By Imad Zafar
May 30, 2019
Fear is the weapon through which the masses are controlled by the power elite, and propaganda is the tool that helps manipulate the minds of the masses. In the civilized world, the parliament or the mainstream media stop the oppressors from conquering the resources of the masses and discredit their propaganda. However, in Pakistan, it is quite the opposite – the current parliament, which has a fractured mandate, is the result of engineered elections and is working as a rubber stamp for the invisible forces.
The spineless media is happy to propagate whatever it thinks it needs to in order to stay in the good books of the powers that be. Four days have passed since the Waziristan massacre but parliament has not called for an emergency meeting to defuse the tension between the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and the military establishment. Prime Minister Imran Khan has not even bothered to condemn the barbaric incident in South Waziristan, nor has he called for an inquiry.
An impartial inquiry into this matter is necessary as not only the PTM activists lost their lives but according to reports, one soldier was also killed. We need to know who ordered the soldiers to open fire, killing innocent people and tainting the army’s reputation. The mainstream media is still repeating the same propaganda saying that the PTM attacked the army check post. However, there is ample footage posted on social media showing that it was only the activists that were attacked.
The spineless media industry is happy to live in self-denial and it is in fact deliberately misinforming the masses at the behest of the invisible forces. Amnesty International has called for an inquiry into the Waziristan massacre but still, the parliament and the media are not ready to come out of self-denial mode. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz ( PML-N) is busy engaging in power politics and beating the drum of victimization, while the other mainstream opposition political party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), is busy defending its top leadership against charges laid by the National Accountability Bureau.
Since Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is the B team of the invisible forces and it was brought to power through political engineering and pre-poll rigging, it is happy to toe the establishment line. Parliament has lost its credibility again in the eyes of a concerned international community because politicians only care about protecting their own interests.
This is the reason that democratic supremacy in Pakistan has always been a dream, not reality. Member of Parliament Ali Wazir, who was arrested in South Waziristan by the military, is still in the custody of the law enforcement agencies. As per the constitution, law enforcement agencies need the permission of the speaker of the National Assembly to arrest an MP. However, since Ali Wazir is being detained on the charge of attacking the military check post, parliament is not showing any interest in the matter because it fears a backlash from the invisible forces. Instead, the National Assembly committee passed a resolution condemning the attack on the check post, making it clear that the National Assembly is just an extension of the establishment. A question arises: how can a parliament that cannot even protect its own members protect the rights of the masses that are enshrined in the constitution? The slogan “Respect the vote” means nothing if parliament cannot take a stand against atrocities and hold the institutions of the state responsible.
The journalist Gohar Wazir, who interviewed Mohsin Dawar (leader of PTM), has been detained by law enforcement and there is no news about him in the mainstream media. The profit-seeking owners of the TV channels and newspapers are happy to take dictation from the invisible forces while the spineless journalists addicted to perks and privileges do not think that it is worth raising their voices against the detention of a fellow journalist.
This is not the first time that two pillars of the state, parliament and the media, have deliberately disappointed the masses because of their own vested interests. From the Sahewal Massacre to the Naqeebullah Mahsud case, and from missing person cases to this atrocity in Waziristan, there are many cases where parliament remained silent and the media played the role of propaganda machine for the establishment. Since both the parliament and the media surrender so easily, the powers that be easily gain more power and impose more curbs on freedom of speech. One just needs to look at old newspaper clippings to see that the media has always welcomed martial laws, declaring them necessary for the survival of the country while the political parties aligned with the dictators get their share of cake on the power chessboard.
The demise of journalism is giving more control to the current faceless coup in Pakistan and creating a sense of deprivation among the Pashtuns and other segments of society that are being marginalized and are watching the media spreading propaganda against them. Likewise, parliament has done nothing to resolve the prevailing crisis, and the masses are feeling that politics is the business of elites only.
Political leaders should have intervened earlier to address the grievances of the PTM and in that way, the tragedy of Waziristan could have been avoided. Unless the media changes its posture and parliament stands up for the constitutional rights of the masses, nothing will change, and the current rotten and exploitative social and political order will continue to prevail.
The spineless media and the rubber-stamp parliament have destroyed the social and political fabric of the country, and whatever remains now needs to be saved, and a new social and political order needs to be developed. For that to happen the media has to stop making compromises for the sake of profits and perks and privileges and the political elite will have to think beyond their vested interests.
The writing on the wall is clear: This exploitative social and political order cannot be allowed to continue. The media, which is allied with the powers that be, and the political elite are only focused on attaining power, and they cannot be permitted to prevail.