Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a panel address at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos discussing ‘Fake news vs real politics’ said the big business models pose a threat to real journalism in Pakistan. Discussing the concept of fake news, Bilawal Bhutto said that fake news recently gained popularity primarily through US elections, though it has existed for decades. Responding to questions raised during the discussion, he was of the view that when fake news is disseminated in Pakistan it can have major issues – the point is to have the media come through as transparent as it can. Coming from a fragile democracy, attacking and demonising the media can have adverse effects.
According to PPP Chairman, there’s no concrete way to ask who runs fake news in Pakistan. In his words; “They are far more commercialized and push out their monetary interest. A lot of actors are involved in this, especially the commercial owners.” The PPP chief stated that it is big business models and industrial giants who own and run media houses which pose a high possibility of the news being biased. On western media propagation, he said, “Let’s not forget weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was fake news … we have to be able to see that we don’t recognise our own faults. They pitched US intelligence narratives which turned out to be fiction.” The views of Bilawal Bhutto are genuinely true and reflect our society.
Naqeeb’s heinous murder
Police’s atrocities are open secret in every country particularly a country like Pakistan where no rule of law is observed in certain cases. In Karachi last week, the murder of a tribal man Naqeebullah at the hands of police in fake encounter is talk of the town. The three-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed following Naqeebullah Mehsud’s killing has found no connection between the deceased and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The team has also held that the killing was an instance of extra judicial murder, not an act of self-defence by Rao Anwar. The SSP had already raised suspicions about himself on Monday night by attempting to flee the country. He attempted to fly from Islamabad to Dubai using a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) signed by the Sindh Chief Secretary. Whereas the authority to sign an NOC resides with the provincial Home Department.
The law must come down on Rao Anwar with full force now. This man is one of Karachi’s known encounter specialists. Over the course of his career, he has killed over 200 suspects, including 150 alleged militants. All of these past killings must be investigated, and Rao Anwar must be held accountable for each one of the victims who is proven innocent, along with all of his accomplices. Furthermore, even if those killed in encounters by Rao were involved in criminal acts, he must not be forgiven for taking the law in his own hands and coming judge, jury and executioner in himself in those cases. Rao must be tried for murder in all those cases where he is unable to prove that the deceased posed any significant danger to him or others when they were killed.
The culture of extra-judicial killings, and the general highhandedness of the police in this country is a major factor in the lack of trust the citizens have in our criminal justice system. The trust deficit between the police and the people contributes to lawlessness. An example must be made of the former SSP, along with all other ‘encounter specialists’. Our law enforcement agencies lose the moral right to enforce the law by relying on hitmen and thugs. This must end and the sanctity of the law enforcement apparatus restored. The Supreme Court has taken serious notice of this heinous crime and at the order of apex court, name of Rao Anwar has been put on ECL, however he has hidden at unknown destination and the police are after him.