Explaining a Novel to Pakistani Intelligence

Mohammed Hanif in the Columbia Journalism Review:

The Pakistani media is now enduring its darkest phase yet. Major General Asif Ghafoor, the head of the Pakistan Army’s public relations department, has been circulating the online profiles of journalists he judges to be involved in antistate activities. In a press conference last December, he issued a heartfelt plea: if journalists filed positive stories for just six months, Pakistan would become a great nation. Mostly, Pakistani journalists obliged. Writers who were once bold and boisterous, taking on military dictators and civilian rulers and extremist organizations, have now become patriotic—or have found themselves out of work. Without jobs, some of the country’s top columnists and prime-time TV journalists are learning to start their own YouTube channels. Others receive threats from anonymous entities claiming to represent the state intelligence services.

Against this backdrop, I was relieved when an inspector from an intelligence agency called me, introduced himself, and said that he wanted to debrief me about my recent visit to Bangladesh.

More here.