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Peace journalism researcher warns on turmoil repercussions in Pakistan



Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Yvonne Brill of the Pacific Media Centre

The Taliban attack on a Pakistan naval base this week and the death of Osama bin Laden in the country will have ongoing repercussions for both the government and people, says a New Zealand-based Pakistani journalist and media educator.

Speaking on Radio Australia’s Breakfast show today, Rukhsana Aslam was commenting as part of an on-air forum discussion on recent news events in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I feel it is the start of greater turmoil for Pakistan,” said Aslam, who warned that Bin Laden’s death would have a significant impact on how the Pakistani people viewed their government.

“It will have great repercussions. It will increase the anti-US sentiment of the people, and will widen the gap between the government and the people.”

Presented by Phil Kafcaloudes, the panel included Aslam; Ravi Veloo, a journalist and media educator from Singapore; and Girish Sawlani, acting Radio Australia correspondent for the Pacific region.

News reports say 10 security officials were killed and 15 injured during the Mehran naval base attack in Karachi. At least two maritime surveillance aircraft were destroyed.

The attack lasted 16 hours before being quelled yesterday afternoon.

The radio panel acknowledged that the Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sawlani suggested the attack was planned to show that Osama bin Laden’s death on May 2 had not weakened their organisation.

“This could possibly be the beginning of attacks to come,” he said.

The panel discussed the political and diplomatic repercussions of Bin Laden’s death for the Pakistan government, with Kafcaloudes saying the US decision not to inform Pakistani officials about the raid would strain diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Rukhsana Aslam

Rukhsana Aslam ... peace researcher at AUT University's Pacific Media Centre. Photo: PMC

Aslam, a Pakistani peace journalism doctoral researcher at AUT University’s Pacific Media Centre, predicted problems for the Pakistan government.

“It is a humiliation for the Pakistani defence forces,” she said.

“It is going to create a whole wave and spill over.”

Other topics discussed by the panel included the confirmation that an Australian solider had been killed during an incident in Afghanistan overnight and recent comments from UN Human Rights Commissioner regarding the legality of Australia’s planned refugee exchange deal with Malaysia.

Before attack, Pakistan’s Navy boasted of role in fight against Taliban

Peace journalism seminar at the PMC on June 7

Radio Australia