The News mischaracterizes Raymond Davis protest leaders

Mar 2nd, 2011 | By | Category: Jang, The News

In an article yesterday titled, ‘Hang Raymond Davis, demand protesters’, The News listed a group of protest leaders including titles for organizations that they represent. However, these titles did not tell the whole story and by leaving out important details, readers could be misled.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included former Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Gen Hameed Gul, Chairperson DHR Amina Masood Janjua, former diplomat Roedad Khan and former MNA from JI Mian Aslam. To show solidarity with the protestors, eminent human right activist Tahira Abdullah and world record holder in ‘O’ Levels Exams Ibrahim Shahid were also present on the occasion.

In this paragraph, Amina Masood Janjua is referred to as Chairperson Defence for Human Rights (DHR), but it is not explained that she is also a member of Jamaat-i-Islami. In an article of 5 December 2010 titled, ‘WikiLeaks exposed true faces of Pak leadership: JI’, The News refers to Amina this way.

JI leaders Fareed Paracha, Liaquat Baloch, Sirajul Haq, DrFouzia Siddiqui, Amina Masood Janjua and others also addressed the JI workers.

Below is a video that shows Amina Masood singing the praises of Jamaat-i-Islami and referring to Americans as ‘terrorists’.

Similarly, Roedad Khan is referenced as ‘former diplomat’ by The News, but it is not revealed that he served in the government under dictator Zia ul-Haq and Ghulam Ishaq. In an article for Dawn of 11 August 2002 titled, ‘We never learn from history-3’, Ardeshir Cowasjee raises serious questions about Roedad Khan’s involvement in election-fixing.

Now, my friend Roedad Khan, perpetual bureaucrat steeped in the art of bureaucracy, yet again ready to serve his country, has reacted in a letter printed in this newspaper on July 26. Apparently, his innocence has been injured. He denies having had any connection with those in President Ghulam Ishaq’s secretariat who were paid to ‘fix’ the 1991 elections. He has, however, said that though he does not wish “to comment on the substance of the matter,” he “will do so at the appropriate time,” which, hopefully, will be soon. His secretariat colleague, General Rafaqat, is listed as having accepted ISI funds to do the job. So it should seem unlikely that the other secretariat members such as Roedad Khan, Ijlal Zaidi and Chaudhry Shaukat would not be in the know. (Oddly enough, when last month President General Pervez Musharraf met a band of ‘intellectuals’ with whom to discuss the coming elections, the strategy to be adopted, and the constitutional amendments, these four retired members of Ghulam Ishaq’s special assignment cell were amongst those summoned.)

The beginning of the article states that the rally was led by “speakers from Jamaat-e-Islami, Tehrik-e-Insaaf, Defence of Human Rights (DHR) and Pakistan Professional Forum”. This may lead readers to incorrectly believe that the rally was supported by a large segment of society. Actually it was yet another rally of supporters of the nation’s religious parties which is a small but very raucous segment of the population. Such details are important to provide a complete context for understanding the news item, and yet it is continually left out of reports leaving the reader with a wrong impression of the facts.

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