Geo investigates on Swat

Has anyone seen this hour-long edition of Geo Investigates on the topic of Swat? There were an enormous number of issues with this show. First of all, he interviewed a bunch of people, who wanted Shariah. Then they spent a really long time talking about the speedy justice offered by the Taliban in the most propagandistic of ways — they showed the 3 day trial process that occurs, then the Taliban lightly lashing someone, and then patting him on the back as he got up. There was a long discussion about why the people of Swat have not had access to speedy justice since the 70s. Of course there is truth in this, but it is also standard Taliban propaganda that this journalist was basically doing for free. Not only that but he also got local bureaucrats to basically agree with him.

Considering the fact that journalists are not allowed in Swat, he must have received special permission and protection from the army. He extensively interviewed Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas and the interesting (and disgusting) thing was that when he would do a little section on say, speedy justice of the Taliban, our proud army spokesman, Athar Abbas, would sadly nod his head and say something like “We are all to blame” (i.e. this insurgency was a natural consequence of the existing social conditions in Swat).

It was also really comical watching Athar Abbas talking about how the army is still acquiring the technology to jam Fazlullah’s radio station. The weak explanation he gave was that the latest technology enables the Taliban to move their broadcasting equipment, even on motorcycles and the army didn’t have the technology to counter this.

Then, this journalist actually got to meet and interview Muslim Khan, Fazlullah’s second-in-command. This makes absolutely NO SENSE to me. I guess journalists can do whatever they want, but I do get the feeling that this guy was there under the protection of the army. (this might not be true). In which case, why couldn’t the army take out Muslim Khan?

It should be pretty obvious to anyone watching this program that this journalist and Athar Abbas were both pushing the idea that this situation is not recoverable and also, is what the people want. It’s very convenient for this guy to put up all these interviews of people asking for Shariah, etc, since people of Swat are not allowed to speak out against the Taliban on pains of death (not that this journalist mentioned that little problem). This entire show was essentially army propaganda to negotiate and settle.

This is corroborated by the fact that yesterday, we had our newly minted army stooge PM Yusuf Raza Gillani saying something similar:

The prime minister assured the National Assembly that the government would soon bring the situation under control through ‘a better and practical strategy’. “I have called the NFWP governor for a briefing today. I will also call the law-enforcement agencies [for a briefing] … and then take all the political forces into confidence,” he added.

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