What the media did not tell you

Published: July 21, 2011

Half truth is not the truth. Our media needs to realise and remember that.

As always, we have been busy with our usual chronic problems – Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) having a go at each other, the worsening electricity crisis, crying and cribbing over foreign aid, making insane statements that hurt at least one segment of our society and so on. But, while the nation was kept busy with this, there were other serious developments happening on the political front and economic front that our lovely media forgot to tell you about because they either thought it was not news worthy or they just decided that you do not deserve to hear the truth.

So, here is another look at a few stories in the last few days that were covered by the media.

Story: Jehangir Tareen to form party of ‘clean politicians’

What the media told you: Jehangir Tareen, ex minister and current Member of National Assembly (MNA), plans to form and launch a new party of ‘clean’ politicians by September. The aim of the party is to bring together like minded clean politicians to bring about change. The tentative people for this party would be the outcasts from all other parties, like Marvi Memon, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and so on.

What the media chose not to tell you: To start with, no one in the media bothered asking what Jehangir Tareen intends to do with this new party as he is already an MNA on a PML-Q ticket.

Is he saying that PML Q is not clean? If he knew that then why did he bother running on their ticket during the elections, as given his resources he could have won on his own as well.

So, what is it that his new party intends to do? It wishes to support apparently clean politicians and form an alliance with someone who has similar ambitions – that is Imran Khan. Effectively this is like a marriage proposal, where there is a groom, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the bride is being prepared with the exact specifications of the groom in mind.

Why would there be a need to create another party that intends to do what Imran Khan is already trying to do, which seems to be to clean up the politics in Pakistan.

So, the question here is why doesn’t Mr Tareen join PTI?

What possessed one of the most successful businessmen in this country to form a political party?

No serious businessman enters politics as it tends to hurt their legitimate business activities, so why is Jehangir Tareen doing this and more importantly, who is backing him for this adventure?

There was no mention of this and somehow the story vanished just after one day of being reported.

Story: Government unable to control the electricity crisis

What the media told you: The electricity crisis is growing by the day and the shortfall is over 5,000 mega watts. People all across the country are unable to get electricity and there are riots in various cities. The government has failed to curb this crisis and it is the fault of the government that all these riots are taking place.

What the media did not tell you: I am certain that you curse the government every day, a couple of hundred times, for not ensuring that you have electricity. What no media outlet is currently telling you is that the government is not in control. The current crisis is being caused by the power companies and Pakistan State Oil (PSO).

And, why are they not giving you electricity? That is simple.

Power companies produce electricity using fuel from PSO. PSO has not been paid for the total amount of fuel consumed and wants its money now in order to provide future deliveries. The power companies sold electricity to local electrical distribution companies, like LESCO, FESCO, PESCO, IESCO and KESC, none of which have paid the total amount of money back to the power companies. As a result , the power companies are running at half capacity and they owe money to PSO, who in turn has cut off their fuel, leading to the worsening of the energy crisis.

So, the question is why aren’t distribution companies paying for the electricity they are using? That answer too is simple.

The bills they are receiving are not enough and there is serious electricity theft especially in Karachi and Peshawar. So, unless they get money for all the electricity supplied they cannot pay off the debt. By now you get the point, but for some reason our media has decided that telling you all this is a wastage of time or well maybe the people of Pakistan are not smart enough to understand this whole issue, so blaming the government is the easy way out.

Story: America to hold military aid

What the media told you: The United States (US) is blocking military aid due to its reservations over Pakistan Army’s fight and support. Pakistan continues to ask for the required aid as it is needed to fund future operations.

What the media did not tell you: Every time there is mention of aid for Pakistan, our media transforms into a teenager – instead of reporting facts they chose to twist the truth with childish logic.

Same old questions: Why do we even need aid? What good is aid for us? Why do we need American aid? Why don’t we work with the Chinese?

Even though all these questions have been answered at length, our media chose to discuss them again, instead of raising genuine questions. No one bothered to explain that Pakistan needs aid for a very basic reason: we just do not have enough money to fund our activities as only 2 per cent of the population pays taxes.

No one clarified that we need American support through aid and otherwise in order to support our economy.

No one bothered to explain that it is the US that helps Pakistan get the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, while China just makes statements.

Love it or hate it, the US help to Pakistan is our need. They have an agenda, and we have a need, so the common sense here is to fulfill our need. But for some reason, our media chooses to blatantly lie to our people about this fact. We may not like it, but it is a fact that we need to come to terms with for a foreseeable future.

Growing up… slowly

While cars and buses burning on the streets of Karachi make excellent shots for the front page and the 9 o’clock news, a lot more is going on in this country. Our media chooses to ignore alternative narratives and instead chooses to focus on the constantly worsening conditions and situations.

While harping on about free media, they choose to keep the people in the dark by feeding them half truths! Maybe it is time for our media to try and grow up by taking a lesson from what has been going on in the United Kingdom (UK) where Rupert Murdoch has been trying to save his media empire which is falling apart simply because they chose to report half truths and make money off misery.

A newspaper like The News of the World had to shut down after 168 years just because it came to light that they had been lying to the public at large. While I do agree that our media is not as old and as mature as the one in the UK or Europe in general, our media does have sense and it can learn from others.

What our media needs is to simply start being journalists instead of being teenagers with a pen. Half truth is not the truth. That’s all our media needs to remember.

Adnan.rasool

Adnan Khalid Rasool

Currently the Deputy Executive Director Center for Enterprise, Trade and Development, Adnan is also a political analyst working mainly on electoral politics and political campaign management. He tweets at @adnanrasool

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Mighty

    Dost! Cha gaya hai…!Recommend

  • Wake up

    Ummm.. while you were sleeping, tribune reported ALL of those three, with all the “alternative narratives” that you spelled out.. for instance, http://tribune.com.pk/story/211460/cash-strapped-pso-sends-sos-to-premier-president/

    only if you read through the paper instead of running over to the blogs section of the website.Recommend

  • waqqas iftikhar

    Adnan sb..

    vis a vis the power crisis….the government has not paid subsidies to the DISCOs (Distribution companies) – the govt stipulates that the DISCOs supply electricity at price X which is less than cost of production Y and this difference is the amount of the subsidy. So, along with theft, line losses etc. you have to take into account that the government has also not being paying its due share, causing an already clogged up system to choke further.Recommend

  • Syed Qalb-e-Abbas

    Excellent piece ! nice work..Recommend

  • Syed Azfar Hussain

    Just for the record – Mr. Jahangir Tareen was in PML Q. He is currently Parliamentary Leader of PML F in National assembly.

    Will Jehangir Tareen’s Saaf Party(Clean Party) continue to work with Pagara Sahib? or ally with other parties like PTI, APML etc ?Recommend

  • maria memon

    factual error, Jehangir Tareen holds PML-F (Pir Pagara group) ticketRecommend

  • umar

    I’m amazed that the writer had the audacity to call the journalists teenagers and stuff while the very write-up of his own is amateurish in so many ways that I won’t want to write another article about.. Only if the writer could follow the news daily, i’m sure his views would’ve been different as literally all that he has mentioned has been reported, discussed and debated upon in the media more than once especially the power crisis and American aid issue.. Better wake up!!Recommend

  • Dr Ahmed

    This is ridiculous. IMF Loans will cause the country to sink into non existence one day, If America has an agenda, it doesn’t mean we have to fulfill it solely because we need the aid money, which let me tell you, does not reach the public sectors, it’s only sinking deep into the pockets of our greasy politicians. You need to get your facts straight, Mr Adnan. Most amateurish piece of writing I’ve come across so far. Pathetic.Recommend

  • http://www.khanprojects.com Saad Khan

    Ref. to Story: Government unable to control the electricity crisis

    I just want to make sure I understand it correctly but you seem to be implying that the governement is a (‘perhaps’ an innocent) bystander in this issue.

    I would imagine that the State of Pakistan is big enough to veild some sort of leverage in this matter. I would imagine the State can, if not dispell it all together, at least mitigate this situation of energy so to not allow for it to become a crisis that it has become.

    In my opinion, if I may, the government is finding the management of the issue, not the issue itself, a bit too difficult. In other words, this issue is manageable should someone manage it with due dilligence.

    :)
    SAADRecommend

  • Umm.

    Yaar, how many PML’s are there? :/Recommend

  • Helloooo

    The issues in aid and energy have been discussed to death absolutely everywhere.

    And, we’re suppposed to be shocked Tareen is already with a party? And asking why didnt he join PTI? Kinda like asking why did the chicken not cross the road…Recommend

  • yousaf

    its a case of “responsibilities grossly misunderstood”by the author of this articleRecommend

  • Furqan

    I totally back that sir. Pakistani media is filling our people with negativity and hopelessness and I don’t know why our people don’t understand it. I have tried explaining this to a lot of people but they just don’t accept it.Recommend

  • AbdulSamad

    The media doesn’t ask such questions from Jahangir Tareen because everybody already knows answers to these questions. It is pointless to try and humiliate another politician.
    Why he doesn’t join Imran khan? Simple. Ego! He is trying to form a party with the likes of Shah Memood Qureshi Marvi memon etc. Do you seriously think they will work UNDER Imran Khan?

    Regarding Power crisis. Government is the one to be blamed they are the ones responsible for power generation. In our country we already have capabilities to make enough electricity for our use. But the prob is circular debts and lack of fuel. I am pretty certain Government is responsible for that.

    Now I ask you a question. Why do you not bring up the point that every time MQM calls for a strike. Karachi falls into bloodshed. Recommend

  • Gul Bahadur

    A very realistic article but I am sure it would be rediculed by the professionals who do not want an intruder who is bold enough to tell you that you are nacked.Most of the newsmedia relish a crowd of nonentities that have only two qualifications: an acceptable face adorned with an expensive makeup and a shrielled voice which can freighten babies in their cots.The subject matter is not the issue of the media bosses and their cronies.The media and the anchormen can easily be judged from the list of “EXPERTS” who would be more than willing to insult his or her opponent on the slightest of any provocation.You might remember a lady insulting another one in a nationally televised talk show.I had the misfortune to watch that show.The most unfortunate aspect of the episode was that the anchorman like the “dalal” enjoyed evey bit of it and the MEDIA BOSSES and the ADMINISTRATOR of the channel did not edit it Most of the western media would normally invite people of national and international repute in their field and those who thrive on “bashing” people and try to achieve their agenda can not see a pleasant future.If you are not convinced ask Rupert Murdock.But having said that,people of this country still like the absurdities of our political leaders who can only count the length of their moustaches and spew all the venom at their disposal.You know their party leaders are proud of them.Recommend

  • Raza

    I wont critisize you at large on your opinions but i think , before writing a blog one should be atleast well informed about the subject matter that is discussed. First of all as some other people have also mentioned Mr Tareen does NOT hold a PMLQ ticket . Secondly if politics was so simple and black and white we wouldnt be in the political mess that we are in right now. Mr Khan is truly a legend and one of the true Patriots of this nation who has set such an example as a philanthropist that may not be matched by anyone anytime soon. However i do not tend to agree with his form of politics which is very narrow minded with playing with his beliefs and thoughts which are not open to any sort of political reconciliation. The fact the Marvi Memon openly asked if she was made the secretary of PTI she would join the party, and it was immediately turned down by MR Khan. My point here is , he is one of the greatest Leaders that we have right now. But being practical and realistic is also an option that he can opt for , just to gain some share in his current political standing. And coming back to this point why didnt Mr Tareen join his party . I havent seen a decent backing for Mr Khan within his own party which makes me wonder , God forbid something happens to Mr Khan . Who will lead his party? Whos the number two in the party. The basic flaw that i see with Mr Khans party is a team which had to be in the limelight by now to prove that he also has a team of Individuals who will turn this Country around. With is moto of justice its totally fair to say that he wouldnt be surving justice to the nation by doing a one man show. So Mr Tareen for forming a party of his own with a team of clean politicians , i dont see it as a problem. There is a dire need breaking this triangular game of politics anyway. Mr Tareen is a very enterprising person and one who has a good vision. A person who understands politics and yet has been a very Successful businessman too.
    Regarding the US aid. its very simple math. You cut down your expenses you automatically are not in need for more money. Raising more revenue from taxation and cutting down on the Governments spending on political protocols and extravagant life styles on the the 2 % tax payers money indeed the 2 % would be demotivated in seing thier hard earned money burnt by some Ministers 5000cc petrol car. It can be done and should be done. Its just that we have the most disloyal Goverment Officials and Politicians who make up to this mysery of this Bleeding Nation.

    Thirdly the PSO and the LESO issue its simply termed as Circular Debt which which we are again trapped in due to highly incompetent officials. However this has been highlighted by the media a number of times and its just hard to explain to a common man who is more concerned about his basic food commodities these days.Recommend

  • http://www.gloriouscars.webs.com Asad Sultan

    well written about the electricity crisis…..
    but you forgot to mention our greasy government because the country is half in debt because of them ………Recommend

  • AD Channa

    Extremely well written article, hats off to Mr Adnan Khalid Rasool. Our media is continuously reporting negativity.Recommend