Amid the Afghanistan crisis following the annexation of the war-ravaged country by the Taliban, The Times of India led a section of the Indian media in reporting that the Pakistan Army opened fire at some fleeing Afghan “refugees” trying to enter its borders. Carried on the front page of the leading Indian daily, the report says that six Afghan refugees were dead while many others had been injured. Other media houses in India and overseas have reported the casualty figure as three. Interestingly, the establishment, as well as the media, in Pakistan is justifying the action of their army, saying these were terrorists.
English language media houses in Pakistan — The Dawn, Express Tribune, The News, Pakistan Today, Nation etc — and Urdu dailies (Dunya, Ummat, etc) in that country have no news that corroborates what TOI said in its report on 27 August.
The coverage by TOI looks fishy not just because the reporter is a certain Omer Farooq Khan. The question is: If the Muslim journalist tried to camouflage Islamic terrorism, what is the Indian desk of the newspaper doing? With such misleading reportage happening in India, sanctioned by some Indians, prejudiced media houses in the West like The New York Times or BBC can hardly be blamed for their hostile attitude to India.
The media has strangely entered a phase of stupor or wokism (or paid news?) where most, if not all, journalists have stopped referring to the operatives of the Taliban as terrorists. Why TOI or Hindustan Times should follow suit needs to be probed for re-establish ethics in journalism.
Other reports question the Imran Khan-led administration in Islamabad for faking its support to ordinary citizens of Afghanistan. Earlier, the Taliban had said it would not let any Afghan national flee the country whereas foreigners were free to leave.
However, on Thursday, terrorism of the Taliban was bettered by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan (Isis-K) when it bombed the Kabul airport twice, killing many people trying to escape Afghanistan. Those killed included foreign nationals too. As many as 13 US soldiers were killed in the bombing besides 95 Afghans.
Meanwhile, former US President Donald Trump led critics in America in slamming the Joe Biden administration for botching up the execution of the deal with the Taliban. Trump said he had warned the Taliban that the US would hit back with “tenfold” ferocity if its retreating troops and nationals were targeted.
Pakistan had been enjoying the Afghanistan takeover by the Taliban, as Islamabad was among very few countries that used to recognise the previous Taliban regime (1996-2001) too. However, media reports a few years ago showed that Rawalpindi’s terrorist recruitment drive had suffered because Islamists in the country were getting attracted more to Isis than to the spy agency ISI-managed Lashkar-e-Taiba. Isis is not known to be a manageable terrorist group.
The fleeing “Afghans” were actually terrorists trying to escape the crosshairs of a Taliban-ISIS conflict. Having failed to strike a deal with the bombers of the day before yesterday, the Pakistan Army was not sure the so-called refugees should be welcomed to their country, which made the soldiers fire at those trying to infiltrate into Pakistan from Afghanistan.