Pakistan, despite all the social, political and economic drawbacks, has progressed to a stage where there is a Constitution which is the Supreme charter reflecting the people’s will. The state has five pillars: parliament, judiciary, executive, armed forces and the Press. Affairs of the State would run smoothly if all the five pillars are strong and run within their respective orbits. This discipline could be kept if the role of each is well defined and no one would cross the mutual limits.

I became a journalist in 1956 while in London. Naseem Hijazi, who was the Chief Editor of Daily Kohistan Rawalpindi, wrote to me and offered me the position of a Correspondent abroad. I used to write A Letter From The West. This gave me a very large spectrum to cover. The very first thing I had to learn as a journalist was that freedom of Media without limits is not freedom. When these limits were not self-imposed they became curbs and were resisted by the journalists. In this respect the names that come to my mind are Maulana Zafer Ali Khan of Daily Zamidar Lahore, Abdul Majeed Salik of Daily Inqalab Lahore, Hameed Nizami of Daily Nawa-i-Waqt Lahore and Majid Nizami of Daily Nawa-i-Waqt Lahore and The Nation. Shorash Kashmiri was another defiant voice. They all faced the curbs of the government during their respective periods. Today the picture has entirely changed. The freedom of the Media in Pakistan, print and electronic, could be favourably compared with that of Britain. It is, however, not the Media’s job to promote a certain viewpoint or a certain leader. Media at it’s best is the mirror of all the segments of society. I see some journalists trying to use their positions in order to promote certain leaders or a certain viewpoint and thus fall short of the standards or responsibility.

Take for example the appointment of Gen Raheel Sharif as the 15th Army Chief. It is a matter of Prime Minister’s discretion. He advises the President who actually appoints the Army Chief. Various factors play their role. Seniority is only one of them. In this case five Lt. Generals were proposed to the Prime Minister, and the three on top were competing competently. He has chosen one of them and the matter ends there. I am amazed to see this matter becoming a topic of discussion on some of the channels. The other day, I was watching a private news channel, where the anchorperson was expressing his personal preference. One has to be in the army or an expert on the army affairs to comment on the issue.

The General in question this time is Gen Raheel Sharif. I have known him and his views about Pakistan, personally, during my visits home when he was the Commandant of Pakistan Military Academy Kakul. I find him a calm, composed, competent, professional soldier. He was grooming the cadets at the Academy in the mould of Pakistan ideology. That the loyalty to Pakistan runs in his blood is immensely reflected by two Nishan-e-Haider in the family; Major Aziz Bhatti and Major Shabbir Sharif. So on this point the Prime Minister’s choice is the right one.

A political process has been set in. Let us strengthen it and we shall overcome the challenges. There is a light at the end, though of a very long tunnel.”

Media has, no doubt, an important role to play in the re-construction of a ‘homeland’ that we were in 1947, united as never before under one flag, the flag of Pakistan. So help us God!

The writer is an overseas Pakistani since June 1955. He retired as Managing Director of Industry and Business Development Consortium, Sharjah     and Liechtenstein.