This is regarding Saroop Ijaz’s latest masterpiece; Game of Drones. While I enjoy baseless allegations as much as the next person, I could not help but notice that Mr. Ijaz was particularly flamboyant in labelling Imran Khan “cowardly” and accusing him of not only surrendering before the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, but also “elevating their ideology of murder to the mainstream”.
The esteemed lawyer, however, has based his rather unsavoury characterization of Imran Khan on two flimsily constructed falsehoods.
For one, Saroop claimed that Imran Khan “has sought and successfully received the permission of the Taliban” for his march. This is tantamount to taking most indecent liberties with the truth and there is no story filed by this newspaper that suggests otherwise. Second is the claim that the PTI received an “offer of protection from the militants”, which is also a, blatant and most obnoxious, lie. This newspaper carried a story confirming that it is indeed a distasteful falsehood.
If the exalted lawyer had spent a little less time looking up words like “nihilism” and a little more time checking facts, the glaring errors and their implied apocalyptic consequences could have been avoided. There is though scant evidence to suggest Mr. Ijaz wasn’t familiar with the facts, i.e. the lying wasn’t on purpose.
These two utterly incorrect statements allow Saroop to go on what is a thinly veiled slandering rant against an imagined foe. As unmerciful as he is dishonest, Mr. Ijaz creates a whole host of hypothetical scenarios where Imran Khan is colluding with the Taliban in every atrocity imaginable, and adds yet more lies along the way.
For example, at one point in his grand stand against the forces of evil, Mr. Ijaz claims “Mr Khan and other anti-drone activists lump them together with terrorists”, them being the “innocent who died as collateral damage to drone strikes”.
Let me belabour the obvious; not only is Saroop astonishingly nonsensical, he is also despicably dishonest. It takes a special kind of demented Neanderthal to make such an accusation.
The activists who have worked to highlight civilian deaths while Mr. Ijaz watched with glee as drones fought “these militants” (Yes, he turns drone apologist and labels everyone militant IN THIS VERY ARTICLE) do not deserve such vile slander. Neither does a leader who called on the USA to reveal identities of drone victims so we know the militant from the innocent.
It is no doubt “contemptuous and contemptible” to accuse the very people struggling to separate innocent and guilty of doing the exact opposite. Shame, or for that matter dignity, appear alien to Saroop.
Now, the lazy explanation for these factual inconsistencies would be that Saroop Ijaz is a pathological liar with an unhealthy bias against the barbaric Imran Khan. However, we must not rush to conclusions, as there are other plausible explanations for Saroop’s latest intellectual obscenity.
Consider the fact that Imran Khan asked for security from the tribes of Waziristan. Now it wouldn’t be wholly unreasonable to assume that Saroop is a CIA operated drone and mistook the tribals for militants, a very common issue with these mechanical remote weapons of destruction. If that is the case Saroop should be taken into custody by the relevant authorities for reverse engineering.
In the highly unfathomable circumstance that Saroop Ijaz is steadfast in his statements; an even more disconcerting scenario arises. Saroop Ijaz then most probably is a member of the TTP, for how else would he be privy to secret TTP information not available in the public sphere. With a heavy heart, ET should hand him over to the police for questioning.
An interesting theory that cannot be ruled out is that this was the first in a series of “what if” columns from Mr. Ijaz. In that the events he mentions have no basis in this reality, they might have taken place in an alternate universe and Saroop feels most obliged to decipher their impact and implications on that parallel dimension. So vociferous is the man’s appetite for knowledge that our single, linear version of reality appears most discombobulating to him.
All so fascinating.
In closing it must be stressed that printing an article that is no less than an accusation of aiding and abetting terrorism, against a public figure on a peace march no less, is a very serious matter. Doing so relying on assumptions, based in turn on complete lies and invented facts, not to mention Neanderthal logic, is graver still.
It is therefore to be expected that Express Tribune check the alarming quantity of lies and appalling quality of bias in their columns. Hiring thesaurus savvy delusional hate-mongers is a most inadvisable endeavour.