Feverish spinning by pro-Opposition media spinmeisters suggests that BBC's Hard Talk host Stephen Sackur has done serious damage to the Pakistani Opposition's narrative about the Army and democracy in the country. By his aggressive questioning of Ishaq Dar, former Finance Minister and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's close associate, Sackur has not only dismantled the Opposition parties' narrative but also clearly established that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is a convicted criminal and a hypocrite.
Ex finance minister Ishaq Dar presented the Opposition narrative focusing on Pakistani "military's interference" in domestic politics, "rigged" 2018 elections and "selected" Prime Minister Imran Khan. BBC Hard Talk host Stephen Sackur challenged this narrative and questioned the credibility of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar. Here are a few snippets of the conversation:
Sackur: It is quite clear that he (Nawaz Sharif) is a convicted criminal...he (Nawaz Sharif) was given 10 years' sentence which was later reduced to 7 years... Nawaz Sharif is in London on medical grounds as are you...you are demanding an early election and an end to Imran Khan's government...what credibility do you have with the people of Pakistan?
Dar: What credibility does Imran Khan have....it was a rigged election (in 2018)....a stolen election...Pakistan Human Rights commission said so"
Sackur: EU (election) monitors reported some concerns about not just one party but several different parties..but they said the result was credible....Imran Khan's victory was credible.
Dar: Let us be very clear; Mr Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister or otherwise is not anti-military. He blames certain individuals. If he talks of certain interventions which were against the oath and against the constitution of Pakistan, what is wrong with that?
Sackur: Nawaz Sharif worked hand in glove with military dictator General Zia ul Haq and now complains about the military interfering in politics. What kind of hypocrisy is that?
Dar: No no, not the entire institution but individuals.
Sackur: So, you are condemning Gen. Bajwa?
Pro-Opposition Media Spin:
Some in the pro-Opposition media are suggesting that the fault lies in Ishaq Dar rather than the Opposition's narrative about Pakistan Army and democracy in the country. Others are questioning Mr. Sackur's assertion that European European monitors found 2018 Pakistan elections were "credible".
Mr. Dar did an interview with Naya Daur where he asserted that the BBC Hard Talk host was "unprepared and misinformed" and that he, Dar, saw "pressure on interviewer".
Stephen Sackur vs Hameed Haroon:
Attacking the "establishment", a euphemism for Pakistani military, is a favorite pastime of some in Pakistani media, particularly Pakistan's leading media groups Dawn and Jang. These two groups led the pack in undermining confidence in Pakistan's 2018 elections.
Hameed Haroon, Chief Executive of Pakistan's Dawn Media Group, claimed in in a Hard Talk interview with Stephen Sackur that the Pakistani military and intelligence services were "orchestrating" July 25, 2018 general elections in favor of a particular political party. Here's an except of Hameed Haroon's interview with BBC's Stephen Sackur as the host:
Sackur: You are defenders of journalistic integrity, independence and impartiality in Pakistan but you are not seen as entirely neutral and impartial because over the last couple of years you are increasingly giving platform to one particular political player Nawaz Sharif who's run into an awful lot of trouble due to allegations of corruption ....you, the self-proclaimed impartial, independent, neutral media group covering Pakistani politics are now seen to be supporting and sympathetic to Nawaz Sharif and his daughter who it has has to be said are convicted criminals...
Haroon: There's an element of orchestration by military of a campaign against us...
Sackur: Where is your evidence of orchestration?
Haroon: If you look at the social media attacks on Dawn by the ISPR trolls....not just going after us but anybody who stands in their way.
It took Stephen Sackur, a BBC journalist, to challenge the Pakistani Opposition's anti-military narrative twice in the last two years. First, Sackur did it with Hameed Haroon, the CEO of Pakistan's Dawn Media Group. More recently, Sackur did it again with Opposition politician Ishaq Dar. Feverish spinning by pro-Opposition media spinmeisters suggests that Sackur has done serious damage to the Pakistani Opposition's narrative about the Army and democracy in the country. By his aggressive questioning of Ishaq Dar, former Finance Minister and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's close associate, Sackur has not only dismantled the Opposition parties' narrative but also clearly established former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is a convicted criminal and a hypocrite.
Here are short video clips of BBC's Stephen Sackur's Hardtalk interviewing Ishaq Dar and Hameed Haroon:
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