Express Tribune on 23 November featured a story, ‘US-based group working to establish caliphate‘ that included a photo of Interior Minister Rehman Malik with the caption, “Pakistani activist of ‘Jamaat-e-Islami Sa’ee’ in FIA custody”.
There is no evidence that Minister Rehman Malik is an activist of Jamaat-e-Islami Sa’ee. Actually, this seems to be an obvious mistake as the article contains a statement from Senator Malik. However, no body has corrected or clarified to ensure that readers do not mistake Rehman Malik for a Jamaat-e-Islami Sa’ee activist.
While this might seem like a slight and even humorous error, it is important that such items are quickly corrected so as to ensure that readers are not accidentally misled.
Ahmed Quraishi’s latest column is a laughable conspiracy theory that is a natural follow up to his foolish (and quickly disproven) claim that an American city government had posted anti-Pakistan signs. It seems he is willing to believe anything, no matter how ridiculous. This latest story claims that Husain Haqqani and Rehman Malik were part of a conspiracy to get the ailing Gary Faulkner into the country to hunt Osama bin Laden because they mistakenly thought he was CIA.
According to Ahmed Quraishi, Haqqani and Malik let this old man with poor health and a criminal record into the country because they mistakenly thought he was a top-secret CIA agent. Here is an interview with this man that supposedly Husain Haqqani and Rehman Malik mistakenly believed was a spy:
The man is clearly mentally disturbed. It is sad really. But how are we supposed to believe that anyone mistook him for a CIA agent?
Ahmed further claims that “only a few months ago Ambassador Haqqani faced accusations he issued visas to tens and possibly hundreds of US citizens without verifying who these visa applicants represented.”
Where is the evidence for this? This is a very serious claim for Ahmed Quraishi to make. If he has some evidence that this is a fact, he should present this to the government. If he has no evidence, is this anything but slander?
Despite what Ahmed Quraishi might want to believe, an Ambassador does not usually issue travel visas personally. Actually, there is an entire Embassy staff to review visa applications and grant a stamp of approval.
Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States said yesterday that three Pakistani men arrested in New England last week as part of the investigation into the attempted Times Square bombing do not appear to have any involvement in terrorism.
Husain Haqqani, who has been briefed by Pakistani officials, said that law enforcement cast a wide net during the investigation and that the three men were only taken into custody because alleged immigration violations were discovered while they were being questioned.
“For all we know, there will be no connection at the end of it,” Haqqani said during a telephone interview. “I’m a little critical of law enforcement who ran to the press first, because you can actually destroy people’s lives. So far, there is nothing that implies anything of a terrorist nature.”
When Ahmed sums up his argument, it is laughable.
Moral of the story is that Pakistanis can rot in US jails but a US citizen who is in clear violation of Pakistani laws will always be promptly released by a pro-US government in Islamabad.
A Pakistan court sentenced five young Americans from the Washington, D.C., area to 10 years in jail for plotting terrorist acts in the country after they connected with an al Qaeda-linked jihadi via the Internet.
A State Department spokesman said embassy representatives have followed the case closely and ensured the defendants’ rights were protected.
“We have met periodically with each individual and have not seen any evidence of mistreatment,” said the spokesman, P.J. Crowley. “We will continue to…support them during the appeals process.”
It turns out that Ahmed Quraishi is once again incorrect. Americans can rot in Pakistani jails just the same. He won’t admit this, though, because he is not a real journalist but a propagandist only.
Let’s be realistic, please. If Ahmed Quraishi really believes that a “50-year-old ex-con and construction worker with ailing kidneys” could be mistaken for a CIA agent, he needs to have his head examined. More than likely, though, Ahmed Quraishi thought this would be a clever way to plant a new conspiracy theory. Problem is, his theories have gotten so silly that they don’t even make sense to people who want to believe them.
Shireen Mazari has written the master piece of conspiracy literature about the Faisal Shahzad case. I am grateful for her putting it all in order so that it can be so easily refuted. Writing for The Nation on Monday, Mazari manages to get everything wrong, right from the beginning. Let’s grade her answers in order and show her mistakes so that maybe she will learn for the future.
1. Hillary Clinton threatened Pakistan
Hillary Clinton has once again come into her own true self and issued a direct threat to Pakistan of “severe consequences” if the ‘terror attack’ of Time Square New York City had been successful and found to have definitively originated in Pakistan.
“I have to stand up for the efforts the Pakistani government is taking. They have done a very significant move toward going after the terrorists within their own country.”
2. US government and media are ignoring facts
Why are the US government and media paying no heed to Shahzad’s alleged connection to the Yemeni cleric and to the Taliban’s clear denial of any link to Shahzad?
A simple Google News search shows hundreds of articles about Faisal Shahzad and Anwar al-Awlaki and also hundreds more about Taliban denying a link to Faisal Shahzad. Does Shireen Mazari not have any Internet access? Officials from the US government first said they did not believe there was any link. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano called him a ‘lone wolf.’
3. Ambassador to Washington was silent
Why did our Ambassador to Washington maintain a strange silence in the immediate aftermath instead of seeking access to Faisal Shahzad, given that despite being a US citizen his Pakistani links were being played up?
Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani was on CNN News to discuss the incident. Also he was in all of the newspapers with some statements. Does Shireen Mazari not read the news herself?
4. Foreign Minister Qureshi must have known Faisal Shahzad to make a statement about the cause
More important, how did he know the cause unless he had met Shahzad, knew him earlier or had been told by him that this was the reason behind his alleged action?
Foreign Minister Qureshi was was speaking to CBS News soon after Faisal Shahzad was captured. His statement about the atttempt being a response to drone attacks was obviously his preliminary evaluation of the situation. Also, why is it so unbelievable that the attack would be a response to drones? Aren’t drone attacks what Shireen Mazari and The Nation have been upset about for years? A government official does not have to know a miscreant in order to have an opinion.
4. Interior Minister Malik assumed Faisal Shahzad was guilty
Interior Minister also made a similar statement as if Shahzad had been found guilty already.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik was only repeating the facts as he heard them – as was everyone. Also, Faisal Shahzad admitted his guilt. Why is is that Shireen Mazari believes confessed terrorists to be innocent, but presumes government officials to be guilty?
5. Faisal Shahzad’s father was arrested, showing that this government is as bad as Musharraf.
Why should the father of Shahzad have been arrested? Apparently it was given out that his arrest was to facilitate the FBI team but is it the job of the government to aid and abet the US or to protect its own citizens? It would appear the answer is the former for this government, in which case there is little difference in how this democratic government is treating its citizens and how Musharraf treated Pakistanis.
The interrogators questioned Bahar Ul Haq in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar. The retired senior Pakistani air force officer is the father of Shahzad.
Ul Haq — who lives in the Peshawar suburb of Hayatabad — was neither detained nor arrested, the source said.
Second, how can Shireen Mazari compare treatment of citizens under the present government to Musharraf? That is so ridiculous that it does not deserve a response.
6. Civil and military leadership are allowing US to threaten Pakistan
What is truly disturbing though is the civil and military leadership’s silence on questioning US intent. Why are we allowing the US to threaten us while we continue to entertain their civil, military and intelligence teams/delegations? Why are we not insisting on out investigation team being in Washington if the US can send an FBI team to Pakistan?
This is not only silly, it is offensive. Shireen Mazari may make her money by spreading rumour and conspiracy theories, but civil and military leaders have real jobs and real responsibilities. Also, why would we send a an investigation to Washington? The attack was in New York and Faisal said he was trained in Pakistan. Only Shireen Mazari would want to send investigators to a city where nothing happened.
7. Military is cowardly for not starting war with America
In the aftermath of the Clinton threat, at the very least shouldn’t the Pakistan government suspend cooperation with the US, at least temporarily? Should our ambassador not convey our displeasure at this overt threat? Stoppage of NATO supplies and the downing of a drone will send a clearer message than any apologetic mumblings from the leadership. Finally, is our military prepared to compromise our defence and security, target more Pakistani civilians, simply to do the US bidding and commence a premature and hasty North Waziristan operation?
This is not just silly. It is insulting and dangerous. Our soldiers are every day fighting and dying to protect the freedom of Shireen Mazari to go around head uncovered and making all sorts of false conspiracies (see above). Now she has the audacity to call them cowards? Already we have shown that there was no ‘overt threat’ made against Pakistan. It is not my place here to comment on whether drone attacks are wise or not, but certainly it seems that shooting one down would make matters much worse. Why does Shireen Mazari trying to create more violence? Perhaps Shireen Mazari should let Gen. Kayani and the military leadership do their own jobs.
Shireen Mazari concludes here column with a ‘hodge-podge’ of conspiracy theories. Apparently we will see US troops invade Pakistan to destabilize the government and steal Paksitan’s nukes while the ‘US/IMF’World Bank’ works to destroy Pakistan. All of this she provides no evidence for, of course. She just says it as if wishing would make it come true. And how sad that someone like Shireen Mazari would only wish the worst for her country.
Debunking Shireen Mazari’s crazy conspiracy theories was not difficult. It only took a few minutes of Google searches and remembering articles that I’ve read in the newspapers or programmes I’ve seen on TV recently.
The following report comes from the blog Let Us Build Pakistan. LUBP is an independent blog by supporters of PPP. Pakistan Media Watch is not partisan (we have defended individuals from different political parties, and will continue to) but only seeks to correct inaccurate and misleading information in the media. We are re-posting this analysis by Ali Munsif because it is very fair and raises several important questions about news reporting.
Our self righteous media’s erstwhile investigative reporters, Ansar Abbasi and Tariq Butt are at it again. In their yet another report cum analysis titled “Confusion prevails over fact-finding committee report- Rehman Malik, Babar Awan to record statements now” with the sub-heading “What is the PPP Core Committee up to?” dated May 5, 2010(http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=28639) both gentlemen have yet again targeted Rehman Malik and Babar Awan.
It seems that the investigations of our media and focus has been towards the post-shooting / bombing scenario, the movement of vehicles, hosing down of the crime scene and most importantly the role of Rehman Malik and Babar Awan rather than who fired from the left, was there another shooter at the back and how did the bomber get to Liaqat Bagh.
I have a few questions for our erstwhile friends i.e. Ansar Abbasi and Tariq Butt:
Would BB have been alive even if the vehicle which “ran off with sinister motives” (as being portrayed by them) was there and she would have reached the hospital in time? Ms. Naheed Khan has said previously in public that when BB fell in her lap, she was already dead with blood gushing out with a fracture to her skull.
Ms. Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi were for sure the closest to BB. The Liaqat Bagh public meeting was entirely arranged by Naheed Khan and her team with all liaising of the security arrangements done by them. Have they been questioned that why people on the ground did not come up and take responsibility of the change of route and opening of gates that allowed people to come to BB’s vehicle? Remember Naheed Khan used to control a number of things and the Liaqat Bagh meeting was entirely her territory.
Why didn’t Naheed Khan, Safdar Abbasi and Makhdoom Amin Fahim make themselves available for fact finding? Off course Babar Awan and Rehman Malik are already the bad people of the PPP as they have been targeted from day one, however, others who could have provided some important clues about the last few minutes of BB didn’t present themselves to the committee.
Sherry Rehman is being quoted that she will present herself to the committee if called. I have seen videos and pictures of the Liaquat Bagh meeting. I could see Farzana Raja, Zamarrud Khan, Nayyar Bukhari, Mehreen Anver Raja etc on the stage near BB, but I somehow missed Sherry Rehman. Was she there even? Usually one could see her to be visible closest to BB or where the camera would be.
It seems that the focus is deliberately being shifted to the aftermath of BB’s death than what lead to her being assassinated. She was a target for radicals and was someone would have dealt with the extremists on her aggressive terms.
Post her assassination, there was a change of guard at the PPP. It is all but natural for a new leader to bring his team, which is what President Zardari has done. The team that was closest to BB i.e. Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi were shown the door. Off course, PPP is a big political party where internal differences have always been a major factor. Ansar Abbasi, Tariq Butt, Shahid Masood etc are playing a dirty role by instigating statements or rather putting words in mouths of people who are no more in favor and try to create divisions in the party.
It is my suggestion that focus of investigation should be on the threats to BB and what the impact of her assassination would be on Pakistan and the region. PPP has not been a very organized party in the past. When BB returned to Pakistan on 18th October, 2007, despite of a plan of not having the entire leadership on the truck due to the terrorist threat, the entire party leadership preferred to be on the truck. The terrorists could have easily wiped the entire party leadership in one go. The “lack of professionalism” as indicated by the UN Commission report is a very valid point which the PPP should focus on.
As far as our analysts are concerned, I request them to be more objective in their reporting; stop being analysts and for once validate your sources. However, if because of their ideological or political inclinations (e.g. links with the Hizbut-Tahrir or PML-N), these two authors are content with the exchange of their objectivity with biased opinion, then perhaps not much can be done about them or their analyses (often misrepresented as news reports).
One can often tell much about a media group not only by how they approach broadly reported topics. Take, for example, the recent case of Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif’s statements about TTP ‘sparing’ Punjab. The way that The Nation responded to Shahbaz Sharif’s controversial statements was completely bizarre, and speaks volumes about the newspaper’s editorial staff.
Many media organizations have reported on the various developments – from Shahbaz’s original statements, to his dressing down by Gen. Kiyani, to his complaints that he was misinterpreted – with some attempt at being neutral and trying to get the facts for their readers.
Most bizarrely, however, is The Nation‘s statement that, “As a leader of national standing, he should have known that the entire country thinks on the same line and should be safe from the curse.” What does the entire country agree with? That we are tired of terrorism and the Taliban attacks, surely. But this is not the controversial part of the Punjab Chief Minister’s statement.
Even the right-wing newspaper The News (Jang) has published an editorial saying that Shahbaz Sharif spoke “thoughtlessly and insensitively,” but going on to ask the country to take it as a lesson for building unity. In this way, The News was able to balance their political ideology with a constructive message.
But for The Nation to suggest that the entire country agrees with Shahbaz Sharif is very, very strange.
As a contrast, the next day, statements by Interior Minister Rehman Malik about the recovery of a Pakistani ID card from the possession of Abdolmalik Rigi were called by The Nation, “Verbal Recklessness.” Obviously The Nation will not write something positive or forgiving about Rehman Malik, and nor do they need to. But it is instructive to see how differently these two events are described by the same newspaper.
Shahbaz Sharif has complained that media are twisting his words. But the biggest twisting has to be from The Nation who, despite being sympathetic to the Punjab Chief Minister, twisted his words in a way that befuddles any amount of logic. The response by The Nation was bizarre, but in it’s strangeness it actually represents the newspaper’s ideology pretty well.
President Zardari is not the only government official in the sights of our Wishful Journalists. If one were to believe these pseudo-reporters, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has been preparing to leave his position for several months. Only problem is, he won’t leave no matter how hard these journalists wish for him to do so.
The military establishment has seized the moment to hand over a list of names to Zardari of people it believes should be immediately replaced. At the top of the list is the ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani, whom the army has always regarded as a foe for being too close to the American administration. Minister of the Interior Rahman Malik is second in line.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik is faced with an immediate threat of disqualification as member of the Parliament and the federal cabinet and is also liable to be put behind the bars if the Supreme Court judgment on NRO is implemented by the government.
According to the judgment, through the scrutiny of record it transpired that no cogent or convincing evidence had been brought on record by the prosecution against the applicant/ accused in support of the allegations levelled against him in the subject reference.
Once again, the pattern plays out the same way: a Wishful Journalist writes his wish; if it doesn’t come true, the Wishful Journalists wait a few months and wish again. It seems that too many of our prominent journalists spent their time writing out their wishes rather than simply reporting facts.
Journalists in Pakistan do not have to go to zones of conflict to find themselves at risk – they merely have to stay at home. The home of an investigative journalist who works for a local news organisation was attacked by ‘unknown miscreants’ in the early hours of Tuesday morning. His house was pelted with rocks, his car damaged and the family were trapped inside when the ‘miscreants’ put locks on their gates. He (and another of his colleagues) had been receiving threats for a fortnight, allegedly from representatives of a sensitive agency who were displeased with the stories they had filed exposing corruption and malfeasance.
This is disgraceful but not unexpected. Much of the upper echelon of the establishment has yet to adapt to the new realities of a media which is more robust, less willing to be pushed around and increasingly prone to questioning and investigating that which was previously hidden. Accountability is being drip-fed into the veins of the body politic through newspapers and magazines and the myriad TV channels — and the body-politic is by no means sure that the medicine coming its way is to its liking. We therefore offer our support to fellow journalists who all now face the reality of reporting conflict – from the Home Front; and hope that the offer of an ‘in-depth enquiry’ by Interior Minister Rehman Malik into this shameful attack is more than a knee-jerk reaction.
In the “Opinion” section of “The News International” one will find an absolutely baffling piece entitled “Rawalpindi carnage.”
Though I truly believe the author, Mir Jamilur Rahman, did a great job of emphasizing the vast amounts of work that needs to be done for national security, the baffling points he makes regarding fatwas beg to be addressed.
Mr. Rahman writes, “Interior Minister Rehman Malik has urged the ulema for the umpteenth time to issue a fatwa against suicide attacks, who have always obliged proclaiming that terrorists cannot be Muslims because they are murdering the same. Malik calls them kafirs but such statements have becoming hollow and reflect growing frustration on his part…It is illogical to think that a fatwa can restrain suicide bombers from killing those of the same faith as them. Many murders, kidnappings, rapes and highway robberies take place every day in Pakistan, all committed by Muslims against Muslims. If terrorism can be stopped with the power of the fatwa, then the interior minister should also try issuing fatwas against just about any criminal in the country, thus bringing about peace in the society. Malik will agree that this is wishful thinking because human nature never changes. Muslims have been killing Muslims since the early days of Islam and will probably continue to do so till the end of time.”
Therein lies the confusion! I would hope that Mr. Rahman understands that although Muslims have been killing their fellow Muslims since the early days of Islam, they do so under a false interpretation. They have been told by so-called religious teachers and scholars that the intricate concept of jihad is actually simple and all it demands is that we kill kafirs and Muslims that are not behaving properly. This is something that needs to be addressed by intelligent, well-educated Islamic scholars, who MUST issue fatwas against suicide bombings and attacks.
We must, as a society, separate terrorist acts from our previous Islam. For the misguided and emotionally torn, perhaps seeing another religious figure declare suicide attacks “UNislamic” will make all the difference. We must inject this debate of Islam into our society, and promote discussion.
Rehman Malik is correct in his urging of the ulema; we need to see the ulema step up and rise to this challenge that Islam is facing. The whole world is watching us, and we must allow true Islam to prevail in this crisis.