Ansar Abbasi Continues Political Attacks, Extremist Sympathies

Jun 23rd, 2011 | By | Category: Jang, The News

The News (Jang Group)In his column for The News, Ansar Abbasi continues his pattern of misrepresenting facts and using journalism as a cover for political and extremist propaganda. His latest piece, ‘Battle-lines in war on terror get sharper Zardari, Nawaz take clear positions’, is a bald face attempt to show PML-N as an Islamist political party while bashing PPP and President Zardari as against religion. But once again Abbasi’s attacks are easily debunked and exposed.

The reporter begins by referencing a recent speech in which President Zardari dubbed Nawaz Sharif as “Maulvi Nawaz Sharif”. But Ansar Abbasi does not give any context for this statement, instead presenting it as if it came from thin air.

Actually, Ansar Abbasi’s own newspaper, The News, reported that in another recent speech of his own, Nawaz Sharif accused the military intelligence agencies as responsible for “ruining the country”. Actually, this is not the first time that Mian Nawaz has accused the military of ruining the nation. In 2006, Nawaz Sharif presented a speech at a PML-N meeting in London where he said that Pakistan Army was worse for the country even than Indian Army.

A seemingly bitter and perhaps even desperate Nawaz Sharif on Thursday castigated Pakistan Army generals in the harshest ever terms, accusing them of destroying their institution by using it to promote their political ambitions.

He even went to the extent of comparing the Pakistani Army with its arch rival the Indian Army and declared that the latter was much superior in professionalism to the former.

He said the Indian Army did not harm Pakistan as much as the Pakistani generals, “and that is why we have to continuously face the ignominy of being called a failed state”.

It was in response to this ongoing attitude that President Zardari gave his speech earlier this week during which he termed the PML-N chief as “Maulvi Nawaz Sharif” who he accused of “practising the politics of Zia”. In response, Abbasi reports, PML-N leader Ch Nisar “asked both the government and armed forces to stick to the Islamic ideology”.

This is the actual context that for the political battle between the PPP and PML-N, but readers of Ansar Abbasi will understand it differently. Rather than giving all the facts and letting readers decide for themselves, Ansar Abbasi writes that President Zardari wants to fight the US-led war on terror “for the next 30-40 years while the PML-N insists on policy review as per the will of parliament”.

And Ansar Abbasi does not stop there. He goes on to say that present policies “have started pushing religious people against the wall as the difference between religiosity and extremism is being mixed up to the disadvantage of the former”. Ansar Abbasi says that Ch Nisar is expressing “serious concerns” about “the present suffocating environment for practising and principled Muslims.”

This is a very curious claim. Where are religious people being pushed against the wall? Azaan still fills the sky each day. Mosques are still filled with religious people. In fact there is no shortage of religion anywhere in the country.

Perhaps the answer can be found in another part of Abbasi’s column in which he questions the military’s decision to arrest a brigadier for alleged links to banned organization Hizb-ut-Tahrir. According to Ansar Abbasi, HuT is “a global Islamic organisation involved in peaceful political struggle for the unity of Muslims”.

But journalist Ziauddin Sardar says there’s more to HuT than their propaganda admits.

During a recent debate on PTV, the Pakistani satellite channel, a prominent member of HT told me emphatically: “The idea of compromise does not exist in Islam.” This is standard HT rhetoric, and it explains why the group is deemed dangerous and worthy of being proscribed. Intolerance of that kind is a natural precursor of, and invitation to, violence.

In fact, violence is central to HT’s goals. Its primary objective is to establish a caliphate. It seeks, I have been told on numerous occasions, a “great Islamic state” ruled by a single caliph who would apply Islam “completely to all Islamic lands” and eventually to “the whole world”. What would be applied “completely” is the sharia, Islamic law.

No wonder they recognise no compromise. Their ideology argues that there is only one way Muslims can or should be ruled, that those who form this caliphate have the right to rule, that all others must submit unconditionally and that only this political interpretation of Islam is valid and legitimate. In other words, the caliphate of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s vision can be established only by doing violence to all other interpretations of Islam and all Muslims who do not agree with it – not to mention the violence it must do to the rest of the world, which also must eventually succumb.

Neither is this the first time that Ansar Abbasi has shown sympathies for extremist groups. Speaking on Capital Talk after the Abbottabad operation, Ansar Abbasi infamously gave sympathetic statements about Osama bin Laden.

Abbasi concludes his latest column by praising PML-N and bashing the government, a blatant political bias that has no place in respectable journalism. It is unknown whether Abbasi is exploiting religion for political ends, or whether his ultimate goal is to promote banned extremist groups and use the cover of journalism for propaganda. What is known is that his columns continue to misrepresent the facts and present a distorted view of reality.

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