Geo TV offers Musharraf a platform


Islamabad : Private broadcaster Geo TV has offered to air the views of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as his coverage on the state-run media has been severely curtailed.

Support TwoCircles

The offer came after presidential spokesperson Maj. Gen. (retd) Rashid Qureshi met Information Minister Sherry Rehman and complained about the unannounced ban by the state media on Musharraf’s coverage.

Geo News “was ready to convey any message of the president to the people of the country and the world”, it said in a statement posted on its website Friday.

Geo News was also willing to conduct a daily or weekly programme “in accordance with the wishes of the president” adding “it believes in the free expression of opinion”.

Shorn of his military uniform and his power diminished by the Feb 18 general election, Musharraf has literally vanished from the two dozen TV news channels that used to hang on to his every word and gesture for the nearly eight years that he ruled Pakistan.

Switch on any of the proliferating news channels in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, and it is the new civilian rulers of Pakistan who are basking in the media spotlight and not the once all-powerful media-savvy general.

Musharraf gets briefly flashed on TV screens when there is a story speculating about a deal being struck to get rid of the man who sent into exile Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif – two of the towering leaders of the present dispensation.

He is also not seen much at public functions and appears to be slipping away from the media glare.

There is no deliberate blackout of Musharraf from news channels. But those who call the shots in these networks are perhaps getting back at Musharraf, who brought in a special ordinance to crack down on defiant journalists after the imposition of emergency in November last year.