It is almost axiomatic to say that politicians who love media exposure inevitably come to grief. A carefully measured exposure is what’s required if one wants to avoid TV coverage’s sinister after-effects. This is what has happened to Pakistan’s ex-interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who used his position to hog broadcast networks more than the prime minister himself and kept talking beyond the point where his image remained untarnished. Now, after several long exposures, he has damaged himself beyond repair. The media verdict on his ministerial performance is an abysmal “F.”
The first rebuke he faced was his angry reaction—which he denies—to the abandonment of the “peace initiative” with the Taliban after the authority that had dictated it suddenly did a policy volte-face. He should have fallen in line instead of doing the double-take that proved him more loyal than the king. He didn’t even blink when the false-degree distributing company Axact was caught and punished abroad but was “rescued” as a TV channel in Pakistan with a slant that Khan favored. He was fond of saying his job as interior minister was both a science and an art, but the fallout from his actions—or lack thereof—was neither science nor art but simply low-IQ performance.
He said “copy” to most policies dictated by the establishment. He favored the outfits the world condemned as terrorists and preferred to isolate Pakistan internationally by committing boo-boos like “sectarian organizations are not involved in terrorism like the jihadi ones.” He rejected a Sindh government survey that highlighted 90 dangerous madrassas in Karachi. His non-action-as-bias was even more obvious in his decision to allow 401 madrassas—31 unregistered—to function within Islamabad. He let leaders of banned outfits visit him in his government office and thought nothing of his leader, ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, and his troubles with the establishment and was consequently not invited to important meetings.