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Media divided on Lahore attack

While Pakistan’s print media has been careful in identifying those behind Tuesday’s attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, local TV channels have been quick to play the blame game. Kamal Siddiqi reports.

world Updated: Mar 05, 2009 00:33 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

While Pakistan’s print media has been careful in identifying those behind Tuesday’s attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, local TV channels have been quick to play the blame game.

Popular channels Geo TV and Express News have been hinting at an Indian involvement, with analysts openly blaming India for the attacks.

Former ISI chief, retired General Hamid Gul argued that “only India can benefit from these attacks as it shows Pakistan in a bad light.”

Defence analyst Dr Shirin Mazari commented that all hands “point to India” on the attack. “The speed with which Pranab Mukherjee said that Pakistan should dismantle its terror network, within hours of the attack, suggests that it is an Indian orchestrated affair,” she told Express News.

The Express News channel, one of the most popular channels in the country, commented that there was a deep sense of disappointment among Pakistanis at the lack of sympathy from India over the Lahore attacks. Some people established a connection between this apathy and a possible Indian hand in the attacks.

The print media seemed more restrained in jumping to conclusions. The Lahore based newspaper Nation reported that if blame had to be ascertained, it should start with the vacuum created in the law enforcement agency which was in a state of disarray after the sacking of the Punjab government, a situation which the attackers took advantage of.

The Daily Dawn commented that the attack might have been carried out by those who wanted to destabilise Pakistan, also suggesting that the threat to the nation could be internal.

In its editorial, The Daily News observed that the attack comes at a critical time for Pakistan when it is already in a state of crisis.

Most newspapers talked of problems within the country and admitted that the attack could not be entirely blamed on external elements.