A Familiar Triangle In Media’s Latest DramaJul 27th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Conspiracy Theories, The News
At the center of the drama is a story by ‘Investigative Editor’ Ansar Abbasi two years ago claiming that ‘top federal figures’ including a federal minister were involved in a plot to kill CJ Lahore High Court Khawaja Mohammad Sharif. Following an investigation, a judicial commission termed the story a remarkable tale and termed Abbasi’s sources for the story as incorrigible liars.
Six months later, the front page of the The News carries a story with a by line of ‘News Desk’ reporting that the high-level judicial commission has vindicated Ansar Abbasi in the case of this ‘remarkable tale’. According to today’s report in The News, Ansar Abbasi’s source was none other than trusted confidante to Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, Dr Tauqir Shah:
Responding to this question, the commission said, “Mr Abbasi appeared before the commission and stated that he had received information from his source which formed the basis of his story. This information was received by him via email as an attachment on 10th September 2010, a day before the date of publication of his story in The News. He said that he believed his source, as he had known him for over 10 years and had always found him to be a reliable source. Mr Abbasi did not disclose his source but Secretary Shah (Dr Tauqir Shah) admitted sending the said attachment to Mr Abbasi. The commission also received a computer compact disk through the post, which stated to be a recording of the conversation that took place between Mr Abbasi and Secretary Shah, we have no doubt that the voices on the said disk were those of Mr Abbasi and Secretary Shah and confirm what was narrated by the said two witnesses. Therefore, there remains no doubt in our minds that Secretary Shah was the person who provided the information to Mr Abbasi, which formed the basis of his news report (reproduced in the report).
But wait! There’s a twist!
In another piece published immediately next to this report on the front page of The News, Ansar Abbasi himself claims that the same judicial commission “neither found Dr Tauqir involved in the baseless Special Branch report about the murder conspiracy of the Chief Justice LHC nor recommended any criminal proceedings against him”.
Later in the same piece, however, Abbasi quotes the Judicial Commission as saying:
“…Secretary Shah acted in haste, displayed immaturity and appears to have been politicking. The competent authority may therefore not post him to a sensitive post and may also consider taking disciplinary action against him.”
Which is it? Was Ansar Abbasi vindicated because he was misled by Dr Tauqir Shah who was manipulating the media to promote a political agenda or was Dr Tauqir Shah not involved per Ansar Abbasi? It can’t be both.
Actually, Ansar Abbasi’s report raises several another question worth highlighting. According to Abbasi, not only did he pass along the fabricated report, he also “had taken one Talha Burki, a PML-N worker, with him to meet the then Lahore sector in-charge of the ISI Brig Zia to ascertain the authenticity of the Special Branch report”.
In a ‘he said, he said’ situation that is a classic element of the relationship triangle drama, both the party man and the agency man blamed each other for the fabricated report reaching the media.
Dr Tauqir Shah, according the commission report, had said: “Brigadier Zia had told him that it might not be bad idea to release the report to the press because by doing so the conspiracy becomes public and might be thwarted.”
When the commission confronted Brig Zia, he said: “No, I did not so advise him (Dr Tauqir Shah).” The commission said that Shah released the report to the press despite the fact that Brig Zia had told him that he did not believe in the veracity of the report.
Perhaps an interested investigative journalist might be to examine why party workers were meeting with ISI agents and passing fabricated intelligence reports to media men. It might also be worth asking why the media man was gullible enough to believe a report after the agency man rejected it.
While much of the media is trying honestly to clean up the profession and regain some credibility lost through past acts of planted stories and political activism, a drama is playing out on the front page of The News involving that all too familiar triangle: Party workers, agencies, and media men. We’ve seen this show before. Let’s hope for a different ending this time.