Kalam in Pakistani media

IN Media Practice | 06/08/2002
Kalam in Pakistani media

Kalam in Pakistani media


Our official venom-spitting machinery-the Pakistan Television (PTV) issued a subpoena to all state-certified `experts¿ and aired program after program on Kalam¿s nomination.      



Kalam in Pakistani media


By Mohammad Shehzad


The nomination of A P J Abdul Kalam (the czar of Indian nuclear program) to the president¿s office was not an astounding event. But given our obsession with India--an incurable malady--we couldn¿t resist making a mountain out of a molehill, taking it as a golden opportunity to launch a smear campaign against India.


Our official venom-spitting machinery-the Pakistan Television (PTV) issued a subpoena to all state-certified `experts¿ and aired program after program on Kalam¿s nomination. The `experts¿ bent over backwards to prove that the idea of nominating Kalam was farcical and had no credibility. He was a show-boy of BJP just like Abul Kalam Azad (who was labeled as the Congress¿ show-boy by Jinnah.) The `experts¿ excoriated India for making a fool of the world  with this move.


The `experts¿ argued that India wants to establish its nuclear supremacy in the region, sending across the message that nuclear scientists are its heroes. It holds them in the highest esteem and rewards them fabulously. Another assertion was, Indian nuclear lobby is so strong and influential that it could prevail upon the democratic government. Kalam nomination was sought as a testimony to this claim.


A section of the Urdu press also jumped on the bandwagon of `Kalam-India vilification¿. A number of articles, columns, and even editorials were published to paint the nomination as a serious threat to Islam and Pakistan¿s integrity and sovereignty. A serious Urdu daily wrote: "It is very important for Pakistan to give India¿s every action a tit-for-tat reply, otherwise, Islam could be in danger. Therefore, Musharraf should immediately resign and make the father of Pakistani nuclear program Dr A Q Khan, the president of Pakistan!"


An Urdu daily of the largest circulation described Kalam as the enemy of Islam. Stories about his religious faith (after his winning the presidential election) found space on the front pages of all the Urdu dailies. Editorials cast aspersions on his religious views. He was portrayed as a Hindu-cum Muslim and came under fire for visiting mandirs, receiving blessings from Hindu pundits, and reciting ashloks.


Kalam¿s nomination was not a terrifying issue. However, the vicious character assassination campaign spearheaded against him and India by the PTV and the vernacular press was a legitimate issue to be raised and debated vociferously by our civil society through all available channels--letters to the editor, articles, columns, seminars, etc. Unfortunately, our civil society did not take it seriously. With the exception of one or two voices, it remained mum and indifferent.


It will be like living in the paradise of fools if we think we have successfully tarnished India¿s image at home and abroad with such media skirmishes. Our dilemma is, we are spitting while facing the sky and the gob of spit is falling back on our face! India¿s image (despite the fact that its human rights record is pathetic; it is committing atrocities against the innocent Kashmiris and is obdurate to not give them their just right to self-determination) is still unscathed in every part of the world. Textbooks of hatred and noxious anti-India propaganda

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