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Jang Group refutes Shaheen Sehbai’s analysis – On the way out?


It seems that after Shahid Masood, the fate of Shaheen Sehbai has also been sealed at Jang group of newspapers. 

In today’s Jang newspaper, a detailed rebuttal for Shaheen Sehbai’s June 12th analysis is published. Mr Sehbai leveled some allegation against the government of Pakistan for mismanagement and corruption in the use of aid for Pakistan. However, the original report meant for the consumption of local US audience. It is important to note the interesting points in the rebuttal:

 “…ta ham, hisb-e-mamool, Shaheen Sehbai nay report kay mandarjat ko torr maror kar pesh kartay huay iss mayn say apni marzi ka mafhoom nikalnay kee koshish kee hay” 

“ Khusoosan, ‘fard-e-jurm’ ka lafz sansani khaizi paida karnay kay liye istimal hua” 

“ … urdu qalib mayn dhalnay kay baad jub Jang mayn shaya kiya gaya to American Senate kee Foreign Affairs Committee kay mushahidat ko goal kardiya gaya, aur Janab Sehbai nay sansani khaiz aur mutasibana interview ko khabar bana diya …” 

Please find below the image of the Urdu clipping.

Refuting the report of Shaheen Sehbai, June 15, 2010

Here is the link to the paper: http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/jun2010-daily/15-06-2010/main3.htm

The point remains, if Jang knows that Shaheen Sehbai does this usually, then why is he given so much space? What about the loss that people of Pakistan have to endure because of such writings? Who benefits from all this?

We hope that all these story makers and prophets of doom are on the way out. Shahid Masood gone, Shaheen Sehbai on the  way out, who’s next? Any comments!!

About the author

Taimoor Kashmiri


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  • Shaheen Sehbai is one of the few journalists who would not dare to commit any meanest form of dishonesty with their profession. He had given a detailed interview to one Shobha John and that interview got published in Times of India. In that interview, he painted a horrible picture of ISI. My point is that, I have also some reservations on the ISI past role, and have expressed my criticism but only with our Pakistani fellows. I will never ever express on this sensitive organization with foreign media what to say with INDIAN media. Since Mr. Sehbai is settled in USA for reasons best known to him, I for myself did not know much about his activities and I was not interested in him either, except for when I used to watch “Meray Mutabiq” of Dr. Shahid Masood, Sehbai’s view points were relayed (both Shahid and Sehbai always agreed that Zardari’s ouster is within this very hour). This monotony of “Meray Mutabiq” made me fed up and I left watching this bore program. For Shaheen Sebai my last comment is that he should be prosecuted on sedition charges. Else, in my book he is not worth to be thought about for a sec.

  • Shaheen Sehbai is one of the few journalists who would not hesitate to commit any meanest form of dishonesty with their profession. He had given a detailed interview to one Shobha John and that interview got published in Times of India. In that interview, he painted a horrible picture of ISI. My point is that, I have also some reservations on the ISI past role, and have expressed my criticism but only with our Pakistani fellows. I will never ever express on this sensitive organization with foreign media what to say with INDIAN media. Since Mr. Sehbai is settled in USA for reasons best known to him, I for myself did not know much about his activities and I was not interested in him either, except for when I used to watch “Meray Mutabiq” of Dr. Shahid Masood, Sehbai’s view points were relayed (both Shahid and Sehbai always agreed that Zardari’s ouster is within this very hour). This monotony of “Meray Mutabiq” made me fed up and I left watching this bore program. For Shaheen Sebai my last comment is that he should be prosecuted on sedition charges. Else, in my book he is not worth to be thought about for a sec.

  • The point remains, if Jang knows that Shaheen Sehbai does this usually, then why is he given so much space?
    Hamid Mir/Jang Group’s Mess & Credibility of JANG/GEO TV.

    Human Memory is weak so let me revive it!

    The news/editorial below was published in Daily Dawn and it was about The Former, then present, then former and now Present Group Editor of The News International [The Editorial Staff/Owners also think that The News and Jang Group of Newspapers are Anti-American and Prop Pakistan’s alleged National Interests], the one and only Mr Shaheen Sehbai. We all know that Liars don’t have good Memory. Please keep one thing in mind while going through the article below that Mr Shaheen Sehbai had complained about the Falling Standards of The News International in 2002 [the standards fell when Mr Shaheen Sehbai resigned during Musharraf’s Tenure in 2002] now standard of The News International is again risen since Mr Shaheen Sehbai has agin joined and now it can be compared with The New Yorker/ The Washington Post and The New York Times.

    Read and Lament as to how the Educated Pakistan play with the sentiments of those who read newspapers for news. Do read as to what another Seniot Journalist Late Khalid Hasan had to say about Shaheen Sehbai at the end. Also read The Washington Post as to how The News International and Shaheen Sehbai involved/linked Pakistan with Terrorists in 2002. Shaheen Sehbai should be ashamed of himself that after doing this he escaped and took self imposed asylum in USA, the same USA against whom he and his newspaper spitting venom. So Why the hell exile in USA, a country whose Legislative Bill [Kerry – Lugar Bill – State of Pakistan’s Economy and Kerry Lugar Bill] is so bad about Pakistan. Why not asylum in Dubai or any other Muslim country.

    Judge not lest ye be judged [Dated March 10, 2002 Sunday Zilhaj 25, 1422 Courtesy: Daily Dawn URL:

    JOURNALIST Shaheen Sehbai, resigned as editor of The News on March 1 after serving the paper for about 14 moths.

    In a letter addressed to colleagues, Mr Sehbai, who earlier had a very distinguished career with Dawn, implied that the publisher had charged him with policy violations and professional misconduct to sack him under pressure from the military government. He enclosed a memorandum from the publisher alleging publication of libellous matter, alienating advertisers, failing to consult him on important matters, printing a story recently that was ‘perceived to be damaging to our national interest’ and elicited a severe reaction from the government, failing to contact ‘relevant government functionaries’ to discuss the issue, and being generally inaccessible to senior government officials as well his own staff.

    The memo also complained of a lack of improvement in the paper.

    Mr Sehbai said he had answered by recalling that the publisher had informed him of the government demand to sack four The News staffers, including the editor, and regretted that “you have decided to get in line.” He said he was aware that the government had stopped carrying advertisements in not only The News but also other papers of the group and that the publisher had been told that only the dismissals would result in their restoration.

    He claimed that he had been asked to contact the Inter-Services Intelligence officials but had refused on principal to call, or meet, any government official in a ‘hostage’ situation.

    On the other hand, he said, he had conveyed to the government the evidence that the paper’s policy had, in fact, been tilted in its favour. At least 50 editorials and over 100 articles published in about six weeks were cited to prove the point. The paper, he said, had at times gone out of its way to accommodate the government.

    But, Mr Sehbai said, he could not allow a newspaper he edited to become the voice of any government for monetary considerations.

    Dismissing “whatever other issues you have raised” as “childish and frivolous,” he said there was no point in discussing them.

    Recounting management problems, Mr Sehbai also mentioned the “legal jugglery” employed to deprive contract workers of salary increases and the refusal to renew their contracts.

    The episode was described in foreign media as a blow to claims of freedom of press in Pakistan. A spokesman for the government was said to have denied Mr Sehbai’s allegations.

    At The News, no replacement has since been named.



    In Washington we had formed a small group and regularly met at a restaurant that sort of replicated “Pak Tea House” of yesteryears of Lahore. Khalid was always at the centre stage of lively discussions on wide range of subjects there. In his dispatches to Pakistan, he called it “Kabab Masal” group after the name of the restaurant. We rotated chairmanship with every meeting. Several years ago when Shah Mahmood Qureshi came to Washington, it was Khalid’s turn to preside. He recalled his first meeting with him in Vienna while Qureshi was finance minister Punjab. “I had my gut reaction that he is a prime ministerial stuff”, Khalid said. Shaheen Sehbai mixed up this remark and attributed it to Qureshi himself in his report to Dawn. Qureshi was very upset and a clarification was made next day. I told Shaheen: “You have perhaps permanently destroyed Qureshi’s career in the PPP.’ When Ms.Bhutto named him as ARD’s candidate to the office in 2002, I recounted this episode to him in the presence of Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan. He was again in the reckoning when PPP won elections last year.


    AMHERST, Mass.–Nine days ago there was an alarming indication of upheaval in Pakistan — a crackdown on the press. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the government pressured the owner of an influential English language newspaper, the News, to fire four journalists. One of them, the paper’s editor, Shaheen Sehbai, said the trouble started after his newspaper reported a link between the prime suspect in the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and recent attacks on the Indian parliament in Delhi and in the Kashmiri capital, Srinagar.

    Daniel Pearl – South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, was an American Jewish journalist who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in Karachi, Pakistan in 2002.

    When Sehbai asked the paper’s owner to identify who wanted to sack them, Sehbai said he was told to see officials at the ISI, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Instead he resigned and left for the United States.


    Group Editor of The News International, Mr Shaheen Sehbai

    Now read the words of Mr Shaheen Sehbai in the light of his suddenly found ‘concerns for the National Security of Pakistan’ in connection with the Conditions of Kerry-Lugar Bill. Do note his language against the Pakistani Military Establishment in 2002.


    Three weeks ago, I resigned as editor of Pakistan’s most influential English daily, the News. My proprietor had directed me to apologize to the chiefs of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for my decision to publish details of a confessional statement by Omar Saeed Sheikh, the prime suspect in the abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. I was the first local journalist Danny contacted last year when he arrived in Karachi to cover Pakistan, and America’s war against terror, the latest dimension of which was seen in Sunday’s attack on a church in Islamabad.

    Never lacking for audacity, the ISI first broke into our newsroom on Feb. 17 to detect our story on Sheikh, in which he linked the ISI directly to his involvement in last December’s terrorist attacks on India’s Parliament. With such embarrassing information coming from one of their own kind — Sheikh had, after all, turned himself in for interrogation to his former ISI handler on Feb. 5, a week before Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, visited Washington — the regime’s principal information officer called me at 1 a.m. and demanded I pull the piece.

    When his coercion failed, my proprietor in London was called. He tried to stop publication, but failed, and the next day the government pulled all its advertising — accounting for over half our income — in an effort to silence my paper completely. Then they asked the owner to sack me, as well as three other senior journalists.

    I resigned rather than be part of a conspiracy to mislead Pakistan’s people. Fearing for my safety — and with the Pearl case fresh in mind — I chose to join my family in Virginia and live to fight another day.

    And fight we must. This media management is the first sign of where Gen. Musharraf’s newly tactful ISI is headed. “Managing” politics and rigging October’s elections are next on the agenda. There are signs that a political party is being put together to legitimize Gen. Musharraf as an all-powerful president, to stay in office well beyond any reasonable time-frame.

    Games we have seen so many times are underway in Pakistan again. I’m not talking about cricket with India, but about an effort to manipulate the press, to usurp the right to fair elections, and to hide Islamists under a presentable wrap. (Only last week, Gen. Musharraf released most of the arrested Taliban activists and their fanatic leaders.)

    The primary instrument of change in achieving this devil’s pact is Gen. Musharraf’s recasting of the ISI as a more docile institution, ostensibly purged of Islamist hard-liners and Taliban sympathizers. But buyers beware.

    Another intelligence disaster now looms. Its similarities to the Zia days are remarkable. Gen. Musharraf, the military dictator of the day, is the new darling of the West fighting the new enemy in Afghanistan. Billions of American taxpayer dollars are again set to flow. A beautiful facade has been crafted for external consumption, on everything from press freedoms and elections to a corruption-free economy and an Islamist-free state. The reality is harshly different.

    The ISI has been assigned the task of recruiting representatives for this effort. They are to cajole and coerce the press and politicians. Key leaders from the political parties of both former prime ministers — Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif — are being lined up for pre-approval. The Islamist role will be safeguarded by fundamentalist generals.

    A full dress rehearsal of this methodology was carried out during the recently concluded countrywide polls for mayors and deputy mayors. Every city, big or small, had a pre-selected mayor. In Pakistan’s military stronghold, Rawalpindi, ISI interference in seating a pre-approved candidate was so blatant that the non-political but highly compliant chamber of commerce president was “elected” mayor against better-known political stalwarts.

    Pakistan has played crucial roles in two of the main victories of our era — those over communism and terrorism. The first time, the West looked away while evil forces were born in our midst, destroying our culture and society. The moderate majority was silenced into submission until the world woke up on Sept. 11.

    The warning signs are there again. America must invest its political and financial capital in institutions, not individuals. The American people and their elected representatives must not look the other way again. Freedom of the press is under siege. The promised return of democracy is being systematically compromised. American aid is being used to achieve dubious objectives. And the poor people of Pakistan, in defense of whom the ISI and Gen. Musharraf have made their last stand, may once again lose whatever is left of a country that can still be great. (By SHAHEEN SEHBAI )Courtesy: Pakistan Punch

    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

    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



    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:


    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


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

    I am 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


    REFERENCE: Why Are We Killing Ourselves? Anas Malik March 2, 2002

  • It is being optimistic, nothing happened to over zealous talk shows hosts like Shahid Masood and Hamid Mir so dont expect that anything is gonna happen to skunk Shaheen Sebhai. They in their “Hate Government Agenda” forgot where responsibilities of reporter starts and whre they end. Just like Taliban Ansar Abassi you cant tell if he is a columnist, reporter or a taliban. Despite all those fuck ups they are enjoying their carreres at GEO. The get paid hefty amount to talk about poverty in their Gucci and Armani suits.
    Neo Taliban agenda of GEO and Jang is now out in the open. These Neo Talibans are protecting their children (judiciary) by printing false reports. Imagine a man who looks like a drug pusher from the streets of Pehsawar (Qazi Anwar presisdent of SCBA) is also one of media darlings and they are openly campaigning against Asma Jehangir in next election of SCBA.
    These Neo Talibansistas are complaining that PPP is siding with Asma Jehangir, where were they when they were paid millions by Raiwind brothers and same Raiwind brothers invested millions in Lawyers movement to bring corrupt PCO judgs back.
    Dear what goes around comes around.

    Fawad Manzoor
    26th, I/W

  • A get-CJ Iftikhar operation on the cards? Wednesday, June 16, 2010 Kaira rejects any move, political leaders show lack of knowledge By Ansar Abbasi http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=29502

    ISLAMABAD: The Presidency has launched a covert operation to target Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry with clear signs that the massive government funds being doled out to lawyers and the highly dubious appointment of an ordinary lawyer as federal law secretary are part of this larger agenda, it is learnt.

    Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, however, categorically denied this and termed it baseless and speculative, insisting that publication of such a story without concrete proofs would lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

    Sources confided to The News that the Presidency is desperate to effectively target the chief justice and possibly remove him for which the groundwork has already started and things are expected to mature after the Supreme Court hands down its decision on the 18th Amendment.

    Feeling insecure from a fiercely independent judiciary because of their tainted past, President Asif Ali Zardari and a group of his advisers, including a few federal ministers, all of whom have their personal grudge against the judiciary, have chalked out this strategy to muster much-required support of political and legal fraternity to target the top judge. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is also said to be on-board.

    Sure to win the support of all its coalition partners, including the ANP, the MQM and the JUI-F, all of them not too happy with the independent judiciary because of its decisions affecting them and their leaders, the PPP is also confident to take the PML-N on-board.

    After reading and hearing the anti-judiciary sentiments of certain PML-N leaders, the sources said, the Presidency is desirous to see the apex court striking down any part of the 18th Amendment so that the PML-N’s support could also be won to target Justice Iftikhar-led superior judiciary.

    Presidency spokesman Farhatullah Babar was simply inaccessible as he neither attended this correspondent’s phone calls nor responded to the SMS message conveying the question on the issue.

    Information Minister Qamaruzzaman Kaira, however, when approached categorically denied this and asked how the PPP government, which gave its blood during the judicial movement and restored the judges through an executive order, could even think of targeting any of the judges.

    “Neither there is any such thinking nor it will happen,” he said, adding that the PPP, the government or the Presidency have nothing against any judge. The information minister said the government respects the judges and the courts and is obeying their orders and directions. He said there is no issue of President Asif Ali Zardari as the 18th Amendment was passed by parliament.

    PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal, however, emphatically said that his party, which has paid a heavy price for the restoration of the independent judiciary, would not let any attempt aimed at attacking it succeed.

    Denying that any of the PML-N leaders was approached even informally by the government for supporting the get-Justice Iftikhar operation, Ahsan Iqbal apprehended that the government was trying to deflect the NRO issue by preparing grounds for a bigger controversy, or a battle between the judiciary and parliament.

    He said the PML-N owns the 18th Amendment and defends it too but would give its response on the court decision only after it is be handed down and reviewed by the party. The sources, however, said some of the PML-N leaders have even assured the PPP men to stand with parliament in case of the striking down of any of the constitutional amendments. In such a situation, the government plans to move a resolution in parliament in favour of the 18th Amendment and against the apex court.

    Similar resolutions, the sources said, are expected to be moved and adopted in the provincial assemblies, including the Punjab, provided the PML-N gets on-board. The induction of Babar Awan’s junior as law secretary is also part of the impending get-Justice Iftikhar operation. The sources said Zardari’s confidants are also contemplating filing a formal reference before the Supreme Judicial Council against the chief justice.

    About the grounds of such a reference, nothing could be ascertained by this correspondent except that the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Qazi Anwar, revealed to The News something is said to have already been received by President Zardari against the chief justice.

    Qazi said he has recently hinted at a possible attack on the superior judiciary following the prime minister’s repeated statements that the judges were restored through his executive order, which could be withdrawn, and that the restoration was not the consequence of the long march.

    “These statements are not meaningless,” he said but resolved that the lawyers’ fraternity and the people of Pakistan would not let the government attack the independent judiciary.

    Only recently Dr Abdul Basit, the then counsel of the Federation representing in the 18th Amendment case, had talked of moving a reference against the chief justice. Basit, however, was removed from the panel because he had thrice changed his statements about the authority, who had directed him to object to the inclusion of the chief justice in the 17-member bench hearing the case.

    He initially named the president, then talked of Salman Farooqi and later said that the strategy was decided in the law minister’s office.

    Meanwhile, the sources said the Presidency also wants the PML-N to realise that with the kind of the judiciary that exists in Pakistan right now, no government could function freely. The PML-N, it is said, will also be made to realise that its leadership too has pending corruption cases in the superior judiciary, which might create problems for them too.

    The PPP is, however, confident of winning the support of its coalition partners. The MQM, which has not shown any sign of defiance against the judiciary, is expected to join the government’s move. Senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar, when approached told The News that no one from the government or Presidency has contacted his party for any such move against the chief justice.

    Sattar said if the government contacts the MQM in this respect in the future, the party would take the issue to its Rabita Committee and would take a decision accordingly keeping in view the overall situation. The MQM though never supported the NRO whether inside parliament or before the apex court, its annulment led to opening up of almost 8,000 criminal cases against the MQM leaders and workers. Of late, the Supreme Court had sought from the provincial authorities, including the Sindh government, an update about such cases.

    ANP spokesman Zahid Khan told The News that neither he was aware of any such development nor his party leadership was contacted by the government or the Presidency with such a proposal.

    Answering a question as to what would be the stance of the ANP if the government sought its support for such a move, he said he couldn’t respond to hypothetical questions.

    JUI-F spokesman Maulana Ajmad when contacted said he is not aware of any such move and is hearing it from The News for the first time. He, however, committed to get back to The News on the issue after talking to his party’s top leadership.

    Meanwhile, the government has also pinned high hopes on Asma Jehangir, who is contesting for the office of the president SC Bar Association. Though she is an independent candidate and highly respected, the government is supporting her with great hopes.

  • Shaheen Sehbai’s brand of writing reflects poorly on its author’s sense of objective and professional balance that any journalistic piece requires. By continuing to write in the same vein during the last year and a half, the writer has proved that he possesses none. An increased use of angry expletives only shows the writer’s frustrations at how, one after another, all his predictions and analyses about the President’s policy actions and political stances have proven fallacious no sooner have they been penned by the turn of events that have come about as a result of the Democratic Government’s progress under the leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

  • Readers have become familiar with Shaheen Sehbai’s brand idiom, which is always based on flawed assumptions and speculations, and often expressed, in sheer bad taste with no regard for basic ethics and mannerisms of public authorship. The extent of the writer’s venomous hatred for the President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, is well known to the readers of this newspaper. It can be judged by a recent piece written by Sehbai titled “Why is the President scared of political actors” published in The News of April 23, 2010, in which he sadly used words like “fiendish” and phrases like “attack dogs” to describe the person and the official staff who – whether we like it or not — represent the office of the President of Pakistan. Qamar Zaman Kaira rightly stated that 90 percent of his assumptions are based on conjectures and imagination, holding no place in reality.

  • It is primarily a wish of political outsiders like Mr. Sehbai that Pakistan Army and democratically elected government opt for the collision course. These are the same people who want a clash between the executive, legislature and the judiciary for their own ulterior motives. However, the political forces which represent the people of Pakistan and the current holders of high offices in other institutions have shown maturity by not getting into the trap of these political actors.
    These political actors keep suggesting to the Chief of the Army Staff and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to unconstitutionally sack the Government and take over the system despite disastrous fallout of such adventurous acts in the past including dismemberment of Pakistan and ruining of the constitutional and legal structures. However, apparently the Chief Justice and Chief of the Army Staff are not buying their argument. One has yet to see any perceived differences between the President and the military growing to the extent of threatening the very democratic system.

  • If wishes be the horses Sehbais would ride. The so called intellectuals like him have been writing for years that the people of Pakistan have short-lived memories. But actually it is Mr. Sehbai who has a short-lived memory. Sehbai and co tried their best to create a rift between the President and the Prime Minister but just when they had created enough storms in the tea cup, the Prime Minister came in the National Assembly and made a strong speech in favor of Mr. Zardari. These frustrated men would then begin their tirade against the Prime Minister and start telling Mr. Nawaz Shareef not to trust Mr. Gilani because he is a friend of Zardari.

  • If wishes be the horses Sehbais would ride. The so called intellectuals like him have been writing for years that the people of Pakistan have short-lived memories. But actually it is Mr. Sehbai who has a short-lived memory. Sehbai and co tried their best to create a rift between the President and the Prime Minister but just when they had created enough storms in the tea cup, the Prime Minister came in the National Assembly and made a strong speech in favor of Mr. Zardari. These frustrated men would then begin their tirade against the Prime Minister and start telling Mr. Nawaz Shareef not to trust Mr. Gilani because he is a friend of Zardari.

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