Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nawaz Sharif, GEO TV and Jang Group of Newspapers

Shameless! that's what we can call to this behaviour of both the parties because not in very distant past and as per the same Jang Group of Newspapers-GEO TV which was fondly involving Pakistan in Mumbai Tragedy and interviewing Nawaz Sharif to again start the filthy politics of the 80s and 90s. In the presence of such Anarchists like Jang Group, GEO, Hamid Gul, Mirza Aslam Beg and POLITICIANS FROM EVERY POLITICAL PARTY, do we even need any so-called Zionist Cospiracy to tore apart remaining Pakistan.

Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan [1990-1993, 1996-1999]


A number of incidents during 1998-99 indicated a pattern of harassment and intimidation of individual journalists as the government was increasingly becoming intolerant. Imtiaz Alam, a Lahore-based journalist, complains of threat over the telephone and then of his car being set on fire in a mysterious manner the other day. Another Lahore journalist, Mahmud Lodhi, is picked up and held in illegal custody for two days. He was questioned about his involvement with a BBC team filming a documentary on the rise and wealth of the Sharif family. Hussain Haqqani is picked up in a cloak-and-dagger fashion and interrogated at a FIA Center in connection with charges vaguely to do with money embezzlement while he held government office.

The residence of Idrees Bakhtiar, a senior staff reporter of Herald monthly and BBC correspondent in Karachi was raided by CIA police on Nov. 26,1998. The police harassed the family and also arrested his 28-year old son, Moonis, who was later released. On Feb. 13, 1999, three persons, including Senator Abul Hayee Baloch and a lady worker from Lahore, were injured when the police baton-charged, used water cannons and threw bricks on a peaceful procession of the Pakistan Awami Ittehad in front of the parliament house in Islamabad. The march, organized by the PAI for the freedom of the press, was led by PAI president Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and secretary general of the alliance Hamid Nasir Chatta, besides a number of sitting and former PPP MNAs and senators.

The owner of the Frontier Post, Rehmat Shah Afridi, was arrested in Lahore on April 2, 1999, by the army-run Anti-narcotics Force on charge of possessing 20 Kgs of charas and three guns. The Peshawar-based Frontier Post was critical of government policies, particularly the paper opposed the construction of the Kalabagh Dam. Afridi's arrest was seen by the journalists and others another official attempt to gag the Press.

On May 8, 1999, several dozen officials of ISI stormed into the house of Najam Sethi, Editor of The Friday Times, Lahore and dragged him out of his room. Before leaving the house with Mr. Sethi, they tied his wife Jugnoo's hands with a rope and locked her up in a dressing room. Later the federal government confirming the arrest said that Mr. Sethi had been taken into custody for interrogation by ISI for his alleged connection with he Indian intelligence agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing).

The Lahore High Court, on May12, declined to assume jurisdiction in the Najm Sethi case saying he was being detained by a military agency (ISI) and the offence he was suspected of and was being investigated for fell within the purview of the Army Act, 1952. Consequently, all three petitions filed by Sethi's sife, Jugnoo Mohsin, for his recovery and production and miscellaneous reliefs like medical examination and registration of a case of kidnapping with intent to torture and kill against two uniformed policemen and eight plainclothes personnel were dismissed in 'limeline' as not maintainable. The Deputy Attorney General told the court that Sethi "is presently in the custody of Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) authorities for his suspected links with hostile intelligence agencies." The suspected offence falls within the mischief of Section 123-A of the PPC (sedition) and finds mention in the Army Act schedule. Advocate for Sethi, submitted that the ISI does not function under the Army Act and can be headed by a retired officer and that the ISI reported to the prime minister and not to the army. One day later, the government agencies seize all copies of The Friday Times in Lahore. The Web site of The Friday Times was hacked and the pages and contents were erased.

The Attorney General Chaudhry Farooq on June 2, 1999 told the Supreme Court that the government had decided to set free Najm Sethi. In a short statement on behalf of the state, the AG said that Najam Aziz Sethi, who was detained in the case initially by ISI and was later taken into custody by the police as a result of an order obtained from the Special Court on June 1, in connection with the FIR registered with Kohsar police station, Islamabad, had been set free. [On May 31, the Supreme Court was informed that a case had been registered against Mr. Sethi in Islamabad for his alleged anti-state activities on the complaint of a ruling party MNA, Inamullah Niazi.] The AG further said that the government reserved its right to initiate proceedings afresh. However, Justice Mamoon Kazi, a member of the three-man bench which disposed Mr. Sethi's bail application, told the government that Mr. Sethi should not be arrested in future with permission of the court.









The government of Nawaz Sharif started a campaign against the Jang group in July 1998 when it refused to sack a number of journalists critical of the government policies. First, the government objected to the Jang group newspapers' reporting about the law and order situation in the country and put a ban on its advertisement for the Jang group. On Aug. 13, a report was published about non-payment of Rs. 700 million to farmers by the sugar mills owned by the Nawaz Sharif family. Three days later, the government sent notices to Jang for non payment of taxes and the case was shifted to the Ehtesab cell. On Sept. 27, 1998, the government asked the Jang group not to publish a report of The Observer London that said that PM Nawaz Sharif has siphoned off millions. The report was not published by the Jang but it was published by its sister English newspaper The News. On Nov. 5, bank accounts of the Jang group were frozen and FIA raided the Jang and the News offices in Rawalpindi and customs authorities stop delivery of newsprint to the Jang.


Nawaz Sharif's Pet, Former Senator Saifur Rehman

On Dec. 17, Sentaor Saifur Rehman said that another case is being prepared against the Jang group. On Jan 27, 1999, FIA encircles the Jang group office in Lahore and Karachi. And on Jan 28 1999, a sedition case was registered against Mir Sahkilur Rehman for publishing an advertisement of Muttahida's Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation on January 1, which according to the police, was aimed at inciting people against the state. Offices of the Jang group in several cities were surrounded by security and taxation people; its godowns were sealed and newsprint was not allowed to be delivered for its paper.

Mir Shakil-ur Rehman revealed that Senator Saifur Rehman asked him to sack a number of Jang employees who should be replaced in consultation with the government. He released to the press audio-tapes of conversation with Senator Seifur Rehman on this

Senator Saifur Rehman, addressing a press conference in Islamabad on 25th Jan. 1999 acknowledged that he had asked the Jang group to "avoid sensationalism and concentrate on objective reporting. He said the government has asked the Jang group for support on the 15th amendment because it wanted enforcement of the Islamic order according to the aspirations of the people. The Senator said he was asked to extend support to the government in what he called strengthening of democratic institutions. He particularly referred to the tragic incidents in Karachi and imposition of governor's rule in Sindh. He also said: Mir Shakilur Rehman evaded tax and customs duty to the tune of Rs. 2.6 billion during the last two years. [Dawn 26-1-1999]

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, a press freedom organization, said on June 1, 1999 that it was conducting an investigation into a "hit list" prepared by the Pakistan government that contains 35 prominent journalists of Pakistan. According to reports received by the CPJ, the federal government had decided to establish a special media cell comprising officials from the police, Intelligence Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency to punish the journalists who have been writing against the government. Ehtesab Bureau Chairman, Senator Saifur Rehman Khan would head this cell which would function simultaneously at Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar with its head office in Islamabad.

According to the CPJ, the names were: Irshad Ahmed Haqqani, Rehmat Ali Razi, Anjum Rasheed, Suhail Warraich, Sohaib Marghoob and Roman Ehsan, (Jang Lahore), M. Ziauddin and Ansar Abbasi (Dawn Islamabad), Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Javed Jaidi, Nusrat Javed and Mariana Babar (The News, Islamabad), Rehana Hakeem and Zahid Hussain (Newsline), Ejaz Haider, Khalid Ahmed, Jugnu Mohsin and Adnan Adil (The Friday Times, Lahore), Mahmood Sham (Jang, Karachi), Rashed Rehman (The Nation, Lahore), Amir Ahmed Khan (Herald, Karachi), Imtiaz Aalam, Beena Sarwar, Shafiq Awan, Kamila Hyat and Amir Mir (The News Lahore), Abbas Athar (Nawa-e-Waqt, Lahore), Kamran Khan and Shehzad Amjad (The News Karachi), Azam Khalil (Pulse), Mohammad Malik (Tribune), Imtiaz Ahmed (The Frontier Post, peshawar), Ilyas Chaudhry (Jang Rawalpindi), Naveed Meraj (The Frontier Post Islamabad) and Syed Talat Hussain (The Nation, Islamabad).

Commenting on the Nawaz Sharif government campaign against the press, the US Human Rights report for 1998 said: Although the press largely publishes freely, the government uses its large advertising budget to influence content, journalists practice self-censorship, and the broadcast media remains closely controlled by government monopoly.

Favorable press coverage of the prime minister's family compound/hospital/college south of Lahore was widely understood to have been obtained for a price. Rumors of intimidation, heavy-handed surveillance, and even legal action to quiet the unduly curious or non-deferential reporter are common.

The government has considerable leverage over the press through its substantial budget for advertising and public interest campaigns, its control over newsprint, and its ability to enforce regulations.

The country's leading Urdu daily, Jang, and the English-language daily News, both owned by Shakilur Rehman, were cut off for a time from critical government advertising revenue after publishing articles unflattering to the government. The Jang group also was served with approximately $13 million in tax notices, harassed by government inspectors, and pressured not to publish articles. There is credible evidence that Senator Saifur Rehman, a close associate and head of the Accountability Bureau, demanded a number of journalists and editors be fired. Jang also reportedly had difficulty in obtaining sufficient newsprint to publish.

Rehana Hakim, editor of the English-language monthly Newsline also has complained that her publication, which is highly critical of the government does not receive government advertising revenue, has been raided and harassed by tax inspectors and security agents. The editors of the weekly The Friday Times have alleged government harassment of their staff as well. On March 19, Public of Karachi, a local Urdu-language daily, was banned by the local magistrate and ceased publication on March 20. [ Dawn 27-2-1999]

Read what has the same Jang Group said about Nawaz Sharif and Inc.

Read the allegation of Jang Group against Nawaz Sharif [1997-1999]:

1 - Jang Group: Deteriorating law and order situation (July 1998).

.Government reacts strongly, demands to stop the news.

2 - Jang Group: Irshad Haqqani’s column on the political situation (July 13, 1998).


Objects to the column, sends seven articles, which were published on July 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 28 and 30, 1998.

3 - Jang Group: Traders refuse to pay GST (July 15, 1998).

• Discussion on PTV, the Jang criticized by name, July 16, 1998.

4. Jang Group: People’s reaction to the freezing of foreign currency accounts (July 1998).

• Government suspends advertisements to the Jang group, July 21, 1998.

5. Oil prices increased by 25 percent (July 25, 1998).

• Government objects to the display of the news.

6. Protest against price hike (Aug. 4, 1998).

• Government objects.

7. Flour mills increase Atta prices (Aug. 4, 1998).

• Government asks not to publish stories about the re-price hike.

8. Jang Group: Sugar mills owned by the Sharif family have to pay Rs. 700 million to farmers (Aug. 13, 1998).

• Don‘t publish stories about the Sharif family, says the government.

9. Jang Group: A survey on the Independence Day criticizing the government (Aug. 14, 1998).


• Newspapers have had their fun, now it is our turn: PM (Aug. 16, 1998). MSF criticizes the Jang (Aug. 15 & 17, 1998).

10. Jang Group: Reports about US missile falling inside Pakistan during the US missile-raids on Afghanistan.

• Government gets very upset, begins sending income tax notices (Aug. 18, 1998). All tax cases against the Jang group sent to a cell headed be Senator Saifur Rahman (Aug. 19, 1998). PM delivers a speech against the Jang group, PML workers chant slogans against the Jang (Aug. 23, 1998).

11. Jang Group: Ittefaq Group and Redco are defaulters: Qazi Hussain Ahmed (Aug. 24, 1998).

• A magistrate, accompanied by the police, serves notices on Mir Shakilur Rehman. Four tax notices served on Aug. 24, 1998 after midnight. Six more notices sent (Aug 25, 1998).

12. Jang Group: A close relative of Kulsoom Nawaz inducted in the FIA as an assistant director (Aug. 27, 1998).

• Nine tax notices sent on Aug. 27, 1998.

13. Jang Group: A joint APNS-CPNE meeting expresses concern over government policies (Aug. 27, 1998).

• Some newspapers are talking about martial law, we should take them to the court: PM (Aug. 28, 1998).

14. Jang Group: Mir Shakilur Rehman addresses a press conference, speaks of the government’s actions against the Jang group (Aug. 27, 1998).

15. Jang Group: Mir Shakilur Rehman meets the Prime Minister (Aug. 28, 1998).


• Government restores its advertisements. Promises to withdraw the tax notices. No notices served throughout the month.

• Government objects. Serves another tax notice on Sept. 23, 1998.

• Government objects.

16. Jang Group: Stories about CTBT (Sept. 1998).

17. Jang Group: Pakistan agrees to sign CTBT unconditionally (Sept. 24, 1998).

18. Jang Group: US appreciates Pakistan’s assurance to sign CTBT (Sept. 25, 1998).

19. Jang Group: IMF-government talks produce no results (Sept. 26, 1998).


• Government sends a strong warning. Urges the group not to criticize economic policies.

• Government gets very upset and conveys its anger.

20. The London Observer publishes a story about the Sharif family. Jang was asked not to publish it. The News reproduced the story (Sept. 18, 1998).

• Government objects.

• Government objects to the coverage of the Jang.

• Government objects.

• Government says the group is publishing too many stories about the armed forces.

• Government objects to stories about its economic policies.

21. Jang Group: Kamran Khan’s story saying the government spending foreign exchange on the Prime Minister’s favourite projects (Oct. 4, 1998).


• Government again suspends advertisements to the Jang (Oct. 13, 1998).

• Objects to publishing stories about unemployment. Sends three income tax notices (Oct. 14, 1998). Freezes Jang’s accounts, stops supply of newsprint to the Jang group although the custom authorities had already released it. Six more income tax notices served (Oct 15, 1998).

• Government shows its contempt.

• Six more tax notices served. (Oct. 27, 1998).

• Objects to the coverage.

22. Jang Group: General Jehangir Karamat proposes National Security Council, reactions (Oct. 5, 1998).

23. Jang Group: Corps commanders express concern over the prevailing situation (Oct. 7, 1998).

24. Jang Group: General Jehangir Karamat resigns, national and international reactions on his resignation (Oct. 8, 1998).

25. Jang Group: The economic situation worsens (Oct. 12, 1998).

26. Jang Group: Protest outside Nawaz Sharif’s flats in London (Oct. 12, 1998).

27. Jang Group: UBL sacks 8,000 employees (Oct. 14, 1998).

28. Jang Group: Jang and The News reproduce a story published in the Independent, London about the Sharif family (Oct. 21, 1998).

29. Jang Group: Court asks for official record in the plot case against Nawaz Sharif (Oct. 22, 1998).

30. Jang Group: PML and the MQM split (Oct. 30, 1990).

31. Jang Group: 18 people including PML legislators convicted in the contempt case (Oct. 30, 1998).

32. Jang Group: Kamran Khan’s story saying that all the accused arrested in the Hakim Saeed case were fake (Nov. 5, 1998).

33. Jang Group: APNS, CPNE meet in Lahore, ask the government to end its victimization campaign against the Jang group (Nov 14 1998).

34. Jang Group: Stories about the deteriorating law and order and the economic situation (November, 1998).

35. Jang Group: Income Tax Appellate Tribunal upholds the plea of the Jang group and unfreezes its accounts (Nov. 19, 1998).

36. Jang Group: Half of the newspapers are with me and the rest are with them: Prime Minister (Nov. 25, 1998).

37. Jang Group: My first preference is to make the press change its directions: President Tarar (Nov. 29, 1998).

38. Jang Group: The government is not victimizing the Jang group: Nawaz Sharif (Dec. 4, 1998).

39. Jang Group: No relief to the Jang: Official spokesman (Dec. 16, 1998).

40. Jang Group: Official actions against the press has hurt me: Waseem Sajjad (Dec. 17, 1998).

41. Jang Group: Nawaz Sharif, his mother and wife did not disclose their plots in Murree: PPP (Dec. 18, 1998).

42. Jang Group: Tax dues against Nawaz Sharif rescheduled in Jang: Mushahid Hussain (Dec. 18, 1998).

43. Jang Group: Government preparing another case against the Jang group: Saifur Rehman (Dec. 18, 1998).

44. Jang Group: Nawaz Sharif Spends three days shopping in London: Sunday Telegraph (Dec. 21, 1998).

45. Jang Group: Jang and The News publish details of the government’s actions against the group.

46. Jang Group: Mir Shakilur Rehman plays cassettes of a conversation with Senator Saifur Rahman at the Karachi press club (Jan. 28, 1999).


• Objects to the coverage. Sends four fresh tax notices on Nov. 2 and five new notices on Nov. 5.

• A barrage of tax notices. Nine notices served on Nov. 5 and four on Nov. 6.

• Government objects to the Jang’s decision to take the dispute to newspaper associations.

• Government reacts strongly against the story.

• Government increase its victimization after the Tribunal’s decision. Sends a tax notice on Nov. 23.

• Sends six tax notices on Nov. 26. Another on Nov. 27. Ten notices served on Nov. 30. Customs officials stop newsprint. Another tax notice served on Dec. 3.

• A tax notice served on Dec. 10 Five notices served on Dec. 12. On Dec. 15 FIA raids the offices of The News and the Jang in Rawalpindi.

• Government intensifies the campaign against the Jang group and starts sending threatening messages. Agencies put listening devices to the telephones at the offices and homes of the editorial staff of the Jang group. Intelligence agencies increase their vigilance of the editorial staff of the Jang and The News. Another raid on Rehan Paper Mart. Agencies try to collect evidence against the Jang. APP spreads a story falsely implicating the Jang group in a case. Notices serves on Mir Shakilur Rehman to appear before a special Judge of the customs (Dec. 19, 1998).

• Expresses strong objection to the story and sends five tax notices on Dec. 22. Two income tax notices served on December 23 & 26. Five more notices on Jan. 12, 14, 15 & 21, 1999.

• FIA cordons off offices of the Jang and The News in Karachi and Lahore.

• Threat to try Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman in a military court under sedition charges. A case is registered the same day (Jan. 28, 1999).

Punishment For Telling The Truth

A Tale of Vendetta and Intimidation

Newsmen pledge to uphold press freedom

Jang Group deal with govt denied; expulsion of 40 Assas workers resented By Raja Zulfikar

ISLAMABAD: Leaders of major political parties of the country joined the protesting journalists on Monday in their demand for complete press freedom and marched up to the Parliament House calling upon the government to give up its hold on the press.

Addressing the rally near the Parliament building, leaders of political parties as well journalists' organisations vowed to continue their battle for press freedom and asked for an end to victimisation against the press, the Jang Group in particular.

Leaders of APNEC and RIUJ under Minhaj Berna, PFUJ president Abdul Hameed Chhapra, and others had organised the press freedom march to condemn the government for its 'dictatorial policies to silence the press'. Leaders of journalists' bodies CR Shamsi, Pervaiz Shaukat, Fouzia Shahid, Faraz Hashmi and others also addressed.

Chhapra said the government had tried to crush the press but pledged to lead a movement against it, saying the journalists would do all they could to liberate press from the clutches of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Senator Saifur Rahman. "The working journalists have won the first battle and would win other such battles also". He said the political leaders had joined the press in its struggle today. CR Shamsi, Pervaiz Shaukat and Faraz Hashmi condemned the government for attacks on the press and expulsion of 40 employees of daily Assas. They also called for an end to the contractual appointments.

There were, in fact, two separate rallies in Rawalpindi and Islamabad as the political leaders first converged at the Murree Road and marched against 'the government's moves to muzzle the press.' Later, they travelled to Islamabad to join journalists at Aabpara Chowk and then walked up to the Parliament House.

Those who attend the press freedom rally were Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, former NA Speaker and head of PML(J) Hamid Nasir Chattha, key MQM Senators under Aftab Sheikh, leader of the opposition in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan, other PPP Senators, former PPP minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Benazir Bhutto's political secretary Naheed Khan. Also present were Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), Aftab Lodhi of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT), Amirul Azim of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Senator Dr Hayee Baloch of Balochistan National Movement (BNM) and Syed Kabir Ali Wasti of Pakistan Muslim League (Qasim), besides several others.

Workers of the political parties also marched with journalists up to the Parliament House. Former ambassador to the United States and editor 'The News' Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Dr Maleeha Lodhi, editor Jang daily Rana Tahir, ex-editors of the Jang and scores of journalists attended the rally, which also included activists of several human rights groups, non-governmental organisations, representatives of lawyers, doctors, intellectuals, labour unions and others.

Shaheen Qureshi, Editor Coordination Jang Group categorically denied the group had entered into any deals with the government and said the latter had agreed to certain concessions to diffuse the pressure and buy time. "Let me make it clear that there is no compromise whatsoever as the government has claimed since Saturday," he said. Shaheen noted that the attack on press freedom was in fact an issue of the survival of Pakistan and democracy because both were closely related.

He said the government had destroyed all institutions and had now directed its guns at the press. He said the real person behind attacks on press freedom was Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and not 'his stooge Saifur Rzhman'. He said the Jang Group had moved the courts for justice and it would win the legal battle for freedom of the press. "We don't need certificates from anybody to prove our patriotism," Shaheen Qureshi said.

Addressing the gathering, PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said victimisation of the press at the hands of Nawaz government had proved that it was out to demolish all institutions of the country. He said the federation was literally at risk now as the government aimed at dissipating the fourth pillar of the state. He said the politicians of the country had long been raising voice against the policies of Sharif but it was the press, which had united all of them as the press had also come under attack.

Dr Hayee Baloch of BNM assured the journalists that his party fully supported them in their struggle. Imran Khan said the government claimed it had struck a deal with the Jang Group but asked: "Even if this be true, we won't allow Sharif to hush-up the alleged tax evasion of the Jang Group because it is the people's money." Imran said ever since "this business-minded person" had entered the Prime Minister's house, he had been signing deals for personal gains.

Syed Kabir Ali Wasti, who arrived in Aabpara at the head said the government wanted to mute the press so that its misdeeds did not reach the people of Pakistan. Amirul Azim of JI said it was a pity that those who wanted to recover the so-called taxes from the Jang Group were themselves tax-evaders. Allama Zubair Zaheer quoted a Hadith to say that truth should never be hidden and that to say truth before a tyrant ruler was Jihad. Qamar Zaidi of Therik-e-Jaffaria said Senator Saifur Rahman had resorted to a 'devilish act' .

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