Pakistan parties wage bitter media wars, campaigning ends

February 16th, 2008 - 6:38 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, Feb 16 (IANS) Pakistan political parties were engaged in a bitter media campaigning, charging one another of betraying the people as electioneering for the Monday polls ended Saturday. Two factions of Pakistan Muslim League (PML) in their respective newspaper adverts asked the people not to vote for those who deceived Pakistan.

“Do not vote for those who fled the country for their own interests,” reads an ad from The PML-Quaid, which supports President Pervez Musharraf. The ad was published in all major Urdu dailies.

“Had we succeeded in creating Pakistan if Muslim League vote was divided during the division of sub-continent?” reads another PML-Q ad published in the daily Jang and other newspapers.

The advertisement in Urdu referring to the PML-N of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif says a faction of people was dividing the PML vote to benefit anti-state elements.

The PML-Q is a pro-Musharraf faction, formed after a split in the then ruling PML following a bloodless military coup in 1999 led by then army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf. The coup toppled Sharif’s elected government and also forced him to over eight-year exile in Saudi Arabia and Britain.

Another PML-Q ad asks people not to vote for those who are siding with the party that is responsible for splitting the country into two - a reference to creation of Bangladesh, which PML-Q blames on the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Advertisements by the PML-N carried photographs of deposed chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and leading lawyers being beaten and pushed around by personnel of law enforcing agencies. “You will not see this again,” reads the advertisement.

Without naming the rival party, the ad warns the PML-Q of its end. “Doomsday for you has arrived. Enough is enough. You suspended judges, killed people who were studying the holy Quran, you violated human rights, you violated constitution… now get ready for the doomsday.”

There are several ads by other parties like the Pakistan Peoples Party PPP, Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) and some by individual candidates. But all of them are directly seeking votes during the Feb 18 polls, unlike the ads of two Muslim League faction.

The four major political parties - the PPP, both factions of the PML and the MQM - have also purchased chunks of air time in electronic media.

The audiovisuals on all TV channels have background songs by leading folk singers like Abrarul Haq and Shaukat Ali.

The PML-Q’s ad starts with Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah calling upon youth to work for the country.

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