It is hard not to take notice of the bold headline on the front page of The Nation on Friday: US setting up for Pak sneak-in. Are we on the verge of an American invasion? Should we be strengthening the borders and preparing for war? Or is this the latest case of media war hysteria and the well-worn drum of anti-american paranoia?
The first hint we have is the name of the reporter who filed this sensational story. Actually, the hint comes from the fact that the reporter has no name. Let’s next look at the names of the sources for the information in the report:
- “it is said”
- “knowledgeable sources say”
- “According to sources”
- “Observers say”
- “It is said”
- “It is learnt”
- “sources say”
Here we have a front page report in The Nation written by no one that makes sensational claims about a threat to the national security based on information provided by no one.
Now let us examine the claims made by these ghosts.
According to the report, America’s plans for the period after their withdrawal from Afghanistan is to “sneak in” to Pakistan. And how is it planning to sneak in? The report claims that the US is adding new levels to its Embassy in Islamabad. We have no way of knowing if the US plans to expand the size of its Embassy here, but we do think this has got to be the least sneaky way of expanding its footprint in the nation.
Actually, the threat of this supposed Embassy expansion is curious itself. According to the anonymous reporter’s anonymous sources, “having nine levels enables the US snoopers to overlook most of the ministries and government offices’ buildings, including the Parliament House, the Presidency and the PM Secretariat.”
The Americans are sneaking in to build a taller Embassy so they can look out the window into government offices? This is the CIA’s greatest strategy to spy on Pakistan? Mashallah! We are saved!
Jokes aside, there are real threats to our national security, and these should be reported honestly and objectively so that the people understand why military and civilian leaders take the decisions that they do to protect the country. Filing silly anonymous reports about American conspiracies to build a taller Embassy so they can peek into government offices and publishing these reports as real news stories spreads confusion and conspiracies as the people are unsure what the real threats are and what are simply tall tales.