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Does the media expect the PPP to remain under influence of anesthesia? – By Ahmed Iqbalabadi

Every action has a reaction. The reaction can differ from person to person and party to party. The media especially some elements in it, like the Jang Group and now ARY, with its change of guard, have been targeting the PPP and its leadership without fail. Be it the restoration of judges, carbon tax, NRO, Kerry Lugar Bill, 18th Amendment, and now the visit of the President to France and UK, floods in the country and “shoe-attack” by a “patriotic” Pakistani, the target has always been the person of President Asif Ali Zardari. Whether one as a party supporter likes the person of Mr. Zardari or not, but one thing is for sure: the PPP continues to remain united under the banner of PPP led by the President. Detractors can claim that the party has been divided ever since Mr. Zardari took over, however, I fail to notice one instance where those not agreeing with his policies have resigned from the party given seat as a Senator, MNA or MPA or for that matter left the PPP as member. Dissent is one thing, which is the democratic right of every party member while division is totally different.

Having been unable to dent the party like they were able to in 1990’s when we saw at least three splinter groups (Murtaza Bhutto’s group, Shaheed Bhutto group under Dr. Mubashir Hassan and then Sherpao Group) emerge, the media follows both intense and subliminal attacks on the leadership of the PPP to make the party workers and supporters disgruntled. When the news of “shoe-attack” on the President was aired, my little brother and some other friends who are known supporters of the party were thoroughly disappointed. In one way or the other their suggestion was “President should resign and leave the party” after this ignominious incident. My response to them was by making you disappointed and disgruntled, the media is making inroads into the party. When the party cannot be defeated in elections, the party needs to be divided to be made ineffective.

On one hand, we have been seeing scathing attacks on the party and its leadership from the media while on the other, the media expects there to be no reaction. Does the media expect PPP and its workers to remain under the influence of general anesthesia that you pin and poke us the wrong and hard way but expect the party and workers not to respond? I have tried to find out from my friends in Karachi if GEO and ARY News were not being seen on their cable network? The answer was in the negative. I asked them whether they received Jang or The News (if they are subscribers), the answer was “yes, we did”. So where is the attack on media when the media keeps on plying its trade of criticism?

If elements of Jang/Geo/The News, ARY and others claim attacks on media, then why are they able to disseminate anything and everything that comes to their mind?

Let me remind all our readers of effective media gagging in Pakistan’s history. I hope these three instances should be enough for people differentiate between gagging and freedom of press:

  1. During General Zia’s martial law, news that didn’t use to comply with their standards used to be deleted. The result was parts of the newspapers used to be blank. Hundreds of journalists were arrested while reporting.
  2. MQM effectively boycotted Jang on 10th March 1989. The MQM announced boycott of the newspaper by not only not buying the newspaper but also ensuring that its delivery was blocked. Thousands of copies of Jang were burnt. Result has been that during the last 21 years, Jang publishes the press releases of MQM verbatim. Also negative reporting of MQM has been shunned. Now that is what is called an effective boycott.
  3. In 1998, Jang Group and PML-N led government were in tussle for newsprint quotas and taxation demands. The resu
    MSR press conference playing tapes of threats by Senator Saif ur Rehman

    lt was an acrimonious relationship between Mir Shakil ur Rehman and Senator Saif ur Rehman. MSR was forced to come out in public with tapes of threats by Saif. At the same time, Jang had thinned to become a 6 page newspaper on very poor quality newsprint. And off course, government advertisements were stopped to the group. For all details of the “War on Jang” please see this link:


My question to the media is: are you seeing any of the above three actions against you? Moreover, can’t I as a PPP worker say enough is enough? Am I not permitted to react?

It is high time, the PPP rethought its media strategy and come up with out of the box thinking to counter this unleashed media.

About the author

Ahmed Iqbalabadi


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  • You are behaving like a spoilt little child whose toy has been snatched away by another child.
    Ask yourself a question, if according to you everyone is targeting Zardari, is there something wrong with him? Does this notion ever cross your mind? Your blind loyalty to the party is commendable and if you want the party to do well, get rid of the bad apples in your party from Zardari down to his cronies who hold high offices but are total nincompoops. Have a good day.

  • I agree with the author a bit. Yes at times volatile and unexpected reactions can happen from any sect of the public. But the catch here is that we prepare the society to contain itself to maximum in such events. A tolerant and rational society will not go to the limits of rage even in such reactions.

  • PPP Vs Jhang group..match started once again..
    I would once again say that PPP should choose better person for media representation and should counter Geo with arguments..
    This besiege of Geo office would provide more opportunity to become Mazloom and also to continue with their biased attitude

  • @Imran: I agree with you. PPP should make a better media team strategy. Statements of Fauzia and Kaira didn’t matched on any issue and this is the reason of the bad perception. they can’t even defend the ideology of their leadership. Once they co-ordinate before issuing any statement the situation will go in facor of PPP. That’s the best thing they can do to defend their party.

  • Free alcohol, hangovers, bisexual friends and a girl called Boozie Suzie … inside the student life of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
    Last updated at 16:06 06 January 2008

    Comments (7)
    Add to My Stories
    His antics at Oxford University would shock people in Pakistan awaiting Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s return to take over the political dream shaped by his murdered mother Benazir.
    The 19-year-old’s preparation for his role in one of the world’s strictest Muslim states has certainly been unconventional.
    Orthodox Muslims will be surprised to see the new leader of the Pakistani People’s Party with his arms slung casually around two girls, one of whom declares herself as “bisexual” on a social networking website.
    Conversations he has with friends on Facebook make reference to being hungover, his friendship with a girl he calls “Boozie Suzie” and the joys of “free alcohol”.
    Scroll down for more …

    Monster’s ball: Bilawal and friends in fancy dress for an Oxford University Hallowe’en event
    There is no evidence that Bilawal drinks alcohol ? but he was certainly living it up with his two female friends at a raucous black-tie party thrown by a student drinking society.
    Bilawal had been enjoying the freedom of his first year at Oxford before he was named as his mother’s successor after her assassination last month.
    It was all a far cry from the country of his birth, which is bound by strict Muslim customs where drinking is forbidden, homosexuality is illegal and male and female friendships carefully controlled.
    Bilawal and the girls were dressed up for the annual Cardinals’ Cocktails event where, for a £10 entrance fee, students can drink as many cocktails as they can stomach.
    The Cardinals is an exclusive all-male society favoured by the wealthiest undergraduates at Christ Church, Bilawal’s college at Oxford.
    They hold the event for non-members once a year to raise money for a lavish dinner to be enjoyed by their privileged members at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
    Only a handful of Christ Church students are allowed to join each year and they are initiated by being forced to down a bottle of port followed by eight pints of beer.
    Bilawal and his friends were among hundreds of other students ? not Cardinal members ? at the bash this year.
    Fortunately for him, his father, Asif Ali Zardari, has announced his son is too young to take power and that he will maintain day-to-day control of the party while Bilawal continues his studies.
    Bilawal, who arrived at Christ Church in September to read history, grew up in Dubai after his mother left Pakistan for a self-imposed exile in 1999.
    At Oxford he has not been seen at the student Islamist Society, eschewing the social events, at which only soft drinks are served.
    One senior society member said: ‘He doesn’t come to any of our events.’ He has chosen instead to spend his time with gregarious new friends.
    Two of the girls to whom he is particularly close, as our pictures show, are described on Facebook as being “engaged” to each other ? Julia Caterina Hartley and Kirini Kopcke.
    Scroll down for more …

    Ladies’ man: Bilawal cosies up to bisexual friends Kirini Kopcke (left) and Julia Hartley, who say they are ‘engaged’
    Julia, who was educated in Brussels, lists herself as interested in both women and men and is a member of the university’s Lesbian Gay And Bisexual Society.
    She and Bilawal are obviously close, often pictured cosying up together, and after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination on December 27 she wrote on her Facebook site: “Julia can only think of the Bhuttos.” Many of Bilawal’s conversations on Facebook can be openly viewed by dozens of his friends and countless other Oxford University students.
    Bilawal flirts goodnaturedly with another female student, saying: “There is a void in my life now, it’s a deep dark hole in my sloe [sic] … that can only be filled with … boozie suzie!!”
    Fellow first-year student Sammy Jay is also a close friend.
    In one exchange, Bilawal announces his intention to “do as much work as possible, go to the Coven, turn up to my tute the next day hungover and with incomplete work.”
    The Coven is an off-beat club well known for hosting a regular gay night for students.
    The face of Bilawal appears on a number of pages throughout Facebook but only one, using the alias of Bilawal Lawalib, is authentic.
    In one exchange, before Mrs Bhutto’s assasination, he tells a female friend that he “misses his secret lover” and in another exclaims “what free alcohol! I may take you up on that when I get back to Oxford!”.
    Bilawal’s grandfather Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who founded the Pakistan People’s Party and was the country’s first elected prime minister but was executed in 1979, attended the same college.
    His mother was a popular student and president of the Oxford Union.
    The current Oxford Union President, Luke Tryl, says the new Bhutto is “quite popular in Union circles; very charismatic and engaging”.

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  • One raid of FBR at Geo and Ary’s office will deprive them of prosperity, bread and clothing. PPP is still not causing any harm to these channels.

  • Mostly I saw jiyalas ”Slaves / Kammees” throwing shoes on high building of jang yesterday and all shoes were coming down hitting themselves or other front row jiyalas, may be thats the fate….


    i would like to bring this in your knowledge that there are so many NGO’s , group and government is providing relief
    to flood victim
    You have not mention account numbers and details as ad on your website http://www.jang.com.pk, http://www.geo.tv, http://www.thenews.com.pk
    and details of prime minister flood relief account.
    Alhamulillah geo and jang group website are just restored , i hope that you will take this step.
    I would also like mir khalid ur rehman trust to play role in providing relief to flood victim.
    It is my suggestion that all media and news channel should unite , make a plan to collect donation and request for volunteer for relief work and build one city, which should be name media city.
    Please come forward and play role, so other can follow it. It is time to do something for pakistan
    I pray to Al Mighty Allah that we will be patience , positive and good nation and government should remove banned on geo tv and bear criticism with open heart. I knows that is not easy , but there is not other way.
    take care
    Allah Hafiz

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