Media’s Pre-Poll Rigging: The News Describes Nawaz As Taliban Sympathiser

Mar 19th, 2013 | By | Category: The News

The News (Jang Group)A lot of attention is given to certain actions by politicians and political parties intended to put undue influence on the outcome of elections before polls take place. Usually these actions fall into the categories of promising political favours and offices and the diversion of public funds for development projects to discretionary accounts. Little attention, however, is paid to the most blatant pre-poll rigging of all which is that carried out by the would-be king makers in media. Extreme examples of such misbehaviour on the part of media can be found in The News (Jang Group) which has published a front page articles that describe PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif as a Taliban sympathiser.

According to the piece by reporter Amir Mir, recent decisions by Mian Nawaz are “demonstrating his soft corner for the conservative Taliban”. What are these decisions? They are to endorse peace talks with TTP and joining hands with MAulana Fazlur Rehman. Let us examine each of these closely.

If endorsing peace talks with TTP means that someone has a soft corner for those who are “literally waging war on the state of Pakistan”, why is only Nawaz Sharif guilty of this? The most recent offer of peace talks with TTP was decided at an APC led by the ANP and attented by major political parties including PPP, MQM, and JUI. Does this mean that ever major political party is hand in hand with the Taliban? Obviously not as even the TTP has condemned them and warned people to stay away from gatherings of PPP, MQM, and ANP. Also it should be noted that Amir Mir offers no mention of PTI Chairman Imran Khan who has called for peace talks with TTP since years before Nawaz.

Blaming Nawaz Sharif as a Taliban sympathiser for making an alliance with Fazlur Rehman is equally nonsense. The JUI-F leader joined the PPP government since 2008 only recently withdrawing from the coalition. Is it possible to believe that the PPP government is also secretly pro-Taliban? Recently Fazlur Rehman was spotted meeting with ithe US Ambassador Richard Olson, and has declared that Army and judiciary should be consulted on the caretaker government. Are we supposed to trust Amir Mir’s logic and believe that this means that both the US Embassy and the Pakistan Army and judiciary are all in league with TTP? It just makes no sense.

The intentions of Amir Mir in writing such a hit job against Nawaz Sharif are not known, but it does not require an advanced degree in politics to question why such a political hit job appeared at such a time when elections are just around the corner. Whether the piece was the result of poor judgment or something more sinister, it raises important questions about whether The News is intentionally or unintentionally engaging in pre-poll rigging.

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