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An act of barbarity: kidnapping and torture of Umar Cheema – by Aamir Mughal

This act of madness committed against Mr Umar Cheema [Senior Correspondent of The News International/Jang Group] should be condemned in the strongest possible words. Difference of Opinion doesn’t give permission to commit such acts of barbarity. In my humble opinion Mr. Umar Cheema is an excellent and no non-sense reporter and this is evident from some his stories [links are dead because The News has changed the format therefore tolerate the text with dates of the Excellent Stories filed by Mr Cheema in The News International and Jang as well].

ISLAMABAD: Umer Cheema, reporter of The News Investigation Cell was tortured and humiliated during 6-hour captivity after abduction by unidentified men from Islamabad on Saturday. Giving account of the events of abduction and torture following his release, Umer Cheema said he was picked up by some unknown men in police uniforms from Islamabad Sector I-8 when he was returning home early in the morning at Sehri time and taken to an unknown place at 45 to 50 minutes drive. He said he was heading home in his car after meeting with friends. When he reached Sector I-8, a Land Cruiser blocked his way and pulled over in front of his car while a white Toyota came and parked right behind. “A few unknown men wearing uniforms of Elite Force came up to me, saying I crushed a man at Zero Point and drove off and then these men forcibly took me along with them,” Umer Cheema said. He said the men covered his face and took him to a building at 45 to 50 minutes drive. “I was held in illegal captivity for 6 hours during which I was continuously tortured and humiliated in nude. They stripped me out of my clothes, hanged me upside down and shaved off my head and moustaches,” the senior reporter of the country’s leading English daily recounted. Umer Cheema quoted the captors as saying: “Do you intend to have Martial Law imposed in the country by publishing anti-government reports?” He said the captors warned: “Stop writing against the government, if you cannot bear this torture and that Ansar Abbasi will be next target if I failed to stop.” They were also aware of my arriving in Gujranwala, Umer Cheema added. REFERENCE: The News reporter tortured, humiliated after abduction http://www.thenews.com.pk/Latest-news/764.htm ‘The News’ reporter tortured, humiliated after abduction Updated at:1756 PST, Saturday, September 04, 2010 http://www.geo.tv/9-4-2010/70931.htm Saturday, September 04, 2010, Ramzan 24, 1431 A.H http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/sep2010-daily/04-09-2010/u44582.htm

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ISLAMABAD: The main wheeler and dealer of the ISI during the 2002 elections, the then Maj-Gen Ehtesham Zamir, now retired, has come out of the closet and admitted his guilt of manipulating the 2002 elections, and has directly blamed Gen Musharraf for ordering so. Talking to The News, the head of the ISI’s political cell in 2002, admitted manipulating the last elections at the behest of President Musharraf and termed the defeat of the King’s party, the PML-Q, this time “a reaction of the unnatural dispensation (installed in 2002).” Zamir said the ISI together with the NAB was instrumental in pressing the lawmakers to join the pro-Musharraf camp to form the government to support his stay in power. Looking down back into the memory lane and recalling his blunders which, he admitted, had pushed the country back instead of taking it forward, Zamir feels ashamed of his role and conduct. Massively embarrassed because he was the one who negotiated, coerced and did all the dirty work, the retired Maj-Gen said he was not in a position to become a preacher now when his own past was tainted. He said the country would not have faced such regression had the political management was not carried out by the ISI in 2002. But he also put some responsibility of the political disaster on the PML-Q as well. The former No: 2 of the ISI called for the closure of political cell in the agency, confessing that it was part of the problem due to its involvement in forging unnatural alliances, contrary to public wishes. Zamir’s blaming Musharraf for creating this unnatural alliance rings true as another former top associate of Musharraf, Lt-Gen (retd) Jamshed Gulzar Kiyani has already disclosed that majority of the corps commanders, in several meetings, had opposed Musharraf’s decision of patronising the leadership of the King’s party. “We had urged Musharraf many times during the corps commanders meeting that the PML-Q leadership was the most condemned and castigated personalities. They are the worst politicians who remained involved in co-operative scandals and writing off loans. But Musharraf never heard our advice,” Kiyani said while recalling discussions in their high profile meetings.

He said one of their colleagues, who was an accountability chief at that time, had sought permission many times for proceeding against the King’s party top leaders but was always denied. Kiyani asked Musharraf to quit, the sooner the better, as otherwise the country would be in a serious trouble. Ma-Gen (retd) EhteshamZamir termed the 2008 elections ‘fairer than 2002’. He said the reason behind their fairness is that there was relatively less interference of intelligence agencies this time as compared to the last time. But he stopped short of saying that there was zero interference in the 2008 polls. “You are quite right,” he said when asked to confirm about heavy penetration of ISI into political affairs during the 2002 elections. But he said he did not do it on his own but on the directives issued by the government. Asked who directed him from the government side and if there was somebody else, not President Musharraf, he said: “Obviously on the directives of President Musharraf.” Asked if he then never felt that he was committing a crime by manipulating political business at the cost of public wishes, he said: “Who should I have told except myself. Could I have asked Musharraf about this? I was a serving officer and I did what I was told to do. I never felt this need during the service to question anyone senior to me,” he said and added that he could not defend his acts now.

“It was for this reason that I have never tried to preach others what I did not practice. But I am of the view that the ISI’s political cell should be closed for good by revoking executive orders issued in 1975,” he said. Responding to a question regarding corruption cases that were used as pressure tactics on lawmakers, he said: “Yes! This tool was used, not only by the ISI. The NAB was also involved in this exercise.” Former corps commander of Rawalpindi, Lt-Gen (retd) Jamshed Gulzar Kiyani said majority of corps commanders had continued opposing Musharraf’s alliance with top leadership of the PML-Q. “Not just in one meeting, we opposed his alignment with these corrupt politicians in many meetings but who cared. Now Musharraf has been disgraced everywhere, thanks to his political cronies.” REFERENCE: The man, who rigged 2002 polls, spills the beans By Umar Cheema Sunday, February 24, 2008 http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=13159

ISLAMABAD: There is a general misconception that the Lal Masjid clerics who are making the headlines nowadays owe their ‘glory’ to the blessings of intelligence agencies. The facts tell a different story. It would be interesting to know how Maulana Abdullah, the late father of the Ghazi Brothers ‘maneuvered’ to get the Khitabat of Lal Masjid and Jamia Faridia. Equally interesting would be to know why masjid and madrasah were respectively named as Lal Masjid and Jamia Faridia. It was the late Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the country’s first military ruler, who got appointed late Maulana Abdullah as the prayer leader of Lal Masjid, on the advice of his spiritual guide, Pir Sahib of Deval Sharif. Jaafar Brothers, one of the leading industrialist groups of the country who had constructed Jamia Faridia, in order to show reverence to the great Sufi Saint Khawaja Ghulam Farid named the seminary after him. It was handed over to the Maulanas by the then secretary CBR, Syed Hassan Akhtar. The land for Jamia Faridia was allotted during the late Gen Zia’s regime. This was due to the blessing of Pirs that Lal Masjid Maulanas could manage to take over these religious seats. A graduate of Jamia Binnoria, Karachi, late Maulana Abdullah landed in Rawalpindi soon after President Ayub Khan took the decision to shift the capital to Islamabad. He took oath of allegiance to the then Pir of Deval Sharif, Muhammad Abdul Majid. This was a significant move on part of a Deobandi Maulana.

The information has been verified by the son of Pir Deval Sharif, Rooh-ul-Husnain Moeen and coordinator of Auqaf Department, Syed Muhammad Ali Wasti who says that many people told his father about the religious school of thought of late Maulana Abdullah, but Pir Sahib gave no importance to the point and considered and treated him like a changed man. Maulana Abdullah served as the prayer leader in the mosque of Pir Sahib and later requested him to exercise his spiritual influence over his disciple, Gen Ayub. Pir Sahib Deval Sharif helped Maulana Abdullah in his appointment as Khateeb of Lal Masjid. The Auqaf Department later took over Lal Masjid, but Maulana’s religious dynasty kept on flourishing unhindered. It was during Zia regime that Jamia Faridia was established. As the story goes, a partner of ‘Jaafar Brothers’ dreamed that he was at the tomb of Khawaja Ghulam Farid and that a river full of water was flowing around. He shared the dream with Syed Akhtar Hassan, the-then secretary CBR, and sought his interpretation of the dream.

Akhtar termed the dream as a good omen and advised him to build a seminary and name it after Khawaja Ghulam Farid. Jaafar did accordingly. Akhtar helped him acquire the land from the government of late Gen Zia. Admiral (retd) Muhammad Sharif, whose son-in-law (Sha’aban Shoukat) these days is running a massage center (spa) in Super Market, had then allotted this land. Interestingly, Lal Masjid brigade had raided an alleged prostitution den and then a massage center. However, the massage centre of Sha’aban Shoukat was not touched. Sha’aban was a CBR officer and left the CBR job to start this apparently lucrative business. The CBR secretary handed over the management of the Jamia to Maulana Abdullah and since-then the seminary has been under the command of the family. Why Lal Masjid was so called? Some say that it was named after Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a highly revered saint of Sindh buried in Sehwan Sharif. This may well have been a ploy of the military government of Ayub Khan to please the people of Sindh who were not at all happy with the shifting of the capital from Karachi to Islamabad. It was most probably due to this reason that its walls were painted with red colour. REFERENCE: How Ghazi brothers got hold of seminaries By Umar Cheema Sunday, July 08, 2007, Jamadi-us-sani 22, 1428 A.H http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=63643

ISLAMABAD: One of the top security agencies on Wednesday picked up Raja Ehsan Aziz, a member of Tehrik-e-Islami (TI), for his alleged connections with terrorists who had attacked the Parade Lane Mosque in Rawalpindi and Moon Market in Lahore. Tehrik-e-Islami is a splinter group of the JI. Two female members of the Tehrik have already been taken into custody. Sarwat Wahid, another female member whose son’s car was used in the Parade Lane Mosque attack, is missing. Also her son, Jawad, who was studying in Faisalabad after doing A Level from Beacon House School System, is missing. Aziz, a graduate of Columbia University who also served on senior positions at the Foreign Office, is a retired professor of International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University. His elder son is an Army doctor. Aziz was taken away from his house in G/10-3 on Wednesday evening by sleuths of the Counter-Terrorism Cell, his wife Amira Aziz told The News. Amira, an ex-MNA of Jamaat-e-Islami and now a Shura member of the Tehrik, is a religious scholar and writes columns in an Urdu daily. Aziz’s driver, Phool Zeb from Nowshera, has already been arrested as investigators found a mobile SIM allegedly used for conversation during the attacks on the Parade Lane Mosque and Moon Market, was issued in his name. Likewise, the car used in the mosque attack belonged to Jawad, the son of a Tehrik-e-Islami woman, Sarwat Wahid, a resident of I-8 Sector, Islamabad. Both of them are missing since then. Likewise, Aziz’ son, Omer, a student of Islamic International University, has not returned home for the last five days.

Aziz has been picked up for the second time, his wife said, denying any links of the family with terrorism incidents. “I’m a sworn enemy of America and can pay any price for it but I strongly oppose terrorism within Pakistan,” Amira Aziz told The News. She said the intelligence operatives had been following the women activists of Tehrik-e-Islami for the last six months and harassed them. She alleged that her husband was beaten black and blue when picked up last time and kept in illegal custody for a night. Amira said her son, Omer, a heart patient, was very upset when intelligence guys kept his father in their custody for a night. A female member of Tehrik, Najma Sana, who lives in G-9/1, is already in the agency’s custody for the last 10 days. Sarwat Wahid, after being chased by the intelligence agency, left Islamabad for Karachi where she was again pursued by the police. Her sister and children in Karachi have been arrested to press for recovery of Sarwat who has gone underground there. Sarwat’s son, Jawad, is also missing. Tahira Mumtaz, another female member of the Tehrik, was twice called for investigation over her alleged assistance to Sarwat to flee the capital. Altaf Aziz Khattack, SHO, said he was not aware of any such incident. He asked this correspondent to take up the matter with the R A Bazaar police in whose jurisdiction the mosque was attacked. When contacted, officials of the concerned police station said that they had not arrested Ehsan Aziz, adding the Army was investigating the attack and the matter may be taken up with them. The DG ISPR could not be contacted. REFERENCE: JI splinter group leader, females held for links to suicide attackers Friday, December 18, 2009 By Umar Cheema http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=214063

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Secretary of Sindh had strongly opposed the strategy of the provincial government for May 12 while the Prime Minister’s advice to the provincial government for a judicial inquiry into the killings has been turned down, authoritative sources said on Friday. It was also revealed that the MQM had wanted to join the Islamabad rally but was stopped by the Chaudhrys of Gujrat. Observers believe that these three important developments concerning the May 12 killings in Karachi may have a serious impact not only at the provincial level but also at the national. Sources said the Chief Secretary of Sindh, Shakeel Durrani, had strongly opposed the ‘counter productive’ strategy of the provincial government designed for May 12, the day the Chief Justice of Pakistan had gone to Karachi for addressing lawyers there. He had written in advance to his seniors, proposing that hurdles should not be created and that the CJ be given a smooth passage. His recommendations were in clear contradiction to the Sindh Home Department, headed by former sector commander of Military Intelligence, Brig (retd) Ghulam Muhtaram. While the home department, fearing a serious law and order situation, insisted the CJ should not take the flight to Karachi, the chief secretary opposed the plan that was aimed to flop the CJ’s show, warning it would deteriorate the situation.

Shakeel Durrani had not only verbally opposed the blockade of roads but had also opposed in writing to such a plan that was prone to violence and mass-scale killings. He had instead recommended that no hurdle should be created and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry should be allowed to go by the route he wanted to use for reaching the high court bar. His recommendations, however, got a deaf ear from those who matter in decision-making in Sindh. Durrani is believed to have also held responsible his provincial government for Karachi mayhem, The News has learnt on good authority. While Durrani did not comment on the report when contacted by The News, another officer close to him confirmed it but refused to provide the details.

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has refused to order a judicial inquiry into the killings. The News has learnt on good authority that Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz wanted to order a judicial inquiry into the incident. He went to Karachi on Wednesday with this plan but faced opposition from his ruling allies in Sindh.

According to the sources, the PM had gone to Karachi with a plan to announce ordering judicial inquiry in a press conference after holding meetings there. Information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani, Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao and Secretary Interior Kamal Shah had also accompanied him during this visit late Wednesday. Sources privy to the development say the PM’s plan could not materialize following stiff opposition from his allies in Sindh who said that such an order would open up a new Pandora’s Box. The PM who had ordered judicial inquiry into the mysterious murder of Supreme Court’s additional registrar Hamad Raza, failed to do it in a case where more than 40 people had been killed in just one day, ie May 12.

Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao, when contacted to confirm about the PM plan, refused to comment. “I neither deny nor confirm this report,” he said.

Information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani, however, termed the ordering of judicial inquiry as a legal issue. He also did not deny that the PM was planning to order a judicial inquiry but said: “I am not in knowledge of the plan”. Also, some MQM lawmakers have been heard blaming the Chaudhrys of the Gujrat for ‘pushing’ them to hold a separate rally in Karachi instead of joining the PML-Q rally in Islamabad held the same day. They feel the May 12 incidents have left an adverse impact on their strategy to expand to other provinces so as to become a mainstream political party. The Karachi tragedy has put the MQM in dock as its offices in the Punjab and rural Sindh have faced a virtual closure following protests by the public of respective areas who blamed them for this bloodbath in Karachi.

In their background interviews, the MQM lawmakers are blaming Chaudhrys of Gujrat for putting them to ‘abuse’. They say they were not for holding a rally in Karachi. According to them, they had expressed the desire to join the PML-Q rally held in Islamabad the same day but were denied. MQM parliamentary leader Dr Farooq Sattar, in his on-the-record discussion, has neither denied nor confirmed the claim of his party colleagues. But he said their plan to hold rally in Karachi was made after detailed deliberation. REFERENCE: Who is to blame for Karachi mayhem? Umar Cheema Saturday, May 19, 2007 http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=7933

ISLAMABAD: A summary has been moved to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz seeking his approval for the purchase of bulleproof Mercedes cars for the chief of Air staff and the chief of the Naval staff, The News has learnt on authority. The Defence Ministry has moved this summary after the relevant departments forwarded the requests in line with their measures to beef up security of the said services chiefs. According to sources, the security of Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Ahmad and CNS Admiral Afzal Tahir has already been doubled. Spokespersons for the Pakistan Air Force and the Pakistan Navy neither deny nor confirm the report. “I have no comment to offer,” Air Commodore Sarfraz Ahmad, told this correspondent when contacted for the PAF version. Capt Siddique, Pakistan Navy’s spokesman said he was not in the knowledge. Javed Akhtar, the PM’s press secretary said, “I am not authorised to chase the summaries.” Akhtar further explained the PM Secretariat has no spokesman and added that only the PM himself can respond to such queries. Both services chiefs have no bullet proof cars at the moment that necessitated the request for the purchase of these cars.

Top Army officials, like the COAS, the VCOAS, the DG ISI, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the corps commanders have bulletproof cars. Around two-dozen bulletproof cars, Mercedes Benz and BMW, were purchased to protect the top Army leadership in the wake of an assassination attempt on Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) Lt-Gen Ahsan Salim Hayat, who was then Corps Commander Karachi. According to sources, the summary seeking PM’s approval for the purchase of bulletproof cars for the ACM and CNS, has been with the PM Secretariat for a couple of weeks. Defence Minister Rao Sikandar authorised the submission of the summary to the PM. And the scretary defence acted accordingly, sources said. Presently, the air chief has a Mercedes car at his disposal but it is not bullet proof. The CNS has a Lexus for official use. The government has imported more than 40 bulletproof cars — 10 last year. The procurement of jammers-fitted Toyota land cruisers is apart from the purchase of the said cars made in one financial year. REFERENCE: Air chief, CNS ask for bulletproof cars Monday, March 12, 2007 Umar Cheema http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=6456

ISLAMABAD: The mystery of the abduction in tribal areas of two pro-Taliban ISI veterans has virtually been solved as the wife of a kidnapped officer says the Punjabi Taliban were responsible and they invited them to the tribal areas. One of the kidnapped ISI veterans, Khalid Khawaja, has previously acted as a conduit for Baitullah Mehsud for an intelligence agency. He once handed to late Baitullah a list of the Punjabi Taliban in the tribal belt who were disliked by the intelligence sleuths. Khawaja, in a recently televised video sent by the captors, said he went to the tribal belt on the advice of former DG ISI, Lt Gen (retd) Hamid Gul, a serving ISI Col Sajjad, and former Army chief Aslam Beg. Col (retd) Imam in the same video said he undertook the tribal area visit on the advice of Gen (retd) Beg. Retired PAF Squadron Leader Khalid Khawaja and Col (retd) Sultan Amir alias Col Imam were kidnapped along with a British documentary-maker of Pakistani origin, Asad Qureshi, in the tribal area where they went to film the ‘atrocities’ being committed on the Taliban of the Fata region.

According to an early press release issued by Khawaja’s family, they went there on the “precise invitation of the High Command of Tehrik-e-Taliban of North and South Waziristan as their respected guests for the purpose of making a documentary highlighting the present situation of the area and its impact on the indigenous population.” However, details gathered in background conversations present a totally different picture. As far their visit to the area is concerned, it was not being done at the invitation of leadership of Taliban militants in Waziristan as was initially told to the media by the family of Khalid Khawaja. It was the second visit to the area within a month by Khawaja and Col (retd) Imam. They first went to the area in the beginning of March and left Islamabad for a second trip on March 26.

Before they departed for the second time, their guide in the first visit declined to join them, stating security concerns. As Khawaja was in contact with another Taliban militant, Usman Punjabi, they decided to leave after receiving clearance from him who also sent a guide to ensure their safe travel. They were later found missing. The man who called the family of Khalid Khawaja to convey the demands of the captors introduced himself as ‘Usman Punjabi, confirmed Khawaja’s wife and son who have realised that the callers represent a bunch of criminals. They understand the group is dominated by Punjabi Taliban, raising questions about their motives. Khawaja once handed a list of Punjabi Taliban to late Baitulah Mehsud on behalf of an intelligence agency, conveying the latter’s desire they be reined in as they were creating trouble time and again. Right from attacks on former President Pervez Musharraf to the GHQ and at other places, the Punjabi Taliban have been found involved.

Khawaja’s family did not deny he acted as a conduit. Elaborating, his son said his father’s efforts were intended to bring peace and he played a crucial role in holding Jirgas with Baitullah-led militants in the past. Col (retd) Imam was closer to Afghan Taliban apparently working on behalf of the Pakistani establishment. His son is a serving major in the Army. Khawaja remained more active on the domestic front. He had once claimed that he hosted Osama bin Laden in pre-9/11 days when bin Laden used to visit his Islamabad residence. Khawaja also remained at center-stage during Lal Masjid crisis, siding with the clerics. Though he spearheaded the movement of missing persons in the beginning, his alleged dual role came under suspicion by the families. REFERENCE: Missing ex-ISI officers in Fata Thursday, April 22, 2010 By Umar Cheema http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=235442

ISLAMABAD: A high profile missing person’s case has taken a dramatic turn as the police are examining a sitting corps commander and two recently retired ISI officials whereas a former DG ISI, now a corps commander, is likely to be examined following a guarded disclosure by former attorney general Malik Qayyum. Lt. Gen. Shafqaatullah, Corps Commander Multan, and two retired ISI officials, Brig. Mansoor Saeed and Col. Jehangir Akhtar, have submitted their statements to the Supreme Court through the police as they were allegedly in knowledge of where Masood Janjua had been kept. Masood Janjua was picked up along with a friend in July 2005 in Rawalpindi and has been missing since then. Amina, his wife, has waged a movement for the last five years, demanding the release of her husband and others. There are more than 3,500 persons reportedly missing of which 250 cases have been taken up by the Supreme Court. The police have told the Supreme Court they need to further probe these officials as their statements do not answer all the questions required for a thorough probe, a fact confirmed by Kamran Aadil, Superintendent Police, who is in-charge of the investigation.

Kamran Aadil told The News the police would send more questions to the concerned officials through the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Branch of the Pakistan Army. He appreciated the role of JAG Branch, which is fully cooperating with them. When asked about the statements he had obtained, Kamran said they had been submitted to the court and he would not comment about them. Another corps commander who previously headed the ISI is expected to be next to be examined as he is said to have told Malik Qayyum, the then attorney general, that Masood Janjua had been killed. His examination is required to determine how he knew and who killed Masood Janjua. Lt. Gen. Shafqaat and two ISI officials are being examined on the request of Amina Masood after she told the court that she had approached these officers and they had dropped hints about the whereabouts of her husband. Shafqaat was military secretary to the then President Pervez Musharraf. He is said to have informed Amina that they had learned through their informers that her husband was seen somewhere in Waziristan and was alive. But he had declined to share his source.

Now as the police have obtained Shafqaat’s statement, he backtracked from what he reportedly told Amina. His statement on a plain paper submitted to the court with his signature on it has been seen by The News. It said that his efforts to locate Janjua, “initiated on the president’s directions, failed to trace the man.” Masood’s father, a retired colonel of SSG, was senior to Musharraf and had asked him for help. Since Amina Janjua had also contacted him, Shafqaat wrote in his statement: “I politely informed her that all requested details have already been communicated to her father-in-law and that I had nothing else to add.” Amina, talking to The News, contested the contents of Shafqaat’s statement, insisting that he had then said “their informers had seen him (Masood Janjua) alive somewhere in Waziristan.” She also demanded the corps commander be summoned before the court for cross-examination.

Col. Jahangir of ISI had frequently met Amina, visited her house many times and kept her waiting that “she would soon hear a good news about her husband” but the statement he has submitted to the court said: “It’s incorrect that she used to hold series of meetings with the undersigned and that I would inform her about the whereabouts of her husband.” Brigadier Mansoor Saeed, ex-Director ISI, Islamabad, said in his statement: “I have never seen, met or interacted with any person named Mr. Masood Janjua nor have any knowledge of his whereabouts.”

Mansoor was accused by Dr. Imran Munir that he had seen Janjua kept in an ISI safe-house located in Westridge, Rawalpindi. Imran, who himself remained in the ISI’s custody, had submitted a sworn affidavit before the Supreme Court. Malik Qayyum had told Hamid Mir of Geo TV that a powerful head of a powerful organisation had confirmed to him that Janjua had been killed. As the police obtained a statement from Hamid Mir, he confirmed being told by Qayyum but said they should better ask him (Qayyum) about the powerful head. As the police approached Qayyum, he did not deny it and said that since it was a privileged secret passed on to him being the AG, he would disclose the name of the ‘powerful head’ only before the court. REFERENCE: Missing person’s case takes dramatic turn Thursday, April 08, 2010 By Umar Cheema http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=233211

ISLAMABAD: An audit report of the Army-run National University of Modern Languages (NUML) has found that its Rector, a retired Army brigadier, was also receiving the salary of a night watchman (security supervisor), getting tax rebates as a researcher and had sent his daughter and son-in-law abroad using the university scholarships. While the NUML management has given some lame justifications for these acts, the auditors have found them unsatisfactory. The report finds that out of three scholarship grants, two were granted to the Rector’s family members. A grant of Rs 15.4 million allocated for setting up linkages and exchange of visits with the Utrecht University of the Netherlands was used for summer vacation in the UK, the USA, France and Turkey. A hefty amount collected under the head of fine from students was kept aside for discretionary use of the management as “daily expenditures,” the audit report disclosed. Besides, dozens of appointments were made during a period of hiring ban. One such beneficiary, Maj Gen (retd) Owais Mushtaq Qureshi, has now been appointed as Federal Public Service Commission member.

The report finds that Brig. (retd) Aziz Ahmad Khan, the Rector, is not the only official involved in irregularities, he has many partners posted on senior positions like director administration, director finance, director libraries, registrar and director academics. As for drawing money under the garb of a supervisor of security guards, other beneficiaries include his director administration Muhammad Yasin, director finance Muhammad Ashraf, director libraries Muhammad Abbas, registrar Kamran Jahangir and director academics Saeed Akhtar Malik. The Rector, together with his partners, impersonated as security supervisor to collect Rs 620,549 in extra money.

Defending itself, the NUML administration told the auditors that high-level security was organised for the protection of a sizeable number of foreign military students in the university. “This was the time when the security situation in Islamabad was beyond anyone’s control. It was, therefore, decided that high-level security be organised. This included security provided by the agencies and overseen by senior officers of the university. It would be appreciated that the whole night duty would definitely require compensation. Hence, the amount under observation was paid. However, as soon as these sensitive students had completed stay at the campus, the payment was stopped forthwith,” the NUML said. The audit report, however, turned down the plea, saying: “Security didn’t fall under the responsibility of the officers mentioned” and directed the beneficiaries to return the money. The Rector’s daughter, Ayesha, and her husband, Waqas Hassan, are named as the two, out of three beneficiaries, who were granted M Phil leading to PhD scholarships for study in Sussex University, UK. The criteria for granting such awards were not adhered to, the audit report objected, noting that there was no provision of awarding scholarship for higher education in the NUML Ordinance 2000. The university administration responding to this objection said the criteria for selection was transparent, the candidates had fulfilled all the conditions for winning the scholarship and that the Rector was not part of the selection committee. The Rector’s administrative post notwithstanding, he received 75 per cent tax rebate posing as researcher as the facility is available to those involved in research work. Director planning & coordination and registrar also abused this facility, the audit objected.

The NUML’s reply to this charge was that PhD degree holders from foreign university, who also work as teacher and researcher, qualify for the rebate. This justification was also rejected by the auditors who observed that the facility was available only to full-time teachers. As regards the use of Rs 15.4 million allocated for setting up linkages and exchange of visits with the Utrecht University, the project was intended to promote research and development at the postgraduate level. A department called “Government and Organisational Science” was to be established with similar system in currency at the Utrecht University. The staff was to be trained by the Utrecht University with its staff biannual visit to Pakistan be arranged. It was not done; instead the NUML management started using it for foreign visits. “The activities of the project mainly depicts the picture that the programme was made to have foreign visits to UK, USA, France, Netherlands, Turkey during vacations of the university,” noted the audit report. The NUML administration replying to this objection said that the PC-1 provides that joint faculty visits will be undertaken by the Pakistani side in May and June every year because in June and early part of July, Utrecht’s faculty and administrators are free from their routine assignments and can spare more time for research. However, the management didn’t reply as to how the visits to other countries were undertaken using these funds. REFERENCE: NUML rector, directors caught by own auditors Wednesday, January 06, 2010 By Umar Cheema http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=217147

“UNQUOTE”

Umer cheema Par Zulm Kis Nay Kiya? by Hamid Mir
9 September, 2010 – Jang

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Poor Umar Cheema and lonely Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan – by Sikandar Mehdi

Umar Cheema: Pakistani journalist speaks out after an attack (by the ISI) – by Jane Perlez

Umar Cheema Saga — Other view point by Fawad Manzoor

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Laila Ebadi

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  • http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?42976-Capital-Talk-4th-September-2010-Ansar-Abbasi

    on capital talk pervez shaukat of pfuj said that in his opinion this was not the work of civil authorities or police but of ‘agencies’. Even Ansar Abbasi pointed fingers at agencies, Pervez Rashid compared this to the kidnapping and torture of Rana Sanaullah and Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the politicians as well as journalists were both in the same boat i.e. they were both victims of similar crimes. Umar Cheema himself said that the kidnappers were trying to “sell the narrative” of PPP and that such acts were part of the ‘art of deception’ practiced by such people.

    Clearly every single person on the show knew who was responsible for his kidnapping but this incident is going to simply be covered up and never be discussed again.

  • http://cafepyala.blogspot.com/2010/09/who-was-behind-umar-cheemas-torture.html

    I’m afraid the only thing that makes sense then is that this was someone’s idea of psy-ops. To create a further wedge between the government and the media, particularly the Jang Group. To create the perception that the government is going out of control, to build a case that can be later cited as among the reasons it should not stay in power.

    Unfortunately, what this incident has shown is that whoever was involved in this shameful, shameful incident cares not a whit for the real grave issues Pakistan is grappling with at this time. All this incident is likely to do is to blacken Pakistan’s name further. If it was indeed the government, it is far more stupid than anyone imagined. And if it was the military, it is at least as incompetent as the politicians it moans about.

  • It is undoubtedly a heinous crime. Kidnapping is in itself a barbarious act. But Allah almighty has saved him from murder. Mr. Khalid Khawaja was not fortunate to come back alive. The above story from Mr. Umar Cheema about Khalid Khawaja kidnapping is somewhat incomplete. Late Khawaja might have been acting as double agent but the most sensitive was his revelations about Osama Bin Laden and Nawaz Sharif. Do not forget that he is said to be killed by an unknown group “Asian Tiger”. Umar Cheema agrees that the act was done by Punjabi Taliban. Khalid Khawaja in the past has also pointed finger on Nawaz Sharif trying to kill Benazir Bhutto in the 90’s through Ramzi Yusuf. His death at the hands of unknown group may be to stop from more revelations about Nawaz Sharif.

  • The attack on a renowned journalist in a democratic government is a horrendous crime. Media in Pakistan has faced numerous threats like these but all attempts have failed in stopping the media to present the trust to the public.

  • Dear Mr. Mansoor,

    Crimes have nothing to do with Democracy or Dictatorship. Criminal Offence is a criminal Offence and it must be punished and by the way read the stories filed by Mr Umar Cheema and guess who did that?

  • Refer to Ms. Laila’s post:)

    The Journalists in the above show were insisting upon Rule of Law whereas Shaheen Sehbai [Group Editor The News International/Jang Group/Geo “now in Exile” in USA] had openly advised General Kayani to intervene and what a Joke another very Senior Journalist i.e. Mehamood Sham [Editor Jang] seconded his demand [I still remember Mehmood Sham’s photo with Benazir and Bhutto in Mehmood Sham in his Drawing Room in Karachi]: Here are the proofs with dates and their respective “Rant” for Martial Law and guess what Mr. Shaheen Sehbai despite being a senior Journalist had even quoted “a wiretap (transcription of Intelligence Agency phone tapping)” for Martial Law: Shaheen Sehbai [Jang Group] Invites Martial Law in Pakistan ! http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/shaheen-sehbai-jang-group-invites.html Similarities between Shaheen Sehbai & Asghar Khan Letters. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/similarities-between-shaheen-sehbai.html Mahmood Sham’s Advice & Shaheen Sehbai’s Anti Pakistan Army Columns & Jang Group. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/mahmood-sham-shaheen-sehbais-anti.html Mahmood Sham & Shaheen Sehbai on ISI. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/mahmood-sham-shaheen-sehbai-on-isi.html

  • This is really a brutal episode. If we want to defend the freedom of expression and liberty of the press in Pakistan, we will have to stand against such tactics of abduction, harassment and torture. A judicial inquiry has to be made to investigate the matter in detail and bring the culprits to justice. We should not tolerate such barbaric tactics in the modern day world to stifle the freedom of expression in Pakistan.

  • As mentioned by Hamid Mir in his article appearing in Daily Jhang today and pointed-out earlier by Ansar Abbasy (despite the fact they belong to the same Military Establishment supported group of journalists)- Umar Cheema was abducted and tortured by Military Agencies. Can we now bank our hope on the strong Judiciary and our Macho Chief Justice, to take sue-moto action and bring the culprit to justice?
    Or, this case will also be doomed to see the fate of Disappeared persons?????

  • Fazal ur Rehman Afridi says: September 9, 2010 at 9:06 am
    As mentioned by Hamid Mir in his article appearing in Daily Jhang today
    =============
    Dear Afridi Sahab,

    Read the stories by Mr. Umar Cheema I have quoted in my post above and find the “Attackers and Tormentors” – Hamid Mir’s article: Thursday, September 09, 2010, Ramzan 29, 1431 A.H
    http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/sep2010-daily/09-09-2010/col3.htm

    Hamid Mir is one smart slippery reporter who change colour faster then chameleon

  • Fazal ur Rehman Afridi says: September 9, 2010 at 9:06 am
    As mentioned by Hamid Mir in his article appearing in Daily Jhang today
    =============
    Dear Afridi Sahab,

    Simplicity of Mr. Irfan Siddiqui [Jang and Formerly a PRO of Presidency and also a Leading Columnist of Weekly Takbeer of IJI Brand] says he is related with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Had this act been committed by anyone belonging to PPP or even PML-N, Mr Irfan and Jang group would have crucified:) Do read the apologetic language for pleading the case of Mr Umar Cheema: Friday, September 10, 2010, Ramzan 30, 1431 A.H http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/sep2010-daily/10-09-2010/col1.htm

  • After Pakistani Journalist Speaks Out About an Attack, Eyes Turn to the Military By JANE PERLEZ Published: September 24, 2010 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/25/world/asia/25cheema.html?_r=4&ref=nf

    Jason Tanner for The New York Times
    Umar Cheema, 34, a reporter for The News, was kidnapped and beaten on the outskirts of Islamabad on Sept. 4 after having written several articles that were critical of the Pakistani Army.

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An investigative reporter for a major Pakistani newspaper was on his way home from dinner here on a recent night when men in black commando garb stopped his car, blindfolded him and drove him to a house on the outskirts of town.

    There, he says, he was beaten and stripped naked. His head and eyebrows were shaved, and he was videotaped in humiliating positions by assailants who he and other journalists believe were affiliated with the country’s powerful spy agency.

    At one point, while he lay face down on the floor with his hands cuffed behind him, his captors made clear why he had been singled out for punishment: for writing against the government. “If you can’t avoid rape,” one taunted him, “enjoy it.”

    The reporter, Umar Cheema, 34, had written several articles for The News that were critical of the Pakistani Army in the months preceding the attack.

    His ordeal was not uncommon for a journalist or politician who crossed the interests of the military and intelligence agencies, the centers of power even in the current era of civilian government, reporters and politicians said.

    What makes his case different is that Mr. Cheema has spoken out about it, describing in graphic detail what happened in the early hours of Sept. 4, something rare in a country where victims who suspect that their brutal treatment was at the hands of government agents often choose, out of fear, to keep quiet.

    “I have suspicions and every journalist has suspicions that all fingers point to the ISI,” Mr. Cheema said, using the acronym for the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the institution that the C.I.A. works with closely in Pakistan to hunt militants. The ISI is an integral part of the Pakistani Army; its head, Gen. Shuja Ahmed Pasha, reports to the army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

    Officials at the American Embassy said they interviewed Mr. Cheema this week, and sent a report of his account to the State Department. In response to an e-mail for comment, a spokesman for the ISI said, “They are nothing but allegations with no substance or truth.”

    Mr. Cheema had won a Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellowship to train foreign journalists in 2007 and worked in The New York Times newsroom for six months at that time. He has worked at The News since 2007.

    In interviews, he said his car was stopped near his home in the capital by men with the words “no fear” inscribed on their clothes. Once he was blindfolded and driven to the safe house, he was handed over to another group of men who carried out the abuse, he said. After six hours, he was dumped on a road 100 miles from the capital, Islamabad.

    Mr. Cheema says he wrote more than 50 articles this year that questioned various aspects of the conduct of the military and the government, including corruption accusations against the president, Asif Ali Zardari.

    But it was three articles in particular, in June, July and August, on delicate internal army problems that appear to have angered the military.

    One article reported on the sensitive issue of the courts-martial of two army commandos who refused to obey orders and join the assault on a radical mosque and school in Islamabad in 2007.

    The attack was believed at the time to be unpopular in the army ranks because many soldiers were reluctant to fire on fellow Muslims. Moreover, courts-martial are rarely mentioned in the Pakistani news media, and reporters have been warned not to write about them.

    In his article, Mr. Cheema reported that two members of the Special Services Group, an elite commando squad, were being denied fair justice during the court-martial proceedings.

    In another article, Mr. Cheema wrote that the suspects in a major terrorist attack against a bus carrying ISI employees were acquitted because of the “mishandling” of the court case by the intelligence agency.

    In an article in early August, the reporter described how Army House, the residence of the chief of army staff, was protected by 400 city police officers and not by soldiers, as required by law.

    In its political coverage, The News is vociferously against the civilian government of Mr. Zardari, but the opinion pages publish a cross section of views, including pro-military columnists.

    While Mr. Cheema has chosen to publicize his case, he is not the only journalist or politician to come under the apparent harassment of the security services.

    The law minister in Punjab Province, Rana Sanullah Khan, said that in 2003, when he was an opposition politician and had criticized the army during the presidency of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, he was kidnapped and brutalized in a similar manner.

    In January, in Islamabad, the home of Azaz Syed, a reporter for Dawn, the main English-language daily, was attacked by unknown assailants days after he was threatened by supposed ISI agents over an investigative article he was researching related to the military.

    Kamran Shafi, a leading columnist and himself a former army officer who writes critically of the military, was harassed and his house was attacked last December by “elements linked to the security establishment,” according to his own account.

    In the last several years, journalists in the tribal areas, where the army is fighting the Taliban, have faced special risks and found it increasingly difficult to work for fear of offending either side. In September two journalists were killed in or near the tribal areas, under circumstances that remain unclear.

    Pakistan has developed a rambunctious news media spearheaded by round the clock television news channels in the last decade. The military and the ISI are treated with respect by the powerful television anchors, and by newspaper reporters who extol the deeds of the army in battling the Taliban. The ISI is rarely mentioned by name but referred to as “intelligence agencies.”

    One reason for the deference, according to a Pakistani intelligence official who has worked with the media cell of the ISI, is that the agency keeps many journalists on its payroll.

    Unspoken rules about covering the military and its intelligence branches are eagerly enforced, Babar Sattar, a Harvard-trained lawyer, said. A journalist who trespasses over the line is told to behave, Mr. Sattar said.

    Earlier this year, Mr. Cheema said he was called to a coffee shop in Islamabad by an ISI officer and warned to fall into line.

    At a journalists’ seminar in Lahore, the editor of a weekly newspaper, Najam Sethi, said it was up to the ISI to declare who had attacked Mr. Cheema.

    “If the ISI hasn’t done it, they should tell us who did it because they’re supposed to know,” Mr. Sethi said. “If they don’t tell, the presumption remains they did it.”

    But in a column titled “Surprise Surprise” in Dawn, Mr. Shafi said, “We will never find out what happened to poor Umar Cheema because the Deep State does not want us to find out.”

    A version of this article appeared in print on September 25, 2010, on page A7 of the New York edition.

  • Mr. Altaf Hussain Threatens the Pakistani Press.

    “QUOTE”

    As per Daily Jang dated [Friday, September 24, 2010, Shawwal 14, 1431 A.H Updated at: 0010] MQM Founder Mr. Altaf Hussain says that had MQM been in the government it would have severed its relations with USA, AND ITS WESTERN ALLIES INCLUDING NATO in protest against the 86 Years sentence of of Dr. Afia Siddiqui in US Courts. http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/sep2010-daily/24-09-2010/u46939.htm

    Now watch what Mr. Muhammad Anwar [Member of Central Coordination Committee MQM] has said on BBC World on Pakistani Press

    BBC Hard Talk : MQM Muhammad Anwar Part 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq36z52CwDk
    BBC Hard Talk : Part 2 MQM Muhammad Anwar
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXF0gCNEidU&feature=related

    “UNQUOTE”

  • The Deep State and technocrats By Kamran Shafi Tuesday, 28 Sep, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/kamran-shafi-the-deep-state-and-technocrats-890

    A word about the Omar Cheema case: a round of applause for my friend Najam Sethi who, during a protest meeting in Lahore, quite rightly called upon the ISI to tell us just who kidnapped, beat and humiliated Cheema. It is my experience from the time that I worked for Benazir Bhutto so many years ago that the ISI was indeed the Mother of All Agencies, even in those far off days. The IB is but a poor relative, its spooks followed and observed relentlessly by ISI operatives. Those were the days when the ISI was notionally reporting to the prime minister, mark; it now reports to the COAS and as such is a far more powerful organisation. So who would know better than the ISI who was responsible for Omar Cheema’s kidnapping and torture?

    I have made this observation before and I will make it again. We, all of us, are citizens of Pakistan. The ISI is a department of the government of this country and therefore belongs to us. Can it please civilise itself, and consider lesser mortals human beings too? If it has a problem with one of us citizens, can it please open a dialogue on the basis of respect and mutual esteem? Can it please get off its high horse?

  • Video Hints at Executions by Pakistanis By JANE PERLEZ
    Published: September 29, 2010 A version of this article appeared in print on September 30, 2010, on page A1 of the New York edition. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/world/asia/30pstan.html?_r=1&src=un&feedurl=http://json8.nytimes.com/pages/world/asia/index.jsonp http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/world/asia/30pstan.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&src=un&feedurl=http://json8.nytimes.com/pages/world/asia/index.jsonp

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An Internet video showing men in Pakistani military uniforms executing six young men in civilian clothes has heightened concerns about unlawful killings by Pakistani soldiers supported by the United States, American officials said.

    The authenticity of the five-and-a-half-minute video, which shows the killing of the six men — some of whom appear to be teenagers, blindfolded, with their hands bound behind their backs — has not been formally verified by the American government. The Pakistani military said it was faked by militants.

  • ISI’s lawyer appeared at the last minute
    Author:Umar Cheema
    Posted On:Fri,Mar 18,2011

    Source:www.thenews.com.pk

    The lawyer who emerged overnight to represent the families of victims of Raymond Davis was also the counsel of the ISI in the recent case of 11 missing persons taken away from the Adiala Jail, thereby, raising more questions about the reported role of this elite agency in bailing out the CIA contractor. Raja Isrhad Kiyani, the lawyer, however, termed it mere speculation that he acted on behalf of the ISI in this latest episode. Raja, who had his son killed in post 9/11 Afghan insurgency fighting from the Taliban side, said his conscience was satisfied with his role in the Raymond Davis episode as he helped settle the issue in accordance with the teachings of Quran and Sunnah.
    But his mysterious silence on pertinent questions how and when the affected families approached him for engaging him in the case, leave many questions unanswered about the role of the top intelligence agency that, according to a report, sealed the deal in this respect with the US counterpart during a recent meeting in a Gulf state under the aegis of Saudi intelligence. He bluntly refused to take questions on how the families of Faizan and Faheem, the victims of Raymond Davis, approached him when they already had a counsel Asad Manzur Butt, who was reportedly kept in illegal detention during the proceedings in Adiala Jail. “It doesn’t relate to the merit of case who contacted me,” Raja curtly replied to The News.
    Asked since he recently represented the ISI in the missing persons case, there is a widely held impression he acted this time again at the behest of the premier agency, Raja was least bothered about what people perceived of him. “Well, it is a perception. You are at liberty to write on it.” Then he hastened to add “It is not in my knowledge which agency played what role. As far as my role is concerned, my conscience is clear as I acted in accordance with Quran and Sunnah.” When questioned as to what necessitated the victim families to replace the previous lawyer with him, Raja said it was the choice of the legal heirs. To another query whether he appeared voluntarily or had the families charged for his services, he refused to answer it, saying it does not relate to the merit of the case.
    As regards the deal between the ISI and CIA, there are several reports making rounds. According to David Ignatius, Washington Post’s writer who visited the ISI headquarters in the past and is also close to US military establishment, four architects brokered the deal.
    “This deal had four principal architects Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Washington, who shared the blood money idea with Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry then travelled to Pakistan, where he met with President Asif Ali Zardari, with the leaders of the Punjab government that was holding Davis, and with top officials of the ISI. Haqqani also visited CIA Director Leon Panetta on the evening of February 28 to share the blood money idea with him, according to a US official. The final details were worked out by Panetta and ISI Director-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha.”
    A news website, Rediff.com, quoting Pakistani sources, also agrees to the extent of pre-eminent role played by the DG ISI in bailing out the CIA contractor. “The ISI refrained from pressuring them to accept the blood money, but once the US agreed to accept the ISI’s demands in respect of HUMINT operations, the ISI intervened and persuaded the legal heirs to accept the money and move for the withdrawal of the prosecution of Davis.” It said the release was conditional on the grounds that the CIA wouldn’t run its human intelligence network within Pakistan, letting the ISI do this instead and that the CIA should help train its staff for the purpose.
    “This was during the talks held in Oman under the aegis of the Saudi intelligence under which the CIA has agreed not to run its own human intelligence network in Pakistani territory. Under this agreement, while the US would be free to run its technical intelligence network, which provides TECHINT for the operations of the United States as well as Pakistan in the tribal belt, the US HUMINT requirements would in future be projected to the ISI, which has agreed to strengthen its HUMINT capability with assistance from the CIA.” The report has further disclosed that the blood money was paid by the Saudi intelligence, neither Pakistan nor the US.

    http://pakistanherald.com/Articles/ISIand8217s-lawyer-appeared-at-the-last-minute-2714

  • Dear son of PM, ‘trying to reach you: Pls return my call’
    Author:Umar Cheema
    Posted On:Sun,Mar 06,2011
    Source:www.thenews.com.pk
    Total Views:165

    After his father became the prime minister, the assets of Abdul Qadir Gilani, multiplied 10 times within a year, details of his assets declarations have revealed. Qadir Gilani has purchased an expensive house in Defence Housing Authority Lahore, new bank accounts were opened in no time, land deals were made and massive investment in prize bond business was made, his June 2009 declaration shows. He owned assets worth Rs8.5 million at the time of 2008 elections but his net wealth shot up to a whopping Rs72 million in June 2009. How much it has grown after June 2009 is anybody’s guess.
    Junior Gilani was not in the business of prize bonds before contesting the elections but now intriguingly his only business has been of prize bonds, a business generally done by people wishing to whiten their black money. Abdul Qadir Gilani neither attended phone call nor responded to text messages sent over his cell phones for a week. “Umar Cheema of The News trying to reach you for version on your assets detail. Please return my call” is the message sent a number of times but to no avail. As this correspondent tried to approach him through Prime Minister Gilani’s spokesman,
    Shabbir Anwar, the spokesman instead gave junior Gilani’s private number, that was not attended either nor the messages sent over it responded. Junior Gilani possessed 50 tolas of gold in 2008, which has increased to 500 tolas in June 2009. He had Rs2.1 million in the bank at the time he contested elections in 2008 but by June 30, 2009 his cash-in-hand had swelled to Rs17 million, according to his sworn disclosure. He also has prize bonds worth Rs2 million.
    Not mentioned in his assets details is a multi-million rupee bullet-proof land cruiser, which he says he purchased in 2009. He did not own any house in early 2008 as per his assets declaration submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan. In June 2009 he mentioned purchase of a house in DHA’s Block B, disposing it of and then purchasing another in Y-block for Rs32 million. Interestingly, his permanent address as shown on the Punjab Assembly website indicates that the apparently sold house of Block-B is still in his possession. He used to own 110 acres of agriculture land in 2008, which increased to 123 acres in June 2009.
    Qadir Gilani had accounts in Faysal Bank and Union Bank in 2008, the former without a single penny and the latter having a sum of Rs2.1 million. Now he generally operates through the newly opened account in the National Bank Branch of the Punjab Assembly Branch that is used for drawing salary as provincial assembly member. He keeps cash in hand (as shown in the assets of worth Rs17 million under this head). Contrary to his bank balance of Rs2.1 million in 2008, now he had just a meagre sum of Rs75,282 in the bank account that could probably be his assembly salary.
    His Toyota Surf Model 2002 was worth Rs1.6 million when his father had not become the prime minister. The same vehicle saw its value appreciate to Rs2 million. His furniture articles carried the price tag of Rs300,000 in 2008 which are now worth Rs2 million, according to his declaration. Qadir Gilani’s land has also registered a dramatic increase. In the 2008 nomination papers, he showed two tracts of land in Rajan Pur and Khairpur (both were gifted). But his June 2009 assets declaration has noted an increase of 23 acres, of which 10 acres were purchased in Rajan Pur.

    http://pakistanherald.com/Articles/Dear-son-of-PM-and8216trying-to-reach-you-Pls-return-my-calland8217-2699

  • ISI official appears before Cheema Commission

    By our correspondent

    ISLAMABAD: In an important move, the elite Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has finally attended the Umar Cheema judicial commission proceedings to record its version during a secret session, highly credible sources confirmed to The News Monday night.

    They said the ISI sent one of its senior officials to record the statement on behalf of the agency regarding its role in the kidnapping and subsequent torture and humiliation of Cheema.
    According to details of the proceedings when almost all the witnesses testified raised their finger towards ISI, the commission ordered to summon responsible officials of the ISI to record their statement so thatthe commission could ascertain the facts.
    When commission’s secretary Agha Abbas approached the ISI, he was told to write to the DG, anti-Terrorism of the ISI. According to credible sources, after correspondence between the commission and the ISI, the elite intelligence agency sent a responsible official to record the statement on behalf of the ISI.
    Secretary of the commission Agha Ali Abbas while talking to The News disclosed that the Umar Cheema commission will make its report public next one week. According to sources, the chief of the Judicial Commission will present its report to the prime minister through the Interior Ministry.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/02-11-2010/Top-Story/1762.htm

    ……..

    Senate Body Asks ISI, IB To Probe Cheema Case
    Posted by admin 22 February, 2011

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    ISLAMABAD: Intelligence agencies faced serious criticism in Umar Cheema’s torture case by the Judicial Commission which probed the incident and has strongly suspected the involvement of the agencies, a disclosure well-taken by the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights that said it would direct the ISI and IB for internal inquiry and report back to the Committee.

    You Can Read This Report in Urdu by Clicking Below

    The Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights Senator Afrasiab Khattak on Monday while presiding over the committee meeting that took up this case, said he would write letters to DG Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and DG Intelligence Bureau (IB) directing them holding internal inquiry to nab the culprits who abducted and tortured Umar Cheema, senior investigative journalist of The News. The head of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of Cheema’s case, DIG Bani Amin, has also been summoned in the next meeting as the victim journalist told the Committee the JIT had done nothing so far in reaching the culprits.
    Reacting to the reports that Cheema is constantly being harassed through chasing, phone taping and other such dirty tactics, the committee said it would also direct the agencies to find out the culprits of this harassment. “If the agencies couldn’t do this, it would be a great failure on their part,” Senator Khattak further explained.The PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid, participating in the committee meeting, said the intelligence agencies must be reined in, their budget scrutinized and they should be brought under a legal framework for holding them accountable. “It is not the issue of one individual, Umar Cheema. Many have met this fate in the past and would do so in future if this trend is not arrested,” he said. It must be done immediately before Pakistan is charge-sheeted internationally for letting this reign of terror prevail, he said.
    Senator Hafiz Rashid, another member of the committee, said they receive regular warnings from intelligence agencies against speaking out on critical issues and told we can meet the same fate like of Umar Cheema. Senator Surriya Aminuddin of Balochistan said forced disappearances and torture at the hands of intelligence agencies is on the rise in her restive province and those who are released are asked to remain silent and leave the country as otherwise they would be eliminated.
    The committee took important decisions in the light of the statement of the Secretary Interior Qamar Zaman and Umar Cheema, who was abducted and tortured in the wee hour of September 4, 2010. Secretary interior though didn’t present the Judicial Commission’s report; he quoted the portions of its recommendations. The committee also directed the secretary interior to submit the commission’s report in the next meeting.
    The secretary quoted one point of the recommendation that indicted the agencies. It states: “The Commission has established, through record of Motorway interchanges that a Land Cruiser with fictitious registration number had crossed the Islamabad and Balkasar Interchanges, during the early hours of the day on 4th September 2010. This fact gives strength to statement of the victim, Umar Cheema, that he was abducted in a Land Cruiser of some agency as normally agencies use fictitious number plates.” Chairman of the committee, Senator Afrasiab, concentrating on this point said it is a serious indictment and the intelligence agencies must be held accountable for such acts.
    The recommendations also called for the early arrest of an individual Imtiaz Hussain s/o Abdul Razaq who had called National Crisis Management Cell of the Interior Ministry, stating the names of some individuals that, he believed, were involved in abducting and torturing Umar Cheema.
    The PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid speaking on this issue said that it is high time to hold the agencies accountable and prevent them from spreading this reign of terror. “Self-correction is direly needed and urgently. That must be immediately done before it emerges as a charge sheet at international level.” Umar Cheema, speaking before the committee said he is virtually living under self-imposed house arrest as the harassment continues through chasing and phone taping. He said the whole Pakistani nation lives under the state of fear and dissenting voices are being targeted one by one. Cheema said, “It is not a matter of bravery or cowardliness but of conviction that has kept him standing and show steadfastness. We all are Pakistanis and no individual or institution has the right to question fellow countrymen’s patriotism.”

    http://www.columnpk.com/senate-body-asks-isi-ib-to-probe-cheema-case/

  • Who Attacked Umar Cheema?
    Published: September 28, 2010
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    Umar Cheema, an investigative reporter for a major Pakistani newspaper, The News, has long tackled difficult and risky topics. His articles have questioned the conduct and performance of the Army and the intelligence services and detailed accusations of corruption against President Asif Ali Zardari.

    Now he is taking perhaps the biggest risk of his career: speaking publicly about being abducted by assailants he believes were associated with the spy agency.

    As Mr. Cheema told Jane Perlez of The Times, he was on his way home from dinner recently when men in black commando garb stopped his car, blindfolded him and drove him out of town, where he was beaten and videotaped in humiliating positions. Six hours later, he was dumped on a road 100 miles from Islamabad.

    “I have suspicions and every journalist has suspicions that all fingers point to the ISI,” he said, referring to the Inter-Services Intelligence agency. He said that earlier this year, an ISI officer summoned him to a coffee shop in Islamabad and warned him to fall into line.

    Other journalists and politicians who got on the wrong side of the Pakistani military and intelligence services have also been threatened and attacked. Most are too fearful to talk openly about their ordeals. Mr. Cheema has long stood apart. He won a Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellowship in 2008 and during that time worked in The Times’s newsroom for six months. He has done all Pakistanis a favor by refusing to be intimidated.

    Under Pakistan’s civilian government, journalists today are more free to do their jobs than during the years of the military dictatorship. But according to the most recent State Department human rights report, news media outlets, reporters and their families are still often the targets of threats and attacks by security forces, political parties and militants. The government needs to make clear that it will no longer abet or condone this behavior. And it needs to find out who abducted Mr. Cheema and bring them to justice.

    A version of this editorial appeared in print on September 29, 2010, on page A30 of the New York edition.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/29/opinion/29wed4.html?_r=1

  • 8 Sep 2010

    Torture and abduction of journalist Umar Cheema, storm of fascism is blowing at Islamabad.

    International Professor

    Mr. Umar Cheema a prominent journalist of the daily News, Islamabad was kidnapped, tortured and humiliated by a group wearing cops uniforms. Media reports of the incidence are so horrifying and portray a depressing picture of lawless Pakistan that hopes of survival as a nation are diminishing day by day.

    There are many war lords and power groups that are involved in power struggle and everyone in government is busy in blaming some mysterious forces or non-existing entities and imaginary scenarios. Soon after every attempt of terrorism either local or foreign backed terrorists are blamed, later a few poor persons are arrested and after years of legal proceedings finally majority is released by courts, surprisingly state terrorism is also a live side by side with full force and without any fear.

    In case of Mr. Umar Cheema state sponsored terrorists have tried their best to complicate the matter to hide the identity of master minds. He is an excellent investigative reporter and his some reports have shaken establishment and chalked out corruption and mismanagement of the ruling elite. Particularly comments of Zardari mafia’s apologists on Govt. sponsored websites clearly show frustration among their circles and panic created by reports of Mr. Umar Cheema. People’s party has a history of fascism and mainly exists with the courtesy of feudal lords, thugs and corrupt politicians. Drum beating of democracy is an illusion and mockery to make fool Westerners.

    Lahore High Courts has taken suo moto notice and hoped that Government of Pakistan in any case that is responsible for such kind of fascist activities would be exposed. First read the actual incidence reported by victim and later we would discuss about involvement of a group or groups in this work of terrorism.

    According to Mr. Umer Cheema he was picked up by some men in police uniforms from Islamabad Sector I-8 when he was returning home early in the morning at Sehri time and taken to an unknown place at 45 to 50 minutes drive. He said he was heading home in his car after meeting with friends. When he reached Sector I-8, a Land Cruiser blocked his way and pulled over in front of his car while a white Toyota came and parked right behind.

    “A few unknown men wearing uniforms of Elite Force came up to me, saying I crushed a man at Zero Point and drove off and then these men forcibly took me along with them. He said the men covered his face and took him to a building at 45 to 50 minutes drive.

    “I was held in illegal captivity for 6 hours during which I was continuously tortured and humiliated in nude. They stripped me out of my clothes, hanged me upside down and shaved off my head and moustaches,”
    Umer Cheema quoted the captors as saying: “Do you intend to have Martial Law imposed in the country by publishing anti-government reports?”

    He said the captors warned: “Stop writing against the government, if you cannot bear this torture and that Ansar Abbasi will be next target if I failed to stop.” They were also aware of my arriving in Gujranwala, Umer Cheema added.”

    Refer: http://www.thenews.com.pk/latest-news/764.htm

    A list of some remarkable stories filed by Mr. Umar Cheema:

    A review of stories filed by the News special correspondent Umar Cheema in the last a few months show that besides hitting at the president and some powerful ministers, he also contributed some investigative stories on the military and intelligence agencies. His reports included:

    August 20: he filed a story which was published with the heading, ‘Zardari invites businessmen-some won’t attend meeting’. The story informed the readers that Zardari convened a meeting of the business community and representatives of chambers of commerce and industry today (Friday), but many big names refused to show up presenting excuses for non-availability due to the growing trust deficit in the govt.
    August 5: his story was ‘Army House being guarded by Pindi police’. It informed that although overall security of the Army House and the Gen. Kiyani (COAS) is a subject of the Military Police (MP) and Military Intelligence (MI), this duty is now largely being performed by Rawalpindi Police that have dedicated over 400 personnel, including police commandos around the Army House and for the routes used by the COAS.

    July 21: the heading of his story was ‘Presidency rubbishes charge of 93 paintings’ theft’ and it says, “In what could become another major international embarrassment for Zardari, the daughter of an internationally renowned artist has, in a petition to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, accused him of stealing 93 paintings belonging to her mother, most of which were shipped to London.”
    July 8: story was ‘Govt attacked, judiciary backed, politicians, ex-judges, lawyers stand behind SC. The story says, “Affirming their strong resolve to standby the judges, the opposition parties Wednesday condemned the government bid to malign the independent judiciary through handpicked NAB officials, while the retired Supreme Court judges said the letter of NAB Prosecutor General Irfan Qadir could result in contempt of court proceedings against both the government and the lawyer.”
    July 8: story was ‘Agencies mishandled high profile terror attacks’ which says, “Intelligence agencies not only mishandled the terrorism cases of Lt-Gen Mushtaq Baig and the army bus attack near the NLC office in Rawalpindi, the six persons accused of attacking an ISI bus near Hamza Camp were also acquitted on the same grounds.”

    July 7: story was with heading, “Army, agencies accused of not cooperating in terror attacks probe”. The story disclosed, “The Punjab govt. has made a damning indictment of the Army and intelligence agencies, holding them mainly responsible for court acquittal of those accused in suicide attacks on Lt Gen Mushtaq Baig and on an army bus, and said the army “neither assisted nor showed any interest in the trial of the accused.”
    July 2: story was interesting with heading ‘Lady guides’ hired during Zardari’s Turkey visit not paid’. It said, “In an embarrassing scandal, which has ashamed officials who are trying to play it down, a Turkish court had to order the Pakistani Consulate in Istanbul to pay about $8,000 to five Turkish girls who were hired during the December 2008 visit to Turkey Zardari as “lady guides” but were never paid for their services. The girls, provided by a travel agency, were supposed to ‘facilitate the entourage’ during the president’s visit to Istanbul, but payment was later refused, sparking a legal battle, which was finally settled after a court order in February this year.”
    June 19: story reveals character of law minister ‘Babar charters plane to hand out funds to lawyers’ and it revealed, “In what appears to be a blatant misuse of taxpayers’ money, Babar Awan has chartered an Air Force (PAF) plane for his hurried visit to south Punjab bar associations and took off on Friday for Multan apparently to distribute funds ahead of the SCBA annual elections. The law minister, along with three junior lawyers, boarded the PAF plane at the Chaklala Airbase around 8:15 am on Friday with Multan as their first destination.”

    June 9: story was ‘Lal Masjid commando seeks Nawaz support’ and it says “Ghulam Ahmad, one of the two army commandos court-martialled for opposing Lal Masjid operation, who earlier wrote to the chief justice of Pakistan, has decided to approach Mian Nawaz Sharif also for securing relief as he served with him in Attock Fort during the latter’s detention.”

    June 8: story was however very dangerous and many in the capital pointed towards this story on Saturday. The heading of the story was ‘Lal Masjid commandos seek SC intervention’ and it says, “Denied copies of court martial proceedings; ISPR declines comments. Two army commandos of Zarar Company, who had allegedly opposed Lal Masjid operation in 2007 and were subsequently court martialled, have been denied the right of appeal in superior courts.”

    May 26: story was ‘Mystery of army officer’s arrest deepens’ it says “The mystery behind the arrest of a Major of Pakistan Army Signals Corps has deepened as his younger brother, a software engineer, has also been picked up in a wave of detentions being made to unearth the contacts of Faisal Shehzad, who allegedly staged the failed terrorist attempt in Times Square, New York.”
    May 23: story was ‘Official report blames MQM militants for target killings. Allegation has no link with reality: MQM leader.” It says, “The first official diagnosis, prognosis and prescription on the highly destabilising target killings in Karachi is now available as a seven-member high-level official committee has prepared its report blaming political parties and naming only the MQM, which it says has a militant wing tasked to create law and order situations to achieve its political ends.”
    May 16: story was ‘Musharraf’s buddy now close adviser to Zardari’ ‘Offered top post, enjoying official house, cars, security’. It revealed, “Former dictator Pervez Musharraf’s right hand man Tariq Aziz has become a close confidant and private adviser to Zardari, so much so that he was offered an important official position, he continues to occupy a ministerial bungalow, has been given a bulletproof BMW and full security by the Rangers.”

    May 12: story was again marvellous. It was ‘Rehman Malik’s past being whitewashed. Record goes missing, officials punished; Victims come out in the open to complain; source close to PPP terms cases against Malik bogus, politically motivated’. It said, “The official record of the 1996 cases against Interior Minister Rehman Malik has started to disappear and FIA officials who arrested and handled him back in 1996 are now facing his wrath. Meanwhile, A private party has suddenly withdrawn its 15-year old FIR against Mr Malik for illegally grabbing 12 acres of land.”
    May 8: story was ‘Musarrat Misbah misused victims, funds’ and it said, “Musarrat Misbah, a beautician-turned-supposed philanthropist has been honoured with the President’s Pride of Performance Award, at a time when the government’s own agencies are investigating into her alleged embezzlement of funds.”

    Umar Cheema was continuously filing stories on poor performance and nepotism by the army controlled National University of Modern Languages (NUML) management. In December 2009, he filed repeated stories against a brigadier who was rector of NUML and inhumanly thrashed a civilian professor of the university.

    Refer: http://www.thenews.com.pk/05-09-2010/Top-Story/386.htm
    Our comments and analysis:

    According to above list the reporting’s of Mr. Umar Cheema generally distressed two war lords, first Zardari and second Kiyani. Zardari is creating terror through Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), whereas Kiyani has unlimited resources such as ISI, MI, Military Police, air force and Navy agencies, Lashkars and terrorists under his arrests etc.

    It is a clear criminal case conducted by any agency in uniform, the same jeeps used by culprits are owned by different agencies. To misguide people the crime scene was deliberately engineered towards wrong directions to give it political colour. The demands of criminals and advices given were calculated and pre-planned to deflect the direction of incidence. Some very influential person of Govt. later white washed evidences cleverly to omit any evidence like closing his phone and blocking sim.

    There are strong speculations that ISI or MI is behind this act of terrorism because our army has a history of autocratic behaviours and those are unable to see beyond their nose. There are dozens of incidences of fascism, human right violations and extra judicial crimes in the fold of Gen. Kiyani and Gen. Pasha.

    Other stronger speculation that points finger toward Zardari mafia have equal footings. There are master minds, planners, executioners and protectors at President House, Islamabad to conduct such acts of terrorism.

    Fauzia Wahab, Farahnaz Isfahani and Faisal Raza Abidi are main planners at President House and each has a capacity to act such kind of criminal action individually or with the help of any agency. All the three are trained MQM terrorist’s and sympathizers of Altaf Husain. Those can do any criminal activity for making number in front of Zardari.

    Sons of Fauzia Wahab are slowly but surely moving to be involved in any big criminal case, and those are trying to finger individuals for more above their capacities, and Mr. Umar Cheema being considered to be part of investigative team of Mr. Ansar Abbasi, and Fauzia Wahab and her sons have grudge with him since long. One case against Mr. Ansar Abbasi is still in courts filed by Fauzia Wahab Zarkari.

    Farahnaz Isfahani and Husain Haqqani have recently stream linened their links with Joint Chief Headquarter, and as such ISPR falls under Gen. Tariq Majeed. Whereas at least on two occasions media has reported that Husain Haqqani and Gen. Tariq Majeed were seen hugging each other within last one month. Isfahani is trying to pass a resolution through National Assembly to tide hands of media and put some restrictions on flow of information with the backing of Tariq Majeed, who is also looking for extension like Kiyani and trying to use American stooge Haqqani for this purpose.

    Third player Faisal Raza Abidi is known gangster of Karachi and now working as front man of Zardari to collect money on behalf of Zardari from PIA. His links were exposed when he master minded case against Mr. Hamid Mir and agencies were noticed on his discretion to conduct illegal acts.

    Major executioner in all crimes of Zardari is A Rahman Malik, he has criminal mentality and main suspect in murder of Benazir. He has unlimited powers and resources to teach lesson to anyone. If not Gen. Pasha than A Rahman Malik is main suspect in kidnapping and torture of Mr. Cheema.

    Responsibility of Media:

    It is morale responsibility of media to pursue the case but it is shame that none of the leading paper or TV channel bothered to even report the incidence. It is a test case for all journalists and it is not too far that today’s Zardari apologists in media could face same wrath tomorrow. With the bird’s eye view imagine if Nazir Naji, Munoo Bhai, Mahmood Sham, Abbas Mahkari, Najam Sethi, Naseem Zohra, Mir Jameel ur Rahman, Rashid Rahman or any other Zardari or Kiyani apologist would face same situation in future.

    Zardari, Kiyani and Gaillani mafias are fascist gangs and in the presence of fraudulent democracy, deceptive constitution, corrupt politicians and generals, the honour of any citizen is on stake. Rise against fascism, be brave and don’t forget your duty to provide true information without any fear. Mr. Umar Cheema is an asset and we support him in these hard times and condemned Government’s action against marvellous journalist.

    Reference: Geo TV’s report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBwzPCd_rU8

    http://www.chowk.com/Diesel/iLogs/politics/Umar-Cheema

  • TAIL PIECE is for Mr. Umar Cheema and Jang Group of Newspapers

    Shakeel Anjum, a senior journalist of The News, will record his statement next week. Umar Cheema and Ansar Abbasi, editor investigation of The News, were the first recording their statements as the Commission was set up for fact-finding with respect to the torture on Cheema and threats issued to Ansar Abbasi by the same attackers. Cheema, in his statement, said he took a considerable time in determining the alleged involvement of a particular intelligence agency in attack on him. He said the following four factors helped him in pointing fingers towards the said agency: information gathered from different sources about the culprits; his experience of dealing with that particular agency; the perception as well as history of that agency. He also gave the name of those agency officers who either met or contacted him during this year for ‘brotherly advice’. Ansar Abbasi said he was not so optimistic that the culprits would be apprehended, given the half-hearted measures of the government. He suggested that the head of particular intelligence agency should be directed to investigate into the matter and determine who were the culprits, regardless they belong to his agency or from outside the agency. Hamid Mir, in his statement, narrated how he suffered at the hand of intelligence agencies over the period. Not only he but his family and children were also harassed. Mir gave examples of two journalists—Hadayatullah Khan from tribal area and Musa Khankhel from Swat. Incidentally, both of them shared with him life threats from the intelligence agencies and their fear turned true as they were killed later on. He said he had also learned about a likely attack on some journalists of The News, short before Cheema was attacked. “I had passed this information to the resident editor of The News. A day after, I learned it was Cheema as he was abducted and tortured,” Mir said. He said he had previously warned Cheema of the possible consequence of his bold reporting, and it finally happened. REFERENCE: Torture of Umar Cheema By Ahmad Noorani Thursday, October 21, 2010 Zi Qad 12, 1431 A.H. http://www.thenews.com.pk/21-10-2010/National/11254.htm

    REFERENCE: Thusday, October 21, 2010, Zi Qad 12, 1431 A.H http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/oct2010-daily/21-10-2010/main4.htm

    Group Editor of The News International, Mr Shaheen Sehbai [Former Founding Editor/Owner of South Asia Tribune – USA]

    “QUOTE”

    Would Mr. Shaheen Sehbai, Mr. Hamid Mir and last but not the least Mr. Ansar Abbasi like to explain as to who did this?

    Umar Cheema, 34, a reporter for The News, was kidnapped and beaten on the outskirts of Islamabad on Sept. 4 after having written several articles that were critical of the Pakistani Army. ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An investigative reporter for a major Pakistani newspaper was on his way home from dinner here on a recent night when men in black commando garb stopped his car, blindfolded him and drove him to a house on the outskirts of town. There, he says, he was beaten and stripped naked. His head and eyebrows were shaved, and he was videotaped in humiliating positions by assailants who he and other journalists believe were affiliated with the country’s powerful spy agency. At one point, while he lay face down on the floor with his hands cuffed behind him, his captors made clear why he had been singled out for punishment: for writing against the government. “If you can’t avoid rape,” one taunted him, “enjoy it.” The reporter, Umar Cheema, 34, had written several articles for The News that were critical of the Pakistani Army in the months preceding the attack. His ordeal was not uncommon for a journalist or politician who crossed the interests of the military and intelligence agencies, the centers of power even in the current era of civilian government, reporters and politicians said. “I have suspicions and every journalist has suspicions that all fingers point to the ISI,” Mr. Cheema said, using the acronym for the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the institution that the C.I.A. works with closely in Pakistan to hunt militants. The ISI is an integral part of the Pakistani Army; its head, Gen. Shuja Ahmed Pasha, reports to the army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

    Officials at the American Embassy said they interviewed Mr. Cheema this week, and sent a report of his account to the State Department. In response to an e-mail for comment, a spokesman for the ISI said, “They are nothing but allegations with no substance or truth.” Mr. Cheema had won a Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellowship to train foreign journalists in 2008 and worked in The New York Times newsroom for six months at that time. He has worked at The News since 2007. The attack was believed at the time to be unpopular in the army ranks because many soldiers were reluctant to fire on fellow Muslims. Moreover, courts-martial are rarely mentioned in the Pakistani news media, and reporters have been warned not to write about them. In his article, Mr. Cheema reported that two members of the Special Services Group, an elite commando squad, were being denied fair justice during the court-martial proceedings. In another article, Mr. Cheema wrote that the suspects in a major terrorist attack against a bus carrying ISI employees were acquitted because of the “mishandling” of the court case by the intelligence agency. In an article in early August, the reporter described how Army House, the residence of the chief of army staff, was protected by 400 city police officers and not by soldiers, as required by law. In January, in Islamabad, the home of Azaz Syed, a reporter for Dawn, the main English-language daily, was attacked by unknown assailants days after he was threatened by supposed ISI agents over an investigative article he was researching related to the military.

    Kamran Shafi, a leading columnist and himself a former army officer who writes critically of the military, was harassed and his house was attacked last December by “elements linked to the security establishment,” according to his own account. In the last several years, journalists in the tribal areas, where the army is fighting the Taliban, have faced special risks and found it increasingly difficult to work for fear of offending either side. In September two journalists were killed in or near the tribal areas, under circumstances that remain unclear. Pakistan has developed a rambunctious news media spearheaded by round the clock television news channels in the last decade. The military and the ISI are treated with respect by the powerful television anchors, and by newspaper reporters who extol the deeds of the army in battling the Taliban. The ISI is rarely mentioned by name but referred to as “intelligence agencies.” One reason for the deference, according to a Pakistani intelligence official who has worked with the media cell of the ISI, is that the agency keeps many journalists on its payroll. Unspoken rules about covering the military and its intelligence branches are eagerly enforced, Babar Sattar, a Harvard-trained lawyer, said. A journalist who trespasses over the line is told to behave, Mr. Sattar said. Earlier this year, Mr. Cheema said he was called to a coffee shop in Islamabad by an ISI officer and warned to fall into line. At a journalists’ seminar in Lahore, the editor of a weekly newspaper, Najam Sethi, said it was up to the ISI to declare who had attacked Mr. Cheema. “If the ISI hasn’t done it, they should tell us who did it because they’re supposed to know,” Mr. Sethi said. “If they don’t tell, the presumption remains they did it.” But in a column titled “Surprise Surprise” in Dawn, Mr. Shafi said, “We will never find out what happened to poor Umar Cheema because the Deep State does not want us to find out.” REFERENCES: EDITORIAL Who Attacked Umar Cheema? A version of this editorial appeared in print on September 29, 2010, on page A30 of the New York edition.http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/29/opinion/29wed4.htmlPublished: September 28, 2010 After Pakistani Journalist Speaks Out About an Attack, Eyes Turn to the Military By JANE PERLEZ Published: September 24, 2010 A version of this article appeared in print on September 25, 2010, on page A7 of the New York edition.http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/25/world/asia/25cheema.html?_r=4&ref=nfhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/25/world/asia/25cheema.html

    “UNQUOTE”

    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2011/02/fantasies-of-mr-shah-mehmood-qureshi-mr.html