Owen Bennett Jones is a free lance journalist who hosts one of the programs in a global media channel. If you check is profile. His main contribution to the literary community is his book “Pakistan : Eye of the Storm” . A book touching on the serge of Talibanization in the country written in 2002-3 followed by new editions over years. Also, if you see he has been showing keen interest all these years in the affairs of the country. Interesting to be in case you are a foreign journalist.
He is seen as pointing fingers against Pakistan Army for the many issues faced in Pakistan. So much so in one of his books . He correlates our Army to Lord Shiva seen as the sustainer as well as a destroyer of Pakistan. He was seen actively accusing ISI post Osama Bin Laden’s episode. But though he has been so much actively keeping an eye on the country. His claim to fame came once he started accusing MQM for the murder of Dr. Imran Farooq who was one of the founding members of the party.
Initially, I just ignored his overtures against MQM knowing that he is a free lance journalist and not necessarily represents the view of the media channel who ran the documentary against MQM last year and that may be some of his friends in the Pakistani media who would like to put pressure on MQM to withdraw from the PPP government would have done so since may be they would like to play behind the scenes . Also, possibly he may be good friends with our Tsunami Bhabi i.e. Jemima Khan and though she is no more married to Imran Khan but bearing his two sons still feels she has a right to interfere in the Pakistani government. It looks like the populist evening newspaper style reporting that he has done in the video doubts me to believe that such a channel would be behind such a low quality produced video; having ardently myself following it for many years but I am sure they had to give in to him for some reasons which maybe contractual or otherwise.
But what made me sit and do more desk research on the gentlemen was the coincidence of his new documentary which he stated as part 2 against MQM and its leadership right at the time when peace negotiations got kicked off with Taliban and MQM is seen as the only party voicing its concerns with the same. The strategy to distract MQM so that instead of charging against such negotiations. They are left with defending their own reputation. Our proud Pakistan Army who has given thousands of lives in sustaining Pakistan’s strata for the people of Pakistan in line with the vision of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had only one party seemingly on their side opposing negotiations and that was MQM as the rest out of reasons known to them only submitted to the same surprisingly PPP who came into power only when Benazir Bhutto was killed by Taliban. As per reports in the media . I am sure the army which was purportedly ready for action and being a major stakeholder seen quiet on the issue till now must have been taken aback. So it looks like that the new offensive against MQM was timed in concurrence to those in tune with the negotiations at the top be done.
Recently , Mr. Jones wrote a piece a few days ago and reportedly stated and confirmed that he was in contacts with people who are close to Taliban and discussed at length the implications of the drone strikes in the province of KPK. A leading local Pakistani newspaper carried the story. Now if you think of it the news piece was published in sync with at the same time when PTI was kick starting their anti drone campaign . I am sure Mr. Jones had nothing to do with the same and it was just an innocent coincidence. I am also very much surprised to see that as per his claims he has links to Taliban which I am sure is only for his professional purposes.
But as we all know that there is nothing like a free lunch in the world. The question is what Mr. Jones had to pay in return for getting important news from the other side. Also, it makes me wonder what has been the reason for Mr. Jones for interfering in Pakistan and his only book as I can find on the web makes me think that unless he was born here which he was not. Unless he had a daughter or son in law from here which isn’t . What other reason he could have in interfering in Pakistan’s domestic political issues instead of hitting on Pakistan’s recent policy stand on Taliban though he had been very vocal about it?
I sometimes wonder. Does he really understand what role Dr. Imran Farooq played during the 90’s operation? Why was he under hiding and where he has been hiding? I am sure he would have researched on that . Further, he wants to make me believe that Altaf Hussein knowingly his situation where he is at the blade of the sword for much trivial issues would be naive enough to take a shot at Dr. Imran Farooq and that too a day before his birthday . He wants me to believe that knowing that Scotland Yard is a tough agency who has cracked much more difficult cases and that too against Al Qaeda and their likes. Any one would be insane enough to deliver such a deadly attack in the heart of Britain though whatever could have been the political rivalry if there was any. Further, Mr. Jones wants me to believe that Scot Land Yard who has solved many grave murder mysteries have not been able to solve this one all these years. The proof is that Mr. Hussein has not been formally charged or even referred to in this case. I wonder who gave the right to Mr. Jones to accuse anyone of a murder when the judicial system is yet to do the same. Many questions like this come to my mind and that of many if you think progressively and without bias.
So all it makes me believe that the recent attack on MQM and Altaf Hussein right at the outset of the negotiations with Taliban and drawing parallel to the above proximity to the anti MQM elements in the country who want to wash their dirty linen abroad. Maybe he had to write it to please his friends who have been giving him intelligence on Pakistan all these years as definitely he is not a friend of Pakistan as well; as he has been accusing ISI on having links to Al Qaeda and Mumbai attacks etc. Maybe it could be that his friends in Taliban camp would have asked him as a strategy to release this video to distract MQM so that they pursue their course of insanity. In that case , I wonder what does he get in return. I am sure it does not come for free.
My view on this is simple. PTI who has strong friends abroad is behind this smear campaign as they try to kill two birds with one stone. One maligning MQM and Two pursuing with the desire of negotiating with Taliban as per their election promises. I am sure what ever the case its not in the interest of Pakistan. As for Mr. Jones who was a lesser known brand name in Pakistan is more known now. I am sure he is biased as he has not done his journalistic home work in detail otherwise he could have understood the motive well behind the Dr. Imran Farooq murder and who benefitted the most from it. Its definitely not MQM and Altaf Hussein from any angles. I am sure had he researched the history and the recent past . He could have ascertained. I am sure he is hanging to his ego as I am sure at this day and age . He cannot go back on his story and loose his credibility and may be his job. What I am confused with is that why is he aligning with the same mindset in Pakistan against MQM who has been an ally in the war against terror? Why is he allying with those like TTP and Co who have killed UK’s sons and daughters during 7/7 and in Afghanistan.
I am sure he has chosen a price which we would all soon know or may be its part of a blanket deal and hitting MQM is an agenda knowing the animosity which TTP has against MQM knowing that it’s the only party standing between them and absolute route in the country and especially Karachi. I hope logic would prevail. I hope the drama of negotiation would end. I hope Mr. Jones gets his price and I hope he fails in his effort to derail Pakistan . Pakistan Zindabad!