Ahmed Quraishi v. Ahmed Quraishi on Geo

Oct 25th, 2010 | By | Category: Conspiracy Theories, Geo TV, Jang

Ahmed QuraishiAhmed Quraishi has weighed in on the media debate. In his typical style, Quraishi ignores the more thoughtful discussion of his more intellectual colleagues in journalism and jumps straight to accusations of some American conspiracy against Geo for being “critical of Mr. Zardari”. But upon careful reading, Quraishi’s critique quickly falls apart.

Quraishi’s entire claim of conspiracy is based on two newspaper articles published by The Washington Post: One titled, “Pakistan’s press piles on president” and the other titled, “Pakistan’s Emboldened Judiciary Threatens Government Stability“. Quraishi does not deny that the press is “piling on” the president as, presumably, he knows that such a claim is too much even for his own readers.

Rather, Quraishi says that “such one-sided and biased reporting can appear in Washington Post shows there are power centers in Washington that take any attack against the incumbent Pakistani government very personally”. Of course, using Ahmed Quraishi’s same logic, one-sided and biased reporting in The News shows that are power centers in Islamabad that take any attack against the incumbent Pakistani government very personally. And that, let me tell you, is simply silliness.

Quraishi’s logical problems don’t stop there. He claims that this is not simply one article, but “underscores a trend in the US media over the past one year”. His evidence? One other article published by the same newspaper one week earlier. Again, using Ahmed Quraishi’s same logic, if it rains in Sialkot for two days in one week, therefore there is a one year trend of constant rain for the whole country. It simply makes no sense.

Most interesting, though, is what this new column reveals about how Ahmed Quraishi changes his conspiracy theories to fit his political objectives. In his latest article, Quraishi defends Geo as a voice of Pakistan. But in 2007, Quraishi himself accused Geo of being a tool of American interests!

This is why most Pakistanis have never seen American diplomats in Pakistan active like this before. And it’s not just the current U.S. ambassador, who has added one more address to her other most-frequently-visited address in Karachi, Mrs. Bhutto’s house. The new address is the office of GEO, one of two news channels shut down by Islamabad for not signing the mandatory code-of-conduct. Thirty-eight other channels are operating and no one has censored the newspapers. But never mind this. The Americans have developed a ‘thing’ for GEO.

Of course, in 2007 Ahmed Quraishi’s worries were somewhat similar. At that time he was worried that the Americans were supporting democratic reforms in Pakistan by not propping up Musharraf. In 2010, he is worried that the Americans are supporting democracy by not standing aside for another coup. Ahmed Quraishi perhaps gives away his ideology a bit later in his 2007 article, though, when he writes:

Musharraf has also told Washington publicly that “Pakistan is more important than democracy or the constitution.” This is a bold position. This kind of boldness would have served Musharraf a lot had it come a little earlier. But even now, his media management team is unable to make the most out of it.

For Quraishi, the nation is not democracy – which is the will of the people – it is only the will of Ahmed Quraishi, a “media manager” or propagandist, and his patrons.

It’s a bit cheeky of Ahmed Quraishi to criticise an American newspaper for commenting on Pakistani politics and media when Ahmed Quraishi himself has made a career out of creating conspiracy theories about American politics and media.

At least the American newspaper had the professionalism and decency to seek out comments from Rana Jawad, Fekhar Rehman, and Cyril Almeida. Of course, the article that so offended Ahmed Quraishi was written by real journalists, not “media managers”. Perhaps instead of criticising the Washington Post, Quraishi could take a moment to learn a thing or two about real reporting.

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