Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman along with senior party members held a meeting in Lahore and criticized Pakistan army’s media wing for its alleged involvement in airing anti-PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) propaganda on some TV channels.
While speaking in Lahore, PDM chief, Maulana Fazl, said that “the participants of the meeting have expressed their anger over the involvement of ISPR in controlling media”.
“During today’s meeting, anger was also expressed at the way the military’s media affairs wing put pressure on electronic media for negative propaganda against the rally.” We have to make this conspiracy a failure, he said, adding that the Lahore rally will be remembered in history.
Meanwhile, PML-N’s Maryam stated that it was a “matter of concern” that certain channels were airing news that was completely baseless. “There is a video of me on record, that with both of my hands, I appreciated and acknowledged the efforts of my party workers and Lahore MNAs and MPAs.
Terming Sunday’s public meeting a success, Maryam said that those who turned up to attend had to stand outside the venue just to listen to the speeches. “I have never seen a rally like this in all my life. Despite the cold, I could not see a single chair.”
She said that despite all odds, including the coronavirus outbreak and the “fascist” government, the people of Lahore turned out “in the thousands”.
She added that some channels had started “propaganda” against the opposition before she had even left for the venue. “Our media didn’t show the truth but foreign media, such as BBC and Al Jazeera, have shown a mirror to certain elements of our media.”
The PDM leadership was apparently not happy over the media’s role in covering its rally held in Lahore. The rally, which could not get public attention despite some serious effort by Maryam Nawaz, was said to be a turning point in the history of the anti-government campaign. However, “PDM’s rally could not be a great success because of cold weather, pandemic and undue delay,” said prominent journalist Hamid Mir.
Kashif Abbasi, a prominent TV host, slammed Maulana and his political aides for falsely claiming that the media was under pressure because of the ISPR. “Maulana sb I do not want to break all the news. We know you and your politics. Do you remember what you were doing during General Musharraf’s time when we are fighting for a free press,” Kashif pointed out while responding to Maulana’s allegations.
Kashif also asked: “If media persons express an independent opinion which does not represent your idealogy or your political standpoint you are quick to call out us. This is not acceptable”.
Is anti-army narrative falling?
PDM is carrying an anti-army narrative since its inception. PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif has been quite vocal against the institution. Nawaz Sharif named the Army Chief and DG ISI for political engineering in the country. “General Bajwa is responsible for installing incompetent Imran Khan,” he said while addressing PDM rally from London.
However, Muhammad Malick, a prominent Pakistani journalist, has revealed that “the top army brass is under no internal pressure to create space for opposition parties”. While speaking to Nasim Zehra on channel 24, Malick maintained that the narrative projected by Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazalur Rehman won’t be of any use in the long run. “To be fair, this narrative can create some excitement but it is not sustainable,” he said.