Archive for March, 2012

Sehbai’s latest conspiracy another version of an old script

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

The News (Jang Group)Shaheen Sehbai has returned with yet another conspiracy theory about secret, sinister plans being hatched behind the scenes by the PPP leadership. But this latest conspiracy is nothing new, and is really just a repeat of the same old script.

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In his article of Monday, Sehbai accuses the government of hatching a sinister plan to hold onto power. What is this sinister plan? Apparently, the government is planning to complete its term.

According to Sehbai, the PPP leadership is hatching a scheme “to extend the present conglomerate of power-sharing at the Centre and in the provinces for so long that all threats, including General Kayani and Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, retire and get out of their way.” But wait…General Kayani and Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry both are serving terms that end in 2013 – the same year as the present government’s term ends also. So is this “sinister plan” really just the government planning to complete its democratically elected term? According to Sehbai, the answer is yes.

An indication of the plan has already been given by Opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who has candidly admitted that he saw no prospects of a general elections in 2012, meaning that the present assemblies will complete their five-year term and the pressure for early polls was no longer being felt.

In other words, Shaheen Sehbai believe that the government planning to finish its democratically elected term amounts to an “extremely dangerous plan” and “a twisted scheme”.

Actually, Sehbai’s latest conspiracy is just the latest version of Shaheen Sehbai’s worn out anti-Zardari script. If you remember, when the present government was first elected, Shaheen Sehbai was part of a vocal group of Zardari haters whose personal animosity for the president was so strong that they declared the government a failure before it even began. With each passing event, the Zardari Haters Club predicted the imminent fall of the government, and each time they were proven wrong.

As the years passed, the script began to change. No longer was Zardari an incompetent and bumbling joker, now he was an evil genius whose diabolical schemes knew no limits.

Shaheen Sehbai then proceeded to beg other political parties to “stop Zardari & Co”, only to turn his attacks on those same parties when they did not fulfill his wishes. Eventually, Sehbai’s personal hatred for Zardari was reduced to petty insults and factual errors.

For its part, the government has responded to Sehbai’s latest piece by simply stating the obvious:

“There is no sinister plan underway and the government is fully committed to the norms of democracy. All constitutional institutions will complete their term specified by the constitution of Pakistan and speculating otherwise tantamount to mockery of constitutional institutions, the spokesman has added.

“The spokesman has further said, we must acknowledge that the will of the masses is the basis of the authority of government and everyone should respect the mandate given to the government by the people of Pakistan. The civilian and democratically elected leadership of the country is working to make Pakistan as a safe, secure, democratic, modern and progressive country where there is respect for the rights of the people and an assuring environment for the citizens at large to progress and develop their skills and passions.

“Moreover the democratically elected civilian government has respect for the judiciary and will continue to do so. On the other hand the government and the national security institutions are working together to strengthen the defence of Pakistan.

“Finally, democracy is a matter of great patience. It may seem amusing to few to dislodge a government prematurely or demand mid-term elections every now and then, but true democracy lies in governmental stability between scheduled national elections.”

In response, Sehbai has said that it would be better if the government focus on important issues rather than “what I write”. We agree. We also think it would be better if The News and Jang Group would focus on important issues rather than continuing to run repeats of worn out conspiracy theories and petty political attacks.

PPP wins big on Friday, Jang terms the elections ‘a major setback’ for the party

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Party positions in Senate

By all accounts, PPP emerged as the clear winner in Friday’s Senate elections. The Nation carried the headline, ‘PPP, allies win 2/3 majority in Senate’. Dawn carried the headline, ‘Ruling coalition gains a foothold in Senate’, and Pakistan Today announced that PPP, allies sweep Senate polls. Even The News from page carried the headline, PPP emerges as largest party in the Senate. But readers of The News might actually come away with the idea that PPP suffered a major setback in Friday’s elections. Why? Because that’s what they reported.

Despite the clear victory for PPP in the Senate elections, The News ran not one but three different stories about a single PPP candidate who did not win his seat. Carried on the front page, the headline reads, Loser Gill gives a major setback to PPP in Punjab. On page 5, The News carried a story by Asim Yasin that claims ‘Ignorance costs PPP Senate seat, and even a third article by Faizan Bangash that claims ‘Party made Gill scapegoat for Babar victory, fume Jiyalas’. This article even suggests that Gill’s loss was possibly due to ‘poor election strategy’, an allegation that might raise eyebrows considering the party swept the polls. Other parties might be wishing they had an election strategy so bad that they could win a majority.

What is curious about the The News claim of ‘fuming jiyalas’ over the ‘poor election strategy’ is not only that PPP was the biggest winner in the elections, but that even another article in The News describes a sea change in the selection of ticket holders by PPP leadership to give more preference to lesser known party workers.

“The party has always given seats to the workers in the Senate polls; however, this time, far more representation has been given to them,” said the winning candidate, Saeed Ghani, who is a well-known trade union activist in Karachi.

The delighted workers showered rose petals on Saeed Ghani and the other victorious candidate Mukhtiar alias Aajiz Dhamra. Some of the workers, overwhelmed by emotions, even carried the newly-elected senators on their shoulders.

This hardly sounds like ‘fuming jiyalas’ upset over ‘poor election strategy’ that caused the party ‘a major setback’.

It is no secret that there is no love lost between Jang Group and PPP. But that should not be reflected in reporting. If The News wants to publish pieces on the opinion page critical of one party or another, that is one thing. But publishing multiple articles about a single loss following an otherwise very successful election just seems petty. If opposition parties want to try to spin Friday’s results as a defeat for the PPP, they have their own media cells to do that. They don’t need Jang Group‘s help.