[Letter to the Editor] According to an exclusive report published in leading daily, the Taliban have threatened various top-ranking working journalists and TV anchorpersons to either stop spitting out venom against them or get ready for the consequences. That means: (a) the war on terror has further expanded; (b) the threat is not restricted to security forces personnel or general masses but it is now out to take media head-on; (c) The Taliban have gained much ground that they are going to assert their position by dictating terms on their own choosing; and (d) so much so they are either strong enough to be able to coerce and intimidate the media to accepting their terms, or they can so afford to antagonize the media that they care none.
But I believe the Taliban have made a major mistake. Their assessment about the Pakistani media is also wrong, as it has been proved wrong while confronting the security agencies. By now this has been established that they are being run, supported, funded, armed and spoon-fed by hostile agencies and countries. The calculation by their masters to rip apart the country or dismantle the army by September 2009 stands failed. And the world at large, the Pakistani society in general and military-government establishment in particular do recognize the major role from 2008 onwards in fighting the war against terror has been played by none else but media. Had there not been media’s proactive role in the post-flogging Swat, the military operation, the handling of millions of IDPs, and the gigantic task of their return and rehabilitation could not have been a success. Such was the environment provided by the military and media where Malala-like shining star is born.
My apology to military’s officers and jawans, my impression is that the journalists who have no arms and security cordons around have dared to work and wade through odds and dangers, more than the security personnel. The reporting from war fronts with camera crew and female staff is always full of dangers. This is despite the jawans and soldiers are made to fight, without asking a question even. But the journalists from print and electronic media are an educated lot, who prefer to talk through pen, not gun. But as it continued to reveal on him further, they came to know the truth, and the Malala incident has exposed the barbarism of Taliban to higher degrees. Not only the nation is enraged, the media people feel the jolt from head to toe. The Taliban threat has drawn clear lines between them and media, too. Their spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan has declared the media men as a party.
Now the fighting goals are clear. Imran Khan must also understand this fact. Those siding with the Taliban or leaning towards these messengers of hate have seen the real face of the enemy within. The fight seems to have entered the final stage. Join hands together, or get intimidated. And one is sure that the security establishment is very much aware of this fact. The hosts of Fazlullah in Kunar and Nuristan are all out against him and his followers. Their drones are likely to take them out soon. The government and the military should not leave the recipients of Taliban-threat alone. They must be provided with adequate security. On the other hand the journalists need to stand rock solid. If they get coerced now, it would inflict an irreparable wound to the society. It is now or never. The Taliban have made a major mistake. [ Thanks for F Z Khan ]