Original Articles

Anjum Niaz, Raza Rabbani and the virus of yellow journalism – by Abdul Nishapuri

According to her ‘official’ profile at Naseeb Vibes:

Anjum Niaz is the first Pakistani woman to qualify under US Government Immigration as possessing Extraordinary Ability in Journalism. She works as a correspondent for Dawn, has been editor of Dawn Magazine, Managing Editor of The Earth Times, columnist for The Friday Times, Coordinator(??) at Johns Hopkins University and a Board Director The Population Institute in Washington DC. Anjum Niaz has interviewed hosts of Prime Ministers and Presidents of the Subcontinent and is a vast traveler.

Source: Naseeb Vibes

However, the above may be only a cosmetic account of Anjum Niaz’s actual journalistic practices, which frequently skirt with the shades of yellow.

In recent years, she has gained notoriety due to her exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, sensationalism, and unprofessional practices of journalism.

For example, almost eight years ago, we saw the following complaint in Dawn against Anjum Niaz’s anti-Semitic attitude:

An insensitive remark

I WAS shocked to read Anjum Niaz referring to the New York Times as the ‘Jew York Times’ in her revived column Scene and Heard (Feb 23), and even more shocked at Dawn’s decision to publish it. She is also very insensitive in her remarks about the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, who has since been brutally slaughtered.

Such anti-semitic language in a newspaper such as Dawn at a time when Pakistan is trying to project itself as a ‘moderate Muslim state’ confirms the worst fears of the West about us. It shows that deep down, even Pakistani liberals hold prejudices of the type held by Islamic extremists.

Living in the US, Ms Niaz needs to learn a thing or two about political correctness. In any case, anti-Semitism is unacceptable in the modern world. Comments about the ethnicity or religion of the owners of the world’s most influential newspaper reflect shallowness of mind. No one in Pakistan talks about Dawn as ‘Memon Dawn’, The Nation as ‘Punjabi Nation’ or The News as ‘The Delhiwala News’.

Anjum Niaz may have left Pakistan but the cattiness of upper-class Pakistanis has obviously not left her….

Maybe she should also try to write for the international media and grow beyond the gossip circuit within the Pakistani community.

SYED WASIQ ALI
New York

Source: Dawn

Here is the latest master piece of yellow journalism out of Anjum Niaz’s bag. In her column in The News on 3 March 2010, she tells us a first hand account of the unusual VIP protocol granted to Raza Rabbani. She wrote:

The VIP vice

Last Sunday on a PIA flight from Karachi to Islamabad, we had a VIP travel in the first-class cabin. When the flight landed in Islamabad, we were made to wait until the VIP was safely seated in his waiting Mercedes flying two flags – the Pakistan and perhaps the PPP flags. The wait for us was not long, but what was shocking was to see the car drive up to the apron, as close as it could get to the aircraft. Was the VIP a foreign guest warranting maximum security? No. He was in fact Raza Rabbani! To make sure I was not hallucinating, I double-checked with a member of the crew as we alighted. The airhostess confirmed it was the senator. Rabbani is currently chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and also heads the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reform. Do his handlers think that ordinary passengers like us are a threat to his life and therefore he must be whisked away the minute he sets foot on the ground?

“Raza Rabbani is one of the very few politicians who have been able to attain and sustain a high level of credibility in the eyes of public as well as among all the political parties,” says a Google search I did on him today. “He is one politician who does not have any scandals associated with him; financial, moral, or political. He does not come from a feudal background, but earned his credibility as a competent lawyer and then as a principled political leader.”

Why then does Rabbani fall for the VIP trappings? Surely, his life is not threatened the way Rehman Malik contends that his is? Malik has excused himself from appearing in person at courts because our security czar claims that there are people out to kill him.

Source: The News

As a matter of fact, the whole article is a pack of lies, a usual characteristic of Anjum Niaz.

Let us start with Rehman Malik. We all know that in his capacity as the Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rehman Malik is a leading figure in Pakistan’s war against terrorists and extremists known as Taliban, Al Qaeda and Sipah-e-Sahaba. We also know that these groups and their associates have the capacity to attack most of their targets (including Army’s GHQ) with sophistication and precision.

Despite these risks to his life, Rehman Malik has been appearing in various courts of law defending politically motivated cases filed against him by previous anti-democratic governments. Various news items about Malik’s appearance in courts have been widely published in Pakistan including in the very newspaper in which Anjum Niaz writes.

For example, here is one such news item:

Malik appears in court without protocol, security
January 03, 2010
By Faisal Kamal Pasha

Source: The News

Now, referring back to Anjum Niaz’s article about the VIP vice in Pakistan in which she narrates a ‘first-hand’ account of Raza Rabbani’s VIP reception at a Pakistani airport, it turned out that the whole story was a piece of irresponsible journalism written with the sole aim of tarnishing the image of the PPP’s leadership. In fact Raza Rabbani was no where to be seen on the flight that Anjum Niaz is fantasizing about. Actually, Rabbani did not travel on that day at all.

The LUBP has learnt that Raza Rabbani has strongly protested with the Editors of The News on this fraudulent story by Anjum Niaz. As a result, this is what Anjum Niaz published on 6 March 2010.

Please have a read yourself. Do you notice any sense of remorse, an apology in the whole article. Perhaps, that will be asking for too much from a narcissist pseudo-intellectual, who specializes in yellow journalism.

VIP virus

Saturday, March 06, 2010
Anjum Niaz

Why must I continue to dwell on the VIPs? Only because they are a social evil number one. We need an antidote to the virus they suffer from, found only in the Third World. It’s been largely eradicated from the developed world. Anyone inventing a cure deserves the Nobel Prize. The disease is as fatal as AIDS. It attacks healthy cells that produce a chemical called ‘humility.’ Our DNA, that differentiates us from every other human being, is made of molecules that store information. The DNA acts like a blueprint, or a recipe, or a code, grounded in our genes. No scientist to date has succeeded in identifying and separating the VIP virus from the genes of a person in power. His DNA is delusional, prompting him that his genes are superior to others around….

But I have good news to share with my readers. Senator Raza Rabbani has not been stricken with the VIP virus. Thank God for His small mercies. He’s symptom-free! I wrote in my last column that a flagged Mercedes car waited for him at the apron as he alighted from the PIA aircraft that brought us to Islamabad from Karachi last Sunday. It now turns out that the couple I saw sit in the limousine was not Raza Rabbani but Senate Chairman Farooq Naek and his daughter. Does Naek hold this post only because he was Zardari’s personal attorney fighting his corruption cases? Some VIP!

Source: The News

Did you notice the tilt in Anjum Niaz’s story? Instead of admitting her mistake, instead of apologizing to Raza Rabbani, she has turned her guns towards Farooq Naik and Asif Zardari.

Perhaps in addition to her concern about the VIP virus in Pakistan, Anjum Niaz may also dedicate some time and resources to get her yellow journalism virus cured!

And yes, while on her way to the Yellow Journalism Cure Clinic, she may also wish to take Ansar Abbasi and Shaheen Sehbai, her colleagues at The News, along with her.

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri

13 Comments

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  • And yes, while on her way to the Yellow Journalism Cure Clinic, she may also wish to take Ansar Abbasi and Shaheen Sehbai, her colleagues at The News, along with her…..
    If she is going for a cure to Dr Shahid Masood, then hope she will find the other victims also…..But unfortunately his YJ virus will be more resistant with his medictaions….

  • She also appear on NEWSONE [Pakistani Private TV Channel] as a host for a program Diplomatic Enclave. She is very well connected in Pakistan Tobacco.

  • Why shouldn’t Rabbani, or Naik or Zardari be criticized. This poor country is being sucked by the quick sand of debts both foreign and local. What for? Elites. She had enought intellectual integrity to rectify the news. The thing under debate is the VIP culture not a particular personality. We have been reading her for the last Ten years and found nothing of yellow Jounalism in her. Infact Dawn is the most authentic and standard newspaper of Pakistan and its columnists are perhaps the only to truly called journalists. Let’s not speak from PPP point of view.

    The quoted plaragraph 1 is a readers view and you need to produce evidence from her own writings to prove your point.

  • Since when US Immigration’s act of conferring green cards based on your professional eminence become a gauge of your actual professional competence in any field or of any worth. You have to be really shameless to put this in your CV.

  • She must be an agent of ISI, establishment, CIA, Mossad, RAW, as always like other 99.999% media persons, what ever.

    Our so called ‘Dignitaries’ are actually fond of such protocols in the name of ‘Threat’. They say that the ‘ threat ‘ is from a community who does not like USA or Pakistanis working for or favoring USA activities and policies. How shameful when our ‘Dignitories’ including all political parties, while in power, shut themselves up in their bunkers of concrete and suddenly cease interaction with the general public at large. Just a radioed, telephonic or video exhort is considered enough participation in the process of being a selected leader or leaders. On that same coward environment by our leaders Hilary Cinton, visited every place in Pakistan, even public gatherings to remove the doubts of a common Pakistani against USA. Her visit was may be not for the general public but rather for our leaders that if you want our support get out from your fears and bunkers. Even a small official of USA, like Anne Paterson visited SWAT, considered a centre of USA hatred (duly reported by our leaders to them). After their successful visits in general public, our leaders gathered some courage, came out from their holes and started facing the electing nation. If our political leadership is facing very very very real threat of life, they must then get out of this country and start communicating, managing and controlling the nation through telephone or video conferrencing like Altaf use to do. Their presence or absense means nothing to this nation rather their presence further hinders the general activities of the society when they make plans to move from one place to another making the whole system paralyzed in the name of ‘Threat to their lives’. How does the threat diminishes when they are not in power and they use their usual way of transport without security.

    While in power, comes the protocol, let us allow our poor dignitaries and even their families or their familiar families associated with them some how, to enjoy the protocol on our expense. The protocol is their constitutional right and thats why when that right is being snatched from them then ‘Respected Dignitaries’ or ‘Untouchables’ are beaten on roads like Tariq Azeem or Sher Afgan, etc. No body should be allowed to comment on them as the commentator will be hanged, will be termed a yellow, red or white, or anti Pakistani. Wow.

  • Annjum Niaz is a refined version of Ansar Abbasi and Shahid Masood. She was a misfit in Dawn. The News (Jang Group) is a ‘befitting abode’ for her.

  • PSF Lahore :
    Annjum Niaz is a refined version of Ansar Abbasi and Shahid Masood. She was a misfit in Dawn. The News (Jang Group) is a ‘befitting abode’ for her.

    She still contribute for Dawn. Read the images.

  • PSF Lahore :
    @Aamir Mughal Sir, Thank you for this correction. In that case, please read as “She IS a misfit in Dawn.’

    Dear Brother,

    If she is a misfit in dawn [Dawn group has many spineless persons and you would have to read them after 12 Oct 1999] now back to exposing Ms. Anjum Niaz.

    Back in 2007 in the Daily Dawn she had written:

    “QUOTE”
    At my age it’s not appropriate to compromise with the military and seek a PPP ticket for the 2008 elections. But my loyalty to the PPP will remain grounded. It’s my national duty he tells me when I ask him whether he would like to serve BB again. Benazir showed respect when addressing her interior minister. She and the General Sahib liked to engage in intellectual dialogue. Unlike other cabinet ministers, I never saw Babar cringe before his young prime minister. He was in the centre of investigations when Benazirs two brothers were killed. I went to South of France when Shahnawaz died in July 1985. I know exactly what happened and who killed him. Why, then, has he not revealed the identity of Shahnawaz’s killers? Because I was advised not to go beyond the drawn line, he says. The substance that killed Shahnawaz was used by very few countries. The FBI and the French authorities investigated independently but kept their findings secret because of certain international sensitivities. Whodunnit? By Anjum Niaz October 28, 2007 [Dawn Magazine]

    “UNQUOTE”

    Now in 2010 she writes in the same Dawn Magazine.

    “QUOTE”
    But one sad incident clearly stays in his memory of those bucolic days; the untimely death of Shahnawaz Bhutto. Marker sketches the details of the tragedy as though it happened yesterday. Begum Nusrat Bhutto lived in Cannes, in the French Riviera. The lodgings were loaned to her by the then French minister of justice. The minister was a good friend of the Bhuttos as was President Gaddafi of Libya. Gaddafi had given large sums of money to the Bhuttos. One evening during dinner in a restaurant, the two boys — Murtaza and Shahnawaz — entered into an argument over the division of the money. “Benazir tried to calm them down but she didn’t succeed,” remembers Marker. In the end she took her mother and sister back to their home, while Murtaza followed Shahnawaz to his flat. The fight turned ugly. At some point the French police came to arrest the inmates. By that time Shahnawaz was unconscious. He had taken an overdose of drugs. The police could not arrest Murtaza because he had a Syrian diplomatic passport. Later that night the younger brother passed away. The police arrested his Afghan wife for “not coming to the aid of a dying man.” She hired a lawyer but the case was quashed by the bereaved family when she threatened to spill the beans. “The whole affair was so sordid; so grim; so grisly,” says Marker who was given all the details by the head of the French intelligence police. But General Naseerullah Babar, who was later Benazir’s interior minister, claims that General Zia had a hand in the murder. He had sent a death squad to eliminate the younger son. Babar says Shahnawaz was poisoned, I ask Marker: “No, that’s not true at all. Zia had nothing to do with it.” No Spinzone: Interview with history By Anjum Niaz
    Sunday, 07 Mar, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/anjum-niaz-interview-with-history-730

    “UNQUOTE”

    Why these Journalists don’t investigate before opening their mouths.

  • Anjum’s fiction on Rajiv Gandhi

    Exchange of E-mail between Mansur Ali Khan and Anjum Niaz

    All Dated July 24, 2011

    MANSUR ALI KHAN’s E-MAIL TO ANJIM NIAZ

    TO: Ms Anjum Niaz

    E-mail: anjumniaz@rocketmail.com

    FM: Mansur Ali Khan
    Toronto, Canada

    E-mail: mansur.ak.ca@gmail.com

    RE: Rajiv Gandhi in Swiss Deal

    Just that you are a columnist who often writes drivels, just does not make you the truth teller.

    First thing: Rajiv never stole anything, He did not and has no Swiss bank account. This is the fancy storytelling classic of former newspaper editor Aroun Shourie and the Gang at BJP who make their life mantra: Hate + Destroy Gandhi Family.

    The Bofors commission was split between some of the promoting agents that would be legitimate anywhere in this world but India that does not recognize or reward business agents, for some peculiar reason of its own. Which breeds more corruption only.

    Second, Zardari and the Sharifs also do not have Swiss accounts. If they stole any money, it is not there.

    You think defenseless Zardari or Sarifs would be harmless targets, unable to hit back at your snides, huh pal? Clever, but unethical.

    And — for a change — why not go after the Generals (the real robbers) who have been bleeding Pak to death by their monetary and political shenanigans for ages. Let us see some of your bravado there.

    Anjum’s Reply:

    Anjum Niaz to me
    show details Jul 24 (2 days ago)

    Obviously you’ve taken the Rajiv Gandhi Swiss accusation personally!

    You live in Canada and are unaware of the corruption being done right now by Rajiv’s wife and children. I have first hand information from credible Indians who have come to Pakistan recently. So for you to fling your scorn at me by calling it “drivel” is most unfair.

    Second: Obviously this is the first time you’ve read me otherwise you would NEVER accuse me of cowardice. I am perhaps one of the very few who has the guts to point out the corruption being done by generals.

    So, may I humbly suggest Sir, before throwing stones at someone, make sure you know everything about that person.

    Anyway, I appreciate your caring to write to me and venting. You’re most welcome.

    Best wishes
    anjum niaz

  • Dear Friends,
    I would like to drawa your attention towards the most important fact which is Anjum Niaz’s English. I myself have twice informed her via e-mail that she should be very careful in her written expression. I once received response from her in which had not admitted her mistakes. She wrote in such a construction which not in use anymore. She takes pleasure in using archaic and grandiloquent phrases. Moreover, there are many places where her English contains big mistakes.

    Doctor Sami-ul-Haq
    Ph.D Applied Linguistics (UK)

  • Dear Friends,
    I would like to drawa your attention towards the most important fact which is Anjum Niaz’s English. I myself have twice informed her via e-mail that she should be very careful in her written expression. I once received response from her in which had not admitted her mistakes. She wrote in such a construction which is not in use anymore. She takes pleasure in using archaic and grandiloquent phrases. Moreover, there are many places where her English contains big mistakes.

    Doctor Sami-ul-Haq
    Ph.D Applied Linguistics (UK)