News Max Publishes Journalistic Junk about Pakistan

In a recently published, highly speculative article by Arnaud de Borchgrave about Pakistani Prime minister, of whom I am no fan, the author seems to assert, without any credible sources, that the current Pakistani prime minister is an ISIS sympathizer.[1]

There are some interesting and bizarre claims made about Nawaz Sharif, some of which include the following:

Nawaz, as he is known (Sharif is as common as Smith in the Anglo-Saxon world), harbors a visceral dislike (some call it hatred) for the United States.

The army knows that Nawaz is not about to give up his old ambition to be Amirul Mominin, or Amir of the entire Muslim Caliphate,’’ adds Turabi [the author’s putative source on Pakistan], “armed with the nuclear power which only Pakistan possesses in the entire Muslim world.

All of these opinions are ascribed to Mr. Ammar Turabi, who is, according to the author,  a “longtime observer and scholar of the Pakistani scene.” But a cursory web search only finds one under construction website that lists Dr. Turabi as its future head (http://www.thinktankinternational.org/) and a search on google scholar or on my university databases did not reveal a single article or book written by this accomplished scholar on Pakistan.

Thus, an entirely speculative article about grand plans of Mr. Nawaz Sharif, an article that proves his virulent anti-Americanism and his sympathies for the ISIS is based on the assertion by an unknown “expert” on Pakistan is blatantly posted on one of the most prominent conservative American “news” websites.

Furthermore, the claims that the author makes through the judicious use of Mr. Turabi as a source are ludicrous and have no factual basis. For example, the idea that Nawaz Sharif is, somehow, sympathetic to Taliban goes against all the policies made by Nawaz government and against all the public pronouncements against Taliban as well as the military and police actions taken by them.

The author also suggests that somehow Mr. Nawaz Sharif was opposed to the Pakistan army in terms of the role of Taliban in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops. historically, it has been the ISI that has played these power games in the region, and Sharif’s government has openly declared that they want equal ties with Afghanistan. Now, how does the author and his putative source reach their conclusions is beyond explanation.

Such articles, however, irresponsible as they are, are extremely dangerous. If read uncritically, such journalistic attempts create a certain perception of places unknown to the readers and thus even before US readers have read anything about Nawaz Sharif, one automatically equates him with ISIS.

Now as I said earlier, I am no fan of Mr. Sharif’s neoliberal policies, nor do I find him to be an incredible “leader,” but he is a pragmatist with some ideas about how to develop Pakistan. and if that is his goal, I would lend my support to him. And even when I am opposed to him or his government, I would not impugn such ideas to him and then corroborate it with highly suspect and unreliable sources.

Sadly, this is not just a blog entry contributed by some bloggers such as me; the author is a “founding board member of Newsmax.com who now serves on Newsmax’s Advisory Board” and thus what he writes, in a way, has to be in line with Newsmax editorial policies. Now, if one were to “speculate” on this argument, it would not be hard to reach the conclusion that Newsmax is deeply interested in maligning democracy in Pakistan, and this concocted story is a strong evidence of their editorial policy on stories about Pakistan.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. http://www.newsmax.com/ArnauddeBorchgrave/Pakistan-Leader-ISIS-TTP/2014/09/24/id/596667/

  5 comments for “News Max Publishes Journalistic Junk about Pakistan

  1. znkhn0374@gmail.com'
    zain ul abidin
    September 26, 2014 at 5:30 am

    may be he is right. . . . . . . What u think dosnt matter

    • September 26, 2014 at 9:42 am

      I think it matters what we think. Newsmax is a conservative website that relies on cultural stereotyping. In the case of this article, the source of all these assertions is clearly either a fabrication or not what the kind of “expert” the author makes him to be.
      But yes, in our Zeal against Nawaz Sharif, we should not just accept all accusations against him as it might suit our purpose.
      I have no sympathy for Nawaz Sharif’s neoliberal policies, but I also know he is no monster.
      And what I write does matter, because I have spent more than a decade doing just that so that there is constantly a response to all acts of cultural and political injustice and my writing does reach quite a few people, some even opposed to my views.
      However, it is very easy to write a couple of lines, sometimes, without having read the material one is commenting on!
      Our editorial policy is fairly open and those who want to have their say can always send us an article that we will, after editorial reviews, certainly publish.

  2. walterjones1965@gmail.com'
    Walter Jones
    September 28, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Think Tanks Like those of Mr. Borchgrave write after long periods of research. You act like you do not support Mr. Sharif But your true colors are actually highlighting him. Here, we are friends of the Army, we do not criticize and thwart them. You are supporting a person who is not even your army’s friend. Before criticizing a major Publisher you need to back it up with evidence and not inculpate a website that they have published junk.

    • September 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      That is a very interesting take on think tanks. They usually also have an agenda. If this is such a credible article, why do not we find more writings of the “credible” source cited by the author.
      In my case, all my public and academic writings are available. I just feel like the article, which was not offered as subjective opinion peace, relied on flimsy evidence to unduly malign the elected prime minister of Pakistan.
      Most of my writings, however, are openly based on my opinions as a scholar and I certainly do not claim to be affiliated with any think tanks.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment, though.

  3. September 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Furthermore, I served for fourteen years in the very Army that Newsmax is supposedly supporting.

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