Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review of a true Taliban newspaper

My father’s office gets many local and regional newspapers which I have never seen on any newspaper stall. One of them is monthly Juraar -  an Urdu newspaper published by the religious outfit Jamaatud Dawa. Everything in this newspaper is attractive in an odd way. I am going to call it Taliban Times from now onwards for easy reference.
All human faces in the images were blurred. One photograph in the newspaper showed a billboard. The faces of the people on the billboard were also blurred. I decided to call the Jhelum distributor of this newspaper. I asked him the reason behind the blurring of the picture. In a little condescending way, he curtly replied that Islam do not allow display of human faces.
I had realised that the person on the phoneline is a hardcore fundamentalist. All the news items in the four-page broadsheet newspaper are related to jihad in someway.
Headlines are quite catchy. The newspaper celebrates the killing of Indian soldiers by choosing the appropriate words in Urdu. A headline reads Mujahideen lay down (lauta diyaay) 15 kafirs (infidels), instead of Mujahideen kill 15 Indian troops.
The news about an Indian soldier committing suicide was given a cruel heading. The heading read, “Indian soldier finishes himself.”
The choice of pictures was a mixture of stale and funny images. This week’s edition contains a picture showing Mujahideen riding on a Russian tank during the Russian occupation days, whereas the caption is silent about the time and place of the picture. The caption only says that God’s will is being implemented in Afghanistan, through mujahideen.
On the backpage, there is a close up photo. The picture shows an M-16 assualt rifle’s magazine area. The holder of the gun has a cigarette between his fingers. The caption reads, “An American soldier smoking weed due to depression, in Afghanistan.” You can’t see any soldier in the picture let alone his nationality. I have never seen any camera lens that can tell about the drug content of a cigarette.
There was no mention of Taliban casualties in Afghanistan or Kashmir. The newspaper also gave some coverage to wikileaks. Only those leaks were published which showed that America and its allies are loosing control in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The newspaper was ironically silent on the ongoing military operation in the tribal areas of Pakistan, suggesting that its a mouth piece of an organisation which has no role in the insurgency in the tribal areas.

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