The News (Jang Group) Assault on Government

Apr 3rd, 2011 | By | Category: Jang, The News

The News (Jang Group)The News (Jang Group) has taken a particularly adversarial tone against the government lately, with Jang’s celebrity journalists coming out with bald faced political attacks on the president and parliament based on nothing more than rumour, speculation, and conspiracy theories. We have already covered Ansar Abbasi’s baseless attack on parliament over devolution of HEC. But actually Saturday’s The News included several articles that crossed the line of responsible journalism.

Shaheen Sehbai’s front page story included no facts or investigative reporting, and was nothing but a baseless attack on the government in what appears to be another thinly veiled attempt to incite a war between the executive and judiciary.

This did not go unnoticed by the PPP who issued a rejoinder on Sunday.

More dangerous is Mr. Sehbai’s totally baseless and unfounded assertions that the Government is pitched against the honorable courts. To say that confronting the honorable judiciary is a “declared policy” of the Government is totally false in fact, and highly malicious in character, depicting mala fide intentions of the writer. It is most regretful that the Group Editor of your esteemed newspaper is deliberately pitching two pillars of the State by painting imaginary scenarios of animosity and conspiracy, when there are none in reality.

In fact, Shaheen Sehbai does not even bother pretending to have ‘informed sources’, offering only his own insults and accusations. This is considered reporting by Jang Group?

While Ansar Abbasi and Shaheen Sehbai may be expected to make baseless attacks on the government, they are not the long voices. Also joining the chorus is Tariq Butt, who wrote on Saturday that “President Asif Ali Zardari is seeking the shoulder of the highest judicial forum to cry on while he has asked his minions to do everything to attack the superior judiciary”. Like his colleagues, Ansar Abbasi and Shaheen Sehbai, Tariq provides no evidence of a presidential directive to attack the judiciary.

On Sunday, the assault continued with a front page article by Hamid Mir suggesting that the president’s praise for the judiciary is insincere and that he “masterminded this reference just to embarrass teh Supreme Court by playing the Sindh card because all the judges who gave the verdict against [ZAB] were from Punjab”. The only evidence Hamid Mir can provide for this mind-reading of the president is “an impression in many political circles”. No doubt these “political circles” include certain Group and Investigative ‘Editors’ at Jang Group.

It should be noted that for all the accusations from Shaheen Sehbai, Hamid Mir, etc of playing Sindh Card, neither the president nor his representatives have uttered any such thing. Rather these accusations come from ‘journalists’ claiming to be able to read the mind of Zardari. On the other hand, the opinion page of Sunday’s The News includes a cartoon of a ‘Sindh Card’. In addition to the articles mentioned above, one cannot help but wonder who it is that is actually attempting to exploit provincial prejudice and whip up the emotions of their base.

Speaking about media freedom in this week’s Friday Times, Pakistan Representative Human Rights Watch, Ali Dayan Hasan, was highly critical of the way media attacks the civilian government just because it can.

Pakistan’s media needs to use its independence responsibly. Unfortunately this is not happening. It targets the government because it does not fear the former. It does not hold the military to account because it is frightened of their power. HRW is of the view that the greatest threat to media freedom emanates today not from the elected government which has shown respect and tolerance as it should for the media. Rather, it stems from the intelligence agencies, non-state actors such as the Taliban and, finally, from the judiciary which has exploited over-broad contempt laws to stifle criticism of the institution.

Media’s role includes responsibly keeping the people informed about the actions of government and politicians. But The News appears to have passed beyond the line of responsible reporting and crossed into bald faced attacks on the president through rumour, speculation, and conspiracy theories based on nothing but the imaginations of its staff. Worse, there appears to be the possibility of a renewed campaign to instill distrust and tension between the executive and the judiciary. This is not journalism, it is politics. We encourage Jang Group to review the editorial policies of it’s prize English language newspaper and work to put in place policies that ensure reporting is based on facts, not political opinions, and that reporting is objective and not biased. At present, star reporters of The News are offering neither.

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  1. Do note the language of Kamran Khan

    Chief Justice Pakistan’s son Dr Arsalan with Kamran Khan on GEO TV (2007)


  3. Mr Shaheen Sehbai, the Group Editor, The News International (Jang Group of Newspapers) had written in the year 2000 that, “Every one in the present morally, intellectually and financially depleted Pakistan –the print media and its well-entrenched “gurus” among the foremost — is shouting from the roof top for accountability of every one else.Yet no one has seriously demanded, nor does any one appear to be contemplating, any accountability of the media itself. The peers, naturally those who come out unscathed and “clean”, should sit down to formulate lists of those who have been publicly demonstrating a lack of intellectual, moral and professional integrity. Big names like Minhaj Barna, Mushahid Hussain, Maleeha Lodhi, Wajid Shamsul Hassan, Nazir Naji, Ataul Haq Qasmi, Ayaz Amir, Hussain Haqqani, Irshad Ahmed Haqqani, Najam Sethi, Nasim Zehra, Jamiluddin Aali and many others who sought or accepted political, diplomatic or government jobs, or joined political parties as activists, should be asked to explain why they did not quit journalism to do so and why they continued to use the profession to get, keep or regain lucrative jobs or positions of power. How do they retain, or claim to retain, their objectivity and credibility, once they have demonstrated their political ambitions. In the least they should have apologised to the profession”.REFERENCE: Who will Bell the Bad, Fat Cats? by Shaheen Sehbai January 5, 2000 , now Whats this?

    Dr Maleeha Lodhi joins Jang Group, Geo Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Shaheen Sehbai, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi & Fugitive Brother Amir Lodhi.

  4. Special SAT Report (edited by Shaheen Sehbai)

    Shaheen Sehbai, Kamran Khan & Dr. Maleeha Lodhi’s Scandal.

    WASHINGTON: It is rare that any ISI operative, even a retired one, speaks out to the media. But Colonel Shuja Khanzada did so, five years after he was booted out by the political government and the army top brass did not come to his rescue.

  5. Only in The Jang Group:)

    Shaheen Sehabi [GP Editor The News] EXPOSES Dr. Maleeha Lodhi [The News]

  6. Ethnic Discrimination in Pakistani Judicial System.

  7. “President Asif Ali Zardari is seeking the shoulder of the highest judicial forum to cry on while he has asked his minions to do everything to attack the superior judiciary”.

    Mushahid Hussain Saeeduz Zaman attack on Supreme Court






  13. Jang Group, The News International “illegally” tape the phones of citizens

    2/2 Kamran Khan – Justice Sajjad Ali Shah – Apr 9, 2009 – Judiciary Corruption

  14. Jang Group, The News International “illegally” tape the phones of citizens

    1/2 Kamran Khan – Justice Sajjad Ali Shah – Apr 9, 2009 – Judiciary Corruption

  15. Ansar Abbasi & Jang Group Illegally Tape the Phones of Citizens & Judges – P – 1 (9 Apr 2009)

  16. Ansar Abbasi & Jang Group Illegally Tape the Phones of Citizens & Judges – P – 2 (9 Apr 2009)

  17. CJ (R) Sajjad Ali Shah Exposes Pakistani Judiciary Corruption – P – 1 (2009)

  18. CJ (R) Sajjad Ali Shah Exposes Pakistani Judiciary Corruption – P – 2 (2009)

  19. CJ (R) Sajjad Ali Shah Exposes Pakistani Judiciary Corruption – P – 3 (2009)

  20. CJ (R) Sajjad Ali Shah Exposes Pakistani Judiciary Corruption – P – 4 (2009)

  21. CJ (R) Sajjad Ali Shah Exposes Pakistani Judiciary Corruption – P – 5 (2009)

  22. Credible reports indicated that the authorities routinely use wiretaps and intercepted and opened mail. The Supreme Court directed the Government to seek its permission before carrying out wiretapping or eavesdropping operations; however, the judiciary’s directive has been ignored widely. No action was taken during the year in the 1996 case of 12 government agencies accused of tapping and monitoring citizens’ phone calls and no additional action was expected. REFERENCE: PAKISTAN Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor 2002 – In 1997 the Supreme Court directed the federal Government to seek the Court’s permission before carrying out any future wiretapping or eavesdropping operations. Nonetheless, that same year, a lawyer for a former director of the Intelligence Bureau, charged with illegal wiretapping during Benazir Bhutto’s second term in office, presented the Supreme Court with a list of 12 government agencies that still tapped and monitored telephone calls of citizens. The case is pending in the Supreme Court. A press story in October 1998 quoted anonymous cabinet ministers who complained of wiretapping of their telephones by the Intelligence Bureau. Pakistan’s Constitution of 1973 says (Jang Group/GEO TV/The News International flagrantly violate the following article)


    14. Inviolability of dignity of man, etc.

    (1) The dignity of man and, subject to law, the privacy of home, shall be inviolable.

    Jang Group & Ansar Abbasi “ILLEGALLY” Taped the Telephones of Judges & Citizens.


  23. […] a way, Shaheen Sehbai and Mansoor Ijaz have much in common. Both are prone to speculation, and both are known not to let inconvenient facts get in the way of a political […]

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