In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Grande Strategy

The Farooq Tirmizi Affair

Meinhaj Hussain,

The Express Tribune has made a meteoric rise in Pakistan, but the question that is important to ask is if this is on its own merit, or due to foreign funding, all too familiar in Pakistan. Recently, we have this and similar pieces where the Tribune basically acts as a mouthpiece of CENTCOM, with the all-too-familiar tactic of using "unnamed sources". Even funnier, the US CENTCOM spokesman also turned up in the comments section, an increasingly common event in recent years where CENTCOM PR cogs have taken to haunting even online forums.  

Coming back to Mr. Farooq Tirmizi, here is the following tweet that was made by him:

Mr. Farooq Tirmizi, true to yellow journalistic standards, makes the declaration that a certain paper in PTI "calls paper currency a jewish conspiracy". PTI, for understandable reasons given that elections are around the corner, and to avoid controversy, decided to pull the paper, and another paper that was on the same subject (an Islamic economic system). The latter paper was incidentally by me and ended up being collateral damage. 

The two papers in question, though pulled down, are available here to judge:

The first point to note is that each of the papers has a big disclaimer right at the beginning, that these are the views of individuals, which are being submitted to PTI for consideration, as one would expect in a democratic party that honors its members' opinions. This was of course, ignored by Farooq Tirmizi, our Express Tribune yellow journalist.

The second point to note is that, the statement is patently false, nowhere in the papers is such a statement made. It is an exaggeration and mudslinging. It is a shame that a journalist from a national newspaper is unable to get his facts straight (or is paid to do otherwise?). The closest I could find was the following section from the beginning of the paper on the Gold Dinar:

When asked about his role models, Chairman Imran Khan once said that “my models are Jinnah and Mahathir of Malaysia.” After the Asian financial crisis of 1997, which Dr. Mahathir blamed on excessive speculation by certain Jewish Forex investors like George Soros, he became sympathetic to the gold dinar movement. While in office, he initiated efforts to adopt the Dinar in bilateral trade between Muslim countries, but after retirement, his views have further matured... (Embracing the Gold Dinar)

Does that remotely fit Farooq Tirmizi's sensational heading of "calls paper currency a jewish conspiracy"? There is a growing popularity for Islamic economics and the dinar movement has gained a great deal of support worldwide, even among non-Muslims. Here is a short sample of such support in Pakistan:

Men like Erdogan and Mahathir have come out in the open calling for an Islamic economic order. Even PTI, in the economic policy released on the 24th, specifies, perhaps for the first time in recent history, certain aspects of moving towards and Islamic economy, including Sukuk and debt markets. But it is clear that Mr. Farooq Tirmizi neither has respect for journalistic standards nor for Islam. He seems eager to shoot the PTI out of the water, yet another paid journalist whose job is to throw dirt on anything that challenges the American status quo in Pakistan. 

The closer you look at this chap the dirtier he gets, just from a short googling here is what turns up: he blames electricity problems in Pakistan on the people, has problems with televising the conversion of a hindu to Islam. is worried about Phillip Morris' (tobacco) business interests in Pakistan.... and the list goes on. 

Pandering to the views of such yellow journalism is probably not the way forward for PTI, as it would lose legitimacy when people begin to associate the party executive with these shady characters. Asad Umar's replies to him, and particularly in a "hey buddy" tone in this connection was a bad choice but Asad Umar probably needs more time to become media savvy. 

One may ask if it is not time for Pakistan and Pakistanis to second-guess themselves in regards to forcing a religiously neutral argument? Do we surrender religion and religious arguments to the TTP? And yet that is exactly what we are doing by pandering to the views of what Imran Khan in his latest book calls "liberal fanatics", and that too a yellow journalist suffering a self-respect deficit. Neither Secularism  nor religious dogmatism has a place in Imran Khan's vision. One can either move forward with that vision or get off the boat.
Vision Without Glasses


Post a Comment