Grand Trunk Road

Self-censorship at Dawn


Here’s an example of how the press voluntarily censors information considered too damning to the establishment for it to report. Dawn today had a report from the Associated press about a former army major Ahsan ul Haq implicated in various terrorist attacks. The interesting thing is that the Dawn version of the report, when compared with the Associated Press report left out the last few paragraphs which I will paste here:

Members of the group have been linked to terrorism before. Authorities say the militants who raided two Lahore mosques of a minority Muslim sect 10 days ago, in which 90 people died, had stayed at the Tableeghi center in the days before the attack.

Haq praised jihad in Afghanistan and Kashmir, but generally avoided answering questions about the legitimacy of attacking Pakistani security forces. Both he and his brother, who sat in on the interview, aired conspiracy theories alleging U.S., Indian or Jewish involvement in 9/11 and in the wave of bombings in Pakistan. Haq refused to be photographed, citing religious reasons.

Three senior police officers in Lahore said they retained suspicions of Haq, but made no specific allegations. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of talking about senior ISI or army staff.

One officer said ISI papers rank Haq as “white,” meaning a militant or his handler who is or has served the agency’s interests. “Gray” means someone under watch, and “black” is a militant, supporter or a handler gone rogue.

“The army and ISI people don’t let others interrogate them,” said Pervaiz Rathore, the outgoing police chief of Lahore. “The army is stronger than any other establishment in the country.”

The intelligence agencies’ power and alleged links to militants were highlighted in a U.N. commission’s report into the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. It said almost all independent analysts it spoke to alleged that Pakistani security officers retain links to militant groups they once supported.

But the loyalties may be weakening, One ex-ISI member-turned-militant sympathizer, Khalid Khwaja, was killed in early May. Suspicion has fallen on a militant faction that has no loyalty to the older generation.