Saturday, November 7, 2009

America captures Pakistani airwaves

News item, 7 November 2009 (summary copied from

Pakistan Cedes Media Control Over Waziristan?

A former Voice of America employee, now part of Pakistani government, hands over airwaves over the tribal belt to the Americans

After coming to power last year, one of the first things the new government did was appoint Mr. Murtaza Solangi, a Voice of America employee, as the head of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation.  Mr. Solangi worked for Ms. Farahnaz Ispahani, who worked for VOA before getting a seat in the Senate of Pakistan representing the PPP government.  She is also the spouse of Mr. Husain Haqqani, Ambassador to Washington who is also the present government's undercover media guru [tasked with defending anything to do with Zardari and US].  Reorganizing Pakistani foreign policy and media policy were two things Mr. Haqqani focused at the start of his government's term.  Solangi, Ispahani and Haqqani do not represent the 'pro-US lobby' within the incumbent Pakistani government.  They are just the tip of the iceberg.  In our tribal belt, you can hardly catch the signals of PTV News, the state-run Pakistani channel, but Mr. Solangi deemed it appropriate to give VOA three transmitters to unleash US propaganda inside this small patch of Pakistan.  Mr. Solangi is a professional Pakistani journalist.  The problem with the deal he struck with VOA is that it expands US influence in a country that has too much of it, in an area where Pakistan's national security interest is already under attack from foreign elements in Afghanistan.


Whenever the Americans talk of "winning hearts and minds of people", read "brainwashing the ignorant fools". It is unfortunate that so many Pakistanis, especially those with dual nationalities and with close links with western countries, have chosen to collaborate with a foreign power that is spreading its tentacles far and wide into Pakistan. We cannot counter the invidious influence of such malcontents in our midst simply by writing articles. It is the job of our National Assembly to discuss national issues of importance. The Opposition, especially, is supposed to guard national interests by maintaining a watchful eye on the actions of the government. Why has the cabinet's capitulation to the Americans' demand to control the minds of Pakistanis in Waziristan not been challenged in Parliament? 'The Nation' (Pakistan's foremost English language newspaper), and other reputable journalists who are aware of the problem, need to lobby our representatives in Parliament and persuade them to debate the issue openly.

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