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Editorial comment can be a @%$

india Updated: Nov 12, 2007 22:53 IST

We, as one of the prime upholders of fine gentlemanly language, completely understand Imran Gardezi. Mr Gardezi, the Minister for Press at the Pakistan High Commission in London, is rightly upset about the Daily Telegraph’s description of Pervez Musharraf as something we can’t repeat in this newspaper. Mr Gardezi has termed the language used in the article as “offensive” and “derogatory”. The term that we can’t reprint here is unparliamentary. So kudos to Mr Gardezi for spotting it despite the Pakistani Parliament back home getting ready to be dissolved as part of Emergency precautions.

The Daily Telegraph mentioned the atrocious term not once, but twice: “In the old parlance, General Pervez Musharraf is ‘our [unprintable]’”; and “But that should not blind Britain and America to the fact that their ‘[unprintable]’ in Pakistan is a spent force.” Just in case the writer of the dastardly editorial thought that putting the unprintable term in quotes would make things all hunky dory, he or she is so wrong. Simply replicating what Cordell Hull, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of State, had allegedly stated about the US-friendly Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza (or, as some would have it, about Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Molino Trujillo) will just not do as a defence.

The Pakistani establishment pondered over whether to send out a similar description about the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. But with his predecessor Tony Blair not reacting violently to being described by the global media as “Bush’s poodle”, it was thought that throwing out three Daily Telegraph journalists from Pakistan would do the needful. Now with the job done and calmness having returned to London and Islamabad, let sleeping [unprintable] lie.