Original Articles

Shaheen Sehabi Explains What It Means To “Have No Shame”

Source: Pakistan Media Watch

Amir Mateen’s attempt a script writing seems to have disappointed ‘The Godfather’ of wild storylines, Amir’s mentor Shaheen Sehbai. In today’s The News (23 Apr 2010)Sehbai shows Mateen how to really write an attack column. Sehbai’s column targets his favourite topic, of course, Asif Ali Zardari.

Before we begin, we must mention that The News has published this bit of writing in the National News section, not the Opinion page. Perhaps the editors were confused by the lack of a ‘Libel’ section in the newspaper – something they should definitely consider including. It would make it so much easier on their dear readers.

Sehbai starts his column in a prison, which he seems to have detailed knowledge about. We meet the ‘Evil Genius’ Zardari that Amir Mateen introduced us to, but now he is not just an Evil Genius, but he is running a massive prison gang filled with goons that would make Scarface blush with envy.

Sehbai doesn’t tell us who exactly these people are, or how he has learned any of this information, of course. Rather he just tells us that “a number of mafia-type jobbers, some trouble shooters, a couple of well-dressed attack dogs and a bunch of gun-wielders” are now running the show and that “every other sane voice, adviser or friend” has been suppressed. So, we are to believe that the people elected a national government filled with mafia-type killers.

Do not wait for Sehbai to be filling in the cast later. This is one of his most common plot devices – the ‘Mystery Man.’ Shaheen Sehbai knows that he will quickly be sued for libel if he even hints at a name for one of his these colorful characters who you never actually meet, so he gives no one a name. But here is a question for Mr. Sehbai: If you truly believe what you write – that there are mafia-type killers in the government – why don’t you file some report? Why don’t you, at a minimum, name some names? Surely you will be protected by the courts who will see you are only doing a duty. Unless, of course, you are making it all up.

Sehbai goes on to claim that Zardari lost his powers “despite the best delaying tactics that he could deploy.” Apparently the best delaying tactics he could deploy were to voluntarily push the parliament to pass the 18th Amendment and then signing it. Seems like a strange way to delay a bill, if you ask me. Of course, many of the “failures” that Shaheen Sehbai mentions “may not be entirely visible.” This is more exciting than saying, ‘it didn’t happen.’ Or perhaps this is just more ofShaheen Sehbai’s ‘Wishful Journalism.’

Next, Shaheen Sehbai begins to cry that Zardari and his government “make wild accusations and tall claims and trash the opponents without any decency.” This is really too much! Shaheen Sehbai is accusing someone of ‘making wild accusations’ and ‘tall claims’ and ‘trashing opponents without any decency!’ Oh, I just might fall out of my chair. That is truly hilarious.

Who is the victim of these attacks by Zardari and his friends? According to Sehbai it is “a democracy and freedom-loving media.” Yes, you have read this correctly. It’s okay. I will wait for you to finish laughing.

Shaheen Sehbai spends the rest of his article writing things like this:

[Zardari’s] close associates, who talk freely against him when sitting in private drawing rooms, say he will stick to the Presidency to keep his immunity if the courts force him to quit either the PPP office or the Presidency.

How does Shaheen Sehbai know what Zardari’s close associates say in private drawing rooms? Are we to believe that the close friends of the President of Pakistan are stabbing him in the back to give some gossip to…Shaheen SehbaiShaheen Sehbai can’t even get himself invited to a military press briefing, but we are supposed to believe that he has insider knowledge from the President’s close friends. It is too much to believe.

Sehbai makes more of his famous predictions, this time about Zardari’s secret plans to place his sister as head of PPP. Sehbai’s evidence for this is that:

…the PPP post is called that of a co-chairperson, when it actually should be co-chairman.

Really? THAT is your evidence of a conspiracy? Perhaps Shaheen Sehbai is a sexist, but that does not make a conspiracy.

After this, things take a turn for the truly bizarre as Shaheen Sehabi then calls on the entire nation to unite against Zardari in order to prevent…”another spell of military rule.” It is almost as if Shaheen Sehbai believes that if he follows one crazy statement with another that is even crazier, that maybe people will forget that the first thing he said is crazy.

Obviously, people can have their own opinions about the 18th Amendment and whether there need to be some more changes made. But does anyone really believe that Zardari is going to usher in military rule? Rather it seems that uniting to overthrow Zardari would usher in the military. I don’t pretend to see the future, but Sehbai’s logic is truly puzzling.

Sehbai next goes on to suggest that the Prime Minister to dismiss all the ministers and government officials and replace them with…well, Sehbai doesn’t say. He just says “credible and respected people” should be appointed. Perhaps Shaheen Sehbai could provide a list?

Most hilarious, though, is what Shaheen Sehbai says about the Supreme Court.

It is unfortunate that through a smart game of politicking the focus on implementation of NRO judgments has been shifted to the tussle between the SC and parliament. This tussle is a long drawn test match but the SC has to complete the T20 match it started on the NRO first.

Does Sehbai really want to call the NRO judgments a ‘T20′ match? T20 may be popular, but it is obviously just flashy entertainment and all show, not a real ‘test’ of the two sides. We have had enough show trials in this country. The NRO judgments should be given more thought and consideration that a T20 match.

And this is the problem with Shaheen Sehbai’s column. It is as if he wrote it while watching a match on television, and hurried to write down whatever nonsense popped into his head. His column is filled with the typical assortment of mystery sources, wishful journalism, crazy predictions, and poor logic. He writes a long and drawn-out attack with a poison pen, and he complains that his victim is hurting his own very sensitive feelings. Once again, Jang Group publishes all of this as news. THAT, dear readers, is the real shame.

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Abdul Nishapuri

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  • …the PPP post is called that of a co-chairperson, when it actually should be co-chairman.
    =================

    And Same Shaheen Sehbai allowed this to be published in his Rag South Asia Tribune:

    Shaheen Sehbai Loves Asif Ali Zardari!)))

    Shaheen Sehbai, Hillary Clinton & Asif Ali Zardari.
    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/12/shaheen-sehbai-hillary-clinton-asif-ali.html

    On the same National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agecny and Ehtisab Bureau [Senator Saifur Rehman 1997 – 1999], Mr Shaheen Sehbai [present Group Editor, The News International] web based magazine South Asia Tribune [Shaheen Sehbai Founded this magazine after he escaped from Pakistan in 2002 to seek political asylum in USA] used to defend the same “Corrupt Zardari”.

    “QUOTE”
    WASHINGTON, October 17: Dear Readers, this is the final piece on the South Asia Tribune, as this site is now being closed for good. I understand that it may come as a rude shock to many and may create despair and depression for all those who had started to look up to SAT as a beacon of courage and resistance, but this decision has been based on many factors, which I will explain briefly. SAT would be on line for the rest of this month, till the end of October. On November 1, 2005 it will disappear from the Internet. All those who may be interested in keeping a record of any SAT article or report can save it any time before that date. REFRENCE: The Final Word from theSouth Asia Tribune By Shaheen Sehbai WASHINGTON DC, Oct 17, 2005 ISSN: 1684-2057

    Cases Gather Dust in Courts as Zardari Rots in Jail – By Aijaz Mahar Issue No 26, Jan 20-26, 2003 ISSN:1684-2075

    ISLAMABAD: A high-powered four-member lawyers teamheaded by Farooq Naik and comprising Abu Bakar Zardari, Arshad Tabraiz and Qurban Ali Khoso, represents Asif Zardari in the numerous cases against him in various courts. The lawyers are not shy to declare that most of these cases have no substance and evidence but are politically motivated. Senior lawyer Farooq Naik said that Asif Ali Zardari has been imprisoned in Pakistan and seventh consecutive year has been started now to him in jail. Since the government of his spouse, Benazir Bhutto former Prime Minister of Pakistan, was dissolved by Presidential fiat on 5th November, l996. He was arrested on November 5, 1996 from the Governor house Lahore and since than facing the solitary confinement in different jails and presently he is kept in a small room in the government’s hospital known as PIMS at Islamabad declared as sub jail. He is no doubt an ailing person but his morale is very high as he believes in democracy, social justice, equality before law and supremacy of God who tests his people by putting them under various pressures as after all life and death is Ordained by God Almighty claimed Mr. Naik.

    While telling the history of the cases registered against Asif Ali Zardari, Farooq said it is the painful story spread over the years because past three successive governments of Farooq Leghari, Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf has registered 16 cases in Sindh and Punjab provinces. Out of the 16 cases, in one case, Pakistan Steel Mills reference, he was convicted. He was acquitted the case known as Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) case, while out of remaining 14 under trial cases he got bail in 13 cases and is now in jail because of the BMW car case. There is at present eight references under National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance 1999 pending against Zardari at Rawalpindi and Attock Fort, a military garrison, he observed. A legal expert said if the list of corruption charges against General Musharraf was prepared, it would be far more substantial and larger than the cases against Asif Zardari as in none of these cases conclusive evidence has been produced to convict him. That is why the Government has dragged these cases on to keep Asif in jail. Here is a brief list of the charges:

    1. Asset Reference No.l4/2001: This Reference is pending since July 1998. Presently it is being tried in the Accountability Court at Attock Fort since April 2001 after Zardari was shifted from Karachi to Rawalpindi/Islamabad by NAB authorities. The prosecution till date has only examined 33 witnesses out of 62 witnesses.

    2. Polo Ground Reference No. 6/2000: This Reference was adjourned sine die by the Accountability Court in Attock Fort on l7th March 2001. No date of hearing has been fixed since then.

    3. Ursus Tractor Reference No. 25 /2000: This Reference, which was filed in July 1998, has not proceeded at all since the day it was transferred from the Accountability Court in Rawalpindi to the Accountability Court in Attock Fort in November 2001.

    4. Cotecna Reference No.35/2001: This Reference, which was filed in July 1998, has also not proceeded since 12th June 2001 when it was adjourned sine die by the Accountability Court in Rawalpindi on the request of the Prosecutor General NAB.

    5. SGS Reference No. 41/2000: This Reference was remanded to Accountability Court Rawalpindi, by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 5th Apri1 2001 after setting aside the judgment of the Accountability Court dated l4th April 1999 convicting Zardari along with his spouse Benazir Bhutto for retrial. Thereafter the prosecution evidence has not commenced till date.

    Application of Asif Zardari that he has served his sentence and that he cannot be tried again on the principle of “double jeopardy” has not been heard and decided by the court despite the fact it was filed as far back as l4th September 2002 under Article 13 of the Constitution of Pakistan which lays down that no one can be tried or convicted twice for the same offence”.

    6. A.R.Y. Gold Reference No.23/2000: This Reference, which was filed in July 1998, is pending before the Accountability Court in Rawalpindi since its transfer in the beginning of year 2000. The Prosecution has not examined any witness since its transfer to the present court.

    7. BMW Care Reference 59/2002: In this Reference, warrants of arrest of Zardari were issued in the evening of l5th December 2001 when he was bailed out in the last of the cases viz. Narcotics Case on 15/17 December, 2001. Issuance of Warrant and arrest of Asif in this Reference was only to prevent his release. The allegation is that he imported the car in 1995 and miss-declared the value thereof and evaded payment of duties and charges. First of all the car is not registered in the name of Asif. It has changed ownership thrice and there is no document linking Zardari with the car. Secondly under Section 32 of Customs Act 1969, if there is a declaration by any importer, short levied duty cannot be recovered after three years. In this case car was imported in 1995 and as such the recovery of dues, if any, is barred by limitation.

    As far as the trial of the case before the Accountability Court is concerned, the NAB filed the Reference in May 2002. After the court indicted Zardari, the prosecutor examined one witness, who had been instrumental in importing the car from UK to Pakistan. The said witness has stated that one Ghani Ansari and his brother Rashid Ansari imported the said car through him and that Zardari had nothing to do with it. Asif has filed application for the acquittal, which is pending.

    8. Steel Mills Reference No. 27/2000. In this Reference, which was filed in June 1998, the Accountability Court Rawalpindi convicted Zardari on 12 September 2002 after being put under extreme pressure by the government. The judgment was announced at 8.50 p.m. which is against practice and law as the court rise for the day at 4.00 p.m. Surprisingly at 9.00 p.m. on the same day the government announced on national media about the conviction in order to malign and defame Zardari.

    The conviction order is without substance as there is not an iota of evidence involving Asif in the commission of the alleged offence. The allegation in the said case was that Mr. Sajjad Hussain, former Chairman Pakistan Steel Mills in order to gain favor of Asif Ali Zardari for confirmation of his service arranged a sum of rupees 30 million from mercury corporation which had a contract with the Pakistan Steel Mills by giving the said Corporation and paid the same to Asif Ali Zardari. Sajjad Hussain unfortunately died before he gave evidence in the court.

    However, during his life time while he was unlawfully confined by the Nawaz regime to extract forcible confession from him, his wife Mrs. Amna Hussain had filed constitution petition in the Sindh High Court at Karachi contending that her husband is suffering from various deceases including acute depression and his being forced by the Nawaz regime specially senator Saif ur Rehman the then Chairman Ehtesab Bureau to make statement Asif Ali Zardari.

    The irony of the case is that National Accountability Bureau recovered the said sum of Rs. 30 million from Mercury Corporation, as prior to the announcement of judgment convicting Asif Ali Zardari but the said fact was not revealed to the Accountability Court, which convicted the Asif Ali Zardari. The judgment is nothing but travesty of justice said the lawyer.

    Six Criminal Cases at Karachi (Sindh): The said cases are not being proceeding since February 2001 when Zardari was sent on internal exile from his home town Karachi within the province of Sindh to Rawalpindi/Islamabad within the province of Punjab about 1000 miles away. These cases included four murder cases registered against him told Farooq Naik.

    The Government is responsible for the delay, as Asif is confined in Rawalpindi, is not being produced before these courts at Karachi despite the fact that orders for his production are regularly being issued for every date of hearing by the concerned courts. Murder cases are titled as Murtaza Bhutto, Justice Nizam, Alam Baloch and Sajjad Hussain. One case is registered against Asif allegedly said that he has shifted households to Surrey Mahal London form Bilawal House Karachi.

    Two cases have been registered against Asif alleging that he attempted to commit suicide in jail while he was under investigation.

    Narcotics Case No. 436 1998: This case is pending in session court Lahore and Asif Zardari is being taken to Lahore for appearance before the Sessions Judge in violation to the order of the Supreme Court but however, he is not being produced before the Court at Karachi under the cover of order of Supreme Court.

    In the said case since 1998 till date out of 23 witnesses only five-prosecution witness have been examined. The evidence of all these witnesses which has come on record explicitly show that a false case at the behest of Saif Ur Rehman former Chairman of Accountability Bureau during the period of Mian Nawaz Sharif, the then prime minister, was registered against Zardari, his lawyer observed. He said it is obvious that the government with malafide intentions and ulterior motives in a systematic and planned manner wants to keep Asif in prison for the rest of his life claimed Naik. Asif Zardari is suffering from various life threatening ailments including Spondialitis. Zardari was admitted in Dr. Ziauddin University Hospital, Clifton Karachi, which had the requisite facilities including Hydrotherapy under the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, dated 11th August 2000.

    However, NAB authorities without the permission of the Supreme Court shifted him from Karachi the Rawalpindi/Islamabad unilaterally and arbitrarily in February 2001 and confined him in a small room, the windows of which remain closed all the time and black painted, in the hospital known as Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Islamabad. All the facilities granted to Asif Ali Zardari in the hospital including Television and meeting with his counsel and family members (twice a week) are under the order of various courts. It can be said without fear of contradiction that government never of its own granted or gave any facility to Asif, said Naik. The officials on duty have strict instructions not to allow any facility to him over and above granted by the courts. A qualified physician/doctor does not accompany Asif in the ambulance which is old and rickety, for appearance before various courts said Farooq. The government till date has flouted the order of the court by not providing with the facility of walk as ordered by the court under the advise of the doctors and which is having serious adverse effect on his health, claimed Naik. The hydrotherapy treatment is not being carried out, as the said facility is not available in PIMS. The said facility is of utmost necessity as the specialists who examined him, have recommended the same.

    “QUOTE”

    Military Regime Snubbed as Asif Zardari is Acquitted by Lahore High Court By M T Butt WASHINGTON DC, Sept.9, 2004 ISSN: 1684-2057

    ISLAMABAD, Sept 9: Jailed PPP leader and Benazir Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari scored another significant victory on Sept 9 when the Lahore High Court acquitted him in a corruption case, setting aside the 7-year jail term given to him by a special court. The court victory in the Pakistan Steel Mills case came days after a sitting Prime Minister, Choudhry Shujaat Hussain, who later resigned to make way for Shaukat Aziz, declared the drug smuggling case against Zardari as fake. Zardari has now been acquitted or bailed out in 8 cases while he is still being detained under the BMW Import Duty case in which his bail application is pending with the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The record of acquittals and bails has confounded the military rulers who keep on adding new cases against the PPP leader as he is freed in old ones, despite the immense pressure used by the Army on the judiciary.

    If the Supreme Court grants him bail in the BMW case, Zardari would have to be released by the military regime, unless some new case is registered. But since he is in jail since November 1996, there is hardly any room left for accusing him of any other criminal offence. Exiled PPP leader Benazir Bhutto hailed the judgment of the Lahore High Court terming it the “triumph of justice”. She said the verdict shows that those who show patience and persevere are ultimately rewarded, adding that the decision “demonstrates that despite the clouds of darkness, the light of conscience prevails in our land.”

    The decision by two Judges of the Lahore High Court was expected several months back. Suddenly the bench constituted of Judges Maulvi Anwar ul Haq and Justice Aslam was broken up. After a long, legal struggle and applications before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Bench hearing the appeal was allowed to announce its landmark judgment. The Bench declared that Mr. Zardari should be immediately set free if he was not needed in any other matter. The first time Mr. Zardari was ordered free by a court was in 1998. But another case was filed to stop him from his release. Mr. Zardari was arrested on the night of November 4, 1996 initially under one preventive detention law known as the Lahore Maintenance of Public Order and then under a second Karachi Maintenance of Public Order. He was acquitted in two attempted suicide cases, one murder case (Sajjad case), one corruption case known as KESC whereas the conviction in the SGS case was also set aside in 2001. The Steel Mill case is the eighth case in which Mr. Zardari has been granted relief by the judiciary. However, there are still 14 more cases against him. He is on bail in all the cases except the BMW case.

    The BMW case is so ridiculous it makes a mockery of law and justice in Pakistan. It revolves around import of a second hand car by someone other than Mr. Zardari. The duty on the second hand car was re-evaluated by the regime and a small percentage of disputed deficit was recorded as payable duty. Since December 2001 Mr. Zardari is languishing in prison on the basis of the BMW case, which was initiated by NAB under Gen. Musharraf. Usually cases of disputed duty do not result in any arrest, either of the importer or buyer. But Zardari has been kept in jail shamelessly. The ordeal in the Steel Mills case began in 1996 when Steel Mills Chairman late Sajjad Hussain was arrested by NAB headed by disgraced Senator Saifur Rahman. Mr. Hussain was tortured and tried to commit suicide to avoid a third arrest by the NAB authorities. His wife filed an affidavit before the Sindh High Court documenting the torture and threats to kill meted out to Mr. Hussain if he refused to implicate a “VVIP” meaning Mr. Zardari.

    Subsequently the Chairman Mr. Hussain was killed amid doubts whether it was a planned murder by the State or the result of random violence, which had plagued the city of Karachi. The LHC Rawalpindi bench set aside the conviction awarded by the Accountability Court on October in dubious circumstances. The judgment was announced at 9 pm at night, after military authorities stopped the judge from giving his verdict during court hours. The prosecution had claimed that a meeting allegedly took place between Asif Zardari and the Steel Mill Chairman on September 14, 1995 between 6.30 pm and 7 pm in the Prime Minister’s house regarding kickbacks. However the prosecution’s case fell apart during examination. A witness deposed that Mr. Zardari was accompanying the Prime Minister to Lahore that day and could not have met Steel Chairman at Islamabad as the prosecution claimed.

    “UNQUOTE”

  • [Zardari’s] close associates, who talk freely against him when sitting in private drawing rooms, say he will stick to the Presidency to keep his immunity if the courts force him to quit either the PPP office or the Presidency.
    =====================

    Sitting in Private Drawing Rooms [Drawing Room is always private] and they push speaker button on with a call to Sehbai in USA [WHERE HE LIVES WITH HIS FAMILY] to file the rport after listening to the pillow talk of Zardari???

    Credibility of Shaheen Sehbai, Mir Shakil ur Rahman and Jang Group of Newspapers. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/credibility-of-shaheen-sehbai-mir.html

    Mr. Shaheen Sehbai, Group Editor, The News International – Jang Group of Newspapers is very fond of quoting Foreign Press particularly when Foreign Press [Pro Zionist] is negative on President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and PPP. Shaheen Sehbai while quoting The New York Times: “The problems in Afghanistan have only been compounded by the fragility of Mr. Obama’s partner in Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari, who is so weak that his government seems near collapse.” The Washington Post in a report by two correspondents said: “Zardari’s political weakness is an additional hazard for a new bilateral relationship…The administration expects Zardari’s position to continue to weaken, leaving him as a largely ceremonial president even if he manages to survive in office.” REFERENCE: Obama administration fears Zardari collapse WASHINGTON (Shaheen Sehbai)Updated at: 1525 PST, Monday, November 30, 2009 Obama administration fears Zardari collapse Updated at: 1525 PST, Monday,November 30, 2009

    Should we believe Mr Shaheen Sehbai or his Editor in Chief Mir Shakil ur Rahman’s Letter Addressed to Mr Shaheen Sehbai asking for his resign on filing Concocted Stories in The News International

    “QUOTE”

    SHAHEEN SEHBAI RESIGNS AS EDITOR OF `THE NEWS`

    Date: Fri, 01 Mar 2002 07:42:48 -0500

    Dear Colleagues and Friends:

    It is with great sorrow that I have to convey this bad news to you all today. I have resigned today as the Editor.

    I am enclosing enclosing the correspondence with MSR which is self explanatory. I wish to thank you all for all the cooperation and respect that you extended to me during these 14 months as Editor. I will be available to each one of you as a friend at all times. Wishing you the best of luck and a great future. Shaheen Sehbai

    Pl read on:

    Memorandum

    To: Mir Shakil ur Rehman, Editor-in-Chief, The News
    From: Shaheen Sehbai, Editor, The News
    Date: March 1, 2002
    Subject: Reply to Memo dated Feb 28, 2002

    With reference to your Memo dated Feb 28, I have been accused of policy violations starting from March 2001 until the publication on Feb 17 this year of the Kamran Khan story on Daniel Pearl case. I can obviously understand that these so-called �policy violations?are nothing but an excuse to comply with the Government demand to sack me, and three other senior journalists, as you told me in our meeting in your office on Feb 22. I feel sorry that you have to make such excuses. You could have given one hint that you wanted me to go and I would have quit immediately.

    I understand that you, as owner of the Jang Group of Newspapers have been so intensely pressurized in the last about two weeks that you are no longer ready, or able, to withstand it. All government advertising of the Group has been unjustifiably suspended by the Government starting Monday, February 18, 2002, following the investigative story done in The News by our reporter, Kamran Khan. This story, as it appears now, was just an excuse to twist the neck of the Group because the same story appeared simultaneously in the Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune and not one point contained in it was denied or clarified by the Government. Instead they tightened the screw on the Jang Group, as it appeared to be the most vulnerable and within their reach. This has a very obvious, and sinister message, for the free Press in Pakistan: Get in line, or be ready for the stick.?I feel sorry that you have decided to get in line, but I cannot be a party to this decision.

    You had informed me officially at a meeting in your office on Feb 22, 2002, at 10.15 p.m. that you have been given names of four journalists of The News? myself, Kamran Khan, Amir Mateen and a staffer in our Islamabad Bureau (probably Rauf Klasra as you did not name the 4th person), to be immediately sacked before the government advertisements could be restored. You also informed me that officials of the Information Ministry wanted me to improve my PR with them as they had been complaining that I was not available to them, which is basically not true. You told me to directly contact these officials and talk to them about restoring the advertisements of the Group. Mr Mahmud Sham, who later joined our meeting, had informed us that the Secretary Information had clearly stated that matters were beyond his capacity to resolve and that we have now to meet the ISI high ups.

    As a matter of principle I refused to call, or meet, any of these government officials in a situation when the entire Group was being held hostage with a gun pointed at its head. I, however, conveyed to the Government, through Mr Sham, all the evidence that the policy of The News?was very balanced, in fact tilted, in favour of General Pervez Musharraf’s government, not under any government pressure, but because some of the things he was doing were right and The News never hesitated to support any right step taken by the Government. At least 50 editorials and over 100 Op-Ed articles published in about 6 weeks were cited to show that The News had no bias against the government. Proof was also provided of how �The News? at times, went out of its way to accommodate government requests.

    Apparently these argument have not satisfied the government and the pressure is continuing on you, as your Memo indicates. Whatever other issues you have raised are childish and frivolous and I would not waste my time discussing them. But one message that emerges is very clear — I ran the newspaper as a very independent Editor, according to whatever I thought was objective, true and professionally sound journalism. I made the best use of the latest available computer technology to create a working environment in which the entire editorial staff was integrated in such a network that almost everyone was available to each other at all times. I interacted with all my staff on a personal, round the clock basis, no matter where I was located or traveling, even outside Pakistan. So the charge that I was not available to my staff is laughable as it shows how far removed you are from the ground situation.

    Your complaint of lack of general improvement in The News?is also obviously an excuse to build some case against me under Government pressure. You never once complained of that before. In fact the ground reality is just the opposite. I successfully built a great team of reporters, editors and writers during the 14 months I have been the Editor. We achieved a lot in breaking major stories, including assumption of the office of the President by General Musharraf and corruption in various government departments including Social Action Programme (SAP) and Employees Old-age Benefit Institution (EOBI). The overwhelming impression that any newspaper of the Jang Group could not publish anything against its advertisers and commercial sponsors was removed by the investigative stories we did on PIA and other corporate organizations. The News became the most quoted newspaper abroad, not only for its stories but its editorial comments and opinions. The latest such quote was in the prestigious New York Times just three days ago. The Washington Post interviewed me last week as Editor of The News.

    The real reasons for failure to bring about a real visible change in Karachi are known to you. For over a year now you have been sitting on all the plans, proposals and schemes, including a Vision Document prepared after months of hard work. The scheme to revamp all the magazines has been lying on your table for months. The designs and site plans to renovate the entire newspaper office on 4th and 5th floors has been gaining dust for months and the staff is forced to work with hundreds of cockroaches creeping on papers, computers, inside telephone sets and faxmachines. In fact I have been bogged down in these totally useless exercises for most of my time, hoping that you would find time and money to start implementing any of these detailed proposals for change and improvement. You have always been promising to launch these scheme within weeks, but that time never came. I am appalled at your audacity to accuse me of being responsible for not bringing any change while the fact is that you have always been complaining of the financial crunch?in the newspaper. You have stopped increments of all the staff and played legal jugglery with all the contract employees by refusing to renew their contracts or giving them salary increases.

    Even despite that I continued to work 20 hours a day to improve the editorial content of the newspaper which has been appreciated and recognized by every one, including your senior Directors and Editors of sister publications in letters written to me. The readers, however, are the best judge.

    Why you never raised any objection before, and why you are doing it now, is obvious — the Government pressure is unbearable. This is not a happy omen.

    Therefore, I have to convey this sad message to you, though I feel very content and satisfied that I have taken the right decision on the basis of principles. I have decided to resign from the Editorship of The News with immediate effect, rather than to submit to Government pressure and change the policy of the newspaper. Under my editorship, I will not allow the newspaper to become the voice of any government for monetary considerations. I had given my name, credibility and reputation to The News?and I prefer to protect these precious assets, rather than my job. But I will earnestly request you not to take any action against the other colleagues you have been asked to sack, as the ultimate responsibility of whatever appeared in the newspaper was mine, as Editor, and not theirs. They should be allowed to continue with their jobs. I wish, you, the newspaper and all of my colleagues a great future.

    I hereby, resign from the editorship. Please accept my resignation today and remove my name from the print line of the newspaper as of tomorrow, Saturday, March 2, 2002. I would not be responsible for the contents of the newspaper as of tomorrow.

    Best Regards

    Shaheen Sehbai

    Memorandum

    To: Shaheen Sehbai, Editor, The News
    From: MSR, Editor-in-Chief
    Date: 2/28/02
    Re: Violation of policy

    constrained to bring to your notice several, and repeated, violation of editorial policies clearly understood between us. Infact, these policies have also been agreed in writing. On 26th March, 2001, you had published a one sided, incorrect and libelous article against Mr. Aittiazaz Bob Din, a well known businessman residing in the United States. Although Mr. Bob Din had cited person differences between the two of you, dating back to your stay in the United States, as the motive behind the unfounded allegations against him, I had disregarded this suggestion at that time and had judged the matter purely on merit. As you will recall, you were unable to substantiate the serious charges you had leveled against him. It was only through my personal apologies and the intervention of mutual acquaintances that we were able to dissuade Mr. Din from suing the News for defamation and libel.

    On two different occasions, you published unfavourable articles about PIA, which were of uncertain veracity and did not contain their point of view, as a result of which they denounced these articles in a press conference, threatened to take legal action, suspended our advertisements and also stopped putting our papers on PIA flights. Needless to say, these measures hurt us financially, damaged our reputation and took a great deal of pacification to undo.

    I would also refer to the written terms of our agreement at the time of your appointment under which you are required to discuss the top stories of the day and other important editorial matters with me and seek the Editor-in-chiefs point of view and verdict on contentious issues? To my recollection, you have never deemed it fit to consult me on any matter. In this connection, I would further like to refer to our meeting on the eve of Eid in which group Editor Daily Jang was also present and we discussed the fallout of the story printed a few days earlier in the News ( again without consulting me, I might add ) which was perceived to be damaging to our national interest and elicited severe reaction by the Government. It had been agreed that we would contact relevant Government functionaries and arrange to meet with them to discuss the issue and also convey our point of view. Regrettably, you chose not to go to Islamabad and attend the meeting even though this had been clearly agreed. You even rebuffed senior Government officials who contacted you on the phone by hanging up on them. Sham Sahib and I left several messages with your assistant but again, you chose not to take or return our calls.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to point out again, that it is a frequent complaint that you do not interact with people. Not only have senior Government officials protested that you are inaccessible to them, but even your own staff complains that you are hardly available for meetings, guidance and discussions.

    I must convey my disappointment to you at all these issues, as I must convey my disappointment with the lack of general progress in the improvement of the News. The number of mistakes and blunders being committed, failure to follow agreed journalistic ethics – as pointed out to you from time to time by EMD have all resulted in financial set backs as well as loss of credibility for the News. I have only recounted some of the problems besetting the Jang group. It is quite evident that matters are not proceeding as we had agreed. However, before I make up my mind, I would like to hear your point of view.

    I look forward to hearing from you about the serious issues that I have raised above and any solutions that you may propose.

    Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman

    “UNQUOTE”

    REFERENCE: Why Are We Killing Ourselves? Anas Malik March 2, 2002 [COURTESY: CHOWK]

  • filled with the typical assortment of mystery sources, wishful journalism, crazy predictions, and poor logic.
    ========================

    Shaheen Sehbai VS Mir Shakil ur Rahman on Daniel Pearl.
    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/shaheen-sehbai-vs-mir-shakil-ur-rehman.html

    Mr. Shaheen Sehbai, Group Editor, The News International – Jang Group of Newspapers is very fond of quoting Foreign Press particularly when Foreign Press [Pro Zionist] is negative on President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and PPP. Shaheen Sehbai while quoting The New York Times: “The problems in Afghanistan have only been compounded by the fragility of Mr. Obama’s partner in Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari, who is so weak that his government seems near collapse.” The Washington Post in a report by two correspondents said: “Zardari’s political weakness is an additional hazard for a new bilateral relationship…The administration expects Zardari’s position to continue to weaken, leaving him as a largely ceremonial president even if he manages to survive in office.” The report in The New York Times was filed by journalists Peter Baker, Eric Schmitt, David E Sanger, Elisabeth Bumiller and Sabrina Tavernise from Islamabad, Washington and New York while in the Washington Post Karen DeYoung from Washington and Pamela Constable from Islamabad contributed to its report. Both newspapers referred to President Zardari’s increasing weakness in the context of the new Afghan policy being prepared by President Obama, which will be announced on Dec 1. REFERENCE: Obama administration fears Zardari collapse WASHINGTON (Shaheen Sehbai)Updated at: 1525 PST, Monday, November 30, 2009

    Seven years ago Mr Shaheen Sehbai was also quoted in The New York Times as well his Editor in Chief i.e. Mir Shakil ur Rehman, and do note what Mir Shakil ur Rehman had to say about the Patriotism and Loyalty of Shaheen Sehbai with Pakistan.

    “QUOTE”

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 1 (Reuters) — The editor of a leading English-language daily said today that he had resigned, citing pressure from the government after the newspaper reported a link between the prime suspect in the killing of Daniel Pearl and an attack on India’s Parliament in December. India blamed Pakistan-based militant groups for the attack, but the Pakistani government denied any link. The editor who resigned, Shaheen Sehbai, said that after publication of the article in his paper, The News, the owner and editor in chief, Mir Shakeel ur-Rahman, was pressed by the government to dismiss him and three other journalists. ”I was told by my editor in chief that he had been asked to sack four journalists — myself, Kamran Khan, Amir Mateen and Rauf Klasra,” Mr. Sehabai said in an online interview. ”He did not name who had said that, but he told me to go and see the I.S.I.,” Pakistan’s intelligence service. REFERENCES: A NATION CHALLENGED: SUSPECTS; Kidnapping Suspect Bears Sign of Militancy Elsewhere By DOUGLAS JEHL Published: Saturday, March 2, 2002 Editor Forced to Resign

    The article, Mr. Rahman wrote in the letter dismissing Mr. Sehbai, ”was perceived to be damaging to our national interest and elicited severe reaction of the government.” He also accused Mr. Sehbai of violating standard procedures. Mr. Rahman and government officials were not immediately available for comment. Mr. Sehbai and one of the reporters, Mr. Klasra, have recently complained of harassment by intelligence agencies, a colleague said. While Pakistan’s news media enjoy relative freedom, some newspapers have been forced to remove staff members after complaints from the government or intelligence agencies. REFERENCES: A NATION CHALLENGED: SUSPECTS; Kidnapping Suspect Bears Sign of Militancy Elsewhere By DOUGLAS JEHL Published: Saturday, March 2, 2002 Editor Forced to Resign

    “UNQUOTE”

    SHAHEEN SEHBAI’S DOUBTFUL LOYALTY WITH PAKISTAN AND READ WHAT HE HAD SAID TO “The Times of India” ABOUT PAKISTAN ARMY AND ISI.

    “QUOTE”

    Exposing the Pakistani establishment’s links with terrorists can be a hazardous job. It cost Daniel Pearl his life, and Shaheen Sehbai, former editor of ‘The News’, a widely-read English daily in Pakistan his job. Fearing for his life, Sehbai is now in the US He speaks to Shobha John about the pressure on journalists from the powers-that-be in Pakistan:

    Q. Is it true you had to quit because a news report angered the government?

    A. On February 16, our Karachi reporter, Kamran Khan, filed a story quoting Omar Sheikh as saying that he was behind the attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, the Kashmir assembly attack and other terrorist acts in India. Shortly after I am, I got a call on my cellphone from Ashfaq Gondal, the principal information officer of the government, telling me that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had intercepted the story and I should stop its publication. I told him I was not prepared to do so. He then called my newspaper group owner/editor-in-chief, Mir Shakil ur Rehman in London and asked him to stop the story. Rehman stopped it in the Jang, the sister newspaper in Urdu but could not do so in The News as I was unavailable. The next day, all editions of The News carried the story. It was also carried by The Washington Post and The International Herald Tribune the same day, as Kamran also reports for The Post. On February 18, all government advertising for the entire group was stopped. On February 22, Rehman rushed to Karachi and called a meeting at 10 p m. He told me the government was very angry at the story. He said he had been told to sack four journalists, including myself, if the ads were to be restored. He asked me to proceed to Islamabad to pacify the officials. Sham informed us that he had contacted the officials and was told by Anwar Mahmood, the information secretary that the matter was now beyond his capacity and we will have to see the ISI high-ups to resolve it. I was told to go and see the ISI chief in Islamabad and also to call Anwar Mahmood on Eid and improve my ‘public relations’ with him.

    I left the meeting with the firm resolve that I would neither call nor meet anyone, even at gunpoint. Sham, however, left for Islamabad to meet the officials. His meetings were unsuccessful. From my sources, I learned that the ISI and the government were not prepared to lift the ban unless I gave them specific assurances. If I refused, there may be trouble for me as the owner was already under pressure to fire me and the other three journalists. On February 27, I took a flight out of Karachi to New York. On February 28, I received a memo from my owner accusing me of policy violations. In reply, on March 1, I sent in my resignation.

    Q. Is the ISI still keeping a close watch on journalists after Daniel Pearl’s killing?

    A. The ISI has been a major player in domestic politics and continues to be so. That means it has to control the media and right now, it is actively involved in doing so. Pearl’s murder has given them more reasons to activate the national interest excuse.

    Q. Is there a sense of desperation within the Pakistan government that it should not be linked in any way to events in India?

    A. Yes. That’s why when our story quoted Omar Sheikh claiming such links, the government came down hard on us.

    Q. Has there been any pressure on the staff of ‘The News’ to ‘conform’?

    A. Yes. The News was under constant pressure to stop its aggressive reporting on the corruption of the present government. A few months back, Pakistan International Airlines stopped all ads to The News as we ran a couple of exposes. A major story on the government owned United Bank was blocked when we sought the official version. Intelligence agencies were deputed to tail our reporters in Islamabad.

    Q. This is not the first time you and your family have been under pressure, is it?

    A. I have been the target of physical attacks in the past too for stories against the government. The first was in August 1990 when I was arrested and detained for 36 hours and falsely charged for drinking, before a judge gave bail. The second time, in December 1991, three masked men broke into my house in Islamabad, ransacked it, pulled guns on my two sons, beat them up and told them, Tell your father to write against the government again and see what happens. In 1995, I was threatened once again and I had to take my entire family away. My newspaper then, Dawn, decided to post me to Washington as their correspondent. This time, I feared that I could be physically targeted again. So I decided to leave the country.

    Q. Is the present regime in Pakistan any different from earlier ones with regard to freedom of the press?

    A. It has tolerated some freedom under foreign pressure, but the situation is basically the same. Now Musharraf appears to be under pressure to manage the media more effectively in order to manage the October elections and get his supporters elected in the polls. He needs to legitimise his military rule through a political process, which essentially is being rigged from the beginning.

    Q. Is your case the first instance of a crackdown on the media by this government?

    A. This was the first case of a major financial squeeze on the country’s largest media group. It was followed by demands to sack me and other senior journalists and then to change the policy.

    Q. How independent will the forthcoming polls be now?

    A. They will be as independent as the recently-concluded local bodies polls in which candidates were named by the army and no one else was allowed to win. Candidates for state and national assemblies are now being pre-selected and influential politicians are being pressured, lured or coerced to join Musharrafs supporters.

    Q. What is the mood within the Pakistani media?

    A. The media is generally quiet and has fallen in line because Musharraf is getting strong support from the US and the West. But elements in the media are very resolute and they will fight back as soon as they see Musharraf losing his grip. The October polls will determine the role of the media as well because if Musharraf fails to ‘manage’ the elections, his control over the media will be finished.

    Q. What do you propose to do now?

    A. I will be writing out of Washington for some time and will return to Pakistan around the October polls. My days in Pakistan were very exciting as I maintained a completely independent editorial policy and pursued it to the last day. In the memos written by the owner, he repeatedly complains that I was not consulting him on policies. I had no need to, as he watches his own commercial interests. REFERENCE: The Daily Noose (Interview with Shaheen Sehbai) Publication: The Times of India Date: March 18, 2002