I have many good friends amongst Pakistan's journalist community. People who have taken great risks to report the news in a country where the ISI in particular considers it a grave insult to report anything that criticises their activities. Therefore I cannot blame working journalists for the Pakistan media's shocking response to the murder of 15 Frontier Constabulary jawans by the TTP two days ago (see below).
To call the response muted would be a gross understatement. The deaths - each of the murdered men had dozens of bullet holes in his body and many had been mutilated - have been almost completely ignored by the main media in Pakistan. Most papers reported the story way down the page and by the day following the gruesome event, it was not even being mentioned by the major satellite news channels.
There have been no rallies condemning the killings, no statements from the major political parties and a deafening silence from the military itself.
This despite the fact that the TTP said these killings were 'revenge' for an army operation in Khyber, in which a prominent TTP commander and some of his men were killed. (A translation of their statement, published by Flashpoint Partners, can be found here.) “We will soon take revenge for other operations too", said TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Khan, effectively taunting the Pakistan Army. Does he not know that it is forbidden in Islam to kill prisoners? That mutilation is a crime against both his religion and against humanity?
I could only find one newspaper - the Express Tribune - that had even printed the names of the dead men. For the record, they were: Lance Naik Nisar Gul, Ali Ameer Naib Subaidar, Shakeel Gul, Rajid Khan, Muhammad Arif, Khan Talab, Ajeem Khan, Amjid Ali, Tayyab, Riwayat, Uzair Ali, Sabit Khan, Shafiur Rehman, Bacha Khan and Bawar Khan. Eleven of the deceased men belonged to the Mallagori area of Khyber Agency while three were from Shabqadar and one from DI Khan. Lions led by donkeys, as someone once said.