Sunday, November 04, 2007

Update: General cracks the whip

The squeeze has begun. Pakistan is under de-facto martial law. A string of harsh laws, as expected, have been enforced. A new bunch of friendlier justices have already taken oath. Most of the misbehaving crowd [lawyers like Aitzaz Ahsan, politicians like the ex- playboy Imran Khan, Nawaz’s top man Javaid Hashmi, Human rights activist Asma Jehangir et al] have been silenced. Phone lines cut and outer doors locked. With an elite flock of Pakistani army regulars on guard, not even the milkman’s bicycle can make it to these blokes.

It is now dawning upon the Pakistan media that they have been asked by a tough school headmaster to shut their traps up or else....! The Press can no longer go about saying the unspeakable. It is gagged. Officially. Sample this:

As per the new law “No printer, publisher or editor shall print or publish” any material that consist of photographs of suicide bombers, terrorists, bodies of victims of terrorist activities, statements and pronouncements of militants and extremist elements and any other thing, which may, in any way, promote aid or abet terrorist activities or terrorism, or their graphic and printed representation based on sectarianism and ethnicity or racialism.

Non-compliance of the new curbs is subject to discontinuation of newspaper publication for up to 30 days, and in case of television channels up to three years of jail and 10 million fine or both will be imposed on the broadcast media licensee or its representative and their equipment and premises will be seized.

The media has also been restrained from publishing any material that is likely to jeopardize or be prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or any material that is likely to incite violence or hatred or create inter-faith disorder or be prejudicial to maintenance of law and order.

And didn't we alreday foresee something! Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell [expectedly] said the emergency declaration "does not impact our military support of Pakistan" or its efforts in the war on terror.