Without understanding

Where are the blinkers?

Omar R. Quraishi, writing in Pakistan’s daily Dawn, wonders why the Indian media gave a cold, even hostile, reception to Musharraf’s latest proposal for demilitarising three Kashmiri cities. He, like his fellow columnist Ayaz Amir, finds that the Indian media is given to covering Bollywood and other frivolities, glossing over the ugly reality of the umpteen social and economic problems that plague the country. Again echoing Ayaz Amir in their opinions on foreign policy, Quraishi finds that (unlike the Pakistani press) Indian newspapers hardly ever differ from the government’s position. In reaction to Musharraf’s heavily discounted peace proposal, he writes that even Frontline magazine chose to focus on Pakistan’s continuing support for jihadi groups. In Quraishi’s view, Pakistan deserves better. Not least because the Pakistani media is extending favourable coverage to the cricket series and its musicians making greater inroads into Bollywood popularity?

In this one case at least, greater exposure to India through its newspapers has not contributed to a greater appreciation of Indian sensitivities. Quraishi may be right in contending that the Indian press generally toes the official line when it comes to foreign policy, but many Indians feel that the media has been way too fawning in its coverage of Gen Musharraf. The lofty-softy brigade continues to defy objective reality and frequently advocates further masochism. Quraishi’s fault is that he fails to see why everyone from Kuldip Nayar to the editor of the Indian Express were uniformly unimpressed by Musharraf’s protestations. It was not so long ago that Musharraf had promised to stop sponsoring terrorism against India for even the most dovish newspapers to accept that demilitarisation of just three Kashmiri cities can be accepted in lieu.

Take, for example, the Times of India, which ran an editorial on the interview in its Jan. 10 issue with the headline “Grow up, General”.

The paper did not use the word ‘president’ for Mr Musharraf, instead referring to him as ‘general’ throughout. [Dawn]

That is the right title for the man, and not just because that’s what the President of Pakistan’s official website says.

9 thoughts on “Without understanding”

  1. LOL, good find Nitin on the ‘general’. I always address in my blog as General, he deserves the title as the architect of the Kargil War and the Downhill Skiing which followed next.

    One hand he (and Ayaz Amir) complains about the Page3-ification of the Indian media when Pakistan papers are hardly read outside the English-speaking elite with a 300K circulation. Perhaps, the Urdu paper Khabrein has a higher circulation than these.

    Perhaps, Quarishi should find Jha, Noorani, etc. day jobs in Paki papers singing paens in honor of El Presidente/Herr General. That will keep the delusionary Paki elites happy.

  2. I surf most of the paki papers {english} ones daily . There is not much coverage of news issues and most of the articles are veiws.

    Of course they cant stop covering India Bharat’s movies and condeming them at the same time, cant stop telling us how bad all the hindus are.

    This holds true even when you go to any conference in the usa , all of them are children of ISI wearing jeans wipping it up hating India Bharat, of course tagged with them will be indian sikhs and wedged in between will be my own community the original punjabis and the only people who should be entilted to call themselves punjabis the santana dharama hindus, on whom both the paki and sikh influence has been very bad.

    Pakis are desperate to come back as bully boys in the neighbourhood. Their days are numbered as along with the confused commies and sikhs and italian congress of sonia mano -quattrocchi

    Shaukat Aziz iis more confused than ever and the relevance of pakistan is dwindling for the usa in the light that the iran pipeline has been stalled and one can say confidently stopped by visits of N.Burns. Only time will tell whether its a good thing. After Iran is no saint and wants much more money without gaurentee in security.

    General Mush and his group reming you of the tradegies of mughal slaves who were packed off in exile to Mynmar by the north african races , brits in 1800s, only this time they will be sent to saudi arabia

  3. Nitin:

    As a matter of fact, Mr. Quraishi is mistaken in suggesting that the Indian media echo the GOI’s policy. Witness the effusive treatment of the General by Prem Shankar Jha and A.G. Noorani. Mr. Jha is so over-the-top in his praise of the General that (as highlighted in your link) he praises routine diplo-speak from the General (about the PM Singh’s trustworthiness) as a magnanimous concession. Or, recall Mr. Noorani’s plaintive query wrapping up a recent mash note to the General (“Is there nothing that India can concede to Pakistan on Kashmir?”).

    However, the sour reception for the General (thanks for the link, Nitin) in most quarters is perhaps because Indians–even most inhabiting the lofty perches of the left of center media–believe politicians ought to be held accountable for not ‘meaning what they say’. A ‘bad’ democractic habit, but one that Pakistanis would do well to emulate.

    P.S., Mr. Jha’s latest column on the ‘shabby’ treatment of the Hurriyet is remarkable for its abandoment of India’s interest in J&K. Mr. Jha lusts for a ‘settlement’ of the ‘issue’ of J&K, no matter how hollow; he seems quite complacent about sacrificing the interests of non-secessionist Kashmiris.

  4. Kumar:

    I am trying to analyze the attitude of Jha, Noorani, etc. whom I collectively call the Candle Kissers Club. If you know more about their motivations and willingness to go the extra mile to accommodate the other side and perpetual admiration for Musharraf, please let us know.



  5. I think, if there is late 2005 shift in Indian press perception of the general (and from jumping to his every tune), it’s less to do with sudden realization that general does not keep his word (or that he continues to sponsor terrorism) and more to do with recent terrorist killings in New Delhi and Bangalore – killings in J&K have been going on for so long, it is practically discounted by the media as business as usual.

    It may be a while before the press reverts to dancing to general’s every tune like Mr Quraishi (& Mr. Amir) seem to want.

  6. One more reason why Pak cant be trusted.

    Yesterday they reported and continue to report that they have lifted ban on screening of Indian movies. News release by them in TOI and HT is that the pak spokesperson has said that is not true

    pak also denies India Bharat membership in OIC and even observership when Russia is an observer and even the louse saud arabia wants India to get the observership in spite of spending trillions on setting up midrassah

  7. With that edit Quraishi has designated himself a mutt – and not to be taken too seriously.

  8. Nitin:

    This is somewhat off-tangent, but Praveen Swami writes in today’s Hindu that the PM has met with Yasin Malik of the JKLF, Vijay Sazawal (a prominent Kashmiri-American pandit), and perhaps with Farooq Kathwari as part of the ‘dialogue’ process. Recall that Mr. Kathwari is an indefatigable peddler of communal partitions as ‘solutions’ to J&K. Mr. Kathwari did meet for certain with Mr. Narayanan; the NSA apparently advised him that demilitirization is possible only when terrorist violence ceases.

    I am one of those who have mixed feelings about the meeting with Mr. Malik since he is responsible for the murder of several unarmed IAF personnel. As well, I wish that the GOI would not give such prominence to Mr. Kathwari given his communal notion of an ‘ideal’ solution.

    That said, I think this series of meetings–combined with the public statement of Shyam Saran on India’s reaction to the General’s latest proposals–suggests that the GOI does have a plan of sorts and a bottom line. Ever hopefully, I am suggesting that the GOI may actually be thinking strategically (with an endgame in mind), and not just tactically in these negotiations with Pakistan.

    It also shows that the meeting with Sajjad Lone was not borne of pique (as suggested by Prem Shankar Jha) at the Hurriyet secessionsts’ performance in Pakistan. Rather, the PM does indeed wish to involve a wider array of Kashmiris; the Lone meeting was not a one-off event, apparently.

    More importantly, I think broadening the people involved will allow the GOI to pursue more effectively its (apparent) bottom line on J&K; genuine autonomy for PoK, Gilgit and Baltistan with the legislatures on both sides ‘cooperating’ on select matters of tourism, trade, environment (based on Mr. Saran’s comments).

    I’d be interested in your take on this latest turn of events. Mr. Swami’s article is available at URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2006/01/25/stories/2006012506451400.htm


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