US Media Defends Zardari, Attacks Geo And Judiciary

Posted by Ahmed Quraishi on Oct 21st, 2010

US Media Defends Zardari, Attacks Geo And Judiciary

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This is a new chapter in US meddling in Pakistani politics. 


By AHMED QURAISHI | Thursday, 21 October 2010.


WASHINGTON, DC—If you want evidence the US media has been mounting a quiet campaign over the past year in support of embattled Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari and against his critics in the media and Pakistan’s Supreme Court, read this report: Pakistan’s Media Piles On President, published by Washington Post and focused on Pakistan’s largest newspaper and television network, The News and Geo.

The above report is an indirect but strong criticism of Geo and of anyone in Pakistan critical of Mr. Zardari. The fact that such one-sided and biased reporting can appear in Washington Post shows there are power centers in Washington that take any attack against the incumbent Pakistani government very personally. And, as shown later here, this report is part of a pattern.

I broke the story at in Dec. 2009 about a secret meeting between then-US ambassador Anne Patterson and two senior politicians from an opposition party in a farmhouse on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital, the exact time of the meeting and the middle(wo)men who arranged it. Apparently the ambassador left the embassy in an unmarked car, no security cars trailing her, and met the two senior politicians for one purpose: to request them to avoid destabilizing the government of President Zardari. In return she offered US support for the two politicians and their party. [The two politicians politely asked for time to think about it and didn’t commit to anything]. This was one of several similar meetings Ms. Patterson had with a limited number of opposition politicians at the time for the same purpose. None of them were reported or publicly acknowledged.

The point is, regardless of how many times US officials say they are sickened by Pakistani government’s corruption, they are firmly behind this government. Certainly there is a debate inside Washington on the utility of Mr. Zardari and whether he’s an asset or a burden for the US. But it’s quite obvious which viewpoint is dominating. The generous US flood aid after initial reluctance to send helicopters, and financial support in other areas, are all meant to shore up Mr. Zardari’s government. Washington came to Mr. Zardari’s rescue when it became clear his government was teetering before an emboldened military and an agitated public opinion.

Interestingly, the WashPost reporter omitted a significant piece of information: the siege of the headquarters of The News and Geo in Karachi in August. When Mr. Richard Holbrooke paid a visit to Jang offices, the parent company of The News and Geo, on Sept. 15, his gesture was largely symbolic. There never was a strong and equivocal condemnation of the government-sponsored harassment that Jang received after covering president’s UK visit. Even the article written by former US ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin, defending Geo, made indirect references to US grievances over ‘conspiracy theories’ in Pakistani media, a euphemism now for anything critical of US policy in Pakistan.

The best part of the WashPost report is that it gives itself the right to decide the good protagonists and bad protagonists in Pakistani politics.

For example, in the same report, the reporter paints Mr. Zardari’s government as a helpless victim of unnecessary media criticism. A portion of the report is dedicated to proving the young age of most Pakistani journalists, implying they are immature. The American reporter summarily dismisses several Pakistani media accounts of government-linked feudal politicians playing a role in worsening flood impact in Sindh. At one point, the WashPost reporter creates the illusion that Mr. Zardari is responsible for the growth in independent media in Pakistan.

On Geo’s role in criticizing Mr. Zardari, the reporter sarcastically observes that “Geo is not a political opposition group, but rather Pakistan’s most popular television network.”

The WashPost reporter then goes on to make this skewed remark, “Whether this is a healthy free press at work or a destabilizing force in a tense and turbulent democracy is the subject of much debate.”


It’s amazing that the mainstream US media is now deciding how the Pakistani media should conduct itself. I guess it’s a natural follow-up to US politicians and think-tank types deciding who should rule Pakistan and who shouldn’t, and who should be the designated enemy of Pakistan and who isn’t. In blaming the Americans, we also blame ourselves, our political and military rulers who emboldened foreigners to meddle in our affairs.

This WashPost report is not one-off but underscores a trend in the US media over the past one year when it comes to Pakistan and the government of President Asif Zardari.

Just a week earlier, the same theme was discernible in the story, Pakistan’s Emboldened Judiciary Threatens Government Stability, also published by the Washington Post on 13 Oct. 2010. Two different reports in Washington DC’s newspaper of record, harping on the same theme: that Pakistan’s media and judiciary are destabilizing the government and democracy.


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6 Responses for “US Media Defends Zardari, Attacks Geo And Judiciary”

  1. Blue says:

    US is definitely covertly supporting the Pakistan president being in her interest. But is God supporting him too? US support won’t work if God does not will. But why is God supporting him. First, I think that the Pakistani nation deserve him because of the corrupt practices in every sphere of life as well as a long history of ‘Do we care’ attitude. Most of the people in Pakistan are not bothered as long as their own lives are going smooth. Secondly, God gives ample time and chances to a cruel person/ruler, as they say ‘Khuda zalim ki rasee lambi kar deta hai’. Third, perhaps Pakistani nation is being prepared and groomed through these tough circumstances for a deeper, longer and a more critical role in this region along side some other key players.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Abbas Daiyar, David Nakamura. David Nakamura said: Meta: I critique Pakistan media-Zardari fued, I get critiqued and my critiquer gets critiqued: [...]

  3. Ejaz Butt says:

    Dear Mr Quraishi, Congratulations for writing powerful and knowledge based articles. It fumigates me to read about US blatent interference in Pakistani politics and dirty antics used for thier own dirty gains.

    I live in the UK and had to resort to PRESS TV (an Iranian Channel) as no British channel reports anything to do with Nato, US war crimes. Todays Press TV news revealed that CIA is going to expand it’s operations in Pakistan and you know very well when CIA and other US agencies are in any coutnry, destruction and mayham becomes the fate of that country.

    I can go on but I have to say regretfully that Pakistani rulers are scumming to the US and other Western demands (not in the interest of Pakistan) since 60’s. Only Z A Bhutto and Z Haque tried to refuse to meet the US demands and look waht happened to Zia and Bhutto!

    You need to be clean and strong like Iranians to deter the US and EU interference; otherwise, they will have reins in thier hands steer you in any which way.

  4. Aleem (One who knows) says:

    As a matter of fact, ‘the Boss’ would be happy only with that subordinate/servant who serves him the best. Zardari is very much rather 100% in the shoes of Mush as he not only continues Mush’s policies but even surpassed him by totally surrendering on any issue raised by ‘the Boss’ and/or his agents, who-so-ever at any or all times. The real reason being simply voluminous increase (through kick-backs) of his bank accounts abroad in almost every country of the world where there is any transaction, public or private. His front men/women, the world-over cannot miss the commission of the tiniest transaction. This equally applies to domestic transactions as well. Any business house cannot be spared unless it makes the earmarked contribution to the purse of Mr. 50%.
    “Aik Zardari, sub pe bhari.!” No one should be surprised if he surpasses the fabulous ‘Prince who was a Thief.’ US Media is definitely asked by the establishment to reciprocate by supporting Zardari against Judiciary, Jang, Geo and all other critics of him and his totally corrupt government.

  5. Tariq says:

    Why is AQ and you guys so suprised ?
    Its the same old story, treacherous puppet rulers, the brown faced front men working for the western agenda.
    So its no suprise if the western media, that is the core media, is the mouthpiece of their own government. ?
    If its not mr 10%, it will be mr 5%, or mushbinbush, or whoever can fool the muslims for another short stint. We need to realise we can only engage the west, on our own terms, on our own method. If you engage with them with democracy/capitalism you will never be the boss of your own destiny. That is because they have more power than you, they are the dodgy dealer, you will never be dealt a fair hand, you will never win the game.

    We need to get up from the wests game, and start our own system, and make them engage on our terms. Islamic terms, play to our rules.

  6. A Khokar says:

    Mushy did a wrong thing to allow, American to carry out the ‘reconnaissance and surveillance’ flights…. but what is this present government doing?

    Bob Woodward in his book ‘Obama’s War’ quotes Zardari on Drone attacks —and Zardari says: “Kill the seniors (Al-Qaida and Taliban command hiding in the sanctuaries in Pakistan); Collateral damage worries you American. It does not worry me.”
    Geo or judiciary should not cry for molestation of this nation by American; this rape is now officially allowed by our president Zardari.

    I think we need to strike the right cord: and simply not blame Americans.

Leave a Reply to A Khokar