In Pakistan, fourth estate meets fifth column

At a recent press conference, the BBC Urdu Service’s Masud Alam walked up to a tall, rugged man, with close-cropped hair, wearing a white salwar-kameez and leather sandals.

“Which paper are you with?”

He pretends not to have listened. Some of the reporters around us have heard me though, and they are now watching us with interest.

“Excuse me,” I persist. “I’m so and so. And you are?”

“I am not a journalist,” he says.

“Then what brings you to this press conference?”

“I work for Special Branch.”

The Fourth Estate is deeply penetrated by the Fifth Column, and the friction is beginning to show as President Pervez Musharraf decides, like all dictators everywhere, that if he has to latch on to power, the adhesive he will require is an assault on the freedom of the Press.

Read the full story here: Spooks and hacks in Pakistan

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