As the hype surrounding Imran Khan’s momentous rally at the Meenar-e-Pakistan in Lahore dies down, and other issues, not least the verdict in the cricket spot fixing trial, take centre stage, I took advantage of a couple of hours of down time to research how the PTI rally was seen by the foreign media.
Internationally, the event was noticed. The Arab Spring it was certainly not, but it did get a fair amount of media coverage overseas.
In the UK, the broadsheet newspapers were generally interested, while none of the tabloids, not surprisingly, paid any attention. One thing that did surprise me, though, was the absence of any news on the main BBC News website. Of course, the BBC Urdu website did extensively cover it, but I could not find anything on the main BBC News site. I couldn’t hazard a guess as to why that might be the case, but it was something that puzzled me at the time and continues to do so now.
The Daily Telegraph reported: “Imran Khan leads 100,000 rally against Pakistan’s US alliance” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8858550/Imran-Khan-leads-100000-rally-against-Pakistans-US-alliance.html
The Guardianreported: “Imran Khan laps up acclaim in Pakistan” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/31/imran-khan-acclaim-pakistan?newsfeed=true
In the US, both the Washington Post and the New York Times carried the story. Several smaller, local newspapers also reported the rally, most running with a syndicated piece.
The Washington Post reported: “Pakistani cricket hero Imran Khan’s rally against government draws large turnout” http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistani-cricket-hero-imran-khans-rally-against-government-draws-large-turnout/2011/10/30/gIQAfbLIWM_story.html
The New York Times reported: “Political shift seen in rally in Pakistan” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/world/asia/ex-cricket-star-imran-khan-leads-antigovernment-protest-in-pakistan.html
The Southeast Missourianreported: “Anti-US cricketer rallies 100,000 people” http://www.semissourian.com/story/1779363.html
In other parts of the world, Australia and the Middle East were among the first countries who’s newspapers and new websites reported on the rally.
Sydney Morning Herald reported: “Imran Khan rises again in Pakistan” http://www.smh.com.au/world/imran-khan-rises-again-in-pakistan-20111031-1ms17.html
The Australian reported: “Huge rally backs Imran Khan as Pakistan leader” http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/huge-rally-backs-imran-khan-as-pakistan-leader/story-e6frg6so-1226181910208
The Peninsula Qatar reported: “Imran Khan vows to save Pakistan in historic rally” http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/pakistan/afghanistan/171103-khan-vows-to-save-pakistan-in-historic-rally.html
Arab News reported: “Imran Khan calls for change in Pakistan” http://arabnews.com/world/article526493.ece
The Indian media, expectedly focused their headlines on what Imran Khan said in his speech about Kashmir.
The Hindustan Times reported: “India can’t hold Kashmir by force for long: Imran Khan” http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/pakistan/India-can-t-hold-Kashmir-by-force-for-long-Imran/Article1-763052.aspx
Zee News reported: “Imran Khan riding a tidal wave of youth power” http://zeenews.india.com/news/south-asia/imran-riding-a-tidal-of-youth-power-report_739061.html
IBN Live reported: “Indian Army will fail in Kashmir: Imran Khan” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsyOoCQLYos
The coverage, as it was, demonstrates that, at the time that Pakistani politicians and people are starting to take Imran Khan seriously, the world is also waking up and taking notice.