For a week the political and journalistic scenes were buzzed with the news of an inappropriate and revealing “tape” or “movie” of a political leader. Pakistani journalists were discussing this movie without mentioning any names as per their standard practices. If these discussions were private among them one could have understood, but as usual, they made it public through twitter and through discussion programs.
Dirty Politics in Pakistan
First among the twitters was PPP leader Fawad Chaudry, he twitted “Islamabad is buzzing with the rumours of a sex video of a high profile politician. A leading opposition party has paid huge price to buy the movie” (emphasis added)”. Even though he didn’t mention any names, but it was clear he was referring to PMLN as leading opposition party, while many guessed the identity of the high profile politician to be Imran Khan, the leader of PTI.
The ice was broken by Hamid Mir who raised this issue during an interview with PMLN’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. We have to applaud the straight forwardness of Hamid Mir in this instance. At least instead of sitting on the fence like many Pakistani journalists and not disclosing the name of the politician involved in the alleged “sex tape scandal”, he asked a very direct question to Nisar, if PMLN is behind the sex tape of Imran Khan”? Nisar, for the cameras denied PMLN involvement. Hamid then raised another valid point in his next question to Nisar “this had to be a (“sazish”) conspiracy if no one owns up to the tape? Nisar gave a slimy answer to the question, trying to give a false impression of involvement of the agencies in the creation of such material. He went further and mentioned the name of Ex ISI chief Lt. General Pasha. Nisar said agencies are either close to Imran Khan or under the control of President Asif Zardari.
Hypocrisy of PMLN leadership knows no bounds. Only recently they were repeating this mantra in almost every talk show that Imran Khan is supported by then ISI chief Lt. General Pasha. They never provided proofs in support of their allegations. Such are the malpractices in Pakistani media that until today I have not seen a single shred of evidence supporting those allegations. But alas, despite no proofs and evidence numerous Pakistani journalists have regularly leveled these allegations in their columns and in talk shows, echoing the unsubstantiated allegations of different politicians.
Sometimes I feel sympathy for Imran Khan for being such a soft target of Pakistani media. It seems for eternity now he is under constant attacks in the media. Pakistani journalists find it easy to attack Imran Khan and regularly level baseless accusations against him without even blinking. While their journalistic credentials and predatory habits go to sleep when it comes to the leadership of PMLN and PPP.
Nisar conveniently forgotten that only recently they were using the political mantra Imran Khan is backed by then ISI Chief, Lt. General Pasha. Now Nisar is levelling new allegations that ISI may have been behind the sex tape. PMLN has to make up their mind, what it is; the establishment is with Imran or against him? Instead of foolishly, some may say cunningly using both sides of the coin to malign Imran Khan. How is it possible that Imran Khan is supported by the establishment as charged by Pakistani politicians and journalists and they could also be behind this dirty campaign against Imran Khan?
In response to a follow up question by Mir that according to their information such material could be doctored. Nisar replied; it is not just one tape; there are many such tapes available in the markets. Hang on, stop right there. Nisar, if this to be true, we as mere mortals would have seen these tapes by now. In this age of alternative media; such scandals would be hitting the internet in no time if they were freely available in the markets, as you suggested.
All the indications are that these tape(s) are tightly controlled. No wonder that despite numerous claims by Pakistani journalists on the twitter to have seen the video, the video has not surfaced in the public domain.
This fact also proves that the statement made by Hamid Mir in his program wasn’t accurate. These tapes are in someone’s possession and that person or a group or a party has shown the video to many Pakistani Journalists, starting the rumour mills, while the actual material still remains under tight control.
Pakistani media once again had shown their customary hypocrisy by making sure that the name of Imran Khan is sullied all over Pakistan but they never disclosed the source which is in possession of the tape. It is a wide spread malaise in Pakistani politics. Otherwise how is it possible that so many big name journalists have claimed to have seen the video, but none of them were ready to disclose who had shown them the video?
It conclusively proves once again, which I have always maintained, Pakistani media is a harlot who sells itself for the right price. Poor Imran Khan is always treated unfairly just because he does not wield such financial clout.
Let’s continue with the infamous interview of Nisar. He tried his best as slimy politicians do, to throw many accusations on Imran Khan in the interview. He added, it is possible to doctored the audio but technically not possible to alter the visual.
Dr Shahid Masood who earlier claimed to have seen the video has posted new twits. He claims he handed over the video clip to an Arab media house for technical analysis. They concluded that the video is a fake. Dr Masood also twitted that the video was shown to him by his own source in Dubai and not by a Pakistani political party.
It would have been nicer if Pakistani media has disclosed the identity of the persons who were the source of this fake video. Why so many journalists are hiding from Pakistani nation who showed them the video in the first place and how and why some of them were given a copy and by whom?
PTI should be given credit, they didn’t try to hide behind this controversy; they issued a statement claiming the video to be fake, two days before the latest twits by Dr Masood.
Sooner or later, the identities of persons or parties behind this new campaign to malign Imran Khan would be revealed. Many fingers are raised towards PMLN based on their past record. In the past they were instrumental in launching dirty campaigns against late Benazir Bhutto and against their favourite target Imran Khan.
Imran Khan’s followers are warning the leadership of PMLN of dire consequences if they are behind this new dirty campaign against Imran Khan. Pakistanis wait to hear who was actually behind this latest “fake video” against Imran Khan but the fingers of suspicion are already raised against the usual suspect PMLN. Watch the space for more revelations in this scandal. Suffice to say, the answers given by Nisar in his interview with Mir were revealing in their own right.
We are waiting for full unmasking of the culprits of this start of new dirty campaigning in Pakistani politics. Whoever it is, they should be mindful, Imran has huge following now compare to 1990’s. Pakistani journalists constantly complain about the activities of PTI supporters on alternative media. Who could blame PTI supporters, when Pakistani media itself is very unprofessional.