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Ethnic clashes take a backseat in media

Pakistan’s broadcast media has gone into overdrive with commentators and analysts trying to figure out what the country’s response should be to the Mumbai attacks and the Indian government’s statements of a Pakistani involvement.

world Updated: Dec 03, 2008 23:23 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

Pakistan’s broadcast media has gone into overdrive with commentators and analysts trying to figure out what the country’s response should be to the Mumbai attacks and the Indian government’s statements of a Pakistani involvement.

There is much that people want to say. Some advocate sending a strong Pakistani delegation to explain things. Others disagree.

Absar Alam a commentators at the newly launched Duniya News channel says that the summoning of the ISI chief to India was a slap on the face of the Pakistani security apparatus.

Another analyst pointed out that Indians were being unfair and very “quick to change stances” when it came to relations with Pakistan.

One day, he said, we are talking peace and another day we talk only war. Generally, the consensus that emerged was that Pakistanis were shocked at the events in Mumbai but also said that the Indian government needs to look within its borders for motives.

The print media, too, took the line that the hype created by some Indian news channels only made matters worse in bad times.

Then there was talk of an imminent showdown between the two countries. Politicians and the public have been quoted by different media in saying that they were united “in the face of an Indian attack”.

But as it became clearer that India has no plans to attack Pakistan, the media changed its tone as well. In all this media frenzy, another tragedy that is unfolding in Pakistan got scant coverage. So far, 40 people have died as a result of ethnic clashes in Karachi.

As the Mumbai blasts remained the focus of the media, there was little highlighted about how hundreds of people have been displaced within Karachi following the attacks by different ethnic groups on the houses and shops of people of other communities.

Their plight remains ignored so far.