Media Hype over Missing Traitors

31 Jan

Itrat Naqvi


Our national (electronic/ social/ print) media is immensely reporting on the issue of five missing social media activists since last week. Without going into details of the activities being carried out by these activists, media analysts are portraying them as innocent civilians and protecting them for ‘freedom for expression’. A detailed look into activities of the five missing – Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer and Samar Abbas – demonstrates that they were working on some foreign agenda of tarnishing image of Pakistan internationally and misleading Pakistani youth through misuse of social media. Instead of highlighting the efforts of Pakistan Armed Forces in eliminating anti-Pakistan elements and extremism being exported from eastern and western border, these social media activists were discrediting the sole institution – Armed Forces – safeguarding the national security of Pakistan. Though sudden disappearance must be probed by Ministry of Interior but these ‘missing traitors’ once found must be taken to task for spreading propaganda against Islam, Pakistan and its armed forces through social media.
Even international media is closely monitoring the issue and accordingly reporting on ‘missing persons’ in Pakistan. US State Department also expressed concern over the missing Pakistani bloggers and social media activists. State Department spokesperson, Mark C. Toner said, “We’re very concerned by reports that several Pakistani bloggers and activists have been reported missing and we’re going to continue to monitor the situation.” The United Nations and Amnesty International have expressed concern for the missing activists. “No government should tolerate attacks on its citizens,” said David Kaye, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression. He added, “By making the investigation of these disappearances an urgent priority, the Pakistani authorities can send a strong signal that they take seriously the responsibility for the life and security of all of its citizens, particularly in cases involving freedom of expression.”
At least five activists known on social media for their secular leftist views have gone missing last week. Two of the men – Waqas Goraya and Asim Saeed – disappeared on January 4, Waqas Goraya, is usually a resident of the Netherlands. According to a cyber security NGO, Salman Haider vanished on Friday and Ahmed Raza Naseer on Saturday. Samar Abbas, a middle-aged IT worker and head of the anti-militancy Civil Progressive Alliance, disappeared on Saturday, January 7. All five were active on social media groups promoting leftist, anti-Islamic views, often against the Islam and establishment. The five activists missing include Salman Haider, a blogger known for his outspoken views on enforced disappearances in the southwestern province of Balochistan. Media analysts have mainly highlioghted the disappearance of Salman Haider as main issue because he was vocal against missing persons in Balochistan.
It has been reported in media that the missing social activists were running facebook pages like Mochi, Bhensa and Roshni. Though the pages exist no longer on internet but screenshots of these pages suggest that the blasphemous and anti-Pakistan and its Armed Forces content on these pages is quite volatile. Our most of news channel have failed to highlight this aspect of the missing persons. Most of the commentators in electronic and print media are raising their voices for early recovery of “missing persons” on the pretext of ‘freedom of expression’. Disseminating anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan views on social media under the banner of freedom of expression is unjustified. It is sheer responsibility of our national media to portray real face of so called social activists who are traitors and blasphemers in reality.
Misuse of internet/ social media by these individuals went checked for considerable time. State institutions must keep a check on social media activities being carried out inside Pakistan because it has become fastest growing channel to disseminate information/ propaganda without any delay. Millions of Pakistani youth are users of facebook and twitter. Pages like Mochi, Bhensa and Roshni can mislead the young talent of the country in wrong direction. In Pakistan the term ‘freedom of expression’ is being misused to a large extent. Anti-state elements are relying upon ignorant Pakistanis by using them as a tool to spread propaganda against Islam and prestigious armed forces of Pakistan. Our national media must play a constructive role by bringing forth the reality of missing traitors.



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