Handlers Coordinators and Butterers

In a major expose, Dailytimes, a leading Pakistani English daily, has reported about a covert Government operation to reign in columnists of Pakistani newspapers who have a history of writing negatively about the administration.

In a major PR exercise, the government of Shaukat Aziz has prepared a list of 33 columnists, writers and reporters in the English and Urdu print media of Pakistan and assigned its top “spin doctors” to neutralise the “negativism” of these writers by making them “soft and friendly”.

Some parts are hilarious:

Mr Rafi is also tasked with buttering up Khalid Hasan, the Washington-based correspondent of Daily Times and The Friday Times.

The others from Daily Times on the government’s “soft” hit list are Kamran Shafi (columnist) and Irfan Ghauri (reporter). Khaled Ahmad, the contributing editor of TFT, figures prominently in the line-up.

The military’s chief media manager, Major General Shaukat Sultan, has been asked to chasten Kamla Hyat, a human rights activist and columnist of The News.

The ‘secret’ list also mentions Rauf Klasra and Ansar Abbasi of The News and Mehtab Haider of The Nation, but doesn’t say who will “handle” them.

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In a recent interview, where Karan Thapar was grilling Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri by citing uncomfortable news reports from the Pakistani press, the minister had this to say:

It only shows Pakistan has a thriving independent media. Let me pay a compliment to them, actually.

Thanks to Dailytimes, I too must pay my compliments to them.

IBN is also carrying this story.
[tags]Pakistan, Media, Covert[/tags]