered the authorities to take legal action against those involved in such malicious campaigns inside the country and abroad stating that it is a clear message to May 9, 2023 planners, facilitators, and handlers that conspiracy against Pakistan and its institutions will be crushed. Only time will testify to how civilian institutions would safeguard the interests of armed forces and will clamp those behind evil and violent media campaigns. Since now media management of PM Sharif’s team looks weaker than that of the PTI team or is indifferent to what is being spread against the military leadership. There is no doubt that the media drive against armed forces and its chief did not fall within the domain of freedom of expression, but it was only a conspiracy, and it was a legal responsibility to eradicate such tendencies with full strength. However, Pakistani courts think otherwise and the higher judiciary always flowers PTI leadership and the followers with interim bails and even quashes cases against them in which they were found red-handed while instigating the public to burn down military-related buildings.
An honest audit of news, themes, pitches, and press releases promoted by civilian institutions dealing with media management of the PDM government would determine whether the government institutions of PM Sharif will take his message of protecting the honor of the military seriously or float it by satisfying political leadership to promote the political leadership more in media?