Book about Pak army gets wide coverage in UK

LONDON, June 2(The News): The Pakistan government's action against Dr Ayesha Siddiqa's book about the army has created a storm in the UK, as the media has termed it an attempt by General Pervez Musharraf himself to "suppress" the "scandalous exposures" by a bold woman about the military establishment.

Dr Ayesha is being given great respect and coverage in the British media, as it is being argued here that she is the first one in a traditional society like Pakistan, who has dared to write a well-documented and researched book on the affairs of the Pakistani army that one could not even expect from many top intellectuals, journalists, politicians, academics or other so-called writers of the country.

Two leading British newspapers - 'The Times' and 'The Guardian' - in their separate stories and comments have used harsh language against the drastic steps taken by the government in Islamabad to stop Dr Ayesha from launching her book.

Both the respected and widely read papers have used the stories about the book prominently along with some video links on the site.

`The Times' correspondent from Islamabad straightaway held Musharraf responsible for trying to put a ban on the book.

'The Guardian's' report has also lashed out at Musahrraf and his government for trying to stop a widely-respected Dr Ayesha from launching her book on the economic affairs of the army.

It says a new book that claims to expose the Pakistani military's growing business and commercial interests was launched last night (Thursday) in defiance of an attempt by President Musharraf to suppress it.

'Times' writes that the administration told a top club and hotels in the capital not to host the planned launch of the book yesterday.

Oxford University Press, its publisher, said the government-controlled Islamabad Club cancelled the booking of its auditorium for the event without reason.

"It's because the book has something against the military," Dr Ayesha said. She managed to launch the book later at the office of a non-governmental organisation.

'The Times' report claimed that the publication of the book evoked instant reaction from the government.

The Associated Press of Pakistan, a government-controlled news agency, said that it was "a plethora of misleading and concocted stories" aimed at giving the military a bad name and creating a rift with the civil sector.

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