Media now in TTP crosshairs

Published Jan 23, 2014 06:33am
The fatwa was issued in response to a question submitted to the TTP’s religious committee by its former chief spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan (above left).  — File Photo
The fatwa was issued in response to a question submitted to the TTP’s religious committee by its former chief spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan (above left). — File Photo

KUNAR: After killing thousands of members of various state organs, as well as others, the violent Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has decided to extend its war by declaring the country’s media as “party” to the conflict.

For the first time since its inception in 2005, the banned militant outfit has not only issued a fatwa against the media but has also prepared a media hit-list — a copy of which is available with Dawn.

The 29-page fatwa accuses the media of siding with the “disbelievers”, against Muslims, in the “war on Islam” and inciting people against “the mujahideen” through propaganda as well as of propagating promiscuity and secularism.

The fatwa defines three major categories for journalists: “murjif,” “muqatil” and “Sa’ee bil fasad.”

“Murjif is someone who engages in propaganda against Muslims during a war between Islam and disbelief,” explains Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, deputy chief of the banned TTP and one of the main authors of this fatwa. “Muqatil is someone who incites disbelievers and their allies to act against Muslims while the third category includes those who corrupt Muslim society through different means such as replacing the Islamic ideology with secular ideologies.”

“The media has continuously been lying about us and about our objectives,” Haqqani added. “It has attributed to us some attacks which we did not carry out and it continues to lie about our objectives.”

The fatwa was issued in response to a question submitted to the TTP’s religious committee by its former chief spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan.

“For a long time, we have been asking the media to be impartial. We are not forcing it to change beliefs. We are simply asking the media to be fair in coverage,” claimed Ehsanullah Ehsan while talking to Dawn. “Despite the tall claims of truth and nothing but the truth, the media has been acting as propagandists.”

The initial hit-list prepared by the TTP names nearly two dozen journalists and publishers. It includes the names of a number of media-group owners, the news heads of various television channels, prominent anchors, the editor of a leading English-language newspaper and even some field staff.

The TTP may have its own specific reasons for singling out these particular journalists, but has not given any details. Apart from those unexplained reasons, the campaign is meant to terrorise the country’s media into submission.

“The job of a journalist is to be fair and tell all sides of a story,” claimed Ehsan. “But we know of journalists who are completely one-sided propagandists. We even know of journalists who work as spies for the police and other departments.”According to TTP sources, some people within the organisation had initially opposed targeting the media on “strategic grounds”.

“But later on it was decided that the media was basically the institution driving this war and public opinion. When it is already defaming us, we really don’t have much to lose and may as well deal with the media as a party to this war,” said a member of the TTP media committee.

“Even at this stage the media could mend its ways and become a neutral entity,” asserted Ehsan. “Otherwise, the media should not feel secure. A few barriers and security escorts will not help. If we can get inside military installations, media offices should not be too much of a challenge,” he threatened.

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Comments (30) (Closed)


GM
Jan 23, 2014 07:35am

Whole nation needs to be united against these terrorists only then we can succeed.Until and unless we stop electing these politicians who have sympathy with terrorists, this nation will keep suffering.

ali ahmed
Jan 23, 2014 09:20am

Media has done a great job in exposing these barbarians and and their misguided supporters belong to certain well-known hypocritical parties. They are feeling the pinch of their exposure and afraid of the power of media.

I, as reader and viewer, of many media organizations, more or less, happy with the way they have highlighted their hypocrisies and barbarity of TTP and banned outfits.

Anwaar
Jan 23, 2014 10:12am

If Taliban think that media is a propaganda tool then why did not they spend their dollars on it. They certainly had access to plenty of it.

M Rafique
Jan 23, 2014 12:34pm

Media itself promoted their cause by providing more coverage, they deserved, in order to compete each other and its the eventual result

Ali
Jan 23, 2014 01:58pm

Someone take these savages out please! where is our army?

copy
Jan 23, 2014 03:22pm

pls provide a copy to those at risk!

SMQ Zaman
Jan 23, 2014 03:41pm

Furthermore and by the way, some of my friends, Pashtun and Salafis, who have disconnected or ended friendships with me, my comments are not personal to them or their ilks, but this warped and so-called Islamic Ideology has to be fought not only on the streets and landscape of Pakistan by our Armed Forces& Security Personnel but in the Media, too, not only by Specialists, Analysts, Anchors and Journalists but 'by the People and for the People' - with the conviction, commitment and belief that 'the Pen is Mightier than the Sword' and 'Allah -swt knows Best'!

Afraid
Jan 23, 2014 03:41pm

Every breath I took in my life was in the firm belief that I am a Muslim. That included the time when I clearly knew that I am not a good Muslim. BUT if these people are Muslims then I must be something else.

Akram
Jan 23, 2014 03:43pm

The TTP are showing their naivety, they are trying to fight a 21st century war using a methodolgy from the 8th century. They are not the first people to try this, they will neither be the last. But the end result will be the same; they are losing and will inevitably lose.

This does not mean the end of bloodshed, will be soon. But it shows the absolute folly of trying to fight modernity. You can neither fight it more than you can hold back time itself.

Tariq, Lahore
Jan 23, 2014 05:07pm

Where are the Ullemas' who will declare these barbaric militants as non Muslim?

khanm
Jan 23, 2014 06:03pm

@Ali: Army and force have never been the solution to any misinterpretation of religion…. Religious wars are not caused by the fact that there is more than one religion, but by the spirit of intolerance... the spread of which can only be regarded as the total eclipse of human reason.

Dr. Raheem Malik
Jan 23, 2014 06:55pm

@Afraid: I don't think they are Muslims they are evil and a disgrace to humanity! They call themselves Muslims but they are anything but that!

Qazi Hassan
Jan 23, 2014 10:49pm

@Ali: "You call for the army to take action, and when it does, you unite against us and launch a movement for democracy". General Asif Nawaz to group of Karachi politicians in 1990

think about it ?
Jan 24, 2014 07:24am

i am surprised that a " banned" organization get 29 pages of coverage in news paper and the fatwa is against the whole media itself!

Amir Hussain
Jan 24, 2014 06:30pm

According to ISI Report Pakistan Columnist from Peshawar Syed Fawad Ali Shah is Also on Taliban's Hit list.

Mohammad Waseem
Jan 24, 2014 06:54pm

Media houses including some prominent names have their hands in lots of different pots. Politician, Army and Banned organization. There are some groups with deep ties to the banned organizations. Hopefully they can join hands to protect their own interest and deal with the groups that have soft corner for the Taliban. Taliban are nothing more than cockroaches and they only way to deal with them is by killing them.

mir
Jan 24, 2014 07:29pm

I can bet people like Maulana Ansar Abbasi and Maulana Hamid Mir , Maulana Kashif Abbasi are not on this list.

Ahmed
Jan 24, 2014 07:46pm

@think about it ?: Whats there for surprise? The media is letting everyone know so that they are helped.

Goga Nalaik
Jan 24, 2014 08:18pm

Well, we all know these monsters of Taliban disguised in humans, these disgusting throat slitters ... What they have been doing to us for the last 10 years, our more than 50000 innocent shaheed Pakistanis, we cannot expect any good from them.

Now that they have taken a clear position against our media (because of only a few who really dared talking against them), this is the high time for all our media groups to take a clear position as well and denounce these horrible monsters with their pens and as much as they can. It will be a big big service to the Pakistani nation as our political leaders will never take a step ahead.

Please stop inviting on your tv talk shows, people from JI, ASWJ, JUIF, JUIS as these are all their sympathizers. These are all their political wings. Have you noticed how these parties cried on tv shows after one air raid only that eliminated 30 uzbek terrorists and 3 german terrorist !!!

The whole Pakistan will support you.

Last Word
Jan 24, 2014 10:46pm

Pakistan has a vibrant and dynamic media who should continue to do its good job. What TTP leadership has to understand is that any ideology cannot enforced at the barrel of the gun as the past history shows that the same has never succeeded till date and never will in the future as well. It would be in their interest to come to the negotiating table and put across their views/demands which might go in their favour.

Afraid
Jan 25, 2014 03:24am

In my earlier (unpublished) comment, I had compared these people to two evil small minorities in the last century. They caused huge damage to their countries and the rest of the world on two instances in living memory. Unfortunately in both the instances majorities did nothing, kept quiet and suffered for that inaction. We should not make the same mistake. We must tell them that their brand of Islam is NOT acceptable to us. We would not be rejecting Islam, we would simply be saying NO to these unjust, unfair and unacceptable people. Ask yourself the question. Do you want them to lead you? Would you accept their governance? That is the way we are heading if we do nothing.

Afraid
Jan 25, 2014 03:26am

@khanm: Do you think anyone can reason with this lot?

Afraid
Jan 25, 2014 03:28am

@Qazi Hassan: Request for Army action is not an invitation for the Army to take over. Army is supposed to assist civilian government. That is what they should do. No more.

Afraid
Jan 25, 2014 03:29am

@Dr. Raheem Malik: We must stop them for if we do not our generations will regret.

Afraid
Jan 25, 2014 03:36am

@GM: Yes we have made those mistakes and many more. We, however, must stop this evil taking over our country. Now the problem is beyond politicians and army. Us, we, the ordinary people of Pakistan must show our rejection of this lot in very clear loud voice.

Afraid
Jan 25, 2014 03:37am

@M Rafique: Right

Afraid
Jan 25, 2014 03:41am

My suggestion to media: Stop mentioning the names of organisations and their leaders in the reporting. Simply refer to them as terrorist organisations/organizers. Use a milder description if you will but do not elevate them by publicizing them and their organisations.

mumtaz
Jan 25, 2014 09:40am

TTP therik people are not muslim. They are muslim killer. Government take action againt them early.

Singh
Jan 25, 2014 09:42am

This is crazy. Why can't govt do anything military action? Why can't they declare open war and just wipe them out. Are they not capable? What are they waiting for? How worse the situation should become before they take action? How is this anyway less than going for a war with another country ? I can't imagine if there is any country in the world at this moment in a worse situation than Pakistan. Time for action Nawaz saab.

Syed Muhammad Danish
Jan 25, 2014 06:14pm

Bomb these cavemen to the rock ages. For every TTP attack, counter attack them with air raids on their homes, sanctuaries and so called madersahs.