Is the Islamabad lockdown plan a conspiracy? Media speculates!

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Right-wing political party, Jamiat Ulema Islam (F)’s proposed plan to lay siege to the capital offers so much for media consumption. Conspiracies and speculations follow as usual.

The party had announced a lockdown of Islamabad to protest against the government.

An opinion piece in Daily Dunya by Munir Ahmad Baloch said Jamiat Ulema Islam (F) has decided to defer its plan to November over advice of some prominent personality. He implied that this is being done in collusion with Indian spy agency RAW to fail Kartarpur corridor project which is set to be inaugurated in November.

“There is no need to explain on whose advice the sit in is being postponed to November”, the writer says. “RAW is actively working to fail Kartarpur corridor as well as the movement for the liberation of Kashmir”, he said.

Screenshot of Munir Ahmad Baloch’s op-ed in Daily Dunya

The writer also accused JUI-F head Maulana Fazlur Rehman of acting as a mouthpiece for  RAW and India against the Kartarpur corridor. Munir Baloch however didn’t provide any proof to substantiate his accusations.

The lockdown plan spurred another conspiracy theory in the aftermath of an unfortunate event in Balochistan.

On Saturday, September 28, 2019 an IED explosion killed JUI-F leader, Maulana Muhammad Hanif along with three others in Chaman, Balochistan.

The incident sparked speculations in social as well as mainstream media, which perceived it as a coded message for the party leadership to scrap the lockdown plan or face consequences.

The conspiracy rode on the back of an earlier statement of the Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad. Soon screenshots of the statement started making rounds on social media wherein he said advised Maulana Fazlur Rehman not to venture into hot grounds or he will lose his legs.

His statement was shared along with the news, reporting on the killing of Maulana Hanif.

The allegations were also echoed by right leaning newspaper Daily Ummat, which carried a joint statement by a number of religious leaders who called for questioning Sheikh Rashid Ahmad as well during investigation into the killing of Maulana Hanif and others.

A screengrab of Daily Ummat story

The major issue with all these allegations and speculations is that they leave the burden of proof to their target, while taking a toll on their reputation with impunity. They also add to socio-political uncertainty, which has far bigger and wider consequences for the country.

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