Conflicting Conspiracies in The News

Jul 21st, 2010 | By | Category: Jang, The News

There appears to be a curious conflict of conspiracies in reports published by The News (Jang Group) on Wednesday regarding the HEC report submitted to the Education Ministry.

Ansar Abbasi reports that there is a conspiracy to change the contents of the report, and that the Education Minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali has sent the report back to HEC for editing.

Sources in the ministry confided to The News that the Education Minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali directed his secretary to ask the HEC chairman to withdraw the report and re-submit it with certain changes. The minister wanted the HEC chairman to delete the report’s portion mentioning the NA Committee on Education.

Following the minister’s direction, these sources said, the secretary education asked HEC Chairman Javed Leghari to withdraw the report and exclude from it the statement that the report should be forwarded to the NA Committee on Education.

But Sabir Shah writes in a different article that there is a conspiracy to bury the controversy by appointing a crony to cover it up.

It has also been learnt from the reliable sources that after meeting with the HEC chairman, Prime Minister Gilani held a detailed meeting with the education minister and Secretary Education Imtiaz Qazi in which they finalised the strategy to put the issue of fake degrees under the carpet.

According to the sources, the meeting remained focused on the ways to prolong and ultimately to do away with the issue of fake degrees of public representatives. However, Imtiaz Qazi denied having any knowledge about the meeting and the procedure to be followed in this regard. He also denied being present in the meeting. “I am not really aware about the whole issue. We are waiting for the in writing directives from the prime minister after which we would formulate our strategy,” he said.

According to the sources, nominating a minister for reviewing the process means that a single person would be handling the issue according to his own desire. “He would be accountable to nobody and there would not be any check over the process,” he said. Talking to The News, the Education Ministry spokesperson said that since the HEC comes under Education Ministry, therefore it could not communicate directly to parliamentary body.”

What makes these conflicting conspiracies especially interesting is that, according to Sabir Shah’s report, the report was not even delivered until late night.

The officials of Education Ministry did not receive any report in this regard till late night.

If the report was not delivered until late night, how did all of these people come up with so many conflicting conspiracies? And if there is some conspiracy, which is it?

In yet another article in the same day’s newspaper, Tariq Butt reports that there is a conspiracy to declare runners up as winners.

On the editorial page of the same newspaper, The News writes about a fourth conspiracy:

Going by what Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan has said in an interview he gave to this newspaper, what may happen next is that the government could seek to promulgate new legislation, though the minister was vague as to its content. He said that there had been contact with several political parties (and that there was ‘documentary proof’ of this) seeking to lay the matter to rest. Their motivation for this will almost certainly be to protect politicians in the future from the withering blast of the media, as well as perhaps tightening their own internal selection procedures and criteria to ensure that those selected to represent us are less obviously liars and fakers. Considering his statement objectively, it does appear that the fake degree issue has given a severe jolt to those politicians who are self-serving and happy to deceive their electorates – who probably expect to be deceived anyway.

While it is disappointing that The News has such contempt for the people of Pakistan that it declares they “probably expect to be deceived anyway”, what is worse is that the editorial’s conspiracy theory contradicts what is reported elsewhere in the newspaper!

According to a report by Dilshad Azeem, the coalition partners have “rejected in plain words” any suggestion that they have been meeting to craft a law to protect fraud.

Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP) and Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (Fazl), the three parties providing the numbers for survival of the coalition government, confirmed that neither the government consulted them nor they had approached the key functionaries on the fake degrees issue.

They dubbed the law minister’s assertion as totally out of context and against their respective stands, and said that those MPs, who gave wrong information about their respective education or any other matter, must be dealt in accordance with the law of the land.

It appears that, with no reliable source of information, The News is simply publishing anything and everything with the hope that ‘something sticks’. But this is not journalism, is only guessing and gossiping. Furthermore, it is impossible to not notice that every ‘guess’ published in the newspaper has a particular angle – the government is doing something wrong. Certainly no journalist should assume that everything is done without some discussion of how to make uncomfortable matters ‘go away’, but also no responsible journalist should assume that there is always some dark scheme at work.

Whether or not someone thinks that the degree issue even matters, everyone deserves to have facts – not conspiracies. The web of conspiracies in The News has become so tangled that reading the newspaper one reader can come away with many different and conflicting versions of events. That’s not news reporting, it’s just gossip.

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