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TOI gives a platform to paedophilia-accused British Journalist Hasan Suroor, who claims India should financially help Pakistan forgetting all acts of hostility

Suroor apparently wants his readers not to take note of the fact that a ‘desperate’ Shehbaz Sharif, even when his ‘nuclear-armed’ country is on the verge of an economic collapse and bankruptcy, had the audacity to claim that India would not be able to cast an evil eye on his nuclear-armed country, which has the “power to pullout the enemy’s evil eye and crush it under its feet.” 

On Monday, February 20, the English daily the Times of India (TOI) gave a platform to Indian-origin British journalist Hasan Suroor to make a pitch for ‘Aman ki Asha’, urging India to bail out a cash-strapped Pakistan. Hasan Suroor has been accused of paedophilia, in 2015, he was detained for sexually grooming a minor, but a UK court later acquitted him.

While the TOI article by Hasan Suroor is titled, ‘Why Pakistanis Need India To Survive Economic Collapse’ it is more of a desperate pitch urging the Narendra Modi government to ‘rescue its down and out neighbour’.

The article begins with Suroor accusing India’s official and civil society of remaining “indifferent” toward Pakistan’s deepening economic crisis.

Suroor then hails former spymasters AS Dulat for ‘sticking his neck out’ while speaking at Times Lit Festival and suggesting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might hold talks this year and bail out Pakistan. 

“Modiji might bail out Pakistan. Maybe there will be talks with Pakistan before the year is up?” Dulat reportedly said.

It is notable that AS Dulat, the former Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) chief has over the years been peddling the Congress party propaganda and was recently seen with Congress scion Rahul Gandhi in the party’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ campaign. The former R&AW chief is known for his soft approach toward dreaded terrorists. Dulat, after the Balakot Airstrikes in Pakistan in 2019, had accused PM Modi of “milking” the situation.

Moving ahead, the idea of India bailing out Pakistan amidst the Modi government’s decision to not hold any talks with Pakistan unless it stops cross-border terrorism against India sounds like a ‘bad joke’ to Hasan Suroor who adds that the Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s ‘desperate’ call for talks “was met with disdain in New Delhi.”

Suroor apparently wants his readers not to take note of the fact that a ‘desperate’ Shehbaz Sharif, even when his ‘nuclear-armed’ country is on the verge of an economic collapse and bankruptcy, had the audacity to claim that India would not be able to cast an evil eye on his nuclear-armed country, which has the “power to pullout the enemy’s evil eye and crush it under its feet.” 

Speaking at an event in the Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK) earlier this month, PM Sharif said, “Pakistan is a nuclear power and India cannot look at us with an evil eye. We have the power to take it out and crush it under the feet.” The Pakistan PM also raked up the Kashmir issue again by underlining the need of gaining economic and political stability “to get freedom for the Kashmiris. Pakistan will continue to lend moral, diplomatic, and political support to the Kashmir cause, until its freedom from Indian oppression.”

Modi government should prioritize compassion over political differences, claims TOI column by Suroor

Suroor wants the Modi government to build an ‘enduring legacy’ by offering help to a ‘neighbour in extreme distress by prioritizing compassion over political differences.’ Suroor conveniently wants the Modi government to do away with its national security concerns, and ignore the threats of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism even while Pakistan continues to flex its nuclear muscle and rail against the Modi government abrogating Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Suroor then goes on to assert that India needs to show a big heart and help a crisis-hit Pakistan as it would what he suggests put India’s soft power and humanitarian missions in a sharper focus. 

In an Op-ed titled ‘India’s Soft Power Is Blooming Under Modi’ published in the Hindustan Times, BJP leader Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda highlighted the Modi government’s willingness to help countries faced with crisis seeing beyond conflicts as seen during the Sri Lankan economic crisis and India’s ‘Operation Dost’ to help an earthquake-hit Turkey and how it manifests India’s belief in the principle of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ which he termed as an Indic philosophy seeing the world as one family.

Citing this Op-ed by the BJP leader, Hasan Suroor tried to insinuate that despite repeated betrayal by Pakistan, India should help Pakistan as it is the common people who need India’s help and not its political and military rulers. Suroor wants India to ignore strategic, defence and historical precedence and bail out a rogue state that has been nurturing terrorists against India, for decades.

Moreover, Suroor tried to play the emotional card by suggesting that the Pakistani people are not just any old neighbours but were “family” once. 

After playing the emotional ‘family’ card, Hasan Suroor goes on to claim that the economic collapse of Pakistan may result in severe security and strategic implications in the region including India. 

Towards the end, Suroor could not control himself from reflecting the true destructive nature of Pakistan as he adds an Urdu saying “Hum to doobenge sanam, tum ko bhi le jayenge” (When we sink, my dear, we will drag you down with us too).

This ‘Hum to doobenge’ saying reminds us of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s 1965 speech at the UN Security Council wherein he had said that Pakistan will wage a thousand-year war against India till the end, irrespective of its size and resources. 

“We will wage a war for 1,000 years against India…Irrespective of our size and of our resources, we shall fight to the end,” Bhutto said back then.

Suroor neglects to mention that India’s differences with Pakistan are not ‘political’, the Modi government is not politically contesting against the Pakistan government, but existential, because Pakistan has been an enemy nation that has betrayed trust repeatedly, waged wars and has always been hostile towards India.

Allegations of paedophilia against Hasan Suroor

Hasan Suroor was reportedly caught by the British Transport Police in November 2015 after allegedly attempting to sexually groom a 14-year-old.

According to reports, the journalist was apprehended when he attempted to meet the minor girl in person. During a sting operation run by the anti-paedophile organization Unknown TV, he was alleged to have sent the girl sexually explicit messages.

According to media reports, when the conversation turned towards having sex with the girl, Hasan Suroor promised to be “gentle.” He confessed to having “conversations of a sexual nature with a minor” and offering to buy condoms for the girl.

However, a year later, Hasan Suroor was acquitted by the Blackfriars Crown Court due to lack of evidence. In a written submission in June 2016, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said, “Following a further review of the case there is now no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.”

Pakistan-IMF meeting over bail-out fails

The talks for a much-needed bailout package between International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistan failed earlier this month, posing a serious question about the country’s ability to repay international loans. Pakistan is in talks with the IMF on a $1.1 billion funding round, which is part of a $6.5 billion bailout package signed in 2019. While an IMF team was in Pakistan to discuss the deal, the talks collapsed as they failed to reach a staff-level agreement within the stipulated time. Following this, Shehbaz Sharif-led ruling coalition decided to significantly increase tax rates to meet with IMF’s conditions.

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