Eating out of the general?s hands
Wednesday, 16 January 2002



Eating out of the general’s hands


There is no big difference between Osama bin Laden and Maulana Masood Azhar



CNN has been airing views and interviews on General Musharraf’s speech as well as the build-up of troops at the LOC that are tilted in Pakistan’s favour. It often tends to read more than what is stated by Musharraf, only to be repeatedly quoted verbatim by the Pakistani media. Similarly, on January 12, barely did the general finish his speech than the CNN went to town lauding his effort. Opinions began pouring thick and fast out of thin air, urging India to respond to the Pakistani president’s historic move.



The story was no different, post the December 13 attack on Parliament. Taking a cue from the Pakistani president, the CNN had then suggested, “India should submit proof of Pakistan-based terrorists’ involvement in the said attack,” and chose to completely overlook both the Interpol red corner alerts and the circumstantial evidence. As if always by coincidence, BBC follows the track, thereby giving a pre-determined opinion to its viewers across the globe. It is difficult to fathom that it was the same media that had justified America’s ‘war on terrorism’ without seeking any proof from the super power. It’s no secret that the Pakistani nuclear scientists’ involvement with the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda couldn’t have been possible without its government’s nod; neither would have been the participation of Pakistani regulars who fought a pitched battle against US forces.

Not too long ago, the now banned fundamentalist organisations in Pakistan could be openly seen raising funds on the busy Islamabad streets, making tall claims of unleashing terror on the Indian soil. ISI has been known for harbouring terrorists of the kind of Maulana Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim. It has also been a pillar for the PR machinery that has given Pakistan undue benefit, whereby it has emerged unscathed from the tightest corners, both diplomatically and tactically. It is shocking to hear the Western media go gung-ho in their favor, especially in the background of September 11 underlying the fact that the US and Western powers are likely to sail in the same boat as India in the future. While it is baffling to observe these channels pushing through an angle not entirely based on truth, credit must be given to the ISI that has spread its tentacles far and wide.

While the western media was busy telecasting President Bush heaping praises on Musharraf and asking India to suitably respond, the general was repeatedly shown displaying aggressive postures at his Indian counterpart on the PTV channel. America is well aware of Musharraf’s past and his liberal use of China card. To secure a diplomatic victory in the ensuing political chess battle, the general would do all it takes to keep President Bush amused, even if he were to sacrifice a pawn or two in the process.

There is not a big difference between Osama bin Laden and Maulana Masood Azhar. While the US justifiably seeks Osama’s head, India needs Maulana Masood’s and others for hundreds of heinous crimes carried out on its soil. To be an effective global policeman, Bush would need to show a much firmer resolve. Containing terrorism is easier said than done. The deadly virus has the capacity to spread faster than with which it can be contained. America will need to ensure active participation of all the affected nations and, more importantly, show the same resilience, if it really means to stop the growth of terrorism in its track.
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