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.
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.