April 18, 2011

Dawn's yellow blood transfuses to The Express Tribune (4)

Special Report

Dawn's nervous editor Zaffar Abbas
BEFORE reading this post, you must read the third part in this series of articles. According to insiders, the controvercial report was ‘planted’ in The Express Tribune (March 20, 2011) though City Desk Editor Islamabad, Farman Ali, with the ‘go-on’ signal from Executive Editor M. Ziauddin.

“Although, they (Ziauddin and Farman) are working with the ET but through blackmailing and terror, their minds are still under the control of Zaffar,” a media person said. “Zaffar had emailed Aaqib Khan’s report to (Dawn’s columnist) Irfan Husain to write yet another twisted article out of a twisted report. This is a fantastic evidence of the credibility of our so-called God-like editors and columnists of the elitist English language newspapers.”

Now let's see the Dawn column (March 26, 2011). Note the ‘twists’ and ‘crafty’ work of the elderly bureaucrat-turned-columnist (Irfan Husain) who is presenting the reported intellectual statement of a writer (Dr. Mubarik Haider) as the clinical observation of a psychiatrist. Just carefully read the intro and the underlined text quoted from The Express Tribune without taking its name, and the ambiguous comments.

These intellectual terrorists convey their propaganda material to the innocent public without their knowledge in an ‘attractive’ way. They’ve been caught red-handed now! Irfan Husain (also known as Mazdak) has spent his life in dirty businesses. Here is the column:

Pakistan on a shrink’s couch

By Irfan Husain

Double-faced Irfan Husain
of Dawn exposed finally
DIAGNOSING the mental health of a nation is just as tricky as diagnosing an individual with a personality disorder. 

But while psychiatrists are trained and experienced in treating their patients, few venture to turn a clinical gaze towards the inner demons that trouble a state`s psyche.

Breaking with this tradition, Dr Mubarik Haider has performed a valuable service by peering into the innermost recesses of the collective Pakistani mind. His diagnosis is something some of us had long suspected, but had rarely articulated so clearly. Speaking at a lecture (Pakistan — a state on the crossroads: causes and effects) organised by the Pakistan Writers Association in collaboration with two media organisations recently, the psychiatrist spelled out his thesis with an enviable lack of hyperbole.

Displaying more brutal frankness than doctors normally use when spelling out a medical condition to their patients, Dr Haider pulled no punches. According to a newspaper report on the lecture, he urged Pakistanis to escape their state of denial and face reality. He asked them to reflect on the fact that perhaps “most of the world`s current revulsion towards Pakistan was based on good reasons, instead of it being the result of a vast Zionist conspiracy”.

I have long written about the state of denial most Pakistanis are in. From government ministers and officials to the public to the media, we are all convinced that everybody is out to get Pakistan. Whether it`s the floods that ravaged large swathes of the country last year, or the spectre of Islamic terrorism stalking the land, it`s all somebody else`s fault.

When I wrote to condemn the Pakistani terrorists who had planned and carried out the Mumbai massacre in 2008, I was flooded with emails from angry readers demanding to know what proof I had to link Pakistan with the attack. For them, the confession of the sole survivor of the gang of killers was not enough. How did the armed band slip into Mumbai so easily? Why did it take the Indian authorities so long to intervene effectively? To conspiracy theorists, all these questions pointed to a secret Indian plot to malign Pakistan.

The report on the lecture summarises Dr Haider`s argument thus: “Most people know at least one person who seems to suffer from a never-ending persecution complex. This individual is convinced that everybody is out to get him and declines from reconsidering his opinion despite a heap of evidence to the contrary. He dreams up wild and fantastic conspiracies that others have plotted against him and interprets every action with deep suspicion.

“To substantiate his view, he believes that there must be something about him that others are jealous of or desire or covet. Perhaps inevitably, he eventually becomes incapable of civilised dealing. Others are forced to resort to confrontation, avoidance or desertion. Vain to the last, he refuses to consider that something may be wrong with himself after all. He is simply incapable of one thing: critical self-reflection.”

Over the years, this paranoia and persecution complex have grown to dominate the public discourse. Indeed, these maladies now inform the thinking of policymakers as well. When I have asked well-educated people why the world should be against us, I get answers like “The Americans want to neutralise our nuclear arsenal”. Or, “Blackwater is behind the suicide bombings in Pakistan to destabilise the country”.

They refuse to see that a strong, stable Pakistan is in everybody`s interest, or that we are largely responsible for what`s happening in and around the country.

Indeed, our problems have reached such vast proportions that we find it easier to pretend they are somebody else`s fault rather than dealing with them. And America, being the biggest player in the region, is the most convenient scapegoat. The subtext in blaming Washington for all our ills is this: if a superpower is against us, obviously we cannot resist. This absolves our leaders of the need to tackle our urgent problems of hunger, illiteracy, unemployment and disease.

Dr Haider is of the view that “Pakistan exhibits all the symptoms of a schizophrenic society embroiled in innumerable conflicts”. He blames state institutions, the political and religious leadership and media organisations of “further fomenting a culture of conflict and paranoia by irresponsibly perpetuating myths about the world”.

These myths are on display in Pakistan round the clock on TV where anchors and their self-important guests hold forth on a large number of conspiracy theories. In this warped worldview, everything from a defeat in cricket to a natural disaster is somebody else`s fault.

Perhaps nobody is as responsible for feeding our paranoia and our state of denial than our TV channels. Our anchors invariably duck their responsibility of critically examining all the claims and charges flying around the studios. Instead, they fuel this madness by browbeating those few guests who refuse to take part in this orgy of unfounded accusations against dark forces inimical to Pakistan.

This mindset is also ever-present on the Internet where all manner of conspiracy theories multiply like malign viruses. When the devastating floods hit Pakistan last year, I received many emails accusing a new American technology known as HAARP for triggering the unusually heavy monsoon rains. These paranoid bloggers completely ignored the fact that the Americans were by far the biggest donors in the relief efforts, and sent in a large number of helicopters to take food and medicine to stranded communities, and rescue thousands of people.

So much for the diagnosis. What`s the cure? The hallmark of an educated mind is the ability to analyse problems coolly and rationally. An emotional response is usually the wrong one. But our minds are conditioned by years of slogans and clich├ęs, as well as historical baggage that is no longer relevant. The disconnect between reality and our twisted perceptions grows by the day.

We could start by asking ourselves a simple question: why should the rest of the world be against us? Who would possibly gain by Pakistan`s dismemberment? Such an event would be hugely dangerous and destabilising for the entire region. Indeed, the spectre of a failed and broken Pakistan haunts security establishments the world over.

So let`s open our eyes to reality and face the world as it really is, and not how our tortured dreams have made it out to be.

(To be continued)

NOTE: If anyone wants to clarify any point, we're ready to publish every point of view.—The Terrorland Team

Other parts of this post


  1. really great and informative blog, i like it very much, hope that you will keep it up and will share more information as like this,

  2. HATS OFF TO MR IRFAN HUSSAIN. AGAIN A VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING WRIT UP.......AND GUYS You know who is the person who seems to suffer from a never-ending persecution complex.He dreams up wild and fantastic conspiracies that others have plotted against him and interprets every action with deep suspicion.........................................HE IS THIS HARD MIND KHAN SB...Mr REHMAN..

  3. Pakistan Press Google group discussion on this blog:

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with Irfan's analysis (one time cricketing
    buddy). I agree with his thesis entirely.

    In a message dated 4/26/2011 8:06:18 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,

    You guys believe that Tribune is a better newspaper than Dawn. Good. Do so.
    What is the problem?

    Anwar Iqbal

    I read this column of Mr. Irfan Husain. I have to say that:
    " From government ministers and officials to the public to the media, we are all convinced that everybody is out to get Pakistan. Whether it`s the floods that ravaged large swathes of the country last year, or the spectre of Islamic terrorism stalking the land, it`s all somebody else`s fault, " is a huge generalization with little to substantiate. Pakistan is the world's sixth most populous country and only someone with little understanding of political science and mass psychology would make such huge generalizations.

    More than 80 percent of the people I have talked held Pakistani rulers (Musharraf and now Zardari) responsible for our woes.

    The trouble is that columnists like Irfan have shallow understanding of global politics and international economy. What do we expect from our retired bureaucrats? They discuss huge issues using layman examples and arguments without bothering to analyse to the big question: why we have come from where we were on Sept. 10, 2001 to where we are now and what was the role of Pakistan Army's top leadership in it? They write as if the whole nation has gone mad in 10 years without thinking through the context of the developments and the policies pursued by Pakistan's military establishment sometimes on its own initiative and at times at the behest of Washington. These two are the most powerful and most relevant actors. We do not need neem hakeems to analyse this but political scientists and impartial analysts who are not on the payroll of either the ISI or any NGO or think-tank. Unfortunately we have a dire shortage of such people so we have to suffer the theatrics of establishment's media men on TV and non-sense of this mushrooming breed of 'analysts' who work with some think-tank.

    That is why I no longer write, hardly! We have two types of Talibans, pro- ISI and anti-ISI (or pro-American) and two types of media people: pro-ISI and pro-American. What happened to impartial and pro-people journalists?

    Yousuf Nazar