BBC Peddling Pak Fiction? Christine Fair Cut off by Channel For Saying Pakistan Supports Taliban

The BBC has come under fire after the network shot down C. Christine Fair, a scholar on South Asia, for speaking about Pakistan's jihad policy in Afghanistan during a programme.

The incident happened when BBC news presenter Philippa Thomas was discussing the Afghanistan situation and the role of Pakistan with Christine Fair. "What Pakistan wants (in Afghanistan) is an instability it can manage. Also, Pakistan will use the refugee story as part of its usual rent-seeking strategy. You see, Pakistan likes to be thought of as the fire brigade when Pakistan itself is the arsonist. And Pakistan will monetise this (crisis)," Fair said.

BBC News jobcuts
BBC News

Peddling Pak Fiction?

However, Thomas interjected saying Pakistan would 'absolutely deny' the allegations. "How do you know?" inquired Christine Fair but the presenter said Pakistan was wary of an 'unstable Afghnaistan'. Fair replied: "Pakistan has always been accepting of the risk... They have never been risk-averse. Whether you are looking at incredibly outrageous terror attacks in India or the support of the Taliban in the 1990s."

Thomas cut Fair off, citing that the show does not have a Pakistani diplomat. "Thank God, you don't (have a Pakistani diplomat)! Else, he would peddle his fiction," Fair said in response.

"You are doing their propaganda work," Fair told Thomas before she was cut off by the network.

"Really disappointing. @BBCWorld shutting down @CChristineFair as she tries to advance a cogent critique of Pakistan's role in Afghanistan. This is poor journalism; not what you expect from the Beeb," said Theo Farrell on Twitter.

"Shame on @bbcworldservice for not letting Georgetown University Prof. @CChristineFair finish answering the question. This is an example how if BBC censors Afghanistan analysis. It is a fact Pakistan supports Taliban, the Taliban leaders have Pakistani passports & work with ISI," Mariam Amini said.

'Quite Gross'

"Quite gross from @BBCNews: our "impartiality" doctrine was used to basically shut down @CChristineFair when she explained Pakistan's jihad policy in Afghanistan that has brought us all to this catastrophe — an issue on which there is no 'balance' or 'other side', factually", Kyle Orton said.

"How is it @PhilippaBBC's job to shut a guest down? Surely, she could have invited a Pakistani official later to give their view. As a news anchor, she should know that many people have the same analysis/view as @CChristineFair whether one agrees with it or not," former Pakistan diplomat Hussain Haqqani said.

(With inputs from IANS)