The 'liberal' mask of TFT and its controllers

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

I used to often write for the Pakistani portal The Friday Times ( TFT ), which is run from Lahore by Mehr Husain, but controlled by Raza Rumi, who is perhaps in USA.

This portal, and its companion, proclaim themselves as ‘liberals’ in Pakistan, but let us examine how liberal they really are by looking at the latest display of articles in TFT.

The ‘liberalism’ is displayed in articles critical of atrocities on Ahmadiyyas, arrest of activist Jibran Nasir and of PTI leader Yasmin Rashid, religious extremism, etc. So far so good.

But all this is just a mask, to conceal Raza Rumi’s and Mehr Hussain’s kowtowing and sycophancy before the real power in Pakistan, the army, and its assistant, the corrupt PDM leaders.

This becomes evident from two articles in TFT, the first of which is by Shahzaib Hassan titled ‘May 9 and its repercussions for Pakistan’. It is given below :

May 9 and its repercussions for Pakistan

In this article the whole blame is put on Imran Khan and the PTI for the attacks on army properties on May 9, but deliberately suppressing the other narrative that this was stage managed, like the Reichstag fire by the Nazis in February 1933,.by powers which wanted to destroy Imran Khan and the PTI ( who today have the support of over 75% Pakistanis ) politically.

When a person is asked to take an oath in court, he is asked to speak not just the truth, but the whole truth. But this article at best speaks a half truth ( if at all ), while concealing the other half, which is the counter version.

Shahzaib Hassan writes, ” Though challenging the state and its writ is one thing, Khan went ahead with attacking police with petrol bombs.

Then, come the events of May 9 where Khan’s supporters burnt the country, sensitive installations and other public property in the wake of his arrest by rangers. Initially, Khan accused the agencies for this mayhem, fearing the backlash.

But as people of his party deserted him, abandoning the party, he became emboldened and accepted the fact he instigated this violence”.

I cannot imagine a greater bundle of lies. When did Imran Khan attack the police with petrol bombs ? And when did he accept that he instigated the violence of 9th May ? Rather, he has always condemned it.

Shahzaib Hassan criticises Imran Khan’s lack of respect for democracy. This is another lie. All that Imran Khan has been demanding is elections, as is also the mandate of Article 224(2) of Pakistan’s Constitution. Does this show Imran Khan’s lack of respect for democracy ? Rather it is the ruling PDM which has no respect for democracy, knowing it will be wiped out if free and fair elections are held ( as all opinion polls indicate).

Now I am sure Raza Rumi and Mehr Hussain read the article before publishing it. Why then did they publish such garbage ? And if they wanted to publish it, they should have done it along with the counter version that the events of 9th May were stage managed.

The other article in TFT was by a TFT correspondent titled ‘Arrest of May 9 arsonists does not violate human rights : Minister‘. This article has quoted the statement of Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister Pirzada.

Now at best a couple of hundred people committed the violence on 9th May. Why were 10,000 people arrested ? Why was a reign of terror unleashed in Pakistan ? Why were houses broken into and people dragged away ? Why were people beaten, tortured, ‘disappeared’ and some even killed ? Does this not violate human rights ?

There was nothing wrong in quoting the Minister. But along with his statement a criticism of it should also have been given. But that has deliberately not been done.

Hiding behind the front of the writers of these articles are the publishers Raza Rumi and his sidekick Mehr Husain, who have really no principles, but pose to be ‘liberals’.

I have already written about Raza Rumi, who masquerades as a journalist and analyst, but is a downright sycophant.

Raza praised former PM Benazir Bhutto sky high, but I cannot believe that, being a Pakistani, he did not know about her large scale corruption, of which he made no mention.

He congratulated Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman on being named among the 100 most influential persons of the world in 2023 by Time magazine, though that recognition was really a joke, as in a poor country where food riots have taken place she wears the costliest attire and puts on the costliest cosmetics ( even her lipstick and shampoo are perhaps imported ), which show how much she really cares for the poor and suffering.

As for Mehr Husain, who lives in Pakistan ( unlike Raza who is usually abroad ) she is smart enough to care for her own skin, and does not want to become another Arshad Sharif or Imran Riaz Khan.

So much for these Pakistani ‘liberals’.

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