Saturday, 20 December 2014

To report or not to report?

In discussions about ethics and role of the media, many friends and students often question what one should do as a journalist when it comes to reporting the version of “the enemies”.

Here are some thoughts:

First of all, the mainstream media everywhere tends to propagate the dominant narratives that are defined by the ruling class. Narratives that go against the dominant ideology are provided space that varies from one country to another – from outright censorship to selective censorship.

Secondly, journalists are humans and every human subscribes to an ideology or a set of ideologies. Everyone has their preferences. But a journalist should strive to honestly report events and relay information in an unadulterated fashion, regardless of how repulsive they may find it. This defines a fundamental difference between a journalist and a propagandist.

Thirdly, if journalists are unable to maintain this impartiality in reporting then they should avoid claiming for themselves the moral high ground.

Analysis: Battle for ‘Ameer-ul-Momineen’

By Hasan Abdullah

The jihadi underworld has never been so polarised before. From top jihadist leaders to Islamist scholars and even ardent acolytes, debates on theological and strategic issues have reined in the entire militant spectrum, marked by realignments, the switching of loyalties and bloodshed.

At this juncture, the context of the emergence and dominance of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Sham), the present infighting and the battle for the position of the so-called ‘Ameer-ul-Momineen’ (leader of the faithful) is more important than ever.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Why is Pakistan and the rest of the world losing war against Islamism?

One of the biggest challenges faced by Pakistan and the world at the moment is Islamist militancy.
However the overwhelming majority of the general public and a significant number of policy-makers are clueless about the nature of the conflict. The reasons are many including: a general lack of interest, inability to analyse rationally, narratives based on conspiracy theories, political correctness, the tendency to follow fashionable dominant narratives, state-sponsored propaganda narratives, as well as sectarian, political and other ideological biases.
Natrually, there can be no solution when the problem is misunderstood.
In the coming days, I intend to start a series to explore the undercurrents - particularly the theological and strategic aspects driving Islamist militancy and sectarian conflict.
Watch this space...

Sunday, 28 September 2014

My views on operation Zarb-e-Azb

The operation looks on course as far as regaining the territory of North Waziristan is concerned. It would serve [as] a significant symbolic as well as psychological blow to many jihadis who had developed a deep affinity with this area.
However in the long run, there are quite a few challenges. First, as a state, we still lack a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy. There is no clarity of thought over Islamist militancy within the general public at large and much of the ruling class.
Even most of our policy-makers have fallen for the very propaganda narratives they once created to delegitimise the enemy. As a result of this, many of the policy-makers continue to consider some militants as allies and strategic assets when in fact those militants are hand-in-glove with Al Qaeda.
There are way too many contradictions in the Pakistani narrative on jihadi groups. My research into militancy shows that this flawed narrative serves as the quickest and most convenient approach to draw many Islamists into the fold of militant Islamism.
We need to realise that the formulation of a successful counter-terrorism strategy would require some serious introspection and analysis of our worldview and strategic focus.
Published: Dawn, 28th July 2014

How successful has been the North Waziristan military operation?

Karachi airport attack - My views on the BBC

Dialogue with the Taliban - What next?