We were never at war with Eurasia. We were always at war with Eurasia.
Such were the uncontested narratives of the Ministry of Truth in 1984, with no one, least of all the patriotic citizens cheering on both narratives with equal fervour, pointing out the lies.
It would be interesting to explain the government’s recent announcement of a clampdown on local non-state actors to anyone waking up from a coma after a year or two. Wasn’t the infamous ‘Dawn Leaks’ about the exact same thing? The then government was taken to task for leaking this apprehension about these militant organisations to the newspaper. That this was somehow furthering the narrative of the enemies of Pakistan, who had crafted an image of the country harbouring militants and terrorists.
Do we see any fireworks now? No.
This column has long been used to point out the diminutive attention span and memory of the news media. But in Pakistan, given the rapidly shrinking freedom of expression of the free media, the extent to which the local news media and its commentariat is forced to forget is quite something.
In the recent bit of tension between India and Pakistan, it appeared (perhaps not incorrectly) that the Indian media displayed base warmongering and the Pakistani media showed reserve.
True. But a closer look would also reveal more nuance. For starters, the Pakistani deep state itself was exercising caution. It could be argued that the media was merely toeing the line.
As far as the Indian media is concerned, though it is true that the level of sheer harebrained imbecility that they have displayed during this current standoff is quite evident, it should also be pointed out that the Indian media’s best foot forward was far better than anything that the Pakistani media came up with. Searing questions, ranging from specific, operational issues like demanding for proof of the supposed 300 militants killed in the Balakot surgical strike, to demanding proof regarding the downed F-16 to the bigger picture questions, like where the People’s Republic relationship with the people of the Kashmir valley stands, the brave souls within the Indian media, regardless of how diminishing their numbers might be getting, asked such questions.
On this side of the border, however, it was just the most benign and insipid fare.
Regarding the Pakistani deep state’s sponsorship of terrorists, for instance, former army chief Pervez Musharraf admitted on live television on Nadeem Malik’s show on Hum News that his intelligence apparatus used the Jaish-e-Muhammad to carry out bomb blasts in Indian in ‘tit-for-tat’ operations. Now, whether or not we believe that the Indians carry out bomb blasts in the country, a former military chief has certainly confirmed that Pakistani state certainly committed acts of terror on Indian soil.
Barely a whimper followed this bombshell of an admission on the local airwaves.