Hamid Mir in his article in The News titled “Grand Plot Against Media” published on 17th May, 2010 has pinpointed Asif Zardari and the Federal Government for having hatched a conspiracy to malign and blackmail the Pakistani media especially Jang Group. The article can be read on http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=239716.
The journalists against which campaign is to be run as per Hamid Mir include “Shaheen Sehbai, Ansar Abbasi, Dr Shahid Masood, Kamran Khan, Hamid Mir and some others”. Jang Group on the other hand is being targeted for sales tax evasions by Geo TV, Geo News and AAG TV.
It is hard to believe that only within a few months the Jang Group and its journalists are facing trouble for their deeds. It has been known for months that Jang Group has been forcing (read: blackmailing) government for the settlement of the Income Tax and Sales Tax claims mainly because of the restrictions they faced at the time for Emergency in November 2007. The figures that the government came out with on Friday in the National Assembly were for sales tax claims only and not of income tax. It is rumored that the income tax claims are almost double to the sales tax claims. In essence, the group owes the government to the tune of approximately Rs 5 billion. Readers must also realize that Sales Tax claims are on the revenue which the group makes which is from selling newspapers and advertising. The advertisers must be paying the sales tax in the invoice value which the Jang Group is not settling. In a way, what Jang Group must be doing is to be issuing sales tax challans to the advertisers but not submitting the sales tax with FBR. Isn’t that defrauding the state as well as their paying advertisers?
Coming to the journalists, whatever is happening to them is nothing but makafat-e-amal. Let’s see some recent happenings:
- Shaheen Sehbai and Shahid Masood have endlessly been giving dates for the government to go packing since August 2008. Shahid Masood has even stooped to ilm-e-nujoom to seek help for his predictions.
- Hamid Mir’s ties to intelligence apparatus have been known for long. The recent revelations related to Khalid Khawaja’s slaying have confirmed those ties. Hamid Mir has gone on to attack Governor Punjab and indirectly the President to be responsible for this campaign against him.
- Ansar Abbasi had a few months back made headlines for receiving death threats on SMS from Fauzia Wahab’s son. The story was blown out of proportion. It is only 5 months down the road that he has received a defamation notice from Fauzia Wahab for having made slanderous allegations in a live TV show that “Inn ka bus na chalay to humary gardan utar deyn“. Off course he is going to talk about context and all, however, he has forgotten that those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones at others.
I can see the Jang Group getting cornered. What they have assumed is that they are the “king-slayers” of Pakistan if not “king-makers”. They can write whatever they want, they can telecast anything and force public opinion against the government. They have a negative mindset which can be seen in their publications and telecast. The public and support base of the PPP can be expected to remain on the back foot for some time but not for entirety and they are now bouncing back.
Keep up the pressure PPP supporters.