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The feud with Ansar Abbasi that led to Rauf Klasra’s departure from The News, and the role of pkpolitics

Rauf Klasra was the target of a smear campaign run by Ansar Abbasi and Ahmad Noorani which was published on pkpolitics.com

Our fellow bloggers at Cafe Pyala have recently posted a story on The News senior investigative journalist Rauf Klasra‘s potential move from the Jang Group to the Express Media Group. But now that the daily Express itself has confirmed it, Cafe PYala add to it the reasons for it beyond the lure of a better pay packet. The story also highlights the role of Ansar Abbasi and Ahmad Noorani (an ex-member of the Sipah-e-Sahaba) in publishing anti-Klasra stories on pkpolitics.com (a pro-right-wing website). Here is the story cross-posted from Cafe Pyala:

In fact, Klasra had been rather unhappy at the Jang Group for quite some time. The official reason that Klasra is apparently now giving is his unhappiness with the, in his opinion, ‘agenda-driven anti-government line of the Jang Group.’ (It must be remembered that Klasra is known to be quite friendly with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who is from his hometown, Multan, and who it is believed is sometimes himself the source for some of Klasra’s stories.) The upset with the excesses of the Jang Group may well be true, but it is also true that Klasra has been at daggers drawn with some of his colleagues at the Islamabad bureau of The News, particularly with the Editor Investigations Ansar Abbasi and his juniorAhmad Noorani, whom he accuses of constantly maligning and undermining him.

The rivalry between the three truly came out into the open last year when the website pkpolitics.com ran a story about Klasra’s alleged corruption in receiving favours from the government in the allocation of plots and government housing for his (government employee) wife and relatives, claims Klasra strenuously denied. Klasra believed the story was instigated by the Nawaz Sharifcamp to discredit him in retaliation for stories he had done about the Sharifs’ alleged corruption and maladministration and claimed in a Jang column in September 2009 to have served a legal notice for 100 million pounds on the website (we have no idea what became of it). But more than that he also saw the direct connivance of Abbasi and Noorani in what he termed a ‘smear campaign’ against him. (Noorani, who most believe says things and writes stories at Abbasi’s behest, even weighed in publicly against Klasra.) Things became so bitter at the Islamabad bureau that Mir Shakilur Rahman did one of his trademark organizational fudges to calm things down: he removed Klasra from under Abbasi and gave him a made-up title of Editor Reporting, reporting directly to the Editor. (Incidentally, the current Editor of The News Rawalpindi, Mohammad Mallick, supported Klasra in his fight against pkpolitics, which makes eminent sense since pkpolitics had also run a story earlier about Mallick’s alleged corruption.)

But things continued to simmer and came to a head last month when Klasra ran two stories on September 28 and September 30. The first of these claimed that “backdoor channels played a key role” in defusing a crisis between the government and the judiciary. Bizarrely, the newspaper carried another story side-by-side with this, from “our correspondent” (code for Abbasi / Noorani) quoting Supreme Court sources debunking Klasra’s story. (The Jang Group must have the only newspapers in the world that carry two diametrically opposite ‘investigative’ stories on the same day.) In fact, the Supreme Court exerted so much pressure for a retraction that The Newspublished an “unconditional and sincere apology” on September 30. However, since Klasra was adamant about his story (insider sources say he told management he was willing to go to jail for it if need be) the apology was published from the editor, printer and publisher. No journalist appreciates a management that refuses to stand by its reporter and apparently Klasra was incensed that the apology was published despite his standing by his story. In fact, he blamed Abbasi for goading the management into publishing the apology and even hit out publicly at Abbasi on a Dunya TV programme later.

The second story Klasra published on September 30, claimed that President Zardari had admitted in an internal Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) meeting that he had been “misled” into not defending in court the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) by some unnamed “players of the game.” Klasra further cited “one insider source” to claim that Zardari may have been referring to a well-respected but unnamed former judge from Karachi. Once again, two days later Ahmad Noorani published a story claiming that Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim denied the “president’s defamatory allegations” and mocking Klasra for defaming him. This was another bizarre rebuttal since Klasra had never actually named anyone in his story. It is also obvious from the story that Ebrahim had been goaded into offering a rebuttal, as if he was the only respected retired judge in Karachi.

These two instances of direct undermining by colleagues were apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back, leading Klasra to finally say enough is enough. For whatever it’s worth, Klasra has often broken some interesting stories at The NewsJang and his departure will certainly leave the Jang Group poorer in the investigative department. The Jang Group will also miss his contacts within the government since Abbasi and Noorani have already been accused by the PPP of running one-sided stories. Klasra, whose recently published bookEk Siyaasat, Kayee Kahaniyaan [One Politics, Many Stories] has already become a best-seller, may be on a high at the moment, but it remains to be seen how well he adjusts to a new organizational culture at the Express Media Group.

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Abdul Nishapuri

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  • Well its a loss of jang group that it will now only have to contend with Ansar Abbasi and gang. He and his henchmen will convert this newspaper and group into something like Takbeer and Ummat.
    As far as pkpolitics.com is concerned, they have previously also targeted Nazeer Naji, Mohammad Malick and Rauf Klasra. It is only surprising that Ansar Abbasi and gang do not take on Saleh Zafir who’s wife is grade 17 officer, yet she has been given an accomodation for a grade 22 officer plus many plots for him!
    Maybe Rauf Klasra was being targeted for belonging from Southern Punjab and also close to PM Gilani!

  • Hye Plot, Hye Plot: Ansar Abbasi Sells His Soul for a PlotJuly 28, 2009 at 6:43 am · Filed under Corruption ·Tagged Ansar Abbasi

    In his interview while referring to Quarnic verses, Ansar Abbasi of the News Islamabad time and again lebelled the people ignorant urging them to at least learn what Quran says. But, this self-styled scholar of the Holy Book had to apologize later on for misquoting Quran in one of his columns published in Urdu daily Jang.

    Irrefutable evidences have surfaced about Editor Investigation of The News, Ansar Abbasi’s lust for land grabbing. And unlike any other honourable person, Ansar Abbasi used his wife to plead the case for a government plot in Islamabad worth millions of rupees by falsifying and concealing information.

    These official documents emerged after Ansar Abbasi, tried to hoodwink the public by returning a 250 square yard plot of the Punjab government.

    According to the details gleaned from official documents, the self proclaimed moralist of Pakistani journalism Ansar Ahmed Abbasi, son of Mohammad Sajawal, sought from Musharraf regime a one Kanal (500 square yards) plot worth millions of rupees at throwaway price in Islamabad’s sector G-14 in 2004.

    Ansar Abbasi was then the Bureau Chief of The News in Islamabad. He was among the few journalists who rushed to apply for the one kanal plot in sector G- 14 and subsequently deposited Rs125,000 with the Ministry of Information.

    The government had established an eligibility criterion that only those journalists were eligible against three per cent quota for journalists who did not own any plot or house in the federal capital, Islamabad. It was to meant to provide roof to the journalists in dire need of shelter.

    He who is greedy is always in want

    Ansar Abbasi did not care for this important clause and submitted an affidavit on oath knowingly, that he was giving a false oath on the Holy Book, Quran, not withstanding his self claimed righteousness and championship (read demagoguery) of Islamic values. Mr Abbasi concealed the information that he lived in a house in the most posh sector of Islamabad in House No 217, Street 100, Sector I 8/4 Islamabad.

    This house is owned by Ansar Abbasi himself where he lives with his brother Ejaz Abbasi.Sources close to Ansar Abbasi say that Ejaz Abbasi acts as a front man for the acts of omission and commission of his journalist brother. The sources say Ansar Abbasi and Ejaz Abbasi have joint stakes in many a businesses including hotels and petrol pumps.

    In the personal affidavit submitted by Ansar Abbasi to the Ministry of Information, he claimed that he did not have any house in his name at all. In the forms submitted to the Ministry of Information, Abbasi cleverly mentioned in the column where it was required to be mentioned whether he owned a house in Islamabad or not, that he had a shared property in I-8/4.

    He did not mention that he actually owns a house. Had he admitted the ownership of his house, then he might have been deprived of his right to even apply for the plot. But he hid the truth from the authorities in the application form.

    “Corruption of the best becomes the worst”

    Ansar Abbasi’s craving for a plot on throwaway price shocked the officials at the Ministry of Information when he submitted an affidavit of his wife, Zeba Abbasi. He was the only journalist in Pakistan whose wife submitted the affidavit, literally kneeling down to beg for a plot for her husband in sector G-14. No other journalist ever submitted such affidavit of their better half.

    In her affidavit, she wrote

    “I, Zeba Ansar Abbasi, wife of Ansar Ahmed Abbasi NIC 6110-9436395-8 has been nominated by Ansar Abbasi, in respect of the plot to be allotted to him. In this regard, I undertake to bear all liabilities in respect of plot to be allotted to him, in event of his death without prejudice to the rights of the legal heir under the relevant laws”.

    The Information ministry officials were dumbfounded shocked as according to them they did not expect Ansar Abbasi to become so crazy for a piece of land that he could even submit a false oath or an affidavit of his wife. The officials were taken aback to know that Mr Abbasi’s wife wanted the plot even in the event of her husband’s death and pay the installments after her husband’s death.

    Snowball effect

    But, Ansar Abbasi felt that despite his own affidavit and that of his wife Zeba Abbasi’s, he still needed to do more to convince the Musharraf regime to allot him one Kanal Plot in Sector G-14 of Islamabad. Therefore, he prepared another affidavit to get this plot.

    This time, Abbasi narrated how he was inducted in the profession of journalism through some tabloid newspaper which was closed down soon after he joined it. Then he joined Pakistan Times, but interestingly, this too was closed down once Mr Abbasi became its part.

    Now, Abbasi wrote that he did not have any experience certificates of these two newspaper papers which were the requirement to show that his experience in the journalism was more than 15 years to qualify for the plot. Thus, he could not produce those certificates of his relevant experiences.

    In a laughable move, Abbasi however attached the “press cards” of Pakistan Times and Democrat to lay claim over the plot in G-14. To convince (read mislead) the government about his eligibility in his lust for the plot, Abbasi crossed the limits of absurdity as far as references are concerned. In a more laughable manner, Mr abbasi wrote the name of a photographer, Ishaq Chaudhry, to establish his credentials.

    Had the editors of the closed down publications been alive, they might have confirmed or denied if they knew anyone by the name of Ansar Abbasi and if the closure of the publications was due to non-professional extremist instincts of Abbasi.

    Abbasi was so desperate to get the government plot that he had even offered to produce some evidences in the shape of senior journalist of Dawn Mohammad Ilyas who according to Abbasi was the chief reporter of The Pakistan Times when he joined the newspapers. Sadly, after a few days of submission of third affidavit by Abbasi, Mr Ilyas also died.

    Ironically, by a hand of fate or sleight of shrewdness, all the journalists Mr Abbasi mentioned as references had been died, except for photographer Ishaq Chaudhry.

    A man’s heart deviseth his way, but …

    The committee constituted by the government to scrutinize eligibility though believed the words of Abbasi but with a pinch of salt and recommended him for a category-II plot in G-14. A letter was sent to Mr Abbasi telling him that he was not eligible for the Category-I plot for which he had applied.

    Upon this, Abbasi wrote back to Ministry of Information that he was ready to accept anything thrown at him, even if the category in which he was being allotted a plot was being down graded.
    http://alaiwah.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/hye-plot-hye-plot-ansar-abbasi-sells-his-soul-for-a-plot/

  • Ansar Abbasi a considerably talented journalist has gradually emerged as very treacherous and risky individual with islamist rather radical tendency of maligning the journalism as profession. When he himself declared one day during a live TV show that he was Islamist, he plainly aligned himself with Pakistani Taliban.
    He was the person whose column, explicitly favouring the murderer of Salman Taseer, appered in the national press. Beware of his intellect.