From David Blair, Diplomatic Editor of The Telegraph : President Pervez Musharraf's many faces
Whatever you might think of President Pervez Musharraf, you have to admit he’s a good performer. Whenever I have seen him deliver a speech or stage a press conference, I have been struck by his self confidence and easy, jocular manner.It doesn't seem like such an outrageous question, considering that it's been less than two weeks since nine Pakistani policemen were sacked for their alleged complicity in the "escape" of the supposed "mastermind" of the so-called "Liquid Bombers".
But very occasionally, the mask slips. I have just come from the Royal United Services Institute on Whitehall, where Musharraf was speaking earlier this afternoon. For almost the entire occasion, he was his usual charming self.
Then a Pakistani journalist, Mohammed Ziauddin, asked a perfectly reasonable question about how a prominent suspected terrorist, Rashid Rauf, had somehow escaped the custody of Musharraf’s security forces.
As soon as Ziauddin, the Islamabad editor of Dawn, a Pakistani daily, rose to ask his question, Musharraf visibly bristled.
Instantly, his demeanour changed from being relaxed and confident to tense and hostile.
Musharraf promptly accused Ziauddin of “casting aspersions” and “undermining our forces and your own country”. In a brief but furious tirade, he questioned Ziauddin’s patriotism and professionalism.
The Pakistani daily Dawn, still under heavy government restrictions, reported it this way: Foreign troops must not enter Pakistan, says Musharraf
He was seemingly rattled when Dawn asked for his comments on suggestions that Pakistan’s ability to safeguard its nuclear assets and conduct a competent inquiry into Benazir Bhutto’s assassination came under suspicion when suspected terrorists like Rashid Rauf give the slip to Pakistani police and escaped.Pakistan Politics noted the outburst this way: Musharraf Insults Journalist
He said: “It is people like you that cast such aspersions and then such aspersions get around and are picked up by the foreign media.”
He said he believed in human rights and freedom of the press, but implied that he would not permit people to attack police or the press to promote violence.
Musharraf lost temper and bashed Dawn UK correspondent Ziauddin on the question of escaping of Rashid Rauf from the hands of law enforcement agencies.Armed And Stupid has an audio clip: Musharraf Loses It
Later while addressing Pakistani community in Hilton, Musharraf further expressed his anger on the Journalist.
Listen to this audio from a Musharraf speech where he blasts Dawn News correspondent Ziauddin for questioning the official version of Rashid Rauf's escape from prison. He ends by asking the audience to confront such unpatriotic elements and "agar us ko do teen tika bhi dain to acha hai" (if you slap him around two or three times that would be good)Sure, slap him around two or three times. That would be excellent!
Pak1stanfirst dot com has a different take on it: Will Pakistani Journalists Ever Learn, National Interest?
In a room full of international audience where international journalists where trying to undermine Pakistan’s interest and its capacities (being misinformed?), A Pakistani Journalist asked the most illogical and in efficient question he could ask bearing the responsibility of being the only Pakistani Journalist present on the occasion.Yes, indeed! Let's keep the national interest first, second, and third, and the truth be damned!
He connected the run away of Rashid Rauf a militant suspect of British Nationality from Rawalpindi police, with Pakistan Army and Intelligence agencies. In Ziaudin’s own (Listen here) words this question was already answered by President in Pakistan.
In some opinions, The President made him an example so that when ever any body asks what is National interest, he could refer to.
Ziaudin claims in an interview to BBCurdu that he has asked more tougher and difficult questions from President and President has never replied in such way and this answer was not anticipated at all. While giving this interview he claims that connecting Rawalpindi police with Pakistan Army and Intelligence and safe guard of Pakistan ’s nuclear assets is logical. Failing again to recognize what a 40 years experienced Pakistani journalists is suppose to do when foreign media is trying to undermine Pakistani Interest.
While understanding the intention of this gentleman expressed in the same interview to BBCurdu, it could be recommended that another question might have done the job, e.g. How Pakistani Police managed to Capture more than 684 (approx) international wanted terrorist. Out of these almost 16 are found connected with Benazir Bhutto assassination.
President on another occasion, in a lighter tone, talks about the journalist (Listen here).
Keeping National Interest First!
What's the truth?
It's nothing like what David Blair, Diplomatic Editor of The Telegraph, implies:
This disgraceful response to an entirely reasonable query spoke volumes about Musharraf. He will question the patriotism of any Pakistani critic – betraying his essential intolerance of dissent.No, David. It wasn't the source. It was the question! Nobody in the mainstream media gets this. But it's not surprising, because the essential truth about Rashid Rauf and the alleged plot with which he was allegedly connected has been hidden by (and from) the very same media.
I wonder whether Musharraf would have responded with such rage had a British journalist asked precisely the same question?
I suspect he would have answered firmly but politely. Musharraf treats his fellow Pakistanis with contempt while oozing charm for the benefit of foreigners.
The plot was impossible. There was never any threat. The story bears all the signs of a Terror Game and if the truth about it ever comes out, it could ruin everything: not just Musharraf's government in Pakistan but the British and American governments as well as the entire bogus Global War On Terror.
Are you ready for some of that truth? It's all in plain sight:
Inadequate Deception: The Impossible Plots Of The Terror War
UPDATE: Now come the threats!
Journalists stage protest rally against threat calls given to Zia ud Din
ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of journalists and civil societies members of twin cities staged a protest rally outside the Islamabad Press Club against threats given to Senior Journalist Ziauddin by President Musharraf in London.~~~
The participants of the rally were holding banners and placards inscribed with anti-government and anti Musharraf slogans.
They also chanted pitched slogans and strongly condemned the mistreatment of President with Zia ud Din in London.
On the occasion, renowned journalists and Anchor person of Geo TV’s programme "Capital Talk", Hamid Mir while addressing the rally said that today’s protest rally has been organized in connection with the threats calls given to the Zia ud Din.
Hamid Mir accused that President uttered the name of Zia ud Din twice in London and call him in bad words. Furthermore, during the press conference Zia ud Din raised question that how President Musharraf could talk about improving the image of Pakistan when a high profile convict Rashid Rauf escaped right from under the nose of law enforcing agencies. Upon this the president got infuriated and said that people like you want to destroy the country for their own vested interests.
The aides of President present on the occasion also demanded from the President to cancel the nationality of Zia ud Din.
Hamid Mir said President Musharraf by meeting out such treatment to a senior journalist proved how he wants to treat the media. This proves, he added, that President Musharraf is behind every atrocity that has been committed against Journalists.
He said that today we announce that if anything ever happens to any journalist than only President Musharraf would be responsible for that.
President RIUJ, Afzal Butt in his address also strongly condemned this act of President. He said that it is common practice that when a minister threatens senior journalist blatantly then intelligence agencies make the life of that journalists and his whole family miserable.
Senior Voice President RIUJ also strongly condemned the incident on behalf of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA).
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