Posts Tagged ‘Tariq Butt’

Who is playing Sindh card?

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

The popular talking point has become, once again, that the government is playing ‘Sindh card’ in its relationship to the judiciary. But a careful examination of recent media articles suggests that perhaps there is another player holding the cards.

‘Sindh card’ refers of course to the idea that President Zardari and other PPP politicians attempt to energize a base of Sindhi supporters by invoking provincialism. Ethnic parties certainly exist, but PPP is a national party that enjoys support across ethnic and provincial lines. So while PPP might have a base in Sindh, that is not sufficient to classify it as an ethnic party. Nevertheless, a series of media reports suggest that some in the media might be attempting to do just that.

Last Saturday, Shaheen Sehbai wrote the column titled, ‘Use of Sindh Card – when, how and why!’ which The News published front and center of the first page.

Next day, The News published a cartoon image of a ‘Sindh Card’.

Jang Group cartoon of Sindh Card

The same day, Hamid Mir accuses President Zardari of playing the Sindh Card by praising the Supreme Court. But when protests were held in reaction to the Supreme Court’s unilateral dismissal of NAB chief Justice (retd) Deedar Hussain Shah, Jang Group reporter Tariq Butt termed the reaction “using Sindh Card”. So we learn from The News that praising the Supreme Court is invoking ‘Sindh Card’ and protesting Supreme Court is invoking ‘Sindh Card’ also.

But is Tariq Butt correct that protests are government playing the ‘Sindh Card’, or is the reporter himself producing the card? After all, Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jahangir has also expressed reservation over the Supreme Court’s dismissal of Justice Deedar Shah.

The SCBA president was not satisfied with the decision in as much as it provided for the chief justice of Pakistan to decide the matter if the leaders of the house and opposition were at dispute over the appointment. She said this means the complete authority to make appointment would go to the CJP discarding parliament. She said the government should go for a review petition in this case.

On Tuesday, Ansar Abbasi pulled the ‘Sindh Card’ from his sleeve by comparing Shaheen Sehbai’s‘Angel of Punjab’ Mian Nawaz Sharif to President Zardari:

How President Zardari’s PPP is using the Sindh Card to target the judiciary stands exposed if one sees the fashion in which Nawaz Sharif got his conviction set aside.

Nawaz Sharif’s conviction in the plane hijacking case was set aside by the Supreme Court in 2009, but neither he nor any member of his party gave racial colour to his case. Instead, he focused on the dictator, ignoring the judges altogether who had convicted him.

Ironically, the very next day, Vice Admiral (retired) Taj M Khattak in The News directly contradicts Ansar Abbasi’s comparison while himself playing the ‘Sindh Card’.

Back on Nov 28, 1997, during Nawaz Sharif’s second term as prime minister, charged political workers of his PML-N stormed the Supreme Court on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad. The judges inside had to scramble for safety to their chambers…the mob which attacked the Supreme Court consisted of supporters hailing from Punjab, determined to cause physical harm to then-chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah, who is from Sindh…

In a piece that is allegedly about the history of the government-judiciary relationship, the retired military officer mentions Sindh 11 times. He mentions Punjab only three times. The author complains of “second-tier politicians” from Sindh who go to the Supreme Court “prominently displaying their ethnic symbols”. Once again, readers are left to wonder who is actually playing the ‘Sindh Card’ here?

Vice Adm. (retd) Khattak concludes his column with what appears to be a non-sequitur – a story about Chief Justice Muhammad Rustam Kiyani who was bullied over some land in Sindh by a patwari who “had never done a day’s honest work”. According to Khattak, the Chief Justice was rescued by the intervention of Gen Ayub whose “gentlemanliness was to last to the end”.

Again, one might ask, what does this story have to do with the present government’s relations with the judiciary? Could it be an attempt to invoke ethnic tension as a means of disparaging the government? Why else would the author go to such lengths to invoke the ‘lazy Sindhi’ stereotype compared to the ‘gentlemanly’ Gen Ayub?

Unfortunately, this appears not to be an isolated incident by one retired military officer, but as is shown in the references above, a disturbing trend of blaming every action of the government on a ‘Sindh Card’. Disagreement with government actions and policies is a legitimate subject for opinion columns. But even then, the disagreement should be based on facts, not thinly-veiled attempts to invoke ethnic stereotypes and play to provincialism for political ends. Please, leave the cards at home and stick to pen and paper for reporting.

The News (Jang Group) Assault on Government

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

The News (Jang Group)The News (Jang Group) has taken a particularly adversarial tone against the government lately, with Jang’s celebrity journalists coming out with bald faced political attacks on the president and parliament based on nothing more than rumour, speculation, and conspiracy theories. We have already covered Ansar Abbasi’s baseless attack on parliament over devolution of HEC. But actually Saturday’s The News included several articles that crossed the line of responsible journalism.

Shaheen Sehbai’s front page story included no facts or investigative reporting, and was nothing but a baseless attack on the government in what appears to be another thinly veiled attempt to incite a war between the executive and judiciary.

This did not go unnoticed by the PPP who issued a rejoinder on Sunday.

More dangerous is Mr. Sehbai’s totally baseless and unfounded assertions that the Government is pitched against the honorable courts. To say that confronting the honorable judiciary is a “declared policy” of the Government is totally false in fact, and highly malicious in character, depicting mala fide intentions of the writer. It is most regretful that the Group Editor of your esteemed newspaper is deliberately pitching two pillars of the State by painting imaginary scenarios of animosity and conspiracy, when there are none in reality.

In fact, Shaheen Sehbai does not even bother pretending to have ‘informed sources’, offering only his own insults and accusations. This is considered reporting by Jang Group?

While Ansar Abbasi and Shaheen Sehbai may be expected to make baseless attacks on the government, they are not the long voices. Also joining the chorus is Tariq Butt, who wrote on Saturday that “President Asif Ali Zardari is seeking the shoulder of the highest judicial forum to cry on while he has asked his minions to do everything to attack the superior judiciary”. Like his colleagues, Ansar Abbasi and Shaheen Sehbai, Tariq provides no evidence of a presidential directive to attack the judiciary.

On Sunday, the assault continued with a front page article by Hamid Mir suggesting that the president’s praise for the judiciary is insincere and that he “masterminded this reference just to embarrass teh Supreme Court by playing the Sindh card because all the judges who gave the verdict against [ZAB] were from Punjab”. The only evidence Hamid Mir can provide for this mind-reading of the president is “an impression in many political circles”. No doubt these “political circles” include certain Group and Investigative ‘Editors’ at Jang Group.

It should be noted that for all the accusations from Shaheen Sehbai, Hamid Mir, etc of playing Sindh Card, neither the president nor his representatives have uttered any such thing. Rather these accusations come from ‘journalists’ claiming to be able to read the mind of Zardari. On the other hand, the opinion page of Sunday’s The News includes a cartoon of a ‘Sindh Card’. In addition to the articles mentioned above, one cannot help but wonder who it is that is actually attempting to exploit provincial prejudice and whip up the emotions of their base.

Speaking about media freedom in this week’s Friday Times, Pakistan Representative Human Rights Watch, Ali Dayan Hasan, was highly critical of the way media attacks the civilian government just because it can.

Pakistan’s media needs to use its independence responsibly. Unfortunately this is not happening. It targets the government because it does not fear the former. It does not hold the military to account because it is frightened of their power. HRW is of the view that the greatest threat to media freedom emanates today not from the elected government which has shown respect and tolerance as it should for the media. Rather, it stems from the intelligence agencies, non-state actors such as the Taliban and, finally, from the judiciary which has exploited over-broad contempt laws to stifle criticism of the institution.

Media’s role includes responsibly keeping the people informed about the actions of government and politicians. But The News appears to have passed beyond the line of responsible reporting and crossed into bald faced attacks on the president through rumour, speculation, and conspiracy theories based on nothing but the imaginations of its staff. Worse, there appears to be the possibility of a renewed campaign to instill distrust and tension between the executive and the judiciary. This is not journalism, it is politics. We encourage Jang Group to review the editorial policies of it’s prize English language newspaper and work to put in place policies that ensure reporting is based on facts, not political opinions, and that reporting is objective and not biased. At present, star reporters of The News are offering neither.

Tariq Butt and Ansar Abbasi play Prosecutor and Judge Against PML-N

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

The News (Jang Group)In today’s issue of The News the grand inquisitor of media Ansar Abbasi plays judge and jury against PML-N following a FIR accusing certain persons of trying to rig by-polls in NA-100. His verdict is based on a prosecution delivered by his colleague, Tariq Butt.

At issue are allegations of poll-rigging in the NA-110 Gujranwala by elections.

Yesterday, Tariq Butt reported on alleged incidents at the poll based on sources at the scene including police. While his report is largely a simple re-telling of the story as reported by sources, the article carries the sensational headline: “Inside story of how a poll was rigged, and saved”. This headline accepts that there was some misdeed – poll rigging – without allowing the proper course of justice to take place. A more appropriate headline would be “Allegations of poll rigging” or “Accusations of poll rigging mar by elections in NA-110″.

Despite a lack of proof or allowing the proper process of justice to take place, self-appointed judge and jury Ansar Abbasi accepts the prosecutorial headline of Tariq Butt’s column and declares a verdict as the ECP has asked to lodge a FIR.

FIR stands for “First Information Report” and is a report prepared by police when they receive information about an alleged incident. It is, as the title of the report says, first information only. It is not a conviction nor is it any proof of misdeeds.

But the way Ansar Abbasi reports the situation, a reader is likely to come away accepting that the accused are guilty and already convicted.

To the great embarrassment of the PML-N, the Election Commission of Pakistan has asked the Punjab election commissioner to lodge an FIR with the police against the persons who tried to rig the by-polls in NA-100, Gujranwala.

Vindicating the role played by the recently removed Regional Police Officer (RPO) Zulfikar Cheema, who faced the wrath of the N-League for not allowing rigging in the by-polls won by the PPP, the ECP has decided to proceed against those who had kidnapped the presiding officers or tried to tamper with the election results.

While it would be appropriate to report that allegations have been made and that the ECP is pursuing an investigation, the presumption of guilt on the part of PML-N is inappropriate. Both the headline of Tariq Butt’s column yesterday and the content of Ansar Abbasi’s column today cross the line between reporting facts and making presumptions of guilt or innocence. Reporting is the proper role of media, determining guilt is the proper role of courts. Mr Tariq Butt and Mr Ansar Abbasi should restrain themselves for making such presumptions and stick to reporting facts only.

Tariq Butt crosses the line

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

The News (Jang Group)Yesterday’s issue of The News included a column by Tariq Butt that crossed the line between questionable judgment and irresponsible journalism. The column in question, “The demolition squad gets another ‘educated’ Awan”, is a vicious political hit piece and nothing more.

From the very introduction of the column, it is clear that the author has no intention of presenting a factual report, but is only filing a vicious attack.

Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali has found a role model, not someone to be proud of though, in the fake degree holder Babar Awan. Both are now the assigned demolition squad leaders to crush national institutions. One did the NAB, the other is after HEC.

Both these state organizations are designed to catch the thieves, fraudsters and cheats which for obvious reasons the present PPP government does not like or cannot afford. The demolition squad got its assignment directly from President Asif Ali Zardari to put these organisations to bed as they have become the main hurdle in the way of implementation of the government’s agenda of protecting the corrupt and the immoral.

It is not necessary to reproduce any more of the column. Suffice it to say that the entire piece is filled with accusations, conspiracies, rumours, and innuendo. What is entirely missing are facts, evidence, and reason.

Over the past week, The News has published contradictory conspiracy theories, multiple opinion columns as news reports, and even a vicious political attack that belongs in gutter politics, not on the pages of a respectable newspaper. As such, we have great concern about whether there are any professionals in charge at The News.

We hope that Mir Rahman, as Editor-in-Chief, has the decency to discipline his employees and requires Tariq Butt to either show solid evidence backing his claims or, if he cannot do such a thing, a public apology and retraction. The legitimacy of his newspaper as a source of “News” is quickly coming into question.

Conflicting Conspiracies in The News

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

There appears to be a curious conflict of conspiracies in reports published by The News (Jang Group) on Wednesday regarding the HEC report submitted to the Education Ministry.

Ansar Abbasi reports that there is a conspiracy to change the contents of the report, and that the Education Minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali has sent the report back to HEC for editing.

Sources in the ministry confided to The News that the Education Minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali directed his secretary to ask the HEC chairman to withdraw the report and re-submit it with certain changes. The minister wanted the HEC chairman to delete the report’s portion mentioning the NA Committee on Education.

Following the minister’s direction, these sources said, the secretary education asked HEC Chairman Javed Leghari to withdraw the report and exclude from it the statement that the report should be forwarded to the NA Committee on Education.

But Sabir Shah writes in a different article that there is a conspiracy to bury the controversy by appointing a crony to cover it up.

It has also been learnt from the reliable sources that after meeting with the HEC chairman, Prime Minister Gilani held a detailed meeting with the education minister and Secretary Education Imtiaz Qazi in which they finalised the strategy to put the issue of fake degrees under the carpet.

According to the sources, the meeting remained focused on the ways to prolong and ultimately to do away with the issue of fake degrees of public representatives. However, Imtiaz Qazi denied having any knowledge about the meeting and the procedure to be followed in this regard. He also denied being present in the meeting. “I am not really aware about the whole issue. We are waiting for the in writing directives from the prime minister after which we would formulate our strategy,” he said.

According to the sources, nominating a minister for reviewing the process means that a single person would be handling the issue according to his own desire. “He would be accountable to nobody and there would not be any check over the process,” he said. Talking to The News, the Education Ministry spokesperson said that since the HEC comes under Education Ministry, therefore it could not communicate directly to parliamentary body.”

What makes these conflicting conspiracies especially interesting is that, according to Sabir Shah’s report, the report was not even delivered until late night.

The officials of Education Ministry did not receive any report in this regard till late night.

If the report was not delivered until late night, how did all of these people come up with so many conflicting conspiracies? And if there is some conspiracy, which is it?

In yet another article in the same day’s newspaper, Tariq Butt reports that there is a conspiracy to declare runners up as winners.

On the editorial page of the same newspaper, The News writes about a fourth conspiracy:

Going by what Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan has said in an interview he gave to this newspaper, what may happen next is that the government could seek to promulgate new legislation, though the minister was vague as to its content. He said that there had been contact with several political parties (and that there was ‘documentary proof’ of this) seeking to lay the matter to rest. Their motivation for this will almost certainly be to protect politicians in the future from the withering blast of the media, as well as perhaps tightening their own internal selection procedures and criteria to ensure that those selected to represent us are less obviously liars and fakers. Considering his statement objectively, it does appear that the fake degree issue has given a severe jolt to those politicians who are self-serving and happy to deceive their electorates – who probably expect to be deceived anyway.

While it is disappointing that The News has such contempt for the people of Pakistan that it declares they “probably expect to be deceived anyway”, what is worse is that the editorial’s conspiracy theory contradicts what is reported elsewhere in the newspaper!

According to a report by Dilshad Azeem, the coalition partners have “rejected in plain words” any suggestion that they have been meeting to craft a law to protect fraud.

Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP) and Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (Fazl), the three parties providing the numbers for survival of the coalition government, confirmed that neither the government consulted them nor they had approached the key functionaries on the fake degrees issue.

They dubbed the law minister’s assertion as totally out of context and against their respective stands, and said that those MPs, who gave wrong information about their respective education or any other matter, must be dealt in accordance with the law of the land.

It appears that, with no reliable source of information, The News is simply publishing anything and everything with the hope that ‘something sticks’. But this is not journalism, is only guessing and gossiping. Furthermore, it is impossible to not notice that every ‘guess’ published in the newspaper has a particular angle – the government is doing something wrong. Certainly no journalist should assume that everything is done without some discussion of how to make uncomfortable matters ‘go away’, but also no responsible journalist should assume that there is always some dark scheme at work.

Whether or not someone thinks that the degree issue even matters, everyone deserves to have facts – not conspiracies. The web of conspiracies in The News has become so tangled that reading the newspaper one reader can come away with many different and conflicting versions of events. That’s not news reporting, it’s just gossip.

Tariq Butt's latest column – Is this reporting?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

The News today features a top story by Tariq Butt that hardly qualifies as serious journalism. The article, “Fortress NAB shuts all doors and windows” is nothing but a polemic intended to smear NAB officials and is supported by no facts or evidence other than the supposed statements of a nameless “ex-official”.

Tariq Butt’s rhetoric is over-the-top, and betrays an obvious bias against the NAB officials. The author begins his article by describing top NAB officials as “handpicked loyalists of the ruling party” and claims that the agency has “shut itself into a cocoon, with all doors and windows closed to keep a lid on its actions and secret plans”.

The reporter then acts shocked when the agency’s acting chairman and prosecutor general do not take his calls on their personal mobile phones. It is interesting to note that harassing individuals on their personal mobile phones is on the same day condemned by another journalist, Mr Kamran Shafi, who complains of this behavior by members of the intelligence agencies. Have Jang reporters begun acting like rogue intelligence agents?

Tariq Butt’s claims are supposedly backed by the statements of yet another one of Jang’s super secret and anonymous “ex-officials” who, of course, no longer works for the agency that he is supposedly giving confidential information about.

This anonymous source, if he even exists, supposedly told Tariq Butt that “all the officers and staffers, who were still with the NAB, were under strict surveillance by an intelligence agency on the orders of the government to know who tries to leak out any information about whatever was being planned inside the NAB.”

But Tariq Butt admits that his alleged source does not even work for NAB, so how would this person be privy to such information? In fact, he wouldn’t.

But Mr Butt does not let that stop him from making the most hysterical and slanderous accusations. He concludes his article by accusing that NAB “is now engaged in devising ways and means to serve a particular set of corrupt people”. For all the complaints about MNAs allegedly lying about their degrees, I wonder when Jang will begin to hold their own employees accountable for the scandalous behaviour that appears on the front page of their own newspaper.

The News (Jang) Uses Double-Standard for PPP, PML-N

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

The News (Jang Group)The News has had a difficult time lately with its star journalists using double standards for politicians that they like and don’t like. Mostly this has been making excuses for PML-N and giving no mercy to PPP. This would be fine if it was only on the opinion page, but rather it has been more and more affecting the entire newspaper. The latest example exposes a bias across the entire news team.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif is given front-page coverage for speaking out against the PA resolution against media,when it is his party that is responsible for the measure. Shahbaz Sharif (PML-N) also receives prominent coverage for speaking out against the same resolution despite his party being the source. Meanwhile, PPP MNA Sherry Rehman is only covered briefly inside the newspaper for her statements against the resolution.

But it is not simply this giving more coverage to one political party taking a popular position (in effect an attempt to convey that the other party is not speaking out), there is a distinct double-standard at work if you look at how the newspaper treats PML-N and PPP.

The coverage of PML-N leaders speaking out against the resolution that their own members passed is meant to demonstrate this this was the action of some rogue MPAs who were not following the party line. In fact, The News takes this PML-N talking point at face value in their editorial today.

PML-N leader has called for the expulsion of the mover of the resolution, member of his own party and has accused him of trying to cover up his crime of faking his degree. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that he ‘cherishes the free media as much as he likes an independent judiciary in the country.’ A belated damage control effort within PML-N appears to be underway.

Obviously, it is possible for some MPAs to act out of turn and The News is perfectly happy to give the benefit of doubt to Nawaz and Shahbaz.

But when it comes to PPP, the standard is different. Instead of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, The News takes the position of ‘assumed guilty’! In an adjacent editorial about a leaked letter that is allegedly by NAB Prosecutor General Irfan Qadir questioning the reinstatement of CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry, The News lays the blame firmly on the PPP.

If they were not the views of the government of Mr Gilani, then whose views were they and what was afoot with Mr Qadir seemingly playing a lone game? NAB is under the control of the Law Ministry which itself is piloted by Law Minister Babar Awan. Presumably the Law Ministry is accountable to somebody at a higher level and who else would that be but the prime minister – unless ministers have been given a freehand? Babar Awan increasingly seems to be a law unto himself.

So where does this leave Mr Gilani and his statement that Mr Qadir’s views were not those of his government? They might not be the views of his government, but again, his might not be the only government operational today; which might also explain why the law minister is able to act as he pleases – above or below the law.

Do you see what they have done? Nawaz and Shahbaz are praised for speaking out against out-of-line party members, but PM Gilani is insinuated to be a liar and the government is to be held accountable for any misplaced comma of a PPP member. This is a double standard so obvious that it is hard not to think that The News is acting not as journalism but as propaganda to promote one political party over another.

That is not all. Other so-called ‘journalists’ for The News continue to use innuendo to smear politicians they don’t like (PPP only).

Tariq Butt begins his column about the selection of a new NAB chief by insinuating that PM Gilani is trying to appoint a ‘crony’.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani is incapacitated under the case law and statute to appoint a crony as the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) because he has to convince two other key consultees about the credentials of such a nominee before notifying his selection, legal experts say.

The remainder of the article discusses the legal process and requirements for appointing chairman of the NAB. There is no presentation of any evidence that Gilani or anyone in government is trying to appoint anyone but the best, most qualified person. Instead, Tariq Butt simply assumes this is the case and smears the PM by implying as much.

The pro-PML-N bias of The News is easily proven today. Obviously, editorial pages are for opinions and the authors can take whatever position they choose. But when the opinions of the reporters and editors are so obviously using double standards and those double standards begin to color the entire reporting – that is not journalism but is political propaganda.

Perhaps Jang Group needs to update the name of its English-language newspaper from The News International to The News (PML-N). Then the readers would at least know what to expect. Better, though, would be for Jang to require some objectivity and fact-based reporting so that The News can be useful to the entire nation, and not only one political party.

Ansar Abbasi and Tariq Butt at it again

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

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 ( 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).