Saturday, 18 August 2012

A picture of Pakistan: by the New York times

..and Imran Khan

by Takhalus

On the 16th of August 2012, the New York Times published a profile piece on Imran Khan probably the 10,000th piece on him. Titled Imran Khan must be doing something right by Pankaj Mishra. The piece covered a look at his increasing popularity and his chances in Pakistan's expected elections.
After the 10,000th profile on him. Writers should move on to copy and paste to save time.

Here is what it did not do, it did not bother to check its facts: So for example they write describing Imran Khan  '  an elite that disdained their poor, Urdu-speaking compatriots. '. 

In fact Pakistan  is a country of an estimated 72 languages and Urdu the national language (while understood widely) is  spoken by 7.5% of the population. 

Here is another bit of irony for you:

'Talking to the young fans, I discovered an almost-mystical reverence for Khan. Many of them were cricket enthusiasts who recalled Khan’s exploits with awe, especially his captaincy of the team that won Pakistan the Cricket World Cup in 1992 — the country’s greatest sporting success. '

Which is all true but it sort of clashes with this next line:

this new generation of Pakistanis — more than 60 percent of the population is below age 25 .'

Which makes  60% of them 3 years old at the time of his win?


Remember New York Times: Google is your friend
And here you have this lovely description of the district of Mianwali: 'Given the setting, a region adjacent to the tribal areas where the C.I.A.’s drones are perennially hovering' 

Adjacent to the tribal areas? Mianwali is 91 miles from Miram Shah in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, crossing the districts of Lakki Marwat and Bannu, a part of the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. 

This basic lack of understanding of geography  is repeated once again when describing his potential supporters.

'hold up one end of Khan’s diverse fan base that also includes lower-middle-class youth from small Punjabi towns and the tribal regions of the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. ' 

Playing fast and loose with the term tribal areas here, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province  in Pakistan is made of 17 million people, led by a coalition government which has opposed the Taliban. In fact in 1998 an estimated 17% of the population lived in the urban areas and that number must have increased dramatically since.

All in all these basic errors should have been checked by someone in the New York Times.
If Imran Khan is doing something right, that is more then I can say for the New York Times.


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