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Balancing News on Pakistan

September 16, 2009

CNN refreshingly shifts the context of current discourse on Pakistan by reporting on female recruitment to the Pakistani Air Force. A story published this week highlights Ms. Ambreen Gul’s experience with the Pakistani air force as “one of seven women trained to fly Pakistan’s F-7 supersonic fighter jets”. Gul describes her experience as both positive and productive. Air Force cadet Ms. Sharista Beg also explains:

“To tell you the truth I’ve been given equal opportunity or I suppose more than men have been given,”

I refer to the story as refreshing because given that news is largely focused on macro level, security issues dealing with the war in Afghanistan and how it relates and spills over into Pakistan, the image we have of Pakistan is imprecisely bleak.

Of course macro level security issues in which our troops are directly engaged rightfully take priority over other news stories on Pakistan, but the unintended consequences of viewing this country as such and simply in terms of the “War on Terror”, “Taliban”, “fundamentalism” or “militancy” is a reduced understanding of what we are dealing with in our engagement there.

So I applaud CNN for balancing information with their story on Fighter Pilot Gul. Hopefully news outlets will continue to publish reports that allow a more accurate picture of what is a largely moderate Pakistan. Because a more accurate picture can only help us understand our situation there. In fact, the article concludes well, citing specifics of how the Pakistani air force works in line with our objectives:

“They’re training in counterinsurgency, collecting aerial intelligence and targeting militant strongholds in the treacherous mountains of Pakistan’s tribal region along the Afghan border”

The nebulous Afghan-Pakistan border has become the front lines in our War on Terror making it easy to forget that Pakistan, just like us fights diligently against fundamentalism and militancy with their resources, troops and morale. We want to uproot terror to bring our troops home and secure interests in the long run, likewise Pakistan shares this long term goal and in addition, has an immediate interest in obliterating militancy for actual day-to-day security. The CNN article does a fine job of reporting in this instance and prompts us to realize that cooperation is key.

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2 comments

  1. […] holes in this work leave us feeling empty as we peer into the darkness and depth of these wounds. Kudos once again CNN for reporting on one of the many persevering stories out of Pakistan during these testing […]

    Like


  2. […] holes in this work leave us feeling empty as we peer into the darkness and depth of these wounds. Kudos once again CNN for reporting on one of the many persevering stories out of Pakistan during these testing […]

    Like



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