Pakistan’s Nawaiwaqt Media Group is long known for its affiliation with the right-wing, particularly with PML-N. Its two main newspapers (Nawaiwaqt – Urdu and The Nation – English) and TV channel (Waqt News) are known for routinely publishing pro-Jihadi, pro-army, anti-democracy and anti-West propaganda on behalf of the ISI.
Several of Nawaiwaqt’s present and former editors, particularly Majid Nizami, Dr. Shirin Mazari and Saleem Bokhari are known loyalists of Pakistan army.
Amongst the aforementioned three names, Salim Bokhari is rather dubious because he is not only Punjabi ethno-centric but also deeply sectarian (anti-Shia, anti-Barelvi etc).
For example, recently Saleem Bokhari has written a lengthy editorial condemning and rejecting ‘the unjust and harmful ban’ on ASWJ terrorists who have target killed killed at least 240 Shia Muslims in last 6 months in Pakistan. We haven’t heard complaints against the ban in any other newspaper. Goes to show the company THE NATION keeps. Difa-e-Pakistan Council is nothing but spreading further sectarian hatred, lawlessness and xenophobia in Pakistan. ASWJ is nothing but a renamed version of killers of Shias, Sunni Barelvis, Ahmadis, Christians etc.
The following editorial by Saleem Bokhari shows the influence of ISI and ISI-backed ASWJ-SSP on Pakistani media.
Unjust and harmful ban
March 12, 2012
Pakistan has put a popular religious party, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), and three other religious parties on the already imposing list of 28 banned organisations in the country. The total number of such entities now stands at 32. The charge against the ASWJ is its suspected involvement in terrorist activities and sectarian violence. The other three outfits are: Shia Tulaba Action Committee, People’s Amman Committee and Tanseem Naujawanan-e-Sunnat of Gilgit. There has been no official word about the imposition of the ban from the Interior Ministry, though sources within it have confirmed a BBC report that the Ministry had issued a notification last month (on February 15) advising all provincial governments and concerned departments about the decision.
It is a great pity that while taking this action, the government has not kept in mind the credentials of the ASWJ. It represents an overwhelming majority religious sect of the country and has involved itself through its alliance with Difa-i Pakistan Council (DPC), to show that it has enormous public support, as demonstrated by the crowds DPC gathers. The DPC has been devoting its energies to tinkering into a roaring fire, the simmering discontentment in most of the populace. With rousing oratory and dire warnings of the conspiracies being played out against it by the agents of foreign powers, the DPC began to demonstrate its strength by holding massive rallies in different parts of the country, including Rawalpindi. Its widespread appeal from the people of Pakistan despite or perhaps because of, its religious nature, has rung alarm bells about Pakistan in international media outlets. However, what has been ignored is that even though the DPC has no political representation, it has managed to draw such massive numbers in support simply leaning on its criticism of the War on Terror, which most Pakistanis wish their country to no longer be a part of. To try and neutralise such a sentiment by branding it terrorism, is hardly a winning strategy.
Mainstream religious and religio-political parties have condemned the Interior Ministry’s move as an attempt to weaken the DPC, at the behest of the US, a move which they claim does not have any legal or moral justification. Secretary Information of Jamaat-e-Islami Muhammad Anwar Niazi has maintained that its increasing popularity among the masses is the reason behind the ban. Jamaaat-ud-Dawa is of the view that rather than putting the party on the list of banned outfits, the government should have gone to a court of law. It sounds quite strange that an order, which was bound to create shock waves across the length and breadth of the country because of its ban on the ASWJ, an important component of the DPC, should have been deliberately not released to the media for the information of the public. Evidently, the Interior Ministry was well aware that it was an unpopular move that would evoke severe backlash. The move will not narrow the DPC’s support base, if that is what the Interior Minister wishes, and in fact the ban will be another can of worms the government may have opened for itself, given the gigantic numbers of ASWJ supporters.