Once again, conspiracy theories dominate and public debate suffers

May 30th, 2011 | By | Category: Conspiracy Theories

Recent events such as the American raid at Abbottabad and the terrorist attack at PNS Mehran have resulted in journalists twisting logic and at times inventing “facts”. We have already shown several examples of some of the largest media groups projecting conspiracy theories and a jihadi mindset. This has not gone unnoticed, including in Canada where Raheel Raza notes that conspiracy theories dominate discussion.

According to many well-educated, elite Pakistanis, Osama bin Laden was really not living in Pakistan and is actually not dead -all this is a hoax; two Florida imams accused of supporting the Taliban have been set up; the “Toronto 18” were all innocent; and a PakistaniCanadian businessman accused of links to the Mumbai bombing is being framed.

Yes, they would love to believe this just as many of them think Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan was not selling nuclear secrets and that in fact, there is no danger with Pakistan’s 100 nuclear warheads.

Much of the rhetoric is peppered with words like “U.S./Zionist conspiracy,” and they can wax eloquent for hours about blaming everyone else but Pakistan for their problems and the problems of the Muslim world.

Rarely are phrases such as “reflecting on our weaknesses,” or “cleaning up our garbage before we blame others,” used.

None of this comes as a surprise to those of us who saw the writing on the wall many decades ago and left Pakistan because it was falling straight into the arms of Wahabbifunded Islamists fighting an armed jihad, and the country had lost its ethical and moral compass.

But many of these same expatriate Pakistanis now yell discrimination, racism, Islamo-phobia and now the new term “Muslim-phobia,” when Pakistan becomes the main focus of world attention in terms of anti-terrorism policies.

But it is not only Pakistanis abroad who are being exposed to these conspiracy theories. Actually, as this blog has proven time and again these are promoted by the very media groups whose job is to provide accurate information to the people. And once again, the world is taking notice and Pakistani media is becoming the international joke.

While tales of malign intervention by foreign powers exist in other developing countries, in Pakistan they come with a heavy price. They confuse the country as to who it is fighting and complicate efforts to defeat militants and counter their extremist ideology.

Shifting the blame away from Islamist militants and onto foreigners helps protect the powerful Pakistani army from an uncomfortable truth: its long association with militants that are now turning against the state.

Right-wing Islamists who support the Afghan Taliban and share the Pakistan Taliban’s hatred of America and calls for strict Islamic law are also put in a difficult position by the terror being unleashed on the country. For them, it is easier to blame foreigners out to destabilize the country than acknowledge the slaughter carried out in the name of Islam.

No evidence is ever reported to back up the claims, but unsubstantiated rumors make it into media coverage: the bodies of suicide attackers were uncircumcised, for example, implying they were not Muslims, or Indian-made ammunition was found at the scene.

The natural result of these conspiracy theories is confusion among the masses making it impossible to implement the correct policies to solve the nation’s problems.

“We are always telling the world about the losses and sacrifices we have sustained in the war on terror, but at the same time we never see any explanations of who is doing the killing,” said Cyril Almeida, a liberal columnist. “It infinitely complicates counter-extremism efforts. They can’t happen if poison is being pumped into the veins of Pakistani society.”

The other result that should be considered – especially by those concerned with national honour – is the way that Pakistan appears in the world when the nation’s leading media groups ignore facts for transparently silly conspiracy theories.

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