In January, Muhammad Saleh Zaafir wrote a bizarre conspiracy theory suggesting that President Zardari held a ‘mysterious meeting’ with President Obama, despite the fact that details of the meeting were available on the same day. Actually, the meeting was so not mysterious that photographers were even present.
A few months later, the same Jang Group reporter was exposed when he claimed to have received detailed information from ‘highly placed defence sources’ that turned out to be nothing but a cut-and-paste from Wikipedia.
Today, Muhammad Saleh Zaafir is back armed not with conspiracy theories or plagiarism, but drawing room gossip. Don’t take our word for it, this is how Mr Saleh Zaafir describes it himself!
This was gossip in the Kenyan reception held on Monday evening.
The gossip he ‘reports’ is that Husain Haqqani “tried to escape” but was prevented by the PM. The former Ambassador responded on Twitter noting that “First they said I will not come 2 Pakistan. Now they say I am in some hurry 2 leave. Wrong both times :)”.
It is important to note that Muhammad Saleh Zaafir has a long history of inventing and reporting false information. In fact, he was warned by the Supreme Court against this habit and made to publicly apologise in 2007.
Muhammad Saleh Zaafir, who is the reporter of the said news items, when confronted with the same, frankly and honestly conceded that he had made no effort to verify the veracity of the allegations levelled in the said news items before publishing the same nor did he have any proof in support of the contents thereof. He, however, added at the very outset that he had utmost regards and respect for not only the said hon’ble judges of this Court but for the entire judiciary; that he did not have even an iota of doubt about their integrity and character and that reporting the said news items was a grave mistake on his part.
Muhammad Saleh Zaafir needs to understand that ‘Special Reporting’ does not mean parroting drawing room gossips and cutting-and-pasting from websites, but actually taking the time to do some basic background research and fact-checking before filing an article.