‘All Parties’? Or ‘Fringe Parties’

Sep 27th, 2012 | By | Category: The News

The News (Jang Group)Do religious parties represent the totality of Pakistani politics? Reading The News, one might easily get that mistaken impression. An article by Muhammad Anis reports that “The All Parties Conference (APC) of political and religious parties on Wednesday demanded a meeting of all Muslim countries in Madina Munawwara to formulate a joint strategy against blasphemous acts in the United States and Western countries”, and that “The APC believed that the US was equally responsible for the recent blasphemous act”. But reading further into the report, one finds that “All Parties” is a bit of a stretch.

The APC was attended by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Syed Munawwar Hasan, Jamaatud Daawa amir Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Maulana Fazalur Rehman, Maulana Samiul Haq, Ejazul Haq, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, Lt. General (retd) Hamid Gul, Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, Liaquat Baloch, Maulana Fazalur Rehman Khalil and others.

For an ‘All Parties’ conference, there are some fairly important names missing. Where is the representation of PML-N, PPP, PML-Q, MQM, or ANP? Where is PTI? Judging by the names listed, the event appears to be more of a Difa-e-Pakistan or Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal conference than ‘All Parties’.

This is no small matter. Readers of The News may read the headline and first paragraphs and not realise that this gathering was not attended by the parties that represent the majority of Pakistanis. Also by reporting the declarations of this group as the result of ‘All Parties’, The News is factually incorrect. A more appropriate headline would refer to the gathering as ‘Some Religious and Right-Wing Parties’ or possibly ‘Fringe Parties Conference…’.

Religious parties may believe that they represent Pakistan, but their inability to gather popular support suggests otherwise. Until they can demonstrate support beyond rallies and protests, the media should not give them more credit than they deserve.

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