Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)
The connection between the Pakistani military and establishment with the British colonial masters is rooted in the history of British colonial rule in the Indian subcontinent. During colonial rule, the British maintained a significant military presence in the area and taught and educated a large portion of the Pakistani establishment and military.
The British also put in place a system of government in the area that was highly reliant on the military and bureaucracy. After gaining independence, Pakistan inherited this form of government, with the military establishment having a major influence on the direction of the nation's political and economic growth. To describe the post-independence hegemonic influence of military and bureaucratic institutions, Pakistani scholar Hamza Alvi coined the phrase "military-bureaucratic oligarchy."
In addition, the British played a role in helping Pakistan break away from India and become a nation on its own. They favored the idea of a distinct Muslim state, and many of the Muslim League's political leaders—the group that campaigned for the creation of Pakistan—had received British education and training.
The state structure inherited from British colonialism was kept firmly intact by the military and bureaucracy of Pakistan and has shaped the country's political, economic, and social trajectory, among a variety of other areas like foreign relations and security.
The Pakistani Armed Forces' media branch, known as Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), is in charge of informing the public and projecting the military's image to the media. The ISPR has attempted to achieve this, among other things, by producing and supporting motion pictures, television programs, and other media that highlight the military and its importance in society.
Since the 1950s, when it started supporting and making documentaries that presented the military's role in the nation's development and national security, the ISPR has been active in the media. The ISPR's participation in the media business grew over the ensuing decades to encompass dramas for television and feature films. The military is portrayed in these films as the country's savior and ultimate protector against both internal and external dangers.
The 1967 movie "Yeh Aman" (This Peace) is among the most noteworthy instances of ISPR-funded media. The ISPR-produced movie, which depicted the military as Pakistan's protector against Indian aggression, was well-liked by the people. In a similar vein, the 2007 film "Khuda Kay Liye" (For God's Sake), which received favorable reviews, was also funded by ISPR. The movie depicted Pakistan's situation following 9/11 and focused on the military's contribution to the War on Terror.
Some have criticized ISPR's role in the media for being propagandistic, something that promotes military objectives at the expense of the truth. These films, it is suggested, give a biased impression of the military and its function in society and fail to capture the nuanced realities of Pakistan's political and social environment.
The ISPR has been using internet media to spread information and sway public opinion recently. The ISPR uses its official website and social media channels to provide news and information regarding military operations and activities as well as to share its viewpoint on hot-button subjects and events.
In conclusion, the ISPR's support for motion pictures, television, and other media is a crucial component of its initiatives to advance the military and its function in society. These products may improve the military's reputation, but they also raise grave concerns regarding the use of propaganda and the shaping of public opinion, not to mention the effect such restrictions have on all forms of free speech.