Mother of Pakistani Conspiracy Theorists, Shireen Mazari, Exposed for Hysteria by The News

Sep 11th, 2009 | By | Category: Uncategorized

By Shaista Sindhu

Shireen Mazari, the fanatical but often non-factual anti-American, known for her conspiracy theories is once again in the news. Once described as Pakistan’s Ann Coulter, Mazari has been spewing venom against Pakistan’s democratic leaders for years. In her world view, often backed by the Musharraf-lover Ahmed Quraishi, Pakistan is constantly under attack and except her everyone in the country is about to sell Pakistan out.

Mazari has been proven wrong time and again but some elements in Pakistan’s establishment have used her in the past for their own purposes. Musharraf made her head of the government-run Institute of Strategic Studies where she was the longest-serving Director General.

She wrote the only book that describes Musharraf’s Kargil blunder as a major military victory. Right now she holds a position in Imran Khan’s Tehrik-e-Insaaf but does not always acknowledge that connection in her writings. She is one of many shadowy figures in Pakistan’s media, writing with shadowy “information” based on shadowy connections and claims and yet trying to claim monopoly over patriotism by shouting out louder.

Her sidekick Ahmed Quraishi once stupidly boasted on his own website that he could help create “immaculate deceptions” as a propagandist. Nowadays, Mazari and Quraishi are leading the charge in claiming that Pakistan is about to be over-run by US marines even though Mazari’s multi-coloured hair are more widely being seen these days than the marines that are supposed to be all over Pakistan.

Recently Mazari held a press conference to claim that the American Embassy had led the Jang Group to “drop” her column even though the column was in the next day’s The News. Mazari’s press conference was once again hysteria combined with false reasons. The Press Conference was an attention grabbing gimmick. Mazari was already in negotiations to join the grandfather of conspiracy theorists of Pakistan, Nawai Waqt Group’s Majeed Nizami, who has sacked his well-educated and balanced nephew Arif Nizami to appoint Mazari as editor of the failing The Nation newspaper.

By claiming that the US embassy was trying to have her column stopped, Mazari was trying to squeeze the last ounce of publicity from her dubious association with the Jang Group. The News-Geo-Jang have not been known for being very facts oriented when it comes to dealing with US-Pakistan relations. They have right-wing propagandists such as Ansar Abbasi, Kamran Khan, Hamid Mir and Shahid Masood and conspiracy theorists like Shaheen Sehbai working for them. But the Jang group does try to maintain its position as a media organization. Jang Group may be Pakistan’s Fox News but like Fox News it keep the appearance of being part of mainstream media instead of behaving like, say the National Enquirer where anything goes.

So, the Jang Group Editorial Board was forced by Mazari’s crazy press conference to clarify what really happened. There was no suppression of Pakistani Ann Coulter Shireen Mazari’s right of free speech. Just a news organization going through the motions of fairness. But that did little to stop Mazari from hitting the roof. Here is the clarification
published in The News on September 07, 2009

A press conference of Dr. Shireen Mazari was reported in the newspapers of Thursday (September 3) in which it was indicated that The News International had been pressurised by the US Embassy into dropping her article, although it appeared in the same day’s issue. Some websites have also alleged that the US ambassador has written a ‘private’ letter to the Jang Group pressuring that Dr. Mazari’s article be dropped.

We are surprised that someone as familiar with the Jang Group’s editorial policy as Dr. Mazari, an official turned politician and Information Secretary/ Spokesperson of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, should level such unfounded allegations. The facts of the matter are as follows:

  • The US ambassador had sent a letter to the Jang Group complaining that in her article published in The News the week before, Dr. Shireen Mazari had leveled certain incorrect allegations that had endangered the life of a US citizen.
  • In accordance with our policy, and accepted international norms, we referred the complaint to Dr. Shireen Mazari, for her feedback and comments.
  • While this complaint was being investigated, Dr. Mazari sent another article on Tuesday (September 1), which was to be published the next day– that is on Wednesday. In this article she had again leveled certain allegations, which were also without attribution. Since certain contentions in the previous article had been refuted and were under investigation and she had not produced any evidence or reliable reference to prove the same (nor has she been able to do so till date), we reverted to Dr. Mazari and asked if she could substantiate these allegations. The concerned editor also informed her that her article had been referred to the concerned department to make sure that it was not libellous. As it happens, on receiving supporting comments from her, as well as advice from the concerned editor, the article was published the very next day- that is on Thursday.
  • It is normal for embassies, political parties and other affected people and institutions to complain against perceived bias and the letter from the US ambassador was in the same vein. She neither asked us in the above letter nor any time in the past to drop articles by Dr. Mazari or by any other contributor holding similar views and writing for many years in The News. The ambassador also did not desire that the letter be kept confidential. While we take all complaints seriously, we allow them to exert no pressure on us or influence editorial policy or decisions. Therefore, at no point did anyone from the management or editorial staff of The News suggest to Dr. Mazari that this, or future, articles by her would not be published.
  • We not only publish articles by some of the most respected columnists in the country, but as a matter of policy, give space to people holding strong and diverse opinions. Since years some of the fiercest criticism of US policies has been voiced on the pages of The News. We are sorry that she chose to go public with accusations that have no basis in fact.
  • Editorial Board.

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