I am getting quite fed up with the planted, biased, illiterate, and highly unprofessional so-called reporting by the The News International. Its current owner Mir Shakil ur Rehman was not above cheating in the exams. More about this in a moment.
At one point of time, I was very negative about Asif Zardari, and still am, [read my article of Sep. 04, 2008] but whatever he is or his past, he is at least a known commodity. And to be honest, what the PPP government under President Zardari has achieved in political terms in just two years, Zia and Musharraf could not achieve in the twenty two years, these murderers and traitors ruled the country. Zia killed ZAB and Musharraf killed Akbar Bugti. Whatever ZAB and Bugti’s wrongs might have been, every one deserves a fair trial. Both Zia and Musharraf violated the constitution and the law of the land with impunity and contempt. So it is not out of line to accuse them of murder and treason.
Now about the Jang Group. On Saturday, April 10, 2010, the News published a report by Ahmad Noorani that claimed, “a highly controversial clause regarding the judges’ appointment in the 18 Amendment bill has changed the whole scenario of lawyers’ politics with the government trying to gain their loyalties. According to the Law Ministry sources, sensing the lawyers’ reaction on the passage of the controversial clause of judges’ appointment, the law ministry has decided to launch a full-fledged campaign against the country’s independent judiciary. Credible sources confided to The News that senior officials of the ministry had been deputed for this purpose and they had been assigned to give cases to certain lawyers so that they feel obliged and sympathise with the government at an appropriate time.”
What kind of nonsense, unprofessional, planted and inspired reporting is this or for that matter reporting at all. Law Ministry sources, credible sources, reliable sources.. and so on! Another one was “lawyers plan to challenge the 18th amendment” without naming a single lawyer. This is not reporting. Name the sources or have the guts to say that it is your opinion. But then put it on opinion pages and stop publishing one-sided and inspired material as front page news items.
First of all, to term the clause regarding the judges’ appointment in the 18 Amendment bill as highly controversial is ludicrous, dishonest, and factually incorrect. The Amendment won an overwhelming majority and this particular clause was passed without any opposition, whatsoever, by the National Assembly. Would any one who is a journalist worth his salt and has any professional caliber, term this as “highly controversial” unless he is either very biased or is working on some agenda.
Such journalists should join politics and then they would be free and entitled to say whatever they fancy but as long as they profess to be journalists, they should learn to observe some professional standards. Or is that too much to expect. Maybe it is.
Specially from the Jang Group. This Group has played a special role in Pakistan’s history in promoting dictatorships, jingoism, sectarianism, ethnic conflicts, and in general keeping its readership in a world that can be described as xenophobic. Its role in projecting Jamaat-e-Islami in the 1970s, turning the newspaper into a pamphlet and printing highly inflammatory slogans [as a border] that provoked the language riots in Sindh (1972), barely six months after the dismemberment of Pakistan, remains one of the darkest chapters in Pakistani journalism. Jamaat Islami Chief, Tufail Mohammed was an uncle of Zia ul Haq and an agent of the CIA as Mr. Bhutto documented in detail in his book, If I am Assassinated.
Jang Group’s TV channel has promoted people with dubious credentials like Aamir Liaqat Hussain who have fake degrees. GEO, on its website, prides itself as the CNN of Pakistan, totally oblivious of the reality that in most countries outside the United States, CNN is considered to be a biased mouth piece of American establishment and is not exactly known for objectivity or independent reporting. GEO TV colloborates with the Voice of America, which is an official news arm of the government of the United States. Yet, it claims to be indpendent and objective.
Observing this lowly and sleazy standard of journalism, I have been reflecting on an evening in the distant past. I was preparing for my final exams for the B.Com in 1976 in Karachi. One evening, when I was studying, my door bell rang. When I went out, it was my friend Zain Ghazali, son of Commander Ghazali, a former manager of Pakistan’s cricket team. He asked me to come and sit in the car parked outside my house. As I got into the volkswagen, I saw a nice looking boy on the wheels. It was Mir Shakil ur Rehman. He was very excited as he had managed to get the Accounting paper “OUT”. So I asked what then was the problem? “I don’t know how to solve it”, was the answer. I hope the readers get a picture.
I believe, Shakil has now moved to Dubai with his family and does not even live in Pakistan. I wonder if such people, who did not have the ability to even cheat in an exam and do not even live in Pakistan despite making so much money here, would have even bothered to provide some elementary training in journalism and its basic standards to the members of their staff. It seem not.