Posts Tagged ‘Daily Express’

جاوید چودھری کا شرمناک اردو کالم

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

جاوید چودھری اردو اور پاکستانی میڈیا کی ایک بلاشبہ مشہور ہستی ھیں۔ ایکسپرس نیوز کے پروگرام کل تک کے اینکر ھونے کے ساتھ ساتھ وہ زیرو پوائنٹ نامی کالم ایکسپریس کے ہی اردو اخبار میں بھی لکھتے ھیں۔ اس بات میں کوئی شک نھیں کہ چاھے لوگ انھیں زاتی طور پر پسند کریں یا نا کریں لیکن اردو اخبارات میں جاوید صاحب کی ریڈرشپ یعنی پڑھت کافی زیادہ ھے۔

یکم اپریل کو ان ہی جاوید چودھری صاحب کا ایک ایسا کالم چھپا جسے پڑھ کے کسی بھی عزتمند انسان کو سخت غصہ اور شرم آ جائے۔ وہ کالم یہاں ملاحظہ کیجئیے۔

حالانکہ بظاہر تو جاوید صاحب کالم میں تیزاب پھینکنے والے آدمی کی جھوٹے منہ مزمت کرتے پائے جاتے ھیں لیکن پورا کالم پڑھنے کے بعد معلوم ھوتا ھے کہ کہانی کچھ اور ہی ھے۔ کالم پڑھنے کے بعد اس بات کا اندازہ ھوتا ھے کہ جاوید صاحب پنجابی جملہ منگدی پئی ھے کے مترادف اپنے قارین کو سبق دینا چاھتے ھیں۔ ان کی بظاھر مزمت اس بات کو عیاں کرتی ھے کہ شاید عورتیں اپنے اوپر خود ھی یہ مصیبت لے کر آتی ھیں مردوں کی نافرمانی کر کے۔

جاوید صاحب کے کالم کا محور تیزاب پھکوانے والے آدمی ھے اور قارین کو پڑھتے ھوئے یوں محسوس ھوتا ھے جیسے وہ لاچار اور بے بس تھا جبکہ وہ عورت جس کے اوپر تیزاب پھینکا گیا صرف کالم میں اپنے زخموں کی تفصیل کے بنا پر سامنے آتی ھے۔

اس بات میں کوئی شک نھیں کہ معاشرے میں جو نفسیات اور خیالات پائے جاتے ھیں ان کا اظہار ھمارےحالات حاضرہ ٹاک شوز کے اینکرپرسنز میں ھوتا ھے۔ سوال یہ پیدا ھوتا ھے کہ کیا کالم نگار اور مشہور ٹی وی شخصیات اس طرح کے روئیے سے بغیر عدالتی مداخلت کےکسی بھی مرد کے نظریے سے اصاف حاصل کرنے کو فروغ دے سکتے ھیں۔ جاوید چودھری کا یہ کالم درندہ صفتگی کو پھلنے پھولنے کا پلیٹ فارم فراہم کرتا دکھائی دیتا ھے۔ ان کے اس طرح کے کالم مردوں کو عورتوں پر ظلم کرنے کی کھلی چھوٹ دینے کی اجازت دیتے دکھائی جاتے ھیں۔ اس طرح کے کالم نا صرف خطرناک ھیں بلکہ ایکسپریس اردو کی سب سٹینڈرڈ رپورٹنگ کو کھل کر سامنے لاتے ھیں۔

Fragmented Media, Fragmented Nation

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Not that long ago, two people from different walks of life would learn about the issues of the day from the same source. We relied on PTV and a handful of newspapers to bring us the news, and even this was vetted and censored by government officials. It was Gen Musharraf, ironically, who loosed the media from its chains and led to an incredible growth in the number of media outlets. The rich and the powerful who didn’t like what they were seeing in the media simply started their own newspapers and TV channels. Today, we live in a nation with over a hundred channels including dozens dedicated to news. But increased competition between media groups has not resulted in better reporting. In fact, it may be creating further divisions within society.

Mubasher Lucman and Najam Sethi may both talk about the same issue on their shows, but their viewers are likely to take away very different perceptions. Fans of Mubasher Lucman are likely to think that Najam Sethi is a liberal and possibly a paid agent of America. Fans of Najam Sethi, on the other hand, are more likely to think Mubasher Lucman is right-wing and possibly a paid agent of the establishment. They watch the person whose views align more closely with their own, and dismiss the views of the other.

This phenomenon is not confined to talk shows either. Are the same people reading The Friday Times reading The Nation also? How much overlap is there between readers of The News (Jang Group) and Dawn? While there is probably some overlap between readers of these large circulation newspapers, how many The News fans cannot stand Nadeem Paracha? And how many Dawn readers refuse to read anything by Ikram Sehgal?

But it’s not just the personalities that differentiate media groups. Each group’s editors also makes decisions about what stories to emphasise and which to play down. As an experiment, we looked at several major newspapers on Friday to see what was considered headline news. What we found was interesting.

In the English media, The Nation, Express Tribune, and Dawn each carried two front page stories about contempt charges against the PM. The News carried seven. On first two inside pages, neither Express Tribune nor Dawn published additional stories. The Nation added one, and The News filled almost the entire second page with two more bringing their total number of articles on the first two pages about the PM’s legal troubles to a grand total of nine – six more than the next closest paper!

We then looked at editorial pages. Express Tribune and Dawn both published editorials about the issue. The Nation did not. Here again, The News stood out by publishing an editorial right next to a major opinion piece by the editor, Mohammad Malick, also!

Things were even more interesting when we compared to Urdu media. Nawa-e-Waqt carried 9 front page articles about the issue, Daily Express and Jang both carried 11. The front pages of Urdu newspapers are notoriously crammed, but 11 articles on the same story?

Nawa-e-Waqt had nothing on the first two interior pages, while Daily Express added two more and Jang added an additional three.

This was fascinating to us. For readers of The News or Jang, charges against the PM didn’t seem like a story, it seemed like the only story.

It should also be noted that The Nation, the only English language newspaper that had no editorial about the issue, used most of its editorial space to write about Kashmir, NATO and the WTO.

What does all this mean? We think it indicates that the media may becoming increasingly fragmented. Rather than competing over quality reporting, different media groups are simply providing different groups ‘news’ that reinforces their point of view. Liberals have liberal voices to look to for analysis, conservatives have conservative voices, and with online publishing fueling the growth of alternative media, extremists and conspiracy mongers have their own media groups also.

As a result, society is becoming increasingly fragmented. People assume that those they don’t agree with are liars or hypocrites. They don’t understand how someone can possibly see things in a different way since everyone they read and listen to agrees with them. Certain positions become “obvious” or “undebatable”. What they don’t realise is that the other guy is thinking the exact same thing about him.

Fragmented media might be a good business model by allowing media groups to focus on appealing to one specific niche market, but the question should be asked whether it also creates problems for society. Readers of Jang are likely to think that PM’s contempt case is the most pressing issue of the nation, while readers of The Nation might think that national security takes center stage. How can we agree on how to solve the most important issues facing the nation if we can’t even agree on what the most important issues are?

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers for this. The most readily available solution, though, may be to change our habits as media consumers. We should challenge ourselves by not only consuming that media that reinforces our own beliefs, but should also consider the points of those we disagree with. In order to do this, we should not limit ourselves to one or two media groups that we are comfortable with, but should venture outside our comfort zone to see how other media groups are reporting the news. And if we see that one media group, for example, is treating a story completely differently than every other media group, maybe we should ask ourselves if they are reporting the news…or trying to influence it.

The line between ‘reporting’ and ‘mouthpiece’

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

What is the line between ‘reporting’ and ‘mouthpiece’? When is a reporter simply telling about an event, and when is he amplifying a political message? This is not an easy question – it raises important questions of neutrality and professional responsibility in journalism, as well as what is media’s role in society. But whether or not the question is difficult, it is one that needs to be considered.

Earlier this month, several newspapers reported on a conference of Aalmi Majlis Tahafuz Khatme Nabuwwat in a way that was criticised as being less like a news report and more like a press release. Each of the pieces in Daily Jang, Daily Khabrain, and Daily Express is basically the same report about what was said at the Khatme Nabuwwat conference, including the claim that “the real threat is not Haqqanis but Qadiani’s denial of Prophet’s finality”.

In each piece, the anti-Ahmadi claims are published without comment. While Daily Jang, Daily Khabrain, and Daily Express will certainly offer the defense that this is not their position, that they are simply reporting what was said, is it possible that readers of these newspapers could come away with the idea that Khatme Nabuwwat’s positions are validated by the reports?

But even if the report was neutral about the Khatme Nabuwwat gathering, why was only one side of such a controversial issue presented for readers? With such a strong statement against Ahmadiyyas by Khatme Nabuwwat, why did the reporter not seek out a comment from an Ahmadiyya leader for his response? Since the claim involves matters of national security, why did the reporter not request a clarification from ISPR about whether terrorists or Ahmadis are the real threat to Pakistan?

On Monday, The Nation published an article titled, ‘NWA action to pave way for US boots’. The unsigned article describes a speech by Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Ameer Syed Munawar Hassan at a press conference in Sahiwal. The reporter dutifully describes the JI chief’s claims: America is hell-bent on making India super power of the region, Pakistani rulers have taken dictation from America, Pakistani government is pro-America and anti-Pakistan, American aid is breeding corruption in Pakistan, etc.

While we have no reason to doubt that the JI chief said these things, as The Nation reported, we would like to ask our dear readers again whether reporters have a responsibility to their readers to fact check the subjects that they are reporting, or if they should simply publish what they are fed without question.

Actually, there is no easy answer. The Nation cannot be condemned for taking the side of JI in this case because they are only reporting what was said. But neither does it appear that the reporter asked the political leader for proof of his claims. For example, Munawar Hassan claims that “America is hell-bent on making India super power of the region” and “Pakistani rulers have taken dictation from America”. These are serious charges. Shouldn’t Munawar Hassan be asked to show his evidence for making such claims? Or are we supposed to merely take him at his word that this is true? Why didn’t the reporter ask for a response from government officials who were being accused of being ‘anti-Pakistan’?

The question comes down to whether these media groups are reporting, or just transcribing? Are they giving readers a complete understanding of issues and events, or are they, intentionally or unintentionally, acting as mouthpieces for political groups? Unfortunately, the answer is not so easy. But these difficult questions must be answered if we are to improve the quality of our media and, with it, the quality of discussion that we have on the issues of the day.

اردو پرنٹ میڈیا کی ایک بار پھر غیر ذمہدارانہ رپورٹنگ

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

آج کی تاریخ کے تینوں اثرورسوخ والے اخبارات (جنگ ،ایکسپریس ،نوائے وقت) کو دیکھنے کے بعد اس بات کا پتا چلتا ھے کے اردو پرنٹ میڈیا کے یھ علم بردار بھی سچائی سے کوسوں دور ھیں اور کھانیاں گھڑنے سے بالکل نھیں کتراتے۔

:سب سے پھلے نوائے وقت کی سرخی نیچے ملاحضہ فرمایں

اس بات پر غور کیجیے کہ نوائے وقت یے کہ رھا ھے کے شمسی بیس خالی کرنے کے مطالبے پر امریکہ ناراض ھو گیا ھے اور اسی وجہ کے تحت امریکہ نے پاکستان کی فوجی امداد روک دی۔

:اب آپکے سامنے پیش ھے روزنامہ ایکسپریس اخبار کی آج کی بڑی سرخی

روزنامہ ایکسپریس اپنی سرخی میں امداد روکے جانے کے ساتھ ساتھ اپنے قارین کو یہ بھی بتاتا ھے کہ وائٹ ھاؤس کہتا ھے کہ اسامہ کے خلاف آپریشن پر اسلام آباد کو بہت تکلیف ھوئی ۔ اس سرخی کو پڑھنے کے بعد ایک عام آدمی تو یھی سوچے گا کہ امریکہ اب ھم سے بدلا لے رھا ھے کیونکہ ھم نے امریک کے خلاف اسامہ آپریشن پر آواز اٹھایئ تھی۔

      :اور اب باری آتی ھے روزنامہ جنگ کی۔ نیچے دی گئی جنگ اخبار کی سرخی دیکھیے

جنگ اخبار اپنے قارین کو یہ بتاتا ھے کہ وائٹ ھاؤس نے یہ کہا ھے کہ پاکستانی اقدامات امداد کی معطلی کا سبب بنے اور رقم اس وقت تک نھیں دی جایئگی جب تک تعلقات بحال نھیں ھو جاتے۔

اب ان تمام مضحکہ خیز سرخیوں کو مد نظر رکھتے ھؤے نیو یارک ٹائمز کی اصل رپورٹ کو دیکھیے تو صحیح  بات صاف واضح ھو جاتی ھے۔ نیو یارک ٹائمز میں چھاپی جانے والی اس خبر کا ایک اھم حصہ جو کہ ھمارے اخبارات نے بخوبی نظر انداز کر دیا نیچے ملاحظہ فرمائے

بات دراصل کچھ یوں ھے کہ روکی جانی والی مدد وہ ھے جو کہ استعمال نھیں ھوتی۔ پاک فوج نے جن آپریشن کو سرانجام دینے سے انکار کیا تھا ان آپریشنز کیلئے جو خرچاجات پاکستان کو امریکہ سے ملنے تھے، اس مدد کا ایک بہت بڑا حصہ  تھے۔ اب ان خرچہجات، جو کہ موجود ھی نھیں، انکے روک دئیے جانے کو غلط پیرائے میں پیش کیا جا رھا ھے۔ کچھ اصلحہ اور پارٹ وغیرہ پاک فوج نے خود لینے سے بھی انکار کیا لیکن وہ بات سامنے نھیں لائی گئی اور اس کے علاوہ ٹرینگ کی صورت میں موجود مدد جس کی اب ضرورت نھیں اسے بھی روک دیا گیا ھے ۔

ایک اور اھم بات یہ ھے کی ان تمام اخبارت نے یہ بات نظر انداز کر دی کہ امریکہ نے سماجی اور سولین مدد کو نھیں روکا بلکہ صرف اس فوجی رقم کو روکا ھے جو کہ وہ خرچہ جات تھے جو اب موجود ھی نھیں ھیں۔ اردو پرنٹ میڈیا کے اس روئے کو اب غیر ذمہدارانہ رؤیا نھیں تو اور کیا کھیں گے۔

Media Adds Bodies, Confusion To Drone Death Count

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Since Geo took a report from AFP and added two bodies to the death count from a pair of drone strikes in North Waziristan on Monday, news agencies have been in a race to the top of the pile of bodies.

The News and Jang added an extra body, making the total 10 deaths.

Express Tribune added another two bodies, bringing the total death count to 12.

Daily Express and Nawa-i-Waqt each raised the body count to 15.

Each article appears to have the death count confirmed by ‘security officials’, but contains different numbers – even news outlets that are part of the same media group. Geo has different numbers than Jang and Express Tribune has different numbers than Daily Express. Which report is correct? We do not know. What we do know is that this is another example of poor reporting and editing which serves only to confuse the public on grave issues facing the nation.

Daily Express Headlines Add More Confusion

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Daily Express really outdoes itself this time. The following headlines all appeared on the front page on 10 May. Is it any wonder that the people are confused?

“Osama had died of illness long before – Iranian Intelligence Agency”

“Osama was wearing a shalwar and a vest. Head and chest was shot twice – Interior Minister”

“Osama was captured alive in a wounded state, got shot in the leg – Nisar”

“Osama blew himself up after seeing the commandos – Afghan Intelligence Agency”

What do McDonalds, Tata Group, and Osama have in common?

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Express Tribune LogoYesterday we wrote about the two-faced reporting on Osama bin Laden coming from Jang Group‘s newspapers. But Jang Group is not the only media group that has been promoting one perspective in its English language media while projecting a sympathetic or pro-jihadi message in its Urdu publications.

On 4 May, Express Tribune published opinion pieces about Osama bin Laden by Pervez Hoodbhoy and Fasi Zaka.

Here’s what Fasi Zaka says about media treatment of Osama’s death:

I just don’t understand how our TV anchors are glib enough to justify calling Osama bin Laden a shaheed. The man had no regard for life, especially Muslim life. He engineered attacks on the West, so they would retaliate and kill Muslims en masse in their vengeance upon selected countries. Every Muslim was a pawn to his mad dreams.

Sadly, Fasi Zaka may want to talk to his own employer.

Daily ExpressAppearing on the same day in the group’s Urdu language newspaper Daily Express there appeared a piece by Abdul Qadir Hasan titled, “Shaheed Osama Kay Baad” – “After Shaheed Osama” – in which the author terms Osama as “the greatest martyr of the present age”. (Full English translation below)

Abdul Qadir Hasan – After Shaheed Osama article from Daily Express

Back in the English language Express Tribune, for the rest of the world to read, Pervez Hoodbhoy hopes that bin Laden’s death will end any double games of telling the world that we are fighting terrorism while secretly supporting it.

Bin Laden’s death should be regarded as a transformational moment by Pakistan and its military. It is time to dispense with the Musharraf-era cat and mouse games. We must repudiate the current policy of verbally condemning jihadism — and actually fighting it in some places — but secretly supporting it in other places. Until the establishment firmly resolves that it shall not support armed and violent non-state actors of any persuasion — including the Lashkar-e-Taiba — Pakistan will remain in interminable conflict both with itself and with the world.

While in Urdu, for the awam to read, Abdul Qadir Hasan hopes there are “many amongst us willing to be Osama”.

Khuda karay humara emaan salamat rahay aur Osama jaisay sanihay ko fatah-e-azeem kehna wala koi hum mei say na ho, Osama ban nay walay bohat hon.

Daily Express and Express Tribune are both owned by Lakson Group which owns and operates several other companies in Pakistan including McDonalds and Tetley (a Tata Group company).

Lakson Group Companies

 

This list suggests that the owners of Daily Express are probably not Osama sympathising jihadis. Osama earned his money the old fashioned way – he got a check from daddy. Lakson Group seems to be following the modern model of investing in popular brands to make their money. Why else would they operate 22 McDonalds restaurants in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Hyderabad and Faisalabad? And McDonalds – an iconic American brand – is not the only international brand sold by Lakson Group. Actually they also have joint ventures with Titan watch and Tetley Tea (owned by Tata Group).

So here we have a Pakistani company that makes millions selling American and Indian brands…but also selling the al Qaeda brand? One explanation is that it all comes down to money. Daily Express presents a jihadi perspective in the Urdu newspaper because the parent company knows that the liberals like Pervez Hoodbhoy and Fasi Zaka are not going to sell newspapers to people who buy Daily Express. Their English language readers want to read these authors, but their customers who prefer Urdu take their tea a little more bitter.

Abdul Qadir Hasan may believe that Osama bin Laden is a shaheed and an inspiration for young Pakistanis to follow. But by paying him money to say this, and publishing these opinions for the masses to read, Lakson Group is also supporting the al Qaeda point of view. On the Lakson Group website, the company brags that Daily Express has a 24 per cent Market Share in Circulation. Therefore, this pro-al Qaeda viewpoint is being circulated to millions of people. From the regular subscriber to the chaiwalla who picks up the newspaper his customer left behind.

The question that must be asked is whether Lakson Group is aware that their Urdu language newspaper is being used to promote extremist ideology among the masses. If so, do they promote this point of view out of a cynical love of money? Or is it out of an ideological sympathy for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda also?

More likely, Lakson Group is unaware that their company Daily Express is praising Osama bin Laden and promoting pro-al Qaeda views. They should be informed immediately so that they can decide if they want to continue paying for this.

A free media allows Lakson Group to choose to pay for and publish extremist and pro-militant views. But a free media does not REQUIRE Lakson Group to do this. It’s time for companies funding pro-jihadi authors to take responsibility for their products.

Below is the article published in Lakson Group‘s newspaper, Daily Express

After Shaheed Osama
by Abdul Qadir Hasan

Abdul Qadir HasanThis Saudi national who, after sacrificing billions of rupees, his family and children and entrusting his life to Allah, stepped into the field of Jihad and reached his goal on the land of pure. Without doubt, he is the greatest martyr of the present age but the Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has called this great tragedy as a victory of someone else. Everybody received whatever he was destined for. Someone embraced martyrdom and the other flattered the killers and imperialists.

The newspapers of Pakistan are rife with the news of the tragic incident which took place on the Pakistani soil. The news is conflicting but the air will clear gradually. Americans have told that since no Muslim country was ready to accept the dead body of Osama, therefore, it was shrouded and deposited in the sea. One of our poets had said “it would have been better to have drowned after dying so that no bier was taken out and no tomb was built”. What Ghalib said did not happen to him but Osama was lucky to receive the kind of burial the poet had desired. It has been told that the imperialist killers placed the dead body of Osama on a plank and entrusted it to the sea waves. Someone had appropriately said “I am a river and will descend into the ocean”. A news item says that he has been buried in an island but one of the many news headlines circulating tells that the Americans wanted Osama not to find a tomb so that it does not become a world center of anti-imperialists and Islamic activists. This is why he has not been given an earthly burial. A glance over the world map would reveal that the Muslim world stretches from one end of the world to the other. In this land of millions of acres, a man could not find two yards of space who sacrificed everything for the sake of Islam and showed the world that those who would lovingly die for Islam are still alive. Never mind if Osama did not receive a grave his death and his memories will always remain shining. His death has been made disputed. For some he is “deceased”, for some “killed” and for some “died” but the time to come will bear a testimony to the fact as to who died and who was martyred. Ahmed bin Humbal fell from the stripes he received but did not compromise on a polemical issue and stood his ground. He said that his funeral procession will testify to the truthfulness of his standpoint. On the day of his funeral there was no one left to say prayers in the mosques of Baghdad. All the prayers were said in the funeral compound. This was a testimony to the truth.

Osama is a target of the anti-Muslim super power these days but he represents a weak and fading super power. He boldly stood against the anti-Islam western imperialism led by America. He became a symbol of Islamic resistance. This innocent man the love and glow of whose eyes will attract you was suffering from kidney disease for years. First he was cured in the Pakistani mountains but now for sometime he was comfortably staying near Abbotabad. He had declared sometime that he will never give himself up alive in the hands of his enemies and, in his ill health, he went down fighting because he had decided long ago to fight and die while fighting. He invested his unlimited wealth and high modern education in the way of God. How fortunate was he that the Providence accepted his sacrifice. Today he is not a prisoner but Shaheed Osama bin Laden. He will remain alive in the Muslim memory with this appellation.
It is a great success for America. Its thunder will further increase and the Muslims will live a life of fearfulness. They have neither the wealth of Osama nor the army of devotees. They do not have the faith which bursts into flames. I do not know who will take his place. He has become a legend. Look at the history there have been greater people than Osama and the Muslims could not find their replacement. Only their living example remained and Osama was a part of it. Who knows we remain without another Osama. May our faith remain strong and no one should arise from us to call this incident a “great victory” but there should emerge more people to become Osama.

Ayesha: Javed Chaudhry’s Blatant Distortion of Facts

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Excellent fact checking by Ayesha! Cross-posted from her blog Sharp Perceptions.

Javed ChaudhryThe reading of Javed Chaudhry’s op-ed ‘Beech Ka Rasta’ (The Middle Way), printed in the February 4th Urdu newspaper Daily Express, made me realize that the media in general and the Urdu press in particular is so much bent on molding the public opinion that it don’t hesitate to resort to any unethical means including the misrepresentation of facts to achieve its hideous aims.

The Lahore shooting cannot be justified but the way the media is playing out the entire episode is repulsive. In his op-ed Javed Chaudhry vehemently builds up the case against Raymond Davis by quoting certain past diplomatic criminal instances. He begins by writing about the 1984 incident of Libyan embassy in London. In that case, one of the Libyan embassy officials was involved in the killing of a British female police officer. The accuracy of those facts can’t be contradicted as it is known when the British demanded the handing over of the official, Libya refused and this ultimately led to the severing of the diplomatic relations between the two countries. No one from the Libyan embassy was ever prosecuted.

The Case of Georgia’s Diplomat Gueorgui Makharadze

Next, Javed Chaudhry writes about one of the widely quoted diplomatic crimes committed by the foreign diplomat in Washington DC.

Javed Chaudhry’s version of facts:

On January 4th 1997, Georgia’s Second-in-Command diplomat killed a 16-year-old girl during driving, while the other four people sustain injuries. Washington police arrested the diplomat, Georgian president requested the diplomatic immunity from the President Clinton but the president refused the request.

The facts that world knows:

This case involved the Republic of Georgia’s Second-in-Command diplomat, Gueorgui Makharadze, killing a sixteen-year-old girl and injuring four others in a car crash. In the aftermath of an accident, the US asked the Georgian government to waive the diplomatic immunity which the Georgia refused initially and Makharadze was ordered to return home. A week or so later, the Georgian President waived the immunity and allowed Makharadze to be prosecuted.

There had been unconfirmed reports of Senator Judd Gregg, threatening to revoke the aid payments to Georgia if it didn’t waive the immunity. That was a mere threat, suppose if there was any truth to this report of threat even then the US would have not been able to prosecute Makharadze unless and until his immunity had been waived by the Georgia. In other words, Georgia would have ignored the threat and had recalled Makharadze. Chaudhry is totally wrong to say in his op-ed that Georgian President claimed immunity for Makharadze but the President Clinton refused.

There is no truth to Chaudhry’s claim either that Makharadze was arrested. The investigators didn’t conduct the blood alcohol test after the crash on Makharadze since he was identified as a diplomat. Makharadze was imprisoned to 7-21 years only after he pleaded guilty to one account of involuntary manslaughter and four accounts of aggravated assault. However, after three years Makharadze was transferred from the US to Georgia under the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Treaty. Makharadze served two more years in prison in Georgia before he was released on parole.

The Case of Loren Wille

Javed Chaudhry’s version of facts:

Chaudhry continues distortion of facts and says that as retaliation in 1999 when an American ‘diplomat’, Loren Wille, got involved in a car crash killing a translator Georgia refused to accept his immunity and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

The facts that world knows:

First of all 54-year-old, Loren Wille was not a ‘diplomat’ as Chaudhry claims. He was instead a Catholic Relief Services worker. Yes, he was only a social worker. Second, he never ran over the translator as mentioned by Chaudhry. The translator, a woman called Manana Tsomashvili, was in fact traveling in Loren’s car and the accident occurred due to bad weather. The prosecutors failed to prove over-speeding besides, the passenger didn’t buckle up either despite Loren’s insistence. Chaudhry says, the US President claimed diplomatic immunity for Loren. What diplomatic immunity when Loren had nothing to do with diplomatic mission at all. Loren was released after five months.

Chaudhry so blindly copy and pasted material that he failed to figure out whether the slain translator was a man or a woman; whether Loren was a diplomat or his case got America’s attention only because he was a US citizen. Under the doctrine of State Responsibility it is common for states to get in touch with their citizens abroad when they get into legal trouble.

The claim that Georgia retaliated by imprisoning an American citizen is a misconception. There was a clarification regarding it in the New York Times which says:

‘The State Department says it has never maintained that the jailing of the American, Loren Wille, was a retaliation for that of a Georgian diplomat, Gueorgui Makharadze, who killed a teenager in Washington in 1997 in a drunken-driving accident.’

The Case of Munir Akram

Javed Chaudhry’s version of facts:

Lastly, Chaudhry discusses the case of Pakistan’s ambassador to UN, Munir Akram saying that he was arrested by the police. Pakistan invoked diplomatic immunity but the US refused to accept it.

The facts that world knows:

In 2003, Akram’s girl friend, Marijana Mihic called up 911 after a brawl with Akram. The police arrived but upon discovering that Akram was protected by diplomatic immunity, returned.

In the wake of misdemeanor charges against Akram, the US asked Pakistan to waive Akram’s immunity. Pakistan didn’t waive immunity instead Akram was recalled. There was no arrest made as Chaudhry falsely claims in his op-ed.

Instead of playing to the gallery, I hope the next time when Chaudhry makes such claims; he’ll bother to do a little bit of research rather than copy and pasting (or translating) erroneous reports from different news sources.

Javed Chaudhry's article

Click to Read