Ansar Abbasi’s front page article of 12 March is a dangerous game of promoting anti-Americanism and vigilante violence in the country. In the column, Abbasi lists the names of 55 Americans who he terms ‘suspicious’ and ‘alleged to have been spying’. Neither the reporter nor the newspaper present any evidence for these claims, rather they simply put out the names of the 55 individuals and accusations to a public that is already enflamed by the Raymond Davis case.
This is a deadly dangerous game being played by Ansar Abbasi, and the height of irresponsibility by The News (Jang Group) reminiscent of the foolish act of The Nation in 2009 which accused an American journalist of spying based on no evidence.
Like Kaswar Klasra The Nation in 2009 which resulted in international condemnation, Ansar Abbasi only references unnamed ‘sources’ in his accusation and provides no actual evidence that any of the individuals named has committed any crimes or engaged in any shadowy or spying activities.
Nevertheless, with the public enraged over the shootings by American Raymond Davis and the whipping up of emotions by religious parties in street protests, the accusations and naming of these individuals creates a dangerous atmosphere for vigilante violence against any and all Americans regardless of the facts.
Imagine that after 9/11 The New York Times were to publish the names of Pakistanis in the USA and accuse them of being terrorists. This is the same thing that Ansar Abbasi and The News have done today.
If the law enforcement or intelligence agencies believe that an individual is engaged in illegal activities, it is the responsibility of those agencies to detain the individual and present the evidence to a court or in the case of diplomats the government can declare the individual a ‘persona non grata’ and expel them from the country.
It is the height of irresponsibility for someone who claims to be a journalist and a media group that claims to be an objective messenger of news to engage in such deadly games by leveling accusations against individuals that can result in vigilante violence and even cold-blooded murder.