Ahmed Quraishi v. Ahmed Quraishi on Geo

Oct 25th, 2010 | By | Category: Conspiracy Theories, Geo TV, Jang

Ahmed QuraishiAhmed Quraishi has weighed in on the media debate. In his typical style, Quraishi ignores the more thoughtful discussion of his more intellectual colleagues in journalism and jumps straight to accusations of some American conspiracy against Geo for being “critical of Mr. Zardari”. But upon careful reading, Quraishi’s critique quickly falls apart.

Quraishi’s entire claim of conspiracy is based on two newspaper articles published by The Washington Post: One titled, “Pakistan’s press piles on president” and the other titled, “Pakistan’s Emboldened Judiciary Threatens Government Stability“. Quraishi does not deny that the press is “piling on” the president as, presumably, he knows that such a claim is too much even for his own readers.

Rather, Quraishi says that “such one-sided and biased reporting can appear in Washington Post shows there are power centers in Washington that take any attack against the incumbent Pakistani government very personally”. Of course, using Ahmed Quraishi’s same logic, one-sided and biased reporting in The News shows that are power centers in Islamabad that take any attack against the incumbent Pakistani government very personally. And that, let me tell you, is simply silliness.

Quraishi’s logical problems don’t stop there. He claims that this is not simply one article, but “underscores a trend in the US media over the past one year”. His evidence? One other article published by the same newspaper one week earlier. Again, using Ahmed Quraishi’s same logic, if it rains in Sialkot for two days in one week, therefore there is a one year trend of constant rain for the whole country. It simply makes no sense.

Most interesting, though, is what this new column reveals about how Ahmed Quraishi changes his conspiracy theories to fit his political objectives. In his latest article, Quraishi defends Geo as a voice of Pakistan. But in 2007, Quraishi himself accused Geo of being a tool of American interests!

This is why most Pakistanis have never seen American diplomats in Pakistan active like this before. And it’s not just the current U.S. ambassador, who has added one more address to her other most-frequently-visited address in Karachi, Mrs. Bhutto’s house. The new address is the office of GEO, one of two news channels shut down by Islamabad for not signing the mandatory code-of-conduct. Thirty-eight other channels are operating and no one has censored the newspapers. But never mind this. The Americans have developed a ‘thing’ for GEO.

Of course, in 2007 Ahmed Quraishi’s worries were somewhat similar. At that time he was worried that the Americans were supporting democratic reforms in Pakistan by not propping up Musharraf. In 2010, he is worried that the Americans are supporting democracy by not standing aside for another coup. Ahmed Quraishi perhaps gives away his ideology a bit later in his 2007 article, though, when he writes:

Musharraf has also told Washington publicly that “Pakistan is more important than democracy or the constitution.” This is a bold position. This kind of boldness would have served Musharraf a lot had it come a little earlier. But even now, his media management team is unable to make the most out of it.

For Quraishi, the nation is not democracy – which is the will of the people – it is only the will of Ahmed Quraishi, a “media manager” or propagandist, and his patrons.

It’s a bit cheeky of Ahmed Quraishi to criticise an American newspaper for commenting on Pakistani politics and media when Ahmed Quraishi himself has made a career out of creating conspiracy theories about American politics and media.

At least the American newspaper had the professionalism and decency to seek out comments from Rana Jawad, Fekhar Rehman, and Cyril Almeida. Of course, the article that so offended Ahmed Quraishi was written by real journalists, not “media managers”. Perhaps instead of criticising the Washington Post, Quraishi could take a moment to learn a thing or two about real reporting.

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  1. Well thanks for exposing Ahmed Quraishi again. He is unfortunately an inconsequential person hence not worth discussing. Did you see Tariq Butt’s news analysis in The News today with sub headline: “Nawaz Stands Tall in principled politics” just because PPP has met with PML-Q!!!

  2. The media were instrumental in bringing about a return to democracy in Pakistan in 2008, but they’ve taken an increasingly antagonistic stance toward Zardari’s administration in the two years since. With the government struggling to prop up a stagnant economy, fight extremists and provide flood relief, reporters have found an appealing target in Zardari, whose administration contends with weekly rumors of collapse. Whether this is a healthy free press at work or a destabilizing force in a tense and democracy is the subject of much debate. They are totally anti-government; they’re not objective; they twist everything. We do not mind a free press, but we definitely mind if somebody has an agenda or somebody is trying to destabilize the government and the country and create an anarchic situation.

  3. Money Talks TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2010

    Mir Ibrahim Rehman (c) at his master’s convocation earlier this year
    Guess who was spotted on November 9 in Washington D.C. at a reception for American and Pakistani media personnel thrown by US AfPak ambassador Richard Holbrooke’s media assistant Ashley Bommer? Mir Ibrahim Rehman, scion of the house of Jang and CEO of the Geo TV Network. He walked in with The Friday Times editor and Dunya TV’s Najam Sethi but stayed long after Sethi left the party.

    Mir Ibrahim (MIR) apparently jetted in for a mysterious three-day visit to the US, during which, our sources say, the main objective was to convince the US administration that Geo was neither anti-US nor anti-democracy, the line being peddled by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government. MIR also wished to gather official American support for the Jang Groupagainst the PPP boycott of the group as an instance of an assault on freedom of the media.

    Our sources claim that MIR did not find too much traction among US officials against the idea of a media boycott, perhaps because the Obama administration itself has a similar boycott against Fox News (albeit without the shoe-throwing rent-a-demos and vile grafitti scrawlsagainst Fox News owners). However, what is particularly interesting about the Jang Group’s attempts to woo the American establishment is the fact that there has been apparently a lot of discussion within the US government about whether it should support and even subsidize a media group that has no qualms about running shrill propaganda against the US, and sometimes even promoting a pro-Taliban line. In particular, Hamid Mir’s contribution to whipping up Blackwater hysteria in Pakistan, Ansar Abbasi’s rants about Western puppets, and the space given to nutjobs such as Zaid Hamid (Aag TV) and Ahmad Quraishi (Aag TV and The News) have apparently raised quite a few eyebrows in the US administration.

    The Americans have reason to be upset with the Jang Group, and MIR has reasons to find their upset unsettling. The running of the banal American propaganda Voice of America (VoA) programme Khabron Se Aagay[Beyond the Headlines] as an ‘advertorial’ on Geo since 2005 has netted the Jang Group and its owners, by some accounts, millions of US taxpayer dollars. Although the exact ‘compensation package’ doled out to Geo by the US government is still secret, it should be noted that the deal between Geo and VoA was mediated during the Bush-Musharraf era by the then Information Secretary Anwar Mahmood and advertising whiz-kid Asif Salahuddin, the latter of whom is reputed not to touch ’small’ deals. Apparently, part of MIR’s discussions with the US administration included those on the future of the Geo-VoA deal.

    Incidentally, while Najam Sethi was ostensibly in the US for medical check-ups and may have been present at the Bommer reception only coincidentally, as we have reported in the past, he too has been trying to persuade American-backed NGOs to fund a new ‘liberal’ channel to be headed by him.

    Coming back to MIR, it seems that more than American upset, a potential threat of withdrawal of lucrative financial support may be the trigger for a panic at the Jang Group. As they say, bullshit may walk but it’s money that talks. I have a strong feeling that you may well see the (media) house line shifting very soon. If you suddenly begin to miss the casual anti-US vitriol in the group’s publications and on Geo, you’ll know why.

  4. […] ago. But even before Ahmed Quraishi was given a show, he was against Geo TV, saying it, too, was a tool of American interests. It should be noted that Geo TV still has a contract with Voice of […]

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