Posted by: uss017 | November 11, 2007

Islam Channel on Musharraf

What particularly saddened me was the UK Islam Channel’s very biased and completely one sided coverage of Pakistan immediately after the implementation of the Emergency in Pakistan. I’ve always had a generally positive view of the Islam channel. But much of that has changed now after I saw their recent programmes on Pakistan.

One would have thought that the Islam Channel, out of all other channels, would have made an attempt to maintain at least some sort of balance in their reporting and analysis, given the teachings of Islam on honesty and being truthful. But no. I was wrong. In case some of you do not know, Islam teaches that when any piece of information comes your way, you need to verify it in order to ascertain whether or not it is correct. Following this principle, Muslim scholars eventually devised an elaborate and unique science of hadith verification, in which the transmitters of reports (isnad) and the text (matn) were critically scrutinised to judge the grade of authenticity. Not only that, but Muslim scholars gave rise to branch of study known as the Asma’ Al-Rijal. The purpose of this branch of hadith studies was to compile and present the biographies of the hadith narrators, dealing particularly with issues such as 1. chronology; 2. biography; 3. criticism of narrators. Simply, the overarching purpose in all of this was to ascertain the reliability, trustworthiness and the honesty of reporters (or the lack thereof), and to establish the grade of authenticity of the reports in question.

All of these principles seem to have been tossed in the bin by the Islam Channel when it comes to President Musharraf. The hatred is so much towards the President that it prevents analysts and reporters from telling the truth. The hatred of an ‘enemy’ has driven them to the extreme.

Let me address some of the outright lies which panellists have been spewing in the Islam Channel lately. A certain retired Brigadier Usman, presented as a reliable and authoritative analyst on the Islam Channel a few days back, proclaimed that President Musharraf used the term “extremism” very ‘vaguely’, so that everyone with a beard was also looked upon as an ‘extremist’. The retired brigadier did not bother to present a single example of Musharraf’s alleged ‘vague’ usage of the term ‘extremism’. Unless an example is submitted to the contrary, I can say (having heard numerous press conferences and speeches by Musharraf) that he has not made a ‘vague’ use of ‘extremism’, whereby one could be misled into believing that having a beard was also a sign of ‘extremism’. On the contrary, Musharraf has always applied the term ‘extremism’ specifically towards suicide bombers, those who attack the Pakistani army for the purpose of imposing a so-called ‘Shariah‘ (or the co-called ‘Nizam-e-Mustafa‘) and folks such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda. I cannot recall a single instance of a ‘vague’ application of ‘extremism’ by Musharraf. So in this instance the retired Brigadier was being dishonest in my opinion.

Secondly, the way the Islam Channel analysts and commentators talk about the reality of extremism and terrorism within Pakistan – i.e., referring to them as ‘extremism‘ and ‘terrorism‘ – leaves one with the impression as if these really do not exist in Pakistan and that there is a massive conspiracy going on to fool us into believing that extremism and terrorism is present in Pakistan.

Thirdly, watching the Islam Channel, one also gets the impression as if the masses are out on the streets of Pakistan protesting all over the place and up in arms. But this is simply not the case. To be precise, some lawyers have been protesting here and there, in no more than batches of 50’s and 70’s; some reporters have likewise been protesting in equal numbers; followers of Sharif and Bhutto have also been protesting here and there in small numbers. Yet the masses are going about their daily routine as if nothing occurred. Most simply DO NOT CARE about the emergency in such a way that it would compel them to come out on the streets. This has clearly upset the all-knowing Dr Shahid Masood of GEO TV who, as a result, went even to the extreme of referring to the masses as ‘beyhis‘ (emotionless, uncaring, selfish etc) and drew upon the (false) example of the lack of support received by the companion of Prophet Muhammed (P) Abdullah Ibn Zubayr (R) with the reaction of the masses in Pakistan. I will get to Masood’s false comparison in a next post, but for now I will note that there is no wide scale and massive movement or protest going on in Pakistan after the emergency.

Finally, even the undoubtedly positive contributions of Musharraf are denied. That the economy under Musharraf has improved considerably, that corruption has substantially decreased, that the media was given unprecedented freedom for the most part under Muhsarraf, are immediately brushed aside or completely ignored. The most annoying part, perhaps, is the overly sarcastic tone adopted by Mr. Basharat Ali of the Islam Channel when addressing Musharraf. In all of his programmes focussing on Pakistan, he is happy to have members of the PPP, Muslim League N-group, and just about anyone who opposes Musharraf. Is it really so difficult to find an articulate spokesperson representing the government of Pakistan?

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Ā© Musharraf Supporters 2007 All rights reserved

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Responses

  1. haha! i know! i saw that channel while browsing thru! its sucha source of entertainment! seriously…ppl who call up…talk in i dono wht kinda dialect…but they sound so retarded n insane! and i dono y i feel that its the same person callin and changin the voice :S i mean, there is sum resemblance! and haHA! their views are sooooo not professional and well thought off! agree with ur blog šŸ™‚ totally!

  2. Hello Basim,
    thank you for your comments and interesting thoughts. Although I would not go so far as to suspect that perhaps the same guy calls the Islam Channel talk shows, every time changing his voice šŸ™‚ I am sure most of their callers are genuine, and I would think that most sincerely believe in what they say, even if I may disagree with them.
    Some of their programmes are really good actually, particularly the ones dealing with the problems faced by British Muslims. It is only their coverage of Pakistan which I oppose since I consider it to be too biased.
    Well, keep visiting the blog and thanks again!

  3. […] presenting my thoughts on the overly bias coverage of Pakistan on the Islam Channel (see “Islam Channel on Musharraf“). In particular, I commented upon the attitude and behaviour displayed by the host, Basharat […]

  4. […] presenting my thoughts on the overly bias coverage of Pakistan on the Islam Channel (see “Islam Channel on Musharraf“). In particular, I commented upon the attitude and behaviour displayed by the host, Basharat […]


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