In a recent interview with CNN, Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that the Haqqani Network was a Pashtun tribe living in Afghanistan.
“The Americans did not understand what the Haqqani Network was. Haqqani is a tribe, it’s a Pashtun tribe living in Afghanistan. The Haqqani tribe lives in Afghanistan. 40 years ago, when Afghan Jihad took place, we had 5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, amongst them were a few Haqqanis who were Mujahideen fighting the Soviets,” the Prime Minister of Pakistan said to Becky Anderson in his Bani Gala residence.
It didn’t take much time for Pakistani journalists to point out that the Haqqani Network was not a Pashtun tribe in Afghanistan and the Prime Minister was completely wrong about his definition of the Haqqani Network.
Hamid Mir quickly corrected Imran Khan stating: “It’s not a tribe. All students of Darool Alum Haqqania Akora Khattak KPK are called Haqqani’s including Jalaluddin Haqqani who played important role in the defeat of Soviet Union in Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, Pashtun journalist, Saleem Safi, who has been covering AfPak for 3 decades, also corrected Imran Khan and said that according to Imran Khan’s analogy, Bilawal Bhutto and Imran Khan also belong to the same ‘Oxfordian’ tribe.
Even anchors like Imran Riaz Khan who run systematic campaigns to defend Imran Khan couldn’t help but accept that Imran Khan’s definition was wrong, albeit, Mr Imran Riaz Khan couldn’t help but put a spin in the same tweet.
Mocking intellectuals who pointed out Imran Khan’s mistake, the anchor whose work is frequently shared on PTI’s official Twitter handle compared the intellectuals to flies who sit on the dirt.
This would explain the government’s actions against academia, journalists and intellectuals but it also shows that the government is at war with the truth itself, and anyone who dares to state the truth is considered no more than a fly sitting on dirt.
If Imran Khan says that Japan and Germany share a border, they do, If Imran Khan says women’s clothes cause rape, they do, if Imran Khan says OBL is a martyr, he is, if Imran Khan says the Haqqani Network is a Pashtun tribe, it is, end of discussion!
Why would the honourable Prime Minister base his statement on facts when blind supporters encouraged by fake news peddlers which include government ministers and biased journalists spin everything coming out of the Prime Minister’s mouth as the truth and the only acceptable version of the truth?
Imran Khan’s ascent as the Prime Minister of Pakistan has formally begun the Post Truth Era in Pakistan. In this era, the truth is what the leader says it is, not what is based on fact.
This would explain Imran Khan’s contrasting statements on the Dollar appreciation, petrol prices, inflation, Sheikh Rasheed, the Chaudhrys, and so many other topics when he was in opposition and after he became Prime Minister.
Hearing Imran Khan’s old speeches, it seems like one is listening to another person altogether but if one looks deeply, it becomes evident how the systematic use of lies and deception has become a carefully crafted strategy of various government officials including Imran Khan.
Perhaps this is the reason why Imran Khan’s government is so eager to pass the Pakistan Media Development Authority Ordinance (PMDA) because the government can’t accept being called out for spreading fake news.
Imran Khan and his cabinet members have systematically churned out fake news but instead of correcting themselves, their government seeks to punish the fact-checkers who dare to correct them.
It has been speculated that Pakistan now seeks to follow the Chinese model of governance, where there is only one party, the media is controlled by the State and people are not allowed to have their own opinions on matters pertaining to statecraft.
PM Imran Khan should realise that the Chinese leaders would never embarrass themselves by stating false information, especially to foreign media as Imran Khan did in regards to the Haqqani Network in the CNN interview.
Donald Trump had similar interactions with the media in which he would narrate false information and then proceed to feud with the media who called out his lies. Today, Donald Trump is banned from social media and is rarely seen on mainstream media.
The Pakistani Trump should learn from Donald Trump’s example if he wants to avoid being thrown in the dustbin of history.