Friday, March 6, 2009

British media reporting termed ‘biased and far-fetched’ - Pakistan High Commission

LONDON (UK): Pakistan High Commission has termed reports in the British media in the wake of terrorist attacks on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore biased and far-fetched narrative. “A section of the press in their reports and editorial comments while dwelling on the dastardly attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, attempted to depict Pakistan as a “failing state”.

“This biased and far-fetched narrative has often been resurrected after every terrorist incident in Pakistan. Such conjectures are doing more harm than good in our joint fight against extremism and terrorism and the cause of democracy in Pakistan”, said Press Counsellor Syeda Sultana Rizvi in her letter addressed to the British editors.

“It would be an extreme travesty of facts if one is made to believe that institutions in Pakistan are not working”, she said while noting that terrorism is a phenomenon which can occur anytime, any where. Ms. Rizvi said by making an incident, how unfortunate it may be, look like failure of a sovereign state is not only unfair but also an attempt to malign Pakistan. She urged the British media to come out of the denial mode about the reality of today’s Pakistan.

“The fact is that despite all challenges, the Government institutions in Pakistan have been working efficiently and with great professionalism and resilience. We owe it to our security institutions that hundreds of terrorists were apprehended or killed during the past seven years. Similarly over 2,000 Pakistani military and Para-military personnel laid down their lives while confronting extremists and terrorists.”

She expressed her surprise over the ease and naivet with which some analysts have ignored the efforts of the Government of Pakistan in tackling the colossal challenge of terrorism which is not of Pakistan’s making. “Let the international community know that it owes its safety and security to the sincere, determined and incessant efforts of Pakistan to fight this scourge,” she said.

The Press Counsellor added that instead of appreciating Pakistan’s sterling role in counterterrorism efforts, for which Pakistan has been paying a heavy price in terms of men and material more than any other country in the world, it is unfortunate to listen to a crescendo of doomsday prophecies churned out by experts on terrorism.

Sadly, she further stated very little has appeared in the media about helping the democratic Government in Pakistan in its efforts to tackle the menace of violent extremism. “The uncanny remarks about the alleged “deficit of will” to fight terrorism can only encourage the extremists and terrorists to continue with their nefarious activities. In fact, such comments may provide oxygen to terrorists to thrive on media coverage they receive and create an illusion of their victory.”

Ms. Rizvi reiterated sincerity and determination of the Pakistan Government and its military and Para-military institutions in taking on the challenge of terrorism. “What Pakistan needs is realistic reporting without indulging in cut-and-paste job on irrelevant issues while commenting on a particular incident,” she added.

The Press Counsellor also reminded that it was not bad security which caused 9/11 in the US or 7/7 in Britain saying that no sporting activity or international event was stopped during the years when IRA was constantly planting bombs in mainland Britain including the attack in which the former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher had a narrow escape.

Associate Press of Sri Lanka