News Analysis |
The 2018 elections in Pakistan have evoked international interest, but perhaps the greatest source of foreign interest is the eastern neighbor and archenemy India, whose media channels and organizations are taking a deep interest in the polls.
The Indian media is well known for being utterly hawkish with respect to Pakistan. Many of the Indian channels primarily the Hindi based channels are known for using hyper-nationalism and bigotry in order to gain ratings and the same case is mostly true in right wing channels such as Republic TV and Times Now. Republic TV led by firebrand anchor Arnab Goswami is especially notorious for his hatred of Pakistan including the times he used billboards to showcase himself as “Pakistan’s Migraine” across India.
Imran Khan has become a fixation for the media since his 2014 sit-in in Islamabad. While Indian Social Media usually commended Imran Khan for his role in the fight against corruption, the mainstream media began to portray him as a “pawn” of the Pakistani military. This was supposedly due to the perception that Nawaz was more pliable to Indian interests as opposed to the more independent Imran Khan, despite his having many friends across the border.
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The Indian media campaign intensified after Imran Khan’s retaliation over its interference in Pakistani politics in the support of Nawaz Sharif. This has gained steam in the run up to the elections. As a PTI victory seems imminent, the Indian right wing media seems to have devolved into a bashing frenzy of the Pakistani leader, linking him to Hafiz Saeed and the Pakistani military and portraying him as a threat to not only Pakistan but also India.
However, there have been cases in the Hindi media in which former Indian players have been allowed airtime for their views on their Pakistani counterpart. Many like Kapil Dev, have in fact given a positive portrayal and spoke highly of his leadership capabilities.