Original Articles

The politics of Shaheen Sehbai and the tomato juice bath – by Fawad Manzoor

Skunk is a small animal found in the wild. It looks beautiful from distance. It has beautiful white stripe going through middle of his body all the way through its tail. One of the defense this animal has against its enemies is to spray a liquid with a strong foul smelling odor.

While abroad on a hunting trip, I had the experience of such activity and it is very hard to get rid of that odor. One antidote that hunters use to get rid of this odor is to take a bath in tomato juice.

Mr. Sehbai seems like some one of such traits. He appears to be a decent looking man but when you get to read his blabbering, he seems like a person with personal vendetta not a journalist.

His recent article titled “The politics of Raiwind and the Mian brothers” published in The News on 28 June 2010 is full of “assumptions”. His writing shows his biased opinion. He is hell bent on defaming Zardari and PPP with concocted and fabricated stories. He is trying to scare Nawaz of military camel and at the same time trying to advise him to confront Zardari. He also mentions how PML-Q lawmakers came close to Nawaz and he missed the opportunity to bring all the leagues closer and overthrowing PPP government.

Sehbai writes:

On the contrary, if Nawaz had played his cards well and got all the PML people together, he would be in a perfectly easy position to topple the Gilani government in the NA in a simple numbers game, all through a democratic and political process. Finding a face-saving excuse to get the PML-Q MNAs, senators and MPs should not have been a problem, instead it would have thrown the Zardari camp into disarray. But even political moves have been missing and that has left the field open for Zardari to exploit.

His phrases like “Zardari’s Cronies”, “Zardari and associates”, and “Zardari sidekicks” clearly shows his hate for President Zardari and for the PPP leadership. He is openly advocating toppling the PPP led democratic government. He also doesn’t shy away from suggesting Nawaz Sharif to bring Musharraf’s former political allies PML-Q closer for this purpose. He is suggesting grand alliance of Muslim leagues and any Tom Dick & Harry parties in lines with historical IJI to defeat PPP.

His suggestion that Zardari thinks General Musharraf’s return will help the PPP and Nawaz’s repeated principled stand on Musharraf’s trial is also hurting the PML-N. I never thought that leading newspaper editor will suggest such steps. In his words it is all just numbers game.

Mr. Sehbai is playing games with his words.

The massive loot and plunder and the spate of stories of corruption, misuse of authority, wastage of funds etc is all going by default with no one to challenge it effectively either in parliament or on the streets. Press conferences and TV interviews cannot stop this rot and this has not yet been understood by Nawaz Sharif.

Sehbai’s suggestion that the Charter of Democracy is not accepted by Zardari is full of exploitation of facts. Charter of Democracy whose signatories are both parties have already acted on it and converted it into unanimously passed18th amendment with mutual consent. Mr. Sehbai’s repeated calls for COD are redundant and of no use. Mr. Sehbai unlike his name “Shaheen” is behaving like a vulture feeding on dead animals. His tirade against Zardari is of personal nature.

Mr. Sehbai, there are many more who claim to be the initiators of the COD. Wake up and smell the coffee it has already been acted upon. No need to keep beating a dead horse. Everybody can smell the odor of skunk from your writings. If you have personal grudge against Zardari deal with it on personal level. You have no right to dirty the newspaper pages with your filth.

Another excerpt from the article under review:

It is hard for me to demand that the Charter of Democracy should be buried, as I am one of its initiators, but when signatories do not adhere to the agreements, it becomes redundant by itself. The Sharif brothers must wake up before Zardari and Associates who are claiming that 2013 will the year the PPP will sweep the Punjab, becomes a reality.

Sehbai’s uncorroborated statement that Zardari camp is trying to attack Judiciary is just a huge laugh. When any of the government functionary said anything to insult judiciary. The stories that are leaked out are not true; those fictitious stories are made in the offices of the Pakistani Taliban Union of Journalists (PTUJ). His ill informed sources are making mockery of journalism. He has absolutely no proof of even a single thing he said. This frustrated and constipated person has not left anybody or anything untouched with his wild imaginative thoughts. He has tried to bring a rift between PPP and its allies then he touched army and PML-N secretive talks.

Mr. Sehbai should start writing novels of political fiction with name “Sehbai’s Political fiction based on fictional sources”. I am surprised that such a self proclaimed patriot spends most of his time in the US with his family in NY and still gets so much stuff to print from unnamed sources in the power corridors. Could it be possible that his unnamed sources are some people or agencies not from this country.

I would call Shaheen Sehbai a complete buffoon who is trying to make waves to topple the government and derail the system. If such stupidity is done and Nawaz Sharif does as suggested by Sehbai then believe me this will once again come back to haunt us. This ugly process of toppling the democratic governments will continue till no end unless new Chief of Army Staff decides to become new Zia or new Musharraf. He is trying to tell Nawaz Sharif to stop Zardari from doing his work.

With all the filth and ugliness that has been written and spoken thru the media, they still can’t digest that it was Zardari and PPP which got Gilani elected PM unanimously, got senators elected unanimously, got president elected with two third majority, gave the Balochistan Package with apology for previous mistakes of the rulers, gave the NFC award, gave the 18th Amendment reducing President’s own powers along with providing maximum provincial autonomy, keeping army on a winning track in FATA (indeed it is not army alone, army needed the political will to do the job which the government provided), putting a leash on extremist elements in Pakistan, pushing Mullahs back to where they belong (hell hole).

Mr. Shebai, what else do you want? Sorry that Zardari didn’t make you ambassador to Canada or something, otherwise you would be happy like your other friend Dr. Shahid Masood was happy till he got fired from his job at PTV.

Advice to Mr. Shaheen Shebai: dear, sit back and relax; let the democracy work. I know you are not happy that you were not appointed as an ambassador but still let the system work; no need to think of different ways of toppling governments just to satisfy your ugly ego. I challenge you to provide concrete evidence to prove anything you have said. Skunk! now I need to take a bath in tomato juice.

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri


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  • The politics of Raiwind and the Mian brothers; Sharifs fear mly intervention if they go all out against Zardari; sticking to principles may cost them Punjab govt; with Zardari on the rampage, will the Army be sucked in?

    Monday, June 28, 2010
    WASHINGTON: The Mian brothers of Raiwind are caught in a Catch-22 situation, caught in the midst of their own conflicts of minds and principles.

    Of these positions, some are based on their perceived fears of another military intervention, some necessitated by the political compulsion of not allowing Zardari to trample upon them in the Punjab, some caused by their own declarations about politics of principles and some based on compromises they have to make to run their government in the Punjab.

    Their dilemma is complex and not an easy one to resolve. If they go all out against Zardari, they think the military camel will again get the chance to put its neck in the political tent, ultimately driving out the genuine residents into a hot desert sun.

    If they do not stop Zardari & Co from the massive plundering of state institutions and misuse of political authority, they run the risk of being left out and have to face the genuine criticism of being the friendly opposition, with the PPP running away with everything.

    If they push their principles too far, specially on the fake degrees issue, the PML-N gets the biggest hit in the Punjab with the likelihood of the Shahbaz government falling, thus, giving Zardari another golden opportunity to manipulate the situation in his favour and install an interim government or the Governor’s rule for a long politically uncomfortable or even damaging period.

    (The example of the PPP tricking the MQM into dissolving the local bodies on the promise of early elections and then walking away from the scene, leaving Altaf Hussain in a similar quandary is too recent to be forgotten.)

    If the Mian brothers do not stop Zardari, Babar Awan & Associates from confronting and ultimately subjugating the Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, they run the risk of being called spineless cowards who ran their election campaign for the restoration and independence of the judges and capitalised on the issue to the hilt, but when the crunch came, they chickened out to save their government in the Punjab.

    It is another matter that because of the directionless and clueless position of the Mian brothers, Zardari & Associates have got the confidence and audacity to go for an all-out public offensive against the judiciary, with Babar Awan thundering and challenging: “How many hundreds of years will you keep on trying us, we will face it.”

    His cronies and sidekicks are leaking stories of actions that Zardari may take against the judges, including the withdrawal of the March 17, 2009 Executive Order which restored the judges. Though such a suicidal act may bring the confrontation to a head, it only shows the PPP is no more worried about the consequences of going to all lengths to protect Zardari and his cronies.

    This also shows at least the PPP is not worried about any military intervention as privately Zardari and the main PPP stalwarts boast that they have used the Sindh Card in such a way the Army will never dare to touch them again.

    Zardari even said so in his Garhi Khuda Bux speech by claiming he already had a win-win formula in place and even if he loses, he will win. That only means the preparation to use the Sindh Card are complete and this blackmail will now be used with more frequency, severity and shamelessness.

    Against this emboldened and aggressive PPP, the Mian brothers are caught in a trap of their own making. PML-N insiders say Mian Nawaz Sharif has confined himself into such a cocoon of self-righteousness that he has ignored the pressing needs and absolutely essential political maneuvers that he must have already made to keep his party in power, as well as strengthen it to face the PPP.

    For instance, the plight of the 35 or so MPs who crossed over from the PML-Q to join his coalition in the Punjab have been the most ignored lot in the Punjab Assembly and some have even started to trickle out of the coalition though they have nowhere to go.

    What the Sharifs should have done, keeping the essential needs of pragmatism and the ground realities in view, is to gather all the PML elements together, in the National Assembly, Senate and the provinces, making suitable adjustments with them as Zardari has done with rivals MQM, JUI and ANP.

    Bulk of these Muslim Leaguers were ready to join the Sharifs but Raiwind is stuck with the Charter of Democracy, which for all practical purposes, is dead and buried, thrown into the dustbin by Zardari & Co.

    What Mian Nawaz Sharif is not realising is that he and Benazir Bhutto signed the Charter of Democracy with a view to go into the politics of the future but what Zardari, who had absolutely nothing to do with the CoD, has done, is to revert the political pendulum to the 90s. He has embarked on the old politics as if nothing has changed since he was jailed in 1996.

    This lack of realisation is now haunting the Sharifs. They committed to the politics of principles and decency but they have an opponent who is not interested. So if they have to survive the onslaught, which is going on from all sides, Raiwind has to decide quickly how this has to be done. So far, it has failed miserably. One hard hitting statement in a month or six-weeks and then withdrawing into a shell is not taking the Sharifs anywhere. Even when Nawaz Sharif makes that statement, his body language is so stiff, confused and lacking confidence, he appears to be doing it without conviction or commitment.

    Another key confusion which refuses to go away is the perceived threat in the minds of the Sharifs, or Nawaz Sharif in particular, about the threat of military intervention. The Army has walked away from politics and Zardari has realized and capitalized on this, at least so far. He has taken positions which otherwise would have been difficult but he is now confident he can handle the Army. Nawaz Sharif is not so confident, but why?

    The answer to this question is simple. Nawaz thinks he would be the one to lose more if a situation was created in which the Army walks back in. But with this fear in mind, he has stopped even playing the normal role an opposition should play. The massive loot and plunder and the spate of stories of corruption, misuse of authority, wastage of funds etc is all going by default with no one to challenge it effectively either in parliament or on the streets. Press conferences and TV interviews cannot stop this rot and this has not yet been understood by Nawaz Sharif.

    The Army-PML-N relations and any misunderstandings if they had, should have been cleared when Shahbaz Sharif and Ch Nisar Ali Khan met the Army chief openly, and secretly, several times. Why has that not happened is a mystery but the Sharifs have to realise that the way Zardari is on the rampage, he will ultimately suck the Army in, whether the Sharifs like it or not. So why not check Zardari politically before he makes it impossible and the only way then left is through an outside intervention.

    Zardari, on the other hand, has played his cards like a shrewd master. He attacks and abuses his partners (MQM, JUI, ANP) publicly, with his cronies even insulting them, but then he throws crumbs and gets them back on board. The prime minister is used as a convenient trouble-shooter.

    On the contrary, if Nawaz had played his cards well and got all the PML people together, he would be in a perfectly easy position to topple the Gilani government in the NA in a simple numbers game, all through a democratic and political process. Finding a face-saving excuse to get the PML-Q MNAs, senators and MPs should not have been a problem, instead it would have thrown the Zardari camp into disarray. But even political moves have been missing and that has left the field open for Zardari to exploit.

    The latest in the Zardari camp is to attack the judges, on the one hand, threatening to withdraw their Executive order and throw them on the street by Rehman Malik’s executive power, while on the other to secretly encourage General Musharraf to seriously come back and put together the remnants of the PML-Q under his wings and then cooperate with the PPP against Raiwind. The presidency thinks Musharraf’s return would help the PPP and damage the Sharifs who are stuck on his trial and are refusing to move on and do what is needed to preserve their political assets and check the PPP onslaught.

    The answer to all this PML-N confusion and dilemma is for Nawaz Sharif to come out of his cocoon, stop worrying about the Army intervention, stand strongly behind the judges and the judiciary, a free media and confront the government by political moves and hard criticism where needed.

    The political moves must include forgetting the Charter of Democracy for the moment as it is already irrelevant in the present context, throw the PPP out of his coalition in the Punjab by getting the PML-Q people back through a face-saving formula, giving them importance and attracting others, re-arranging the decks in the NA by forming alliances and mending fences with MQM, ANP and JUI and doing the political act of throwing out the PPP through the democratic process.

    It is hard for me to demand that the Charter of Democracy should be buried, as I am one of its initiators, but when signatories do not adhere to the agreements, it becomes redundant by itself. The Sharif brothers must wake up before Zardari and Associates who are claiming that 2013 will the year the PPP will sweep the Punjab, becomes a reality.


  • جمہوریت اور قورمہ !

    وسعت اللہ خان
    بی بی سی اردو ڈاٹ کام، کراچی

    معلوم نہیں یہ بات کس حد تک درست ہے کہ پاکستان کے سپہ سالار جنرل اشفاق پرویز کیانی نے زرداری گیلانی حکومت کو کہا ہے کہ وہ اپنے چند وزراء یا ان کے محکمے تبدیل کردے ۔ لیکن وفاقی وزیرِ اطلاعات قمر زمان کائرہ اور خود وزیرِ اعظم یوسف رضا گیلانی نے اس طرح کی میڈیا رپورٹس پر جس نوعیت کا ردِعمل ظاہر کیا ہے اور قومی اسمبلی میں قائدِ حزبِ اختلاف چوہدری نثار علی کا یہ کہنا ہے کہ جلد تبدیلی آنے والی ہے اور یہ ایوان کے اندر سے ہی آئے گی ظاہر کرتا ہے کہ کوئی مزیدار کھچڑی ضرور پک رہی ہے یا دم پر ہے۔

    اگر یہ بات درست بھی ہے کہ فوج حکومتی ڈھانچے میں کچھ ردو بدل چاہتی ہے تب بھی میڈیا کے کچھ حلقے اس بات یا تجویز یا تاثر پر جس طرح بغلیں بجا رہے ہیں اس سے اندازہ ہوتا ہے کہ ان ابلاغی حلقوں کے پیشِ نظر سویلین اور پارلیمانی ڈھانچے کو لاحق طویل المیعاد خطرات ہرگز نہیں ہیں بلکہ ان کا صرف ایک ہی ارمان ہے کہ موجودہ سیٹ اپ جائے چاہے اس کی جگہ کالا چور ہی آجائے۔

    جہاں تک قائدِ حزبِ اختلاف کا یہ کہنا کہ تبدیلی آنے والی ہے اور ایوانِ کے اندر سے ہی آئے گی۔ اگر ایسا ہوجائے تو بہت ہی اچھا ہوگا۔ تاہم پاکستان کی اب تک کی تاریخ تو یہی بتاتی ہے کہ ایک سویلین ڈھانچے کو دوسرے سویلین ڈھانچے سے تبدیل کرنا ہمیشہ سے ایک پر خطر کام رہا ہے۔ اس کے نتیجے میں یا تو فوجی سیٹ اپ آیا ہے یا پھر اسمبلی توڑ کر نئے انتخابات کرانے پڑے ہیں۔ایوان کے اندر سے تبدیلی کی اگر کوئی ایک مثال ہے تو وہ بھی ایک فوجی ڈکٹیٹر کے زیرِ سایہ پچھلے ڈھانچے میں حکومتی تسلسل توڑے بغیر تین بے اختیار وزرائے اعظم کی تبدیلی ہے۔

    اس تناظر میں اگر موجودہ حکومت کی جگہ فوجی حکومت آ جائے یا فوجی کی پشت پناہی سے ایک نگراں حکومت نئے انتخابات کروا دے یا موجودہ حکومت کی فرمائشی اوورہالنگ ہوجائے یا ایوان کے اندر سے ہی تبدیلی آجائے تب بھی ملک کو درپیش اقتصادی ، سیلابی، دھشتگردانہ مسائل اور عالمی سطح پر ایک ناکام ریاست کے امیج میں فوری مثبت تبدیلی دکھائی نہیں دیتی۔

    تو پھر کیا کیا جائے؟ اسی تنخواہ پر کام کیا جائے یا اپنی انفرادی عادات و خواہشات کو لگام دے کر فوج ، میڈیا اور حکومتی سیاستدان ٹنل ویژن کا علاج کرانے کی کوشش کریں۔ مگر یہ بات کہنا آسان ہے کرنا بہت مشکل ہے۔

    پاکستان جیسے ممالک میں جمہوری عمل کا تسلسل اور استحکام کسی ایک فریق کے بس کا روگ نہیں ۔اسے آگے بڑھانے کے لئے امریکہ ، فوج ، میڈیا ، عدلیہ اور سیاستدانوں کی یکساں اور وسیع النظر ٹھوس حمایت کی ضرورت ہے۔ لیکن اس کمٹمنٹ کی راہ میں بنیادی رکاوٹ بے صبری ہے۔کوئی بھی فریق قطار میں کھڑا نہیں رہنا چاہتا بلکہ کنہیاں مار کر آگے نکلنا چاہتا ہے۔یوں قطار بار بار ٹوٹ جاتی ہے اور ہر کوئی یہ کہہ کر جان چھڑا لیتا ہے کہ میں نے تو قطار میں رہنے کی کوشش کی لیکن دوسروں نے مجھے رہنے نہیں دیا۔

    عجیب بات ہے کہ ہم میں سے کسی کو کچی روٹی کھانا پسند نہیں۔کسی کو نامکمل گلا ہوا گوشت پسند نہیں۔کسی کو گھر میں آدھی گندگی اور آدھی ضفائی اچھی نہیں لگتی۔ ہم لذیذ قورمہ بنانے کے لئے اسں میں تمام مصالحے ڈالتے ہیں۔اس کو پکنے کے لئے درکار پورا وقت دیتے ہیں۔لیکن جونہی جمہوریت کی ہانڈی چولہے پر چڑھتی ہے ہر شخص چاہتا ہے کہ بس پانچ منٹ میں تیار ہو کر دستر خوان پر آجائے۔اور اگر ایسا نہ ہو تو ہانڈی اتار لی جائے یا اسے توڑ دیا جائے ۔ ایسے ماحول اور ایسی ذہنیت ہوتے ہوئے اگر فرشتے بھی حکومت پر مامور کردئیے جائیں تو وہ بھی کتنی دیر ٹک پائیں گے۔

    ’فرشتے بھی کتنی دیر حکومت میں رہ پائیں گے‘


  • Latest of “Shaheen Sehbai”

    General Kayani blocking every key US move By Shaheen Sehbai
    Monday, October 11, 2010 Zi Qad 02, 1431 A.H http://www.thenews.com.pk/11-10-2010/Top-Story/1234.htm

    WASHINGTON: The latest book by journalist Bob Woodward remarkably paints Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and President Asif Ali Zardari as two divergent personalities, one a brave and strong nerved soldier who was standing up against every key US demand and the other a spoilt politician who knows nothing about governance. The book is credible because it quotes top US officials and what they think about these two important personalities of Pakistan and repeatedly recalls and emphasizes on the political weakness of President Zardari.

    And now read this 🙂 and tell how did this happen?

    White House supporting Kabul contacts with Mullah Omar’s men By Our Correspondent Thursday, 07 Oct, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/white-house-supporting-kabul-contacts-with-mullah-omars-men-700

    Afghanistan, US in contact with Haqqani insurgents Thursday, 07 Oct, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/14-afghanistan-us-in-contact-with-haqqani-insurgents-zj-01

    Haqqanis in direct talks with Kabul, indirect contact with US By Julian Borger and Declan Walsh Friday, 08 Oct, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/haqqanis-in-direct-talks-with-kabul,-indirect-contact-with-us-800

  • Zardari says US behind Taliban attacks in Pakistan By Shaheen Sehbai Wednesday, October 13, 2010 Zi Qad 04, 1431 A.H More ‘madness’ coming out of ‘Obama’s Wars’

    WASHINGTON: President Asif Ali Zardari seriously believes that the US was “arranging” the (suicide) attacks by Pakistani Taliban inside Pakistan, a claim he made before Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US envoy to Afghanistan, who thought it was ‘madness’.

    The secrets of Pakistani leaders, revealed by ‘Obama’s Wars’ By Shaheen Sehbai Tuesday, October 12, 2010 Zi Qad 03, 1431 A.H http://www.thenews.com.pk/12-10-2010/Top-Story/1260.htm

    WASHINGTON: Bob Woodward’s book “Obama’s wars” has spilled so many beans about the Pakistani leadership, it is hard to determine how he was allowed to quote officials about events which are only months old, with work still in progress, and making disclosures that could create a turmoil for the political leadership in Pakistan. For instance, his book reveals that a special force of 3,000 hot pursuit US troops was carrying out operations inside Pakistani territory from the Afghan side, Pakistani airbases were still being used for drone attacks, US just did not trust the ISI, Zardari had stated to CIA chief clearly that civilian deaths did not worry him at all, US would bomb 150 camps inside Pakistan if there was another attack inside US, besides many other details which have never been revealed.

  • What Saheen Sehbai doesn’t mention about the same Bob Woodward 🙂

    President Bush last month signed an intelligence order directing the CIA to undertake its most sweeping and lethal covert action since the founding of the agency in 1947, explicitly calling for the destruction of Osama bin Laden and his worldwide al Qaeda network, according to senior government officials. The president also added more than $1 billion to the agency’s war on terrorism, most of it for the new covert action. The operation will include what officials said is “unprecedented” coordination between the CIA and commando and other military units. Officials said that the president, operating through his “war cabinet,” has pledged to dispatch military units to take advantage of the CIA’s latest and best intelligence.

    Bush’s order, called an intelligence “finding,” instructs the agency to attack bin Laden’s communications, security apparatus and infrastructure, senior government officials said. U.S. intelligence has identified new and important specific weaknesses in the bin Laden organization that are not publicly known, and these vulnerabilities will be the focus of the lethal covert action, sources said. “The gloves are off,” one senior official said. “The president has given the agency the green light to do whatever is necessary. Lethal operations that were unthinkable pre-September 11 are now underway.” The CIA’s covert action is a key part of the president’s offensive against terrorism, but the agency is also playing a critical role in the defense against future terrorist attacks. For example, each day a CIA document called the “Threat Matrix,” which has the highest security classification (“Top Secret/Codeword”), lands on the desks of the top national security and intelligence officials in the Bush administration. It presents the freshest and most sensitive raw intelligence on dozens of threatened bombings, hijackings or poisonings. Only threats deemed to have some credibility are included in the document.

    One day last week, the Threat Matrix contained 100 threats to U.S. facilities in the United States and around the world — shopping complexes, specific cities, places where thousands gather, embassies. Though nearly all the listed threats have passed without incident and 99 percent turned out to be groundless, dozens more take their place in the matrix each day. It was the matrix that generated the national alert of impending terrorist action issued by the FBI on Oct. 11. The goal of the matrix is simple: Look for patterns and specific details that might prevent another Sept. 11. “I don’t think there has been such risk to the country since the Cuban missile crisis,” a senior official said. During an interview in his West Wing office Friday morning, Vice President Cheney spoke of the new war on terrorism as much more problematic and protracted than the Persian Gulf War of 1991, when Cheney served as secretary of defense to Bush’s father. The vice president bluntly said: “It is different than the Gulf War was, in the sense that it may never end. At least, not in our lifetime.”

    Pushing the Envelope

    In issuing the finding that targets bin Laden, the president has said he wants the CIA to undertake high-risk operations. He has stated to his advisers that he is willing to risk failure in the pursuit of ultimate victory, even if the results are some embarrassing public setbacks in individual operations. The overall military and covert plan is intended to be massive and decisive, officials said. “If you are going to push the envelope some things will go wrong, and [President Bush] sees that and understands risk-taking,” one senior official said. In the interview, Cheney said, “I think it’s fair to say you can’t predict a straight line to victory. You know, there’ll be good days and bad days along the way.” The new determination among Bush officials to go after bin Laden and his network is informed by their pained knowledge that U.S. intelligence last spring obtained high quality video of bin Laden himself but were unable to act on it. The video showed bin Laden with his distinctive beard and white robes surrounded by a large entourage at one of his known locations in Afghanistan. But neither the CIA nor the U.S. military had the means to shoot a missile or another weapon at him while he was being photographed.

    Since then, the CIA-operated Predator unmanned drone with high-resolution cameras has been equipped with Hellfire antitank missiles that can be fired at targets of opportunity. The technology was not operational at the time bin Laden was caught on video. The weapons capability, which was revealed last week in the New Yorker magazine, was developed specifically to attack bin Laden, the officials said. In addition, with the U.S. military heavily deployed in some nations around Afghanistan, commando and other units are now available to move quickly on bin Laden or his key associates as intelligence becomes available. U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies recently received an important break in the effort to track down terrorist leaders overseas, according to officials. The FBI and CIA have been given limited access in the last several weeks to a top bin Laden lieutenant who was arrested after Sept. 11 and is being held in a foreign country. The person, whose various aliases include “Abu Ahmed,” is “a significant player,” in the words of one senior Bush official. Ahmed was arrested with five other members of al Qaeda. He is believed by several senior officials to be the highest-ranking member of al Qaeda ever held for systematic interrogation. Though Ahmed has not given information about future terrorist operations, he has provided some details about the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in a Yemeni port, when 17 sailors were killed. One source said he also has information about the planned terrorist attacks in the United States that were disrupted before the millennium celebrations in December 1999.

    The New Normalcy

    When specific facilities or locations are threatened, as they have been repeatedly in the last month, the FBI informs local law enforcement authorities or foreign intelligence services that are supposed to increase security and take protective measures. The Threat Matrix lists where the intelligence comes from — intercepted communications, walk-in sources, e-mails, friendly foreign intelligence services, telephone threats, and FBI or CIA human sources. The public is not informed except when the threat is considered highly credible or specific, as it was on Oct. 11 when the FBI issued its nationwide alert. In the interview, Cheney said that deciding when to go public and when to withhold threat information is one of the most difficult tasks the administration faces. “You have to avoid falling into the trap of letting it be a cover-your-ass exercise,” Cheney said. “If you scare the hell out of people too often, and nothing happens, that can also create problems. Then when you do finally get a valid threat and warn people and they don’t pay attention, that’s equally damaging.”

    He also noted, “If you create panic, the terrorist wins without ever doing anything. So these are tough calls.” Making details from the Threat Matrix public could result in chaos, several officials said. Literally hundreds of places, institutions and cities from across the country have been on the list. “It could destroy the livelihood of all those organizations and places without a bomb being thrown or a spore of anthrax being released,” another senior Bush official said. The official was asked what would happen if there was a major terrorist incident and many were killed at one of the facilities or places on the Threat Matrix and no public warning had been issued.

    “Then they would have our heads,” the official said.

    Intelligence and law enforcement agencies attempt to run every threat to ground to see if it is genuine, officials said. The results at times have been unexpected. In early October, a woman called authorities to say it was her patriotic duty to report that her husband, who is from the Middle East, was planning an attack with eight or nine friends on Chicago’s Sears Tower. The woman sounded credible and her allegations were reported in the Threat Matrix. The FBI then detained her husband and friends. On the next Threat Matrix the CIA reported that the FBI might have broken up an al Qaeda cell. Upon further investigation, the FBI learned that the woman was furious with her husband, who had a second wife. Her allegations had no merit, but the bureau discovered that some of the people were involved in an arranged-marriage scheme. “Instead of terrorism,” one official said, “we found an angry wife.” Another senior official said, “There can be a problem in a marriage and it results in, you know, an allegation that shows up in the Threat Matrix.” During the interview in his West Wing office, Cheney, with a large map of Afghanistan on an easel near his desk, spoke of life post-Sept. 11. “The way I think of it is, it’s a new normalcy,” he said. “We’re going to have to take steps, and are taking steps, that’ll become a permanent part of the way we live. In terms of security, in terms of the way we deal with travel and airlines, all of those measures that we end up having to adopt in order to sort of harden the target, make it tougher for the terrorists to get at us. And I think those will become permanent features in our kind of way of life.”

    New War, Old Problems

    Though the new intelligence war presents the CIA with an opportunity to excel, several officials noted that the campaign is also fraught with risk. The agency is being assigned a monumental task for which it is not fully equipped or trained, said one CIA veteran who knows the agency from many perspectives. Human, on-the-ground sources are scarce in the region and in the Muslim world in general. Since the end of the Cold War more than a decade ago, the Directorate of Operations (DO), which runs covert activity, has been out of the business of funding and managing major lethal covert action. The CIA has a history of bungling such operations going back to the 1950s and 1960s, most notably when the agency unsuccessfully plotted to assassinate Fidel Castro. In one of the celebrated anti-Castro plots, a CIA agent code-named AM/LASH planned to use Blackleaf-40, a high-grade poison, with a ballpoint-hypodermic needle on the Cuban leader. The device was delivered on Nov. 22, 1963, and a later CIA inspector general’s report noted it was likely “at the very moment President Kennedy was shot.” Though no connections were ever established between the Castro plots and the Kennedy assassination, the CIA’s reputation was severely tarnished. The covert war in Nicaragua in the 1980s was another source of negative publicity, as the CIA mined harbors without adequate notification to Congress and published a 90-page guerrilla-warfare manual on the “selective use of violence” against targets such as judges, police and state security officials. It became known as the “assassination manual.”

    William J. Casey, President Ronald Reagan’s CIA director from 1981 to early 1987, was mired in the disastrous outcome of the “off-the-books” operations of the Iran-contra scandal. That scandal involved secret arms sales to Iran and the illegal diversion of profits from those sales to the contra rebels supported by the CIA in Nicaragua. Reagan and Casey had trouble when they sought to punish covertly the terrorists responsible for the 1983 truck bombing of the U.S. Marine compound in Lebanon, which killed 241 American servicemen in the deadliest terrorist attack on Americans before Sept. 11. Casey worked personally and secretly with Saudi Arabia to plan the assassination of Muslim leader Sheikh Fadlallah, the head of the Party of God or Hezbollah, who was connected to the Marine bombing. The method of retaliation was a massive car bomb that was exploded 50 yards from Fadlallah’s residence in Beirut, killing 80 people and wounding 200 in 1985. But Fadlallah escaped without injury.

    Since the Ford administration, all presidents have signed an executive order banning the CIA or any other U.S. government agency from involvement in political assassination. Generally speaking, lawyers for the White House and the CIA have said that the ban does not apply to wartime when the military is striking the enemy’s command and control or leadership targets. The United States can also legally invoke the right of self-defense as justification for striking terrorists or their leaders planning attacks on the United States.

    Bush’s new presidential finding differs from past findings against the terrorists in a number of significant ways. First, it puts more military muscle behind the clandestine effort to crush al Qaeda. Second, it is far better funded. Third, senior officials said, it has the highest possible priority and will involve better coordination within the entire national security structure: the White House, the president’s national security adviser, the CIA, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the departments of State, Defense and Justice. On Friday, Cheney said the country had a sense of confidence in Bush’s team, which includes an experienced trio of advisers — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Cheney himself. CIA Director George J. Tenet has developed an unusually close relationship with the new president, becoming a regular during Camp David weekends and briefing the chief executive most days. “There’s a lot of tough decisions that are involved here, and some of them very close calls,” Cheney said. “But if I had to go out and design a team of people . . . this is it.”

    The vice president added that the war on bin Laden and terrorists in general is going to be particularly difficult. “They have nothing to defend,” he said. “You know, for 50 years we deterred the Soviets by threatening the utter destruction of the Soviet Union. What does bin Laden value? “There’s no piece of real estate. It’s not like a state or a country. The notion of deterrence doesn’t really apply here. There’s no treaty to be negotiated, there’s no arms control agreement that’s going to guarantee our safety and security. The only way you can deal with them is to destroy them.”

    ‘Smoke Them Out’

    Six days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush publicly declared the intentions of his administration with the statement that bin Laden was “Wanted: Dead or Alive.” In those remarks at the Pentagon, he said that the new enemy, bin Laden and other terrorists, liked “to hide and burrow in” and conceal themselves in caves. He first mentioned “a different type of war” that would “require a new thought process.” Two days later, Sept. 19, Bush made his first public mention of “covert activities,” noting that some foreign governments would be “comfortable” supporting such action. He added a broad outline of the goal: “Clearly, one of our focuses is to get people out of their caves, smoke them out and get them moving and get them. That’s about as plainly as I can put it.” Bush sounded this theme again during his nationally televised address to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 20, when he spoke of “covert activities, secret even in success.” In public remarks to CIA employees at the agency’s headquarters in Langley a week later, the president dropped more hints: “You see, the enemy is sometimes hard to find; they like to hide. They think they can hide, but we know better.”

    Officials said that the covert activities approved by the president include a wide range of traditional CIA operations, such as close cooperation with friendly foreign intelligence services and covert and overt assistance to the Afghan rebels fighting to overthrow the Taliban leadership that harbors bin Laden. The CIA has studied bin Laden and his al Qaeda network for years. A special unit or “Bin Laden station,” created in 1996, works round the clock at headquarters. When Cheney gave a speech Thursday night in New York City, he noticed a sea change. As his motorcade went through Manhattan, people stopped their cars, got out and applauded. During his short speech before the 56th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, he was interrupted by applause 15 times. On Friday morning, while sitting in his comfortable, well-lit West Wing office, he said with a smile, “There wasn’t a dove in the room.” Researcher Jeff Himmelman contributed to this report. REFERENCE: CIA Told to Do ‘Whatever Necessary’ to Kill Bin Laden Agency and Military Collaborating at ‘Unprecedented’ Level; Cheney Says War Against Terror ‘May Never End’ By Bob Woodward Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, October 21, 2001; Page A01 http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A27452-2001Oct20?language=printer

  • Shaheen Conventionality “forgot” to mention this type of Bob Woodward.

    Pakistan’s chief spy Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad “was in the US when the attacks occurred.” He arrived in the US on the 4th of September, a full week before the attacks. He had meetings at the State Department “after” the attacks on the WTC. But he also had “a regular visit of consultations” with his US counterparts at the CIA and the Pentagon during the week prior to September 11. REFERENCE: Cover-up or Complicity of the Bush Administration? The Role of Pakistan’s Military Intelligence (ISI) in the September 11 Attacks by Michel Chossudovsky Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), Montréal Posted at globalresearch.ca 2 November 2001

    AFTER 9/11.

    In the afternoon, Mahmood was invited to CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia, where he told George Tenet, the CIA director, that in his view Mullah Omar, the Taliban chief, was a religious man with humanitarian instincts and not a man of violence! This was a bit difficult for the CIA officials to digest and rightly so as the Taliban’s track record, especially in the realm of human rights, was no secret. General Mahmood was told politely but firmly that Mullah Omar and the Taliban would have to face US Military might if Osama Bin Laden along with other Al-Qaeda leaders were not handed over without delay. To send the message across clearly, Richard Armitage held a second meeting with Mahmood the same day, informing him that he would soon be handed specific American demands, to which Mahmood reiterated that Pakistan would cooperate. {Bush at War by Bob Woodward, published by Simon & Schuster, 2002, New York}, p 32. {Pakistan: Eye of the Storm by Owen Bennett Jones, published by New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002}, p. 2.

    General Mahmood on September 13, 2001, was handed a formal list of the US demands by Mr. Armitage and was asked to convey these to Musharraf and was also duly informed, for the sake of emphasis, that these were “not negotiable.” Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, and the assisstant secretary of state, Christina Rocca, had drafted the list in the shape of a “non-paper”. It categorically asked Pakistan:

    Stop Al-Qaeda operatives coming from Afghanistan to Pakistan, intercept arms shipments through Pakistan, and end ALL logistical support for Osama Bin Laden.

    Give blanket overflight and landing rights to US aircraft.

    Give the US access to Pakistani Naval and Air Bases and to the border areas betweeen Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Turn over all the intelligence and immigration information.

    Condemn the September 11 attacks and curb all domestic expressions of support for terrorism.

    Cut off all shipments of fuel to the Talibans, and stop Pakistani volunteers from going into Afghanistan to join the Taliban. Note that, should the evidence strongly implicate Osama Bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda Network in Afghanistan, and should the Taliban continue to harbour him and his accomplices, Pakistan will break diplomatic relations with the Taliban regime, end support for the Taliban, and assist the US in the aforementioned ways to destroy Osama and his network.

    Having gone through the list, Mahmood declared that he was quite clear on the subject and that “he knew how the President thought, and the President would accept these points.” {Bush at War by Bob Woodward, published by Simon & Schuster, 2002, New York}, p 58-59. Interview: Richard Armitage, “Campaign Against Terror,” PBS (Frontline), April 19, 2002}

    Mahmood then faxed the document to Musharraf. While the latter was going through it and in the process of weighing the pros and cons of each demand, his aide de camp that Colin Powell was on the line. Musharraf liked and respected Powell, and the conversation was not going to be a problem. He told him that he understood and appreciated the US position, but he would respond to the US demands after having discussed these with his associates. Powell was far too polite to remind him that he in fact was the government, but did inform him that his General in Washington had already assured them that these demands would be acceptable to the government of Pakistan. {Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism : Allah, the Army, and America’s War on Terror by Hassan Abbas, published by An East Gate Book , M.E. Sharpe Armonk, New York. London, England.}. NOTES/REFERENCES – Pakistan: Eye of the Storm by Owen Bennett Jones, published by New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002. Interview: Richard Armitage, “Campaign Against Terror,” PBS (Frontline), April 19, 2002; Bush at War by Bob Woodward, published by Simon & Schuster, 2002, New York. Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism : Allah, the Army, and America’s War on Terror by Hassan Abbas, published by An East Gate Book , M.E. Sharpe Armonk, New York. London, England

  • Why don’t Shaheen Sehbai mention “Bush At War” by Bob Woodward.

    Pakistan’s declaration exonerated the U.S from any demand for legal or moral justification for their attacks on the poor Afghans. By this rescue mission, Pakistan might have improved its credentials as a front-line state but it did spell death and destruction for the poor Afghans. This was not the all that Musharraf did to prove his loyalties to the Bush administration. As we would come to see later, he even dismissed General Mahmood, Director ISI and several of his key – lieutenants, a step highly lauded and appreciated by C.I.A chief. The new chief of ISI was advised to remove whatever Pro-Taliban elements were left in the intelligence department of Pakistan. (P. 214) Bush At War Author: Bob Woodward Publishers: Simon & Schuster Rockefeller Center New York Year of publication: 2002

    Incidentally General Mahmood (Director ISI) was already in Washington. Jim Pavitt got hold of him and apparently talked bitterly about Mullah Omar. General Mahmood felt obliged to defend Mullah Omar. He said that in his opinion Mullah Omar was religious, a man of humanitarian instincts, not a man of violence, but one who had suffered greatly under Afghan war-lords. (p. 47). Bush At War Author: Bob Woodward Publishers: Simon & Schuster Rockefeller Center New York Year of publication: 2002

    “Stop”, Jim Pavitt interrupted rudely and arrogantly asked General Mahmood: “Spare Me….” (p. 47). Bush At War Author: Bob Woodward Publishers: Simon & Schuster Rockefeller Center New York Year of publication: 2002

    Then Armitage invited Gen.Mahmood to the state department. He began by saying it was not clear yet what the U.S would ask of Pakistan but the request would force “deep introspection. Pakistan faces a stark choice, either it is with us or it is not. This is a black & white choice with no gray”. (p. 47). Bush At War Author: Bob Woodward Publishers: Simon & Schuster Rockefeller Center New York Year of publication: 2002

    Mahmood said that his country had faced tough choices in the past but Pakistan, he pointed out, was not a big or mighty power. “Pakistan is an important country”, Armitage cut in. Mahmood returned to the past [& probably referred to some of the instances where Pakistan was used by the U.S and then abandoned in an un-ceremonial manner]. “The future begins to-day”,3 Armitage said. Pass the word to General Musharraf, the President of Pakistan. “With us or against us.” (p. 47). Bush At War Author: Bob Woodward Publishers: Simon & Schuster Rockefeller Center New York Year of publication: 2002

    Powell & Armitage later drew a list of seven demands4 with a view to presenting them to Musharraf. These demands were:

    • “Stop Al-Qaeda operatives at your border intercept arms shipments through Pakistan and end all logistical support for bin Ladin.”

    • “Give the US Blanket over flight and landing rights for all types of operation”

    • “Access to Pakistan, naval bases, air bases and borders.”

    • “Immediate intelligence and immigration information.”

    • “Condemn the September 11 attacks and “curb all domestic expressions of support for terrorism against the [United States], its friends or allies.” Powell and Armitage knew that was something they couldn’t even do in the United States.”

    • “Cut off all shipments of fuel to Taliban and stop Pakistani volunteers from going into Afghanistan to join the Taliban.”

    • “The seventh demand was the one that Powell would trip up the Pakistanis or cause Musharraf to balk: “should the evidence strongly implicate Osama bin Ladin and the Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan AND should Afghanistan and the Taliban continue to harbor him and his network, Pakistan will break diplomatic relations with the Taliban government, end support for Taliban and assist us in the aforementioned ways to destroy Osama bin Ladin and his Al-Qaeda network.” (p. 58-59).

    In a way, the U.S directed Pakistan to take a U-turn on Afghanistan and destroy with their own hands whatever they had created and maintained, that is, the Taliban. Armitage called General Mahmood again and handed over the list of demands to him by saying; “this is not negotiable… you must accept all seven demands”. (p. 59).

    At 1:30 P.M. Powell called Musharraf “as one General to another. He said, “We need someone on our flank fighting with us. Speaking candidly, the American people wouldn’t understand if Pakistan was not in this fight with the United States.” (p. 59).

    Musharraf to Powell’s utter surprise said that Pakistan would support the United States with each of the seven actions. (p. 59). Later Powell read out these demands to President Bush and proudly reported that Musharraf had already accepted them all. On hearing this Bush said gleefully, “it looks like you got it all”. (p. 61). Bush thought it was the State Department at its best. He later recalled that “Powell was very good with Musharraf. He single-handedly got Musharraf on board”, and was able to put a coalition together. (p. 342).

  • Shaheen Sehbai should also tell this about Bob Woodward 🙂

    Kessler cites confirmation from William Donnelly, head of CIA administration, that “Woodward probably found a way to sneak in,” as well as Britt Snider, general counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, whose formal investigation found that Woodward had 43 meetings or phone calls with Casey, including at the director’s home.
    Veil is the story of the covert wars that were waged in a secretive atmosphere and became the centerpieces and eventual time bombs of American foreign policy in the 1980’s. Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987
    Bob Woodward (Author) http://bobwoodward.com/books/veil

  • Above all this is most important 🙂

    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



    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

    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 [COURTESY: CHOWK]

  • Shaheen Sehbai VS Mir Shakil ur Rahman on Daniel Pearl.

    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.


    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




    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