Pakistani newspaper asks: Why no action against Azhar, Saeed?

Islamabad: ‘Why action against JeM chief Masood Azhar and JuD’s Hafiz Saeed was ‘danger’ to the country’s national security?’

 This question was not asked by somebody in India or the US. It was asked by a leading Pakistani daily, The Nation, which is supposed to be close to the government and military establishments. The newspaper wrote a strong editorial questioning the decision of the government to ban foreign travel by Cyril Almedia, a journalist working for the reputed newspaper, ‘Dawn’.

Almedia had published a front-page report in Dawn on the purported rift between civil and military establishments over the covert support lent to terrorist organizations like Haqqani network, Taliban and the LeT. Both the establishments were angry with the journalist and a punitive action was taken.

The editorial titled, “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People”, said the establishment chose to take action against a journalist and lecture the press instead of taking action against Azhar and Saeed. Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Azhar is the mastermind behind the terrorist attack on Pathankot while Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Saeed is the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Both of them roam freely in Pakistan under the reported protection of the military.

The report by Almedia has been called ‘fabricated’, and ‘speculative’. But the civil and military establishments in their meetings were not explaining why taking action against Azhar and Saeed is ‘danger’ to national security, the editorial commented. The newspaper said the people are eager to hear the answer of the establishment to the question, “why Pakistan is getting isolated?”

The editorial boldly asked, “How dare the government and the military top brass lecture the press on how to do their job? How dare they treat a feted reporter like a criminal? And how dare they imply that they have either the right or the ability or the monopoly to declare what Pakistan’s ‘national interest’ is?’

It is a very bold journalism. We are yet to see an Indian publication question the national government on various issues like taking credit for the surgical strikes the way the Pakistani newspaper questioned the civil and military establishments. That too in a country where the military is supposed to be omnipresent and omnipotent.

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