Media dramatisation panics nation, benefits terrorists: Nisar
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Thursday urged the electronic media to shun the practice of dramatising security-related issues and running sensational tickers, as such practices create panic in the society fulfilling terrorists’ agendas to disrupt normal life.
Giving a comprehensive plan to secure media houses, schools and markets against terrorist attacks, the minister said panic was witnessed in the entire city when a single bullet was fired off the premises of Waqar-un-Nisa Girls College, Rawalpindi on Wednesday.
“The media should demonstrate responsibility instead of indulging in a race to break news,” said Nisar. He said media channels dramatize information that ultimately help terrorists in creating fear and panic in the society.
He said the nation had won the war against terrorism but the psychological war between the people and terrorists was still going on. He directed the police to submit a complete report on the security of secure media houses, schools and markets within one week.
He further directed the police not to check documents of vehicles or issue tickets at the police pickets. In a meeting with the representatives of media houses, bureau chiefs of different TV channels, private schools, traders, senior officials of Islamabad police, CDA and district administration to review security arrangements in the capital city, the minister said the security forces had broken the back of terrorists.
He said the war on terror had shaped into a psychological war and the tactics of terrorists could only be contained through professionalism. Expressing displeasure at the performance of officials responsible for keeping public order, Nisar said the state machinery had become ineffective, as no official was willing to work with responsibility, commitment and dedication.
He said polices and strategies were being made for the last two and a half years but their implementation was very poor. Quoting a hand-grenade attack at the office of a news channel, the minister said a suspect roamed about the capital city and conducted the attack at 6pm but he was not intercepted anywhere in this sensitive city.
“The police need to pursue preemptive measures to ensure security measures and an SP should be assigned the task to focus on the security of schools, colleges and commercial areas.”
The minister also instructed the capital police to be polite to citizens and directed the police officials deputed at the security check points not to check the registration documents of vehicles but only of suspected vehicles.
He also directed the traffic police not to check vehicles and drivers at the check posts. Expressing annoyance at the misbehaviour of police, Nisar said he had never tasked any police official with his personal or political pursuits but even then their performance was not up to the mark.
He said extortion slips were being distributed in Peshawar and the traders had requested deployment of Rangers like in Karachi. The minister reiterated that this issue will be addressed with the mutual understanding of the KP government.
He also directed special chips for Islamabad-based vehicles to enter the Red Zone besides allocating a specific lane for such vehicles while all other vehicles will use other lanes for checking to enter the Red Zone.
The minister warned that if the local police officials could not ensure an effective security of Islamabad, they will be terminated. He also disclosed that 150 vehicles were being provided to the Islamabad Police and Rangers for patrolling.
He said meetings were being scheduled with the representatives of CPNE and APNS which are likely to be attended by the prime minister and army chief to devise a mechanism with the assistance of media for this psychological phase of war against terrorism.
“The media should keep boosting the morale of the nation, as it had done in the war of 1965. For this purpose, media channels should demonstrate responsibility in selecting content to go on air,” he said.
He said some news channels dramatized Bacha Khan University attack resulting in the closure of educational institutions. “We took a prompt action and reopened schools in Islamabad, as there were no such threat reports.”
Talking about educational institutions in Islamabad, the minister said a few days back he had taken notice of a news item about an order issued by the CDA for 350 educational institutions to shift from residential areas within 15 days.
“Considering difficulties of students, parents and the administrations of these institutes, I talked to the prime minister and suggested that a proper mechanism be devised to shift these institutions from residential areas of the capital city, as there were explicit instructions from the Supreme Court about the buildings of these educational institutions.”
He said the CDA chairman was noted for his honesty and integrity but what was the advantage of integrity when one could not use it for the benefit of the nation.
Nisar said the government was also considering providing services of Frontier Constabulary and Punjab Constabulary as private security apparatus for the schools, colleges and commercial areas. He said the government was also considering issuing limited licenses to the media persons for automatic weapons.