Shaikh Moazam Khan
Pakistan is once again becoming the pivotal state in the world. Its strategic depth and location is compelling other states of the world to strengthen their bilateral political, economic and strategic relationships with the country. The military and civilian leadership of the country is battling for peace and harmony in the world – in general and region in particular. Owing to this critical role, some dissidents and anti-Pakistan elements and journalists are doing what they can do to malign Pakistani government and armed forces to praise their bosses abroad. Some Pakistani journalists who are self-exiled are propagating their malicious agenda and providing negative optics about image of the country. International Media outlets are happily getting anti-Pakistan content from these players. Owen Bennett Jones is one of them.
Owen Bennett Jones is a freelance British journalist and a former relief host of ‘News hour’ on the BBC World Service. He has been a resident foreign correspondent in Islamabad and a Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. He has written various articles in foreign media in which he maligned Pakistan’s government and armed forces, citing biased facts and figures. He is author of five books out of which four were on Pakistan. His main contribution to the literary community is the book, “Pakistan: Eye of the Storm”. In his book, Jones propagates the topics like surge of Talibanization in Pakistan and their ‘so called’ access to nuclear weapons in addition to other negative accounts. He wrote that Pakistan, with its political instability, Islamic community, pressing economic and social problems, access to nuclear weapons, and proximity to Afghanistan, stands at the centre of global attention. Instead of praising Pakistani efforts to eradicate terrorism and extremism from its soil, Jones accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorism, extremists and providing them safe heavens.
Jones is keenly involved in Pakistan’s domestic and military affairs for its heinous objectives. He is among those journalists who are writing and speaking blatantly against Pakistani government and army’s policies. His content has been observed to be highly critical against the national interests of Pakistan. One of his article argued that Pakistani military and the Mullahs still control Pakistan’s political and strategic system. He further accused Pakistan Army of playing active role in Pakistani domestic and civilian affairs, which is totally beyond the reality. One should not forget the role Pakistani armed forces played in the development and security apparatus of the country. Pakistani Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) have sacrificed thousands of lives to protect their homeland from the evils of non-state actors. Let me put it out very straight here that Armed Forces of Pakistan are playing the role which constitution of Pakistan allows them to perform. To point finger at anyone especially sensitive departments of any country without prior knowledge is condemnable and an unacceptable crime. It is indeed the responsibility of international media organizations and federation unions to act against these journalists who are working on the specific agenda and harming the national interests of the country especially when a country is pouring blood and sweat for the promotion of peace in the region. When it comes to the working and role of intelligence agencies of Pakistan, they are the last line of defence for the country and also playing their role to protect the interests of the country which Jones also tried to malign them.
Jones frequently uses figures and comments of another dissident Husain Haqqani who had been Pakistan’s envoy to United States during the tenure of Asif Ali Zardari led PPP government. Mr. Haqqani didn’t miss any chance to malign Pakistani military establishment and civilian leadership. He is also on self-exile and getting support from Indian and some American lobby. Ben Jones tried to engage every anti-Pakistan element.
It is responsibility of Pakistani newspapers to scrutinize the content of individuals before publishing at their platform instead of hot news. For example, Pakistan’s leading English daily Dawn News frequently publishes the articles of Ben Jones which contains anti-state content. Dawn News published his latest anti-Pakistan article “Regional Politics” on 31 Mar 20 which is totally misleading and a vicious account. The timing of the article is very important, when nothing is being talked about except the Coronavirus pandemic and the nation and its Armed Forcing are fighting against this torment, Dawn has made an effort to hit the national security agencies, the govt, the Armed Forces and the people of Pakistan.
These newspapers must revisit their policies before giving space to hostile elements as they may create chaos in the country and readers of the paper. Their biased and unverified facts may be utilized internationally against the national interests of the country. Dawn has also been observed to write against Pakistani government and armed forces. Indian Media on some occasions used the references of Dawn News and proliferated them against Pakistan. At the end I must say here that anyone who acts or writes against the interests of any country is liable to punishment apart from his/ her origin and affiliations.