Hidden Hands in Pak Media

Nov 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Newsweek Pakistan, The News

MI

A flurry of interesting pieces have begun to appear in the media today, all reporting about a secret meeting between DG ISI Shuja Pasha and Mansoor Ijaz in a London hotel room last month. While PMW is in no place to question the information presented in the news reports, we are troubled by many of the questions raised about the origin of these reports, and what that says about the “news” we are being fed.

Newsweek Pakistan quotes a source “who was privy to the meeting”. What source would be privy to a meeting between DG ISI and Mansoor Ijaz in a London hotel, I wonder? Probably not room service. The News (Jang Group) says that its story is based on “highly classified information obtained by The News”.

Newsweek Pakistan‘s piece certainly contain one of the funniest lines in recent memory. According to the reporter, Fasih Ahmed, his source “spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of offending the general”. And what did he say that he was so worried may offend the General? “Pasha seemed like an intellectually-sound man and while he grimaced and looked shocked at times, he did not give away how he intended to proceed, if at all, with the information provided to him.” Was this “source” really worried that describing a General as “an intellectually-sound man” would be risky?

PMW does not have access to “highly classified information”, nor do we have access to any sources with access to DG ISI’s private meetings in London hotel rooms (or anywhere else, for that matter). So we cannot comment on whether these reports are factually correct. We only comment on them here to raise the question of whether these news reports are based on information provided by a neutral source, or if they are provided by state agencies themselves.

If a neutral source has access to the DG ISI’s private meetings, we as a nation should be quite worried about our national security. On the other hand, if the agencies are providing the information to reporters themselves, why not do so openly?

ISPR is the official channel for communicating with the public. If the agencies are bypassing the official communication channels to provide information to reporters, it raises the question whether the intent of the leaked information is to inform or to influence. Provided the facts, we should be allowed to make up our own minds. We do not need hidden hands writing a script for us.

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