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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Info minister Shibli Faraz blasts Ayaz Sadiq, but will government do anything?

Information minister Shibli Faraz has blasted the PDM for peddling anti-state narrative for political gain. Interior minister Ijaz Shah has said Article 6 proceedings can be initiated against opposition leader for leaking classified info to public. Are these just words, or will the government act on them?

Federal Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz on Saturday blasted the politics of anti-government Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and said that the opposition, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was pursuing an agenda against the state of Pakistan. The minister made the remarks in a strongly-worded press conference held at the Press Information Department (PID) in Islamabad.

During the presser, Shibli Faraz showed reporters declassified video footage belonging to Western intelligence agencies, including the Russian KGB, to outline how negative views about a nation or an area are spread in order to demoralize the people residing there with the ultimate aim of destroying the spirit of a country. He underscored how negative news is used to create instability and destroy economies.

The information minister showed the clips in regards to the recent statements made by former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq in which he had divulged the details from a classified national security meeting on the floor of the Lower House in an emotionally-charged outburst against a political opponent. Faraz, in the presser, explained how the remarks fit neatly into the propaganda against Pakistan on the international stage.

Read more: Ayaz Sadiq’s statement was due to slip of the tongue, claims Mujeeb ur Rehman Shami

Sadiq demoralizing nation with intent to destroy

Faraz minced no words to highlight his contempt for Sadiq in front of the media, noting that Sadiq had tried to distort the facts and demoralize the whole nation by trying to present a clear and decisive victory over an enemy as a defeat. The minister said that it was unfortunate that a person who had occupied a position of high power in Pakistan not so long ago was peddling an anti-state narrative without caring for consequences.

Shibli Faraz also showed clips of the Indian news channels in which the statement of Sadiq had been discussed. The minister argued that the statement made by Sadiq was being used against Pakistan and broadcast to international audiences all over the world. Indian media, using the statements made by Sadiq, had tried to falsely depict the events of February 27, 2019 as a victory for India over Pakistan.

Indian Air Force had crossed into Pakistani airspace with the intent to attack on February 26, 2019 after a militant attacked a military base in India. In apparent fear of retaliation, the IAF had dropped their payloads over empty mountainous areas. Pakistan Air Force conducted Operation Swift Retort in retaliation the next day, hitting key Indian targets without causing any casualties. In the resulting dog-fight, Pakistan shot down two Indian planes as well, capturing the pilot of one who was released later as a peace gesture.

Read More: Nawaz Sharif’s anti-Pakistan interview and its cost: A snake in the grass?

Faraz ‘disappointed’ by Pakistani media’s betrayal of national values

During the press briefing, Shibli Faraz highlighted how the Indian media was using the statements made by Sadiq in a very nationalist manner. In the same breath, the information minister lamented how the exact opposite seemed to be happening in Pakistan, where the media was trying to defend the statements made by Sadiq by giving space to voices who were supportive of it, instead of realizing the gravity of the situation.

Faraz also referred to the recent statements made by Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, in which the latter had defended the Pakistani response to Indian aggression and presented facts before the Lower House, to maintain that Indian media was peddling fake news by misquoting Chaudhry. Faraz condemned the opposition for falling for the Indian fake news and using it for political mileage.

During the press conference, a reporter asked Faraz whether the federal government planned to follow-up on their strong criticism to the comments of Sadiq by taking the PML-N leader to the court of law. The minister could not offer a convincing or clear answer to the question posed by the reporter. However, recent statements made by Federal Minister for Interior Ijaz Shah indicate action against Sadiq under Article 6 was being considered.

The peculiar political history of Pakistan indicates that words like national security, traitor, corruption, thief, and the like have lost their meaning over the years as the politicians, in collusion with other pillars of the state, abuse them for their own purposes. The courts also appear weak in prosecuting politicians out of a fear of backlash. Resultantly, a culture of impunity reigns in Pakistani politics, where anybody can say or do anything, and get away with it.

It is also telling that Faraz had to retort to the use of Indian media clips to persuade the press in Pakistan to take the matter seriously. Political and security experts have opined that Sadiq, had he been a member of the parliament in India, and made such remarks, would have been hounded by the nationalist parties on the streets and in the corridors of power, but in Pakistan, was being praised for his anti-state stance.

GVS News Desk