Musharraf urged to stop acting ‘petulant, childish’

June 14th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, June 14 (IANS) President Pervez Musharraf should desist from acting in a “petulant, childish manner” and accept the new reality that he was only a figurehead in the new dispensation, an editorial in a leading Pakistani daily said Saturday. “It is shocking, indeed wholly unacceptable, that the presidency continues to act in this petulant, childish manner,” The News said in an editorial titled “Underexposure”.

The comment was the fallout of a complaint Musharraf’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. (retd) Rashid Qureshi, made to Information Minister Sherry Rehman on state-owned PTV blacking out the president after a civilian government had assumed office.

Rashid made the complaint Thursday and the very next day Geo TV, an arm of the Jung group that publishes The News, made an open offer to Musharraf to air his views on the channel on a daily or weekly basis.

“Obviously, the head of state believes the role of PTV should revolve around projecting leaders, whether or not they hold any news value,” The News said.

“Musharraf still seems not to have realized that as a president stripped of most powers, he is no longer newsworthy and that people, who have seen too much of him over the past eight-and-a-half years, no longer wish to see him on their screens,” it added.

The newspaper also complimented Rehman for her stance that the state media would act in a balanced manner and aim to emulate the private TV channels, saying this “makes good professional sense”.

At the same time, the editorial noted that “under pressure from the president and his aides”, Geo was being asked by the authorities in Dubai, from where it uplinks, to take two popular news shows off air.

“This, of course, is a repetition of the events seen late last year (after Musharraf declared an emergency). One can only re-emphasize that such actions damage both the presidency and the standing of the media city in Dubai, which has become a hub for the international media,” The News said.

Noting that the “thirst for publicity seems insatiable”, the editorial said: “It is astounding how difficult it is for leaders to realize that excessive publicity can often have an extremely negative effect.

“Yet, like the legendary Narcissus, it seems these leaders never tire of gazing at their own images. The fact that the president, who under the constitution is not the prime decision-maker, should still be attempting to throw his weight around is also disturbing,” the editorial added.

“The president is completely unwilling to accept the role of a figurehead and is, instead, determined to cling on to power, using and misusing along the way props such as PTV,” the strong editorial maintained.

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