Are So-Called Defense Experts Really Connected?

Mar 19th, 2010 | By | Category: Uncategorized

Interesting article received from a dear reader by email. It raises the question of why some journalists who are considered defense experts were not invited to a recent press briefing by the military. As always, please write in your tips and articles to pakistanmediawatch@gmail.com!

Not invited

A few weeks ago, Army Chief Gen. Kiyani invited editors and columnists to a press briefing. Interestingly, Ahmed Quraishi, Shireen Mazari, Shaheen Sehbai, and Shahid Masood were not invited. Was this an intentional snub by the military brass to send a clear signal that these people do not speak for the military? Or was it just that these journalists are so irrelevant that the Army did not think to invite them?

Usually, if a reporter is truly close to the establishment, they are not only invited, they are given special access like a closed door briefing before the official briefing so that they can get background statements from the officials. These four not only got no invitation to a closed door briefing, they were not even invited to the regular press briefing!

Ahmed Quraishi, Shireen Mazari, Shaheen Sehbai, and Shahid Masood are well known for claiming to be unofficial experts on the Pakistani establishment – especially the military. They are always saying that they have spoken to high up sources, even when what they say turns out to be wrong. But it seems from this latest snub that they are not as connected as they claim to be.

Ahmed Quraishi and Shireen Mazari in particular tend to represent ‘old think’ on security issues. They support a military coup and for the military to cut iself off from allied powers and are opposed to the present democracy and the way that Gen. Kiyani is working with the government.

While each of them probably has some contacts from the military, it could be that their contacts may not be current military leaders. Also, it could be that their sources are actually retired military or ex-military who supported the Musharraf and Zia dictatorships and are filling their heads with false information rather than accurate information in attempt to disrupt the actual policies of the current military establishment.

If this is the case, it makes sense for them not to receive invitations to press briefings by the military brass. The military leadership would recognize them as working for elements that are opposing the actual plans and policies of Gen. Kiyani and his staff so they would refuse them any invitations.

None of these media personalities will reveal who their sources are, so we do not know if this is the case. It could be that sometimes their sources do not exist at all, but are simply invented in order to give their articles and talk shows some air of authority that is missing. But it seems very apparent that if they cannot even get an invitation to a public press briefing, they probably do not have sources that are very high up.

Was this a calculated snub? Is it because Ahmed Quraishi, Shireen Mazari, Shaheen Sehbai, and Shahid Masood do not represent the Army? Are Ahmed Quraishi, Shireen Mazari, Shaheen Sehbai, and Shahid Masood reflecting an old mindset from the past that the present establishment wants to distance itself from? Or does the military brass think that Ahmed Quraishi, Shireen Mazari, Shaheen Sehbai, and Shahid Masood are just too irrelevant to bother inviting them?

Whatever the answers are, one thing is made clear by the snub – Ahmed Quraishi, Shireen Mazari, Shaheen Sehbai, and Shahid Masood obviously do not speak for the military.

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