Jang Group Eats Crow After FIA Declares LHC Assassination Conspiracy As 'Unverifiable'

Plate of crowWhile most of the country is preparing for an Eid feast this week, Jang Group is sitting before a giant plate of crow. Recently, the star reporter for Jang’s English newspaper The News, Ansar Abbasi, wrote a column that caused an outcry among the media, judiciary, and executive office of government. He claimed to have revealed a conspiracy by federal officials to assassinate Chief Justice LHC Khawaja Muhammad Sharif. After months of investigation and unknown resources, it has been concluded that no such conspiracy existed.

The News followed up Abbasi’s conspiracy story with a number of sensational articles implying that the judiciary was being threatened by administration authorities. Soon after, Jang Group suffered the embarrassment of having the Supreme Court request it to publish a correction “to set the record straight”. Now, another blow to Ansar Abbasi and Jang’s credibility has been dealt.

According to Express Tribune the report of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) inquiry team has concluded that Ansar Abbasi’s column was based on hot air.

It may be recalled that on September 11, a report was published in The News that the Special Branch had unfolded a plot to kill the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court. Amidst the ensuing hue and cry, an inquiry was ordered on the allegation carried in the newspaper report that three key government officials were behind the plot.

FIA Director Zafar Qureshi said in his report that the FIA inquiry team could not find a single shred of evidence into the alleged plot to kill the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court. Key witnesses related to this intelligence report refused to record their statements despite several requests. Special branch officials also kept changing their statements, thus raising serious doubts about the authenticity of the intelligence report reportedly issued by the Punjab Police’s Special Branch.

The question remains as to how much this wild goose chase has cost the government which has had to pay for an inquiry only to discover that Ansar Abbasi’s conspiracy theory was untrue. Additional expenses for increased security, meetings by members of the judiciary and their staffs, and other official actions taken as a result of the incorrect reporting.

In addition to the unknown cost to the national purse there is the strained relationship between the official agencies and the time that was spent by officials which could have been used working on solutions to the actual problems facing the country.

This is why conspiracy theories and sensational yellow journalism is a problem. One might find it more entertaining when the news is like a professional wrestling programme, but there are consequences to this unprofessional behaviour beyond simply discrediting the reporters and media companies who choose to engage in it.

When Nusrat Javed spoke on the occasion of the 4th national conference of SAFMA, he pledged to support “across the board accountability”. Just as government officials must be held accountable for their actions, so too should journalists who forget their proper duties and spread conspiracies and misinformation. Ansar Abbasi and Jang Group should enjoy their plate of crow this week, it is a small consequence compared to what they have cost the nation.

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9 Responses to “Jang Group Eats Crow After FIA Declares LHC Assassination Conspiracy As 'Unverifiable'”

  1. Mohammad Ali says:

    I love being here. There should be such places like this where Media should be closely scrutinized.

  2. Aamir Mughal says:

    Benazir Bhutto had named “Brigadier [Retd] Ejaz Shah” [a possible suspect in her death] but GEO TV Named PPP Federal Minister Ijaz Jakhrani in the list of those who were suspects in Benzair Bhutto’s Death???? Do this Jang Group even check what they are publishing or relaying????

    Dr. Qadeer responsible for N-proliferation: Musharraf Updated at: 0603 PST, Wednesday, November 10, 2010 http://www.geo.tv/11-10-2010/74121.htm Those three persons, indicated in her letter, were Pervez Ilahi, Ijaz Jakhrani and General (retd.) Hameed Gul, he said. “Baitullah Mehsood was the master mind of her assassination,” he claimed adding, “But I cannot confirm who might be behind the plot to kill Benazir.” Musharraf said Lal Mosque issue is being politicized only. There were only 125 persons in mosque as all women and girls had gone off the mosques before attack.

  3. Aamir Mughal says:

    Do this Jang Group even check what they are publishing or relaying???? Read the underline text below. Jang doesn’t know as to what The News publish, The News doesn’t know what Jang is publishing and both don’t know what GEO is relaying. Now closely read the “news” which is filed by these Irresponsible Journalists????

    Updated at: 0315 | Wednesday, November 10, 2010, Zilhajj 03, 1431 A.H
    http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/nov2010-daily/10-11-2010/u52264.htm

  4. Aamir Mughal says:

    Do this Jang Group even check what they are publishing or relaying???? Read the underline text below. Jang doesn’t know as to what The News publish, The News doesn’t know what Jang is publishing and both don’t know what GEO is relaying. Now closely read the “news” which is filed by these Irresponsible Journalists????

    Dr. Qadeer responsible for N-proliferation: Musharraf Wednesday, November 10, 2010 Zilhajj 03, 1431 A.H. http://www.thenews.com.pk/latest-news/4606.htm Those three persons, indicated in her letter, were Pervez Ilahi, Ijaz Jakhrani and General (retd.) Hameed Gul, he said. “Baitullah Mehsood was the master mind of her assassination,” he claimed adding, “But I cannot confirm who might be behind the plot to kill Benazir.”

  5. Suleman Arshad says:

    Pakistan Media wants to take position of king maker. Media makes money by spreading anarchy, disinformation and false stories but our media crossed all the norms, it made parallel government with the help of Taliban, judiciary and establishment. By hook or crook media wants to take role of leading seat in this country. Black mailing, yellow journalism and Lafafa Sahafat have become the hallmark of our media. It is our media that that openly makes fun of elected representatives, openly slapping 170 million people. How hilarious a handful of media person defying mandate given by 170 million people? Media is just trying to enslave this nation. However masses have realized what media wants. Issues are not big but our media is not only making them bigger but also worse. We can not find any single example of such a big mouth media in the world. Freedom of speech does not mean that media start mocking whims of public.

  6. Mohammad Ali says:

    Suleman Arshad stole away words from my heart, so true, so darn true he is.

  7. Sadiq Salman says:

    We are very unfortunate people. We do not have main stream media. We
    do not have impartial judiciary. Our democracy is constantly
    jeopardized by groups having personal interests. Our military is not
    committed to our constitution. Our priests are devoid of religion. We
    have very small leaders with highly inflated big egos. This country is
    labeled as a democratic country but how unlucky, the democratic
    leaders of this country themselves trying to destabilize it. They are
    democratic but malign image of leaders elected democratically. They
    believe in mandate of people but themselves defy it. They talk to
    deter coupe de etate but themselves encourage military to intervene.
    How unlucky this country is?

  8. Aamir Mughal says:

    Money Talks TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2010
    http://cafepyala.blogspot.com/2010/11/money-talks.html

    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.

  9. Ali says:

    CJ murder plot: Top cops tortured into changing statements

    ISLAMABAD: In what can best be seen as a return to strong-arm tactics of the Punjab government, two senior officials of the Punjab Police were forcibly picked up in midnight raids on their homes after it transpired that both of them had distanced themselves from an alleged intelligence report that warned of an attack on the Lahore High Court Chief Justice, Khwaja Muhammad Sharif.

    Additional IG Special Branch, Colonel (retd) Ehsanur Rehman and his deputy, Shahid Mahmood, were picked up from their residences and detained in an unspecified location where they were allegedly manhandled, say sources.

    Highly-placed officials say that it was this treatment that forced the two to retract their earlier statements to the FIA in which they had stated that they had no knowledge of any report into the plot to kill the Lahore High Court chief justice. Instead, they went ahead and said they had authored the report.

    Sources said that during the two-day detention in a safe house of the Punjab police, both the Special Branch officers were put under pressure to make them fall in line. One source even claimed that Colonel Ehsan and Shahid Mahmood were manhandled during their custody to make them own the information report before the FIA inquiry commission.

    After initial resistance, both of them gave new statements in which they confirmed they had dispatched such a report to CM Punjab Mian Shabaz Sharif and to PML-N chief, Mian Nawaz Sharif. Sources have now confirmed that Colonel Ehsan, a former operative of the ISI, was posted at the Attock Fort during the detention of the Sharif brothers where he allowed them a number of concessions and favours. After the PML-N came to power, Ehsan cashed in on these favours and was appointed to the lucrative position of AIG Punjab Special Branch.

    Director FIA Zafar Ahmed Qureshi, a respected officer, who was appointed to inquire into the alleged plot to kill the CJ of the Lahore High Court, in his 499-page report submitted to the Chief Justice of Pakistan on November 2, concluded that there was no evidence available to establish the authenticity of the information report issued by the Punjab government into the alleged murder plot.

    Zafar Qureshi had reached this conclusion after interviewing and investigating 41 officials concerned. None of them owned the report, which was deliberately leaked to the media to create a sensation and embarrass the federal government.

    Giving details as to how even two top guns of the Special Branch Punjab were subjected to serious physical pressure to make them own the report, sources claimed that even the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary was informed about the “abduction” of these two senior officers — Col Ehsan and Shahid Mahmood–in his chamber on September 19.

    The CJ had called a high level meeting of government officials to discuss the report. FIA director Zafar Ahmed Qureshi who had accompanied Secretary Interior in this meeting, had brought to the notice of the CJ that two of the key witnesses, who had already recorded their statement before him and had denied sending any report to government, were forcibly picked up from their houses after police raids.

    The sources said that the CJ had got angry with IG Punjab Tariq Saleem Dogar as to why had his officers not arrested Babar Sindhu, who in the news item was tipped as the ringleader of the murder plot.

    Colonel Ehsan had personally approached FIA Director Zafar Ahmad Qureshi to record his statement and told him that he was facing threats, as some top guns of the Punjab government were trying to frame him, sources said. Ehsan was so frightened that he went to the official residence of Zafar Qureshi at 2 am to record his statement and disowned sending any such report to government.

    As he was recording his statement, his wife made a telephone call on his mobile and in a distraught state, she told her husband that the Punjab police had raided their house and they were asking about his whereabouts. Her wife told him that policemen had even misbehaved with her and wanted to get him “at all costs.”

    Col Ehsan rushed to his house from where he was taken into custody by the Punjab police. He remained in custody till he agreed give a fresh statement owning the report.

    DIG Mushtaq Sukhera and a CIA SP were said to have put Colonel Ehsan and Shahid Mahmood under pressure during these two days of custody and all sorts of torture methods were used, it is alleged.

    Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2010.
    Rauf Klasra http://tribune.com.pk/story/83318/cj-murder-plot-top-cops-tortured-into-changing-statements/

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