Wild speculations continue unabated

Ansar Abbasi
Sunday, Oct 10, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Speculations run wild on social media and it seems there is no realisation of how rumour mongering on sensitive issues can cause damage and create differences.

It is now the third day and yet, there is no end to conjectures of all types. Social media is unreliable but it influences minds and upsets people. Even fake news, like the possible dissolution of the assemblies, are also making rounds.

What is even more surprising is that there is no word available from any official authority to bring an end to widespread gossiping on an issue which is sensitive not only for both sides- the civil government and the military- but for others too. The prime minister’s aides, who regularly call out fake news on social media, are also unusually silent.

On Saturday, even Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Shehbaz Sharif had to comment on this speculation. Sharif named Prime Minister Imran Khan for hurting the institution, which he said is vital for the country and its defence.

Maulana insisted that despite their reservations on certain dealings of the establishment vis a vis its role in politics, they wanted to see the institution strong and disciplined, as this was critical for the defence of Pakistan.

Maulana asked what has this person who should be a symbol of unity, referring to Prime Minister Khan, done with this institution. He also mentioned that he was commenting on issues which he was seeing on social media.

A brief press release from the Prime Minister’s Office could end the speculation and the gossiping. But strangely, no such statement has been issued, further fueling all the rumours.

Defence sources claim that the issue of sensitive postings was discussed by the army chief with the prime minister, following which the premier gave his nod. They insist that as per standard practice, the ISPR made the announcements of these appointments, including that of new DG ISI. Certain procedural issues follow, these sources said, adding that at times issuance of notifications and actualisation of the transfer orders take some time.

These sources deny that they have any information about the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s alleged second thoughts about the key sensitive appointments.

“There is no truth in it,” one insider said, but added that only the PM’s Office could tell what the premier’s approvals were on the file.

The PM’s Office has not yet offered any word on the issue. There are some who insist that the issue has been settled and the prime minister just wanted some changes to take place after a few months.

However, even if some federal ministers confirm this off the record, they are not relevant and therefore everything that is said and heard is speculation unless it comes from the concerned offices.

In the past, there have been differences between the government and the establishment but leaving such matters and controversies unaddressed makes the situation worse.

The scandalous tweet - “notification rejected”- from a former DG ISPR and its serious fallouts for both the government and the military side was a perfect example of how social media can ruin the relationship between the two sides. It was encouraging to see the ISPR withdraw that notification but the damage already caused was irreparable.

Speculations on social media, if not attended, would lead this issue to become a point of discussion for the politicians as well as the mainstream media. It can be averted now but may become really complex with every passing day if not attended to by those who matter.