Home TA Online Post-election Pakistan in the shadow of Western hypocrisy

Post-election Pakistan in the shadow of Western hypocrisy

The US and its allies have no moral authority to speak about democracy and human rights after they turned a blind eye to the Gaza genocide

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Pakistan’s general election has concluded with the main political parties now trying to build a viable coalition to form the next government.

The election came on the heels of political instability triggered by a no-confidence vote made against then-Prime Minister Imran Khan in March 2022.

He was ousted the following month and swiftly sought a fresh election. But he was later sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment on a corruption charge.

The election was a tense contest riddled with polling irregularities, internet restrictions and a slew of legal cases.

Such a situation is obviously disturbing, as the right of voters in Pakistan to make an informed choice at the ballot box might have been undermined by certain quarters’ political interference. Free and fair elections could have been compromised.

The US and its European allies, who style themselves as guardians of democracy, felt it was incumbent on them to remind the Pakistani authorities to ensure an even playing field and to respect human rights.

These basic rights include the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of association and the right to peaceful assembly. Respect for such rights is expected in a democratic system.

The snag is such concerns by these Western nations ring hollow. They should first heed their own advice. Sure, their concerns are apt and vital, but these nations lack the moral authority to make such a call. They themselves have mocked human rights and ignored international human rights law in other situations. So their concern is pure hypocrisy.

In fact, several Western governments have themselves restricted dissent in their own countries in the wake of the genocidal Zionist assault in Gaza. Pro-Palestinian protests have been banned or obstructed. Dissidents have been threatened with arrests. They also risk losing their jobs or being expelled from campus if they expressed solidarity with the besieged Palestinians.

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These Western nations not only did not demand an end to the Israeli carnage in Gaza. They have even provided material aid, arms assistance and diplomatic cover for the barbaric Zionist killings of Palestinians – which amount to war crimes and violate international human rights law.

To maintain the facade of a law-abiding Israel, Western corporate media portray the nation in a positive light – despite the genocide taking place in Gaza. They chant the mantras of the Zionist regime, while paying lip service to press freedom and investigative journalism. These propaganda machines use misleading narratives to cover up the uncomfortable truth of Israeli atrocities.

But all is not lost.

Courageous social media users, particularly those operating in Gaza, have tirelessly provided real-time accounts of what is happening in the crowded, heavily bombed Strip.

Conscientious social media users in the West also help to educate the ignorant. They point out the ruthlessness that accompanies the Zionist settler colonisation project in Palestine. They take pains to stress that being critical of the Zionist regime does not mean they are anti-Jewish or antisemitic.

So it is obscenely ironic for the Western powers to deplore attacks on media workers in Pakistan, particularly during its just concluded election. Where was their outrage when Zionist forces murdered at least 126 Palestinian journalists who bravely covered the carnage in Gaza since 7 October? Truth is not only the first casualty in war but, in the Gazan case, so were the journalists.

The Western patronising attitude would have been funny had it not involved the barbaric murders in Gaza of innocent civilians – including babies, children and women – aided and abetted by the Western powers. The last count was over 28,000 Palestinians massacred.  

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Imagine, the governments of these Western nations were disturbed by the internet restrictions in Pakistan. Yet, they looked the other way when the Zionist regime imposed similar communications restrictions in Gaza.

Worse, the Western powers were unruffled when Tel Aviv decided to cut water, food and fuel supplies to Gaza. This has exacted immense suffering and starvation among the Palestinians. The lack of clean drinking water, adequate sanitation, food, warm clothing, proper shelter and medical aid is a nightmare. Many Palestinians are dying of disease, malnutrition and exposure to the elements.

So it’s a bit rich for the Western powers to call out the Pakistani authorities for their violation of democratic norms when they simply have no moral leg to stand on.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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Dr Mustafa K Anuar, a longtime executive committee member and former honorary secretary of Aliran, is, co-editor of our newsletter. He obtained his PhD from City, University of London and is particularly interested in press freedom and freedom of expression issues. These days, he is a a senior journalist with an online media portal
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