Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Accountability of Pakistani Print & Electronic Media - Part - 3.

Mr. Shaheen Sehbai, Group Editor, The News International - Jang Group of Newspapers is very fond of quoting Foreign Press particularly when Foreign Press [Pro Zionist] is negative on President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and PPP. Shaheen Sehbai while quoting The New York Times: “The problems in Afghanistan have only been compounded by the fragility of Mr. Obama’s partner in Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari, who is so weak that his government seems near collapse.” The Washington Post in a report by two correspondents said: “Zardari's political weakness is an additional hazard for a new bilateral relationship...The administration expects Zardari's position to continue to weaken, leaving him as a largely ceremonial president even if he manages to survive in office.” The report in The New York Times was filed by journalists Peter Baker, Eric Schmitt, David E Sanger, Elisabeth Bumiller and Sabrina Tavernise from Islamabad, Washington and New York while in the Washington Post Karen DeYoung from Washington and Pamela Constable from Islamabad contributed to its report. Both newspapers referred to President Zardari's increasing weakness in the context of the new Afghan policy being prepared by President Obama, which will be announced on Dec 1. REFERENCE: Obama administration fears Zardari collapse WASHINGTON (Shaheen Sehbai)Updated at: 1525 PST, Monday, November 30, 2009

Seven years ago Mr Shaheen Sehbai was also quoted in The New York Times as well his Editor in Chief i.e. Mir Shakil ur Rehman, and do note what Mir Shakil ur Rehman had to say about the Patriotism and Loyalty of Shaheen Sehbai with Pakistan.


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 1 (Reuters) -- The editor of a leading English-language daily said today that he had resigned, citing pressure from the government after the newspaper reported a link between the prime suspect in the killing of Daniel Pearl and an attack on India's Parliament in December. India blamed Pakistan-based militant groups for the attack, but the Pakistani government denied any link. The editor who resigned, Shaheen Sehbai, said that after publication of the article in his paper, The News, the owner and editor in chief, Mir Shakeel ur-Rahman, was pressed by the government to dismiss him and three other journalists. ''I was told by my editor in chief that he had been asked to sack four journalists -- myself, Kamran Khan, Amir Mateen and Rauf Klasra,'' Mr. Sehabai said in an online interview. ''He did not name who had said that, but he told me to go and see the I.S.I.,'' Pakistan's intelligence service. REFERENCES: A NATION CHALLENGED: SUSPECTS; Kidnapping Suspect Bears Sign of Militancy Elsewhere By DOUGLAS JEHL Published: Saturday, March 2, 2002 Editor Forced to Resign

Journalism for people or for self-interests - Part - 1 (Apna Gareban Matiullah Jan DAWNNEWS)


The article, Mr. Rahman wrote in the letter dismissing Mr. Sehbai, ''was perceived to be damaging to our national interest and elicited severe reaction of the government.'' He also accused Mr. Sehbai of violating standard procedures. Mr. Rahman and government officials were not immediately available for comment. Mr. Sehbai and one of the reporters, Mr. Klasra, have recently complained of harassment by intelligence agencies, a colleague said. While Pakistan's news media enjoy relative freedom, some newspapers have been forced to remove staff members after complaints from the government or intelligence agencies. REFERENCES: A NATION CHALLENGED: SUSPECTS; Kidnapping Suspect Bears Sign of Militancy Elsewhere By DOUGLAS JEHL Published: Saturday, March 2, 2002 Editor Forced to Resign




Exposing the Pakistani establishment's links with terrorists can be a hazardous job. It cost Daniel Pearl his life, and Shaheen Sehbai, former editor of 'The News', a widely-read English daily in Pakistan his job. Fearing for his life, Sehbai is now in the US He speaks to Shobha John about the pressure on journalists from the powers-that-be in Pakistan:

Q. Is it true you had to quit because a news report angered the government?

A. On February 16, our Karachi reporter, Kamran Khan, filed a story quoting Omar Sheikh as saying that he was behind the attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, the Kashmir assembly attack and other terrorist acts in India. Shortly after I am, I got a call on my cellphone from Ashfaq Gondal, the principal information officer of the government, telling me that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had intercepted the story and I should stop its publication. I told him I was not prepared to do so. He then called my newspaper group owner/editor-in-chief, Mir Shakil ur Rehman in London and asked him to stop the story. Rehman stopped it in the Jang, the sister newspaper in Urdu but could not do so in The News as I was unavailable. The next day, all editions of The News carried the story. It was also carried by The Washington Post and The International Herald Tribune the same day, as Kamran also reports for The Post. On February 18, all government advertising for the entire group was stopped. On February 22, Rehman rushed to Karachi and called a meeting at 10 p m. He told me the government was very angry at the story. He said he had been told to sack four journalists, including myself, if the ads were to be restored. He asked me to proceed to Islamabad to pacify the officials. Sham informed us that he had contacted the officials and was told by Anwar Mahmood, the information secretary that the matter was now beyond his capacity and we will have to see the ISI high-ups to resolve it. I was told to go and see the ISI chief in Islamabad and also to call Anwar Mahmood on Eid and improve my 'public relations' with him.

I left the meeting with the firm resolve that I would neither call nor meet anyone, even at gunpoint. Sham, however, left for Islamabad to meet the officials. His meetings were unsuccessful. From my sources, I learned that the ISI and the government were not prepared to lift the ban unless I gave them specific assurances. If I refused, there may be trouble for me as the owner was already under pressure to fire me and the other three journalists. On February 27, I took a flight out of Karachi to New York. On February 28, I received a memo from my owner accusing me of policy violations. In reply, on March 1, I sent in my resignation.

Q. Is the ISI still keeping a close watch on journalists after Daniel Pearl's killing?

A. The ISI has been a major player in domestic politics and continues to be so. That means it has to control the media and right now, it is actively involved in doing so. Pearl's murder has given them more reasons to activate the national interest excuse.

Q. Is there a sense of desperation within the Pakistan government that it should not be linked in any way to events in India?

A. Yes. That's why when our story quoted Omar Sheikh claiming such links, the government came down hard on us.

Q. Has there been any pressure on the staff of 'The News' to 'conform'?

A. Yes. The News was under constant pressure to stop its aggressive reporting on the corruption of the present government. A few months back, Pakistan International Airlines stopped all ads to The News as we ran a couple of exposes. A major story on the government owned United Bank was blocked when we sought the official version. Intelligence agencies were deputed to tail our reporters in Islamabad.

Q. This is not the first time you and your family have been under pressure, is it?

A. I have been the target of physical attacks in the past too for stories against the government. The first was in August 1990 when I was arrested and detained for 36 hours and falsely charged for drinking, before a judge gave bail. The second time, in December 1991, three masked men broke into my house in Islamabad, ransacked it, pulled guns on my two sons, beat them up and told them, Tell your father to write against the government again and see what happens. In 1995, I was threatened once again and I had to take my entire family away. My newspaper then, Dawn, decided to post me to Washington as their correspondent. This time, I feared that I could be physically targeted again. So I decided to leave the country.

Q. Is the present regime in Pakistan any different from earlier ones with regard to freedom of the press?

A. It has tolerated some freedom under foreign pressure, but the situation is basically the same. Now Musharraf appears to be under pressure to manage the media more effectively in order to manage the October elections and get his supporters elected in the polls. He needs to legitimise his military rule through a political process, which essentially is being rigged from the beginning.

Q. Is your case the first instance of a crackdown on the media by this government?

A. This was the first case of a major financial squeeze on the country's largest media group. It was followed by demands to sack me and other senior journalists and then to change the policy.

Q. How independent will the forthcoming polls be now?

A. They will be as independent as the recently-concluded local bodies polls in which candidates were named by the army and no one else was allowed to win. Candidates for state and national assemblies are now being pre-selected and influential politicians are being pressured, lured or coerced to join Musharrafs supporters.

Q. What is the mood within the Pakistani media?

A. The media is generally quiet and has fallen in line because Musharraf is getting strong support from the US and the West. But elements in the media are very resolute and they will fight back as soon as they see Musharraf losing his grip. The October polls will determine the role of the media as well because if Musharraf fails to 'manage' the elections, his control over the media will be finished.

Q. What do you propose to do now?

A. I will be writing out of Washington for some time and will return to Pakistan around the October polls. My days in Pakistan were very exciting as I maintained a completely independent editorial policy and pursued it to the last day. In the memos written by the owner, he repeatedly complains that I was not consulting him on policies. I had no need to, as he watches his own commercial interests. REFERENCE: The Daily Noose (Interview with Shaheen Sehbai) Publication: The Times of India Date: March 18, 2002


Journalism for people or for self-interests - Part - 2 (Apna Gareban Matiullah Jan DAWNNEWS)


Would Mr. Shaheen Sehbai like to explain as to who did this?

Umar Cheema, 34, a reporter for The News, was kidnapped and beaten on the outskirts of Islamabad on Sept. 4 after having written several articles that were critical of the Pakistani Army. ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An investigative reporter for a major Pakistani newspaper was on his way home from dinner here on a recent night when men in black commando garb stopped his car, blindfolded him and drove him to a house on the outskirts of town. There, he says, he was beaten and stripped naked. His head and eyebrows were shaved, and he was videotaped in humiliating positions by assailants who he and other journalists believe were affiliated with the country’s powerful spy agency. At one point, while he lay face down on the floor with his hands cuffed behind him, his captors made clear why he had been singled out for punishment: for writing against the government. “If you can’t avoid rape,” one taunted him, “enjoy it.” The reporter, Umar Cheema, 34, had written several articles for The News that were critical of the Pakistani Army in the months preceding the attack. His ordeal was not uncommon for a journalist or politician who crossed the interests of the military and intelligence agencies, the centers of power even in the current era of civilian government, reporters and politicians said. “I have suspicions and every journalist has suspicions that all fingers point to the ISI,” Mr. Cheema said, using the acronym for the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the institution that the C.I.A. works with closely in Pakistan to hunt militants. The ISI is an integral part of the Pakistani Army; its head, Gen. Shuja Ahmed Pasha, reports to the army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Officials at the American Embassy said they interviewed Mr. Cheema this week, and sent a report of his account to the State Department. In response to an e-mail for comment, a spokesman for the ISI said, “They are nothing but allegations with no substance or truth.” Mr. Cheema had won a Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellowship to train foreign journalists in 2008 and worked in The New York Times newsroom for six months at that time. He has worked at The News since 2007. The attack was believed at the time to be unpopular in the army ranks because many soldiers were reluctant to fire on fellow Muslims. Moreover, courts-martial are rarely mentioned in the Pakistani news media, and reporters have been warned not to write about them. In his article, Mr. Cheema reported that two members of the Special Services Group, an elite commando squad, were being denied fair justice during the court-martial proceedings. In another article, Mr. Cheema wrote that the suspects in a major terrorist attack against a bus carrying ISI employees were acquitted because of the “mishandling” of the court case by the intelligence agency. In an article in early August, the reporter described how Army House, the residence of the chief of army staff, was protected by 400 city police officers and not by soldiers, as required by law. In January, in Islamabad, the home of Azaz Syed, a reporter for Dawn, the main English-language daily, was attacked by unknown assailants days after he was threatened by supposed ISI agents over an investigative article he was researching related to the military.

Kamran Shafi, a leading columnist and himself a former army officer who writes critically of the military, was harassed and his house was attacked last December by “elements linked to the security establishment,” according to his own account. In the last several years, journalists in the tribal areas, where the army is fighting the Taliban, have faced special risks and found it increasingly difficult to work for fear of offending either side. In September two journalists were killed in or near the tribal areas, under circumstances that remain unclear. Pakistan has developed a rambunctious news media spearheaded by round the clock television news channels in the last decade. The military and the ISI are treated with respect by the powerful television anchors, and by newspaper reporters who extol the deeds of the army in battling the Taliban. The ISI is rarely mentioned by name but referred to as “intelligence agencies.” One reason for the deference, according to a Pakistani intelligence official who has worked with the media cell of the ISI, is that the agency keeps many journalists on its payroll. Unspoken rules about covering the military and its intelligence branches are eagerly enforced, Babar Sattar, a Harvard-trained lawyer, said. A journalist who trespasses over the line is told to behave, Mr. Sattar said. Earlier this year, Mr. Cheema said he was called to a coffee shop in Islamabad by an ISI officer and warned to fall into line. At a journalists’ seminar in Lahore, the editor of a weekly newspaper, Najam Sethi, said it was up to the ISI to declare who had attacked Mr. Cheema. “If the ISI hasn’t done it, they should tell us who did it because they’re supposed to know,” Mr. Sethi said. “If they don’t tell, the presumption remains they did it.” But in a column titled “Surprise Surprise” in Dawn, Mr. Shafi said, “We will never find out what happened to poor Umar Cheema because the Deep State does not want us to find out.” REFERENCES: EDITORIAL Who Attacked Umar Cheema? A version of this editorial appeared in print on September 29, 2010, on page A30 of the New York edition. Published: September 28, 2010 After Pakistani Journalist Speaks Out About an Attack, Eyes Turn to the Military By JANE PERLEZ Published: September 24, 2010 A version of this article appeared in print on September 25, 2010, on page A7 of the New York edition.

Journalism for people or for self-interests - Part - 3 (Apna Gareban Matiullah Jan DAWNNEWS)



Group Editor of The News International, Mr Shaheen Sehbai [Shaheen Sehbai VS Hussain Haqqani & Jang Group of Newspapers. - Shaheen Sehbai VS Asif Ali Zardari & Jang Group of Newspapers]

Human Memory is weak so let me revive it!

The news/editorial below was published in Daily Dawn and it was about The Former, then present, then former and now Present Group Editor of The News International [The Editorial Staff/Owners also think that The News and Jang Group of Newspapers are Anti-American and Prop Pakistan's alleged National Interests], the one and only Mr Shaheen Sehbai. We all know that Liars don’t have good Memory. Please keep one thing in mind while going through the article below that Mr Shaheen Sehbai had complained about the Falling Standards of The News International in 2002 [the standards fell when Mr Shaheen Sehbai resigned during Musharraf's Tenure in 2002] now standard of The News International is again risen since Mr Shaheen Sehbai has agin joined and now it can be compared with The New Yorker/ The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Read and Lament as to how the Educated Pakistan play with the sentiments of those who read newspapers for news. Do read as to what another Seniot Journalist Late Khalid Hasan had to say about Shaheen Sehbai at the end. Also read The Washington Post as to how The News International and Shaheen Sehbai involved/linked Pakistan with Terrorists in 2002. Shaheen Sehbai should be ashamed of himself that after doing this he escaped and took self imposed asylum in USA, the same USA against whom he and his newspaper spitting venom. So Why the hell exile in USA, a country whose Legislative Bill [Kerry - Lugar Bill - State of Pakistan's Economy and Kerry Lugar Bill TEXT OF KERRY LUGAR BILL URL: Source: URL:] is so bad about Pakistan. Why not asylum in Dubai or any other Muslim country.


Judge not lest ye be judged [Dated March 10, 2002 Sunday Zilhaj 25, 1422 Courtesy: Daily Dawn URL:]
JOURNALIST Shaheen Sehbai, resigned as editor of The News on March 1 after serving the paper for about 14 moths.

In a letter addressed to colleagues, Mr Sehbai, who earlier had a very distinguished career with Dawn, implied that the publisher had charged him with policy violations and professional misconduct to sack him under pressure from the military government. He enclosed a memorandum from the publisher alleging publication of libellous matter, alienating advertisers, failing to consult him on important matters, printing a story recently that was ‘perceived to be damaging to our national interest’ and elicited a severe reaction from the government, failing to contact ‘relevant government functionaries’ to discuss the issue, and being generally inaccessible to senior government officials as well his own staff.

The memo also complained of a lack of improvement in the paper.

Mr Sehbai said he had answered by recalling that the publisher had informed him of the government demand to sack four The News staffers, including the editor, and regretted that “you have decided to get in line.” He said he was aware that the government had stopped carrying advertisements in not only The News but also other papers of the group and that the publisher had been told that only the dismissals would result in their restoration.

He claimed that he had been asked to contact the Inter-Services Intelligence officials but had refused on principal to call, or meet, any government official in a ‘hostage’ situation.

On the other hand, he said, he had conveyed to the government the evidence that the paper’s policy had, in fact, been tilted in its favour. At least 50 editorials and over 100 articles published in about six weeks were cited to prove the point. The paper, he said, had at times gone out of its way to accommodate the government.

But, Mr Sehbai said, he could not allow a newspaper he edited to become the voice of any government for monetary considerations.

Dismissing “whatever other issues you have raised” as “childish and frivolous,” he said there was no point in discussing them.

Recounting management problems, Mr Sehbai also mentioned the “legal jugglery” employed to deprive contract workers of salary increases and the refusal to renew their contracts.

The episode was described in foreign media as a blow to claims of freedom of press in Pakistan. A spokesman for the government was said to have denied Mr Sehbai’s allegations.

At The News, no replacement has since been named.


In Washington we had formed a small group and regularly met at a restaurant that sort of replicated “Pak Tea House” of yesteryears of Lahore. Khalid was always at the centre stage of lively discussions on wide range of subjects there. In his dispatches to Pakistan, he called it “Kabab Masal” group after the name of the restaurant. We rotated chairmanship with every meeting. Several years ago when Shah Mahmood Qureshi came to Washington, it was Khalid’s turn to preside. He recalled his first meeting with him in Vienna while Qureshi was finance minister Punjab. “I had my gut reaction that he is a prime ministerial stuff”, Khalid said. Shaheen Sehbai mixed up this remark and attributed it to Qureshi himself in his report to Dawn. Qureshi was very upset and a clarification was made next day. I told Shaheen: “You have perhaps permanently destroyed Qureshi’s career in the PPP.’ When Ms.Bhutto named him as ARD’s candidate to the office in 2002, I recounted this episode to him in the presence of Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan. He was again in the reckoning when PPP won elections last year.


Nafisa Hoodbhoy [Former Correspondent of Daily Dawn - Courtesy: Online NewsHour -]

The Washington Post – Sunday, March 10, 2002; Page B01 Section: Outlook – Missing Links : There’s Much More To Daniel Pearl’s Murder Than Meets the Eye By Nafisa Hoodbhoy [INTERNET LINK IS DEAD -¬Found=true - Complete Text -] – Crackdown on Pakistani Press : A radio interview with Shaheen Sehbai.[Courtesy:]

AMHERST, Mass.–Nine days ago there was an alarming indication of upheaval in Pakistan — a crackdown on the press. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the government pressured the owner of an influential English language newspaper, the News, to fire four journalists. One of them, the paper’s editor, Shaheen Sehbai, said the trouble started after his newspaper reported a link between the prime suspect in the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and recent attacks on the Indian parliament in Delhi and in the Kashmiri capital, Srinagar.

Daniel Pearl - South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, was an American Jewish journalist who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in Karachi, Pakistan in 2002.

When Sehbai asked the paper’s owner to identify who wanted to sack them, Sehbai said he was told to see officials at the ISI, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Instead he resigned and left for the United States.


Group Editor of The News International, Mr Shaheen Sehbai
Now read the words of Mr Shaheen Sehbai in the light of his suddenly found 'concerns for the National Security of Pakistan' in connection with the Conditions of Kerry-Lugar Bill. Do note his language against the Pakistani Military Establishment in 2002.


Three weeks ago, I resigned as editor of Pakistan's most influential English daily, the News. My proprietor had directed me to apologize to the chiefs of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for my decision to publish details of a confessional statement by Omar Saeed Sheikh, the prime suspect in the abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. I was the first local journalist Danny contacted last year when he arrived in Karachi to cover Pakistan, and America's war against terror, the latest dimension of which was seen in Sunday's attack on a church in Islamabad.

Never lacking for audacity, the ISI first broke into our newsroom on Feb. 17 to detect our story on Sheikh, in which he linked the ISI directly to his involvement in last December's terrorist attacks on India's Parliament. With such embarrassing information coming from one of their own kind -- Sheikh had, after all, turned himself in for interrogation to his former ISI handler on Feb. 5, a week before Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, visited Washington -- the regime's principal information officer called me at 1 a.m. and demanded I pull the piece.

When his coercion failed, my proprietor in London was called. He tried to stop publication, but failed, and the next day the government pulled all its advertising -- accounting for over half our income -- in an effort to silence my paper completely. Then they asked the owner to sack me, as well as three other senior journalists.

I resigned rather than be part of a conspiracy to mislead Pakistan's people. Fearing for my safety -- and with the Pearl case fresh in mind -- I chose to join my family in Virginia and live to fight another day.

And fight we must. This media management is the first sign of where Gen. Musharraf's newly tactful ISI is headed. "Managing" politics and rigging October's elections are next on the agenda. There are signs that a political party is being put together to legitimize Gen. Musharraf as an all-powerful president, to stay in office well beyond any reasonable time-frame.

Games we have seen so many times are underway in Pakistan again. I'm not talking about cricket with India, but about an effort to manipulate the press, to usurp the right to fair elections, and to hide Islamists under a presentable wrap. (Only last week, Gen. Musharraf released most of the arrested Taliban activists and their fanatic leaders.)

The primary instrument of change in achieving this devil's pact is Gen. Musharraf's recasting of the ISI as a more docile institution, ostensibly purged of Islamist hard-liners and Taliban sympathizers. But buyers beware.

Another intelligence disaster now looms. Its similarities to the Zia days are remarkable. Gen. Musharraf, the military dictator of the day, is the new darling of the West fighting the new enemy in Afghanistan. Billions of American taxpayer dollars are again set to flow. A beautiful facade has been crafted for external consumption, on everything from press freedoms and elections to a corruption-free economy and an Islamist-free state. The reality is harshly different.

The ISI has been assigned the task of recruiting representatives for this effort. They are to cajole and coerce the press and politicians. Key leaders from the political parties of both former prime ministers -- Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif -- are being lined up for pre-approval. The Islamist role will be safeguarded by fundamentalist generals.

A full dress rehearsal of this methodology was carried out during the recently concluded countrywide polls for mayors and deputy mayors. Every city, big or small, had a pre-selected mayor. In Pakistan's military stronghold, Rawalpindi, ISI interference in seating a pre-approved candidate was so blatant that the non-political but highly compliant chamber of commerce president was "elected" mayor against better-known political stalwarts.

Pakistan has played crucial roles in two of the main victories of our era -- those over communism and terrorism. The first time, the West looked away while evil forces were born in our midst, destroying our culture and society. The moderate majority was silenced into submission until the world woke up on Sept. 11.

The warning signs are there again. America must invest its political and financial capital in institutions, not individuals. The American people and their elected representatives must not look the other way again. Freedom of the press is under siege. The promised return of democracy is being systematically compromised. American aid is being used to achieve dubious objectives. And the poor people of Pakistan, in defense of whom the ISI and Gen. Musharraf have made their last stand, may once again lose whatever is left of a country that can still be great. (By SHAHEEN SEHBAI )Courtesy: Pakistan Punch
Mr. Shaheen Sehbai, Group Editor, The News International - Jang Group of Newspapers is very fond of quoting Foreign Press particularly when Foreign Press [Pro Zionist] is negative on President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and PPP. Shaheen Sehbai while quoting The New York Times: “The problems in Afghanistan have only been compounded by the fragility of Mr. Obama’s partner in Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari, who is so weak that his government seems near collapse.” The Washington Post in a report by two correspondents said: “Zardari's political weakness is an additional hazard for a new bilateral relationship...The administration expects Zardari's position to continue to weaken, leaving him as a largely ceremonial president even if he manages to survive in office.” REFERENCE: Obama administration fears Zardari collapse WASHINGTON (Shaheen Sehbai)Updated at: 1525 PST, Monday, November 30, 2009 Obama administration fears Zardari collapse Updated at: 1525 PST, Monday,November 30, 2009

Should we believe Mr Shaheen Sehbai or his Editor in Chief Mir Shakil ur Rahman's Letter Addressed to Mr Shaheen Sehbai asking for his resign on filing Concocted Stories in The News International



Date: Fri, 01 Mar 2002 07:42:48 -0500

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

It is with great sorrow that I have to convey this bad news to you all today. I have resigned today as the Editor.

I am enclosing enclosing the correspondence with MSR which is self explanatory. I wish to thank you all for all the cooperation and respect that you extended to me during these 14 months as Editor. I will be available to each one of you as a friend at all times. Wishing you the best of luck and a great future. Shaheen Sehbai

Pl read on:


To: Mir Shakil ur Rehman, Editor-in-Chief, The News
From: Shaheen Sehbai, Editor, The News
Date: March 1, 2002
Subject: Reply to Memo dated Feb 28, 2002

With reference to your Memo dated Feb 28, I have been accused of policy violations starting from March 2001 until the publication on Feb 17 this year of the Kamran Khan story on Daniel Pearl case. I can obviously understand that these so-called �policy violations?are nothing but an excuse to comply with the Government demand to sack me, and three other senior journalists, as you told me in our meeting in your office on Feb 22. I feel sorry that you have to make such excuses. You could have given one hint that you wanted me to go and I would have quit immediately.

I understand that you, as owner of the Jang Group of Newspapers have been so intensely pressurized in the last about two weeks that you are no longer ready, or able, to withstand it. All government advertising of the Group has been unjustifiably suspended by the Government starting Monday, February 18, 2002, following the investigative story done in The News by our reporter, Kamran Khan. This story, as it appears now, was just an excuse to twist the neck of the Group because the same story appeared simultaneously in the Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune and not one point contained in it was denied or clarified by the Government. Instead they tightened the screw on the Jang Group, as it appeared to be the most vulnerable and within their reach. This has a very obvious, and sinister message, for the free Press in Pakistan: Get in line, or be ready for the stick.?I feel sorry that you have decided to get in line, but I cannot be a party to this decision.

You had informed me officially at a meeting in your office on Feb 22, 2002, at 10.15 p.m. that you have been given names of four journalists of The News? myself, Kamran Khan, Amir Mateen and a staffer in our Islamabad Bureau (probably Rauf Klasra as you did not name the 4th person), to be immediately sacked before the government advertisements could be restored. You also informed me that officials of the Information Ministry wanted me to improve my PR with them as they had been complaining that I was not available to them, which is basically not true. You told me to directly contact these officials and talk to them about restoring the advertisements of the Group. Mr Mahmud Sham, who later joined our meeting, had informed us that the Secretary Information had clearly stated that matters were beyond his capacity to resolve and that we have now to meet the ISI high ups.

As a matter of principle I refused to call, or meet, any of these government officials in a situation when the entire Group was being held hostage with a gun pointed at its head. I, however, conveyed to the Government, through Mr Sham, all the evidence that the policy of The News?was very balanced, in fact tilted, in favour of General Pervez Musharraf's government, not under any government pressure, but because some of the things he was doing were right and The News never hesitated to support any right step taken by the Government. At least 50 editorials and over 100 Op-Ed articles published in about 6 weeks were cited to show that The News had no bias against the government. Proof was also provided of how �The News? at times, went out of its way to accommodate government requests.

Apparently these argument have not satisfied the government and the pressure is continuing on you, as your Memo indicates. Whatever other issues you have raised are childish and frivolous and I would not waste my time discussing them. But one message that emerges is very clear --- I ran the newspaper as a very independent Editor, according to whatever I thought was objective, true and professionally sound journalism. I made the best use of the latest available computer technology to create a working environment in which the entire editorial staff was integrated in such a network that almost everyone was available to each other at all times. I interacted with all my staff on a personal, round the clock basis, no matter where I was located or traveling, even outside Pakistan. So the charge that I was not available to my staff is laughable as it shows how far removed you are from the ground situation.

Your complaint of lack of general improvement in The News?is also obviously an excuse to build some case against me under Government pressure. You never once complained of that before. In fact the ground reality is just the opposite. I successfully built a great team of reporters, editors and writers during the 14 months I have been the Editor. We achieved a lot in breaking major stories, including assumption of the office of the President by General Musharraf and corruption in various government departments including Social Action Programme (SAP) and Employees Old-age Benefit Institution (EOBI). The overwhelming impression that any newspaper of the Jang Group could not publish anything against its advertisers and commercial sponsors was removed by the investigative stories we did on PIA and other corporate organizations. The News became the most quoted newspaper abroad, not only for its stories but its editorial comments and opinions. The latest such quote was in the prestigious New York Times just three days ago. The Washington Post interviewed me last week as Editor of The News.

The real reasons for failure to bring about a real visible change in Karachi are known to you. For over a year now you have been sitting on all the plans, proposals and schemes, including a Vision Document prepared after months of hard work. The scheme to revamp all the magazines has been lying on your table for months. The designs and site plans to renovate the entire newspaper office on 4th and 5th floors has been gaining dust for months and the staff is forced to work with hundreds of cockroaches creeping on papers, computers, inside telephone sets and faxmachines. In fact I have been bogged down in these totally useless exercises for most of my time, hoping that you would find time and money to start implementing any of these detailed proposals for change and improvement. You have always been promising to launch these scheme within weeks, but that time never came. I am appalled at your audacity to accuse me of being responsible for not bringing any change while the fact is that you have always been complaining of the financial crunch?in the newspaper. You have stopped increments of all the staff and played legal jugglery with all the contract employees by refusing to renew their contracts or giving them salary increases.

Even despite that I continued to work 20 hours a day to improve the editorial content of the newspaper which has been appreciated and recognized by every one, including your senior Directors and Editors of sister publications in letters written to me. The readers, however, are the best judge.

Why you never raised any objection before, and why you are doing it now, is obvious --- the Government pressure is unbearable. This is not a happy omen.

Therefore, I have to convey this sad message to you, though I feel very content and satisfied that I have taken the right decision on the basis of principles. I have decided to resign from the Editorship of The News with immediate effect, rather than to submit to Government pressure and change the policy of the newspaper. Under my editorship, I will not allow the newspaper to become the voice of any government for monetary considerations. I had given my name, credibility and reputation to The News?and I prefer to protect these precious assets, rather than my job. But I will earnestly request you not to take any action against the other colleagues you have been asked to sack, as the ultimate responsibility of whatever appeared in the newspaper was mine, as Editor, and not theirs. They should be allowed to continue with their jobs. I wish, you, the newspaper and all of my colleagues a great future.

I hereby, resign from the editorship. Please accept my resignation today and remove my name from the print line of the newspaper as of tomorrow, Saturday, March 2, 2002. I would not be responsible for the contents of the newspaper as of tomorrow.

Best Regards

Shaheen Sehbai


To: Shaheen Sehbai, Editor, The News
From: MSR, Editor-in-Chief
Date: 2/28/02
Re: Violation of policy

I am constrained to bring to your notice several, and repeated, violation of editorial policies clearly understood between us. Infact, these policies have also been agreed in writing. On 26th March, 2001, you had published a one sided, incorrect and libelous article against Mr. Aittiazaz Bob Din, a well known businessman residing in the United States. Although Mr. Bob Din had cited person differences between the two of you, dating back to your stay in the United States, as the motive behind the unfounded allegations against him, I had disregarded this suggestion at that time and had judged the matter purely on merit. As you will recall, you were unable to substantiate the serious charges you had leveled against him. It was only through my personal apologies and the intervention of mutual acquaintances that we were able to dissuade Mr. Din from suing the News for defamation and libel.

On two different occasions, you published unfavourable articles about PIA, which were of uncertain veracity and did not contain their point of view, as a result of which they denounced these articles in a press conference, threatened to take legal action, suspended our advertisements and also stopped putting our papers on PIA flights. Needless to say, these measures hurt us financially, damaged our reputation and took a great deal of pacification to undo.

I would also refer to the written terms of our agreement at the time of your appointment under which you are required to discuss the top stories of the day and other important editorial matters with me and seek the Editor-in-chiefs point of view and verdict on contentious issues? To my recollection, you have never deemed it fit to consult me on any matter. In this connection, I would further like to refer to our meeting on the eve of Eid in which group Editor Daily Jang was also present and we discussed the fallout of the story printed a few days earlier in the News ( again without consulting me, I might add ) which was perceived to be damaging to our national interest and elicited severe reaction by the Government. It had been agreed that we would contact relevant Government functionaries and arrange to meet with them to discuss the issue and also convey our point of view. Regrettably, you chose not to go to Islamabad and attend the meeting even though this had been clearly agreed. You even rebuffed senior Government officials who contacted you on the phone by hanging up on them. Sham Sahib and I left several messages with your assistant but again, you chose not to take or return our calls.

I would also like to take this opportunity to point out again, that it is a frequent complaint that you do not interact with people. Not only have senior Government officials protested that you are inaccessible to them, but even your own staff complains that you are hardly available for meetings, guidance and discussions.

I must convey my disappointment to you at all these issues, as I must convey my disappointment with the lack of general progress in the improvement of the News. The number of mistakes and blunders being committed, failure to follow agreed journalistic ethics - as pointed out to you from time to time by EMD have all resulted in financial set backs as well as loss of credibility for the News. I have only recounted some of the problems besetting the Jang group. It is quite evident that matters are not proceeding as we had agreed. However, before I make up my mind, I would like to hear your point of view.

I look forward to hearing from you about the serious issues that I have raised above and any solutions that you may propose.

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman


REFERENCE: Why Are We Killing Ourselves? Anas Malik March 2, 2002

Journalism for people or for self-interests - Part - 4 (Apna Gareban Matiullah Jan DAWNNEWS)


Mr Shaheen Sehbai, the Group Editor, The News International (Jang Group of Newspapers) had written in the year 2000 that, "Every one in the present morally, intellectually and financially depleted Pakistan --the print media and its well-entrenched "gurus" among the foremost --- is shouting from the roof top for accountability of every one else.Yet no one has seriously demanded, nor does any one appear to be contemplating, any accountability of the media itself. The peers, naturally those who come out unscathed and "clean", should sit down to formulate lists of those who have been publicly demonstrating a lack of intellectual, moral and professional integrity. Big names like Minhaj Barna, Mushahid Hussain, Maleeha Lodhi, Wajid Shamsul Hassan, Nazir Naji, Ataul Haq Qasmi, Ayaz Amir, Hussain Haqqani, Irshad Ahmed Haqqani, Najam Sethi, Nasim Zehra, Jamiluddin Aali and many others who sought or accepted political, diplomatic or government jobs, or joined political parties as activists, should be asked to explain why they did not quit journalism to do so and why they continued to use the profession to get, keep or regain lucrative jobs or positions of power. How do they retain, or claim to retain, their objectivity and credibility, once they have demonstrated their political ambitions. In the least they should have apologised to the profession". REFERENCE: Who will Bell the Bad, Fat Cats? by Shaheen Sehbai January 5, 2000 Shaheen Sehabi on the Accountability of Media/Press.

This article is in response to Mr Shaheen Sehbai's Who will bell the bad, fat cats?. [Shaheen Sehbai January 5, 2000 The author would like to clarify that it is not a personal attack, but an attempt to question the ideas and personal allegations expressed in the above article. In the words of the author, What proof did Mr Sehbai offer that the 12 people mentioned in the article had become millionaire(s) overnight and that the wealth they allegedly earned was unlawful? "Who will bell the bad, fat cats?"

This is a model piece of journalism i.e. it "reflects superficial thought and research, a popular slant and hurried distinguished from scholarly writing."(Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language).

We all live in the proverbial glass house. Of course, anyone may decide if and when to cast the first stone. You have recklessly exercised that option.

It is one thing to "measure" someone by a "yardstick". However, it is downright cruel to flog people publicly with what you may misguidedly characterize as a "yardstick".

You refer to Minhaj Barna as "the once-revered...who led the trade union movement of journalists... (but) accepted so petty, temporary and at times demeaning jobs that the entire profession could only hang its head in shame...."

Barna Saheb is still revered!

What is a "petty" and "demeaning" job? Did he put an honest day's work in whatever job he held? Was he qualified for the job, no matter how petty and demeaning?

It is better to do a demeaning job than to demean the job one does.

The "entire profession" of journalism ought to have hung its head in shame not because Barna Saheb allegedly sought and accepted "demeaning jobs" but because he had to do so. He did so much for this "entire profession" and yet none of its self- proclaimed vigilantes came to his rescue in his old age and in his time of need.

What do you want? Journalists of "integrity" should murder their families and then commitsuicide in their twilight years simply to please hypocrites among their ranks?

Without responsibilities, we are all capable of being very bold. It is the welfare of those whom welove that makes us stoop--sometime to our own disliking.

There is no such thing as objective and/or independent journalism.

Let me give you an insight into the proper use of analogies because an analogy contains the genetic map, so to speak, showing you exactly the nature of the beast.

Media is called a watchdog, correct?

The analogy of a watchdog tells us that it is definitely "owned" to protect certain specific interests. A watchdog is always on a leash. The owners must ensure that the dog doesn't relieve itself on the property of others just because it perceives itself as an "independent dog"!

The watchdog is supposed to bark only at strangers and outsiders. If it barks at the owners or at fellow dogs, it becomes an irritation--not to be tolerated indefinitely. The day it bites or attempts to bite, it is put to sleep. For the time being, I am leaving your subtleties alone. But tell me, since when has someone trying "to please a Washington" has required observers to send a reference to the Journalistic Accountability Bureau (JAB)?

You are from Peshawar. Be understanding of the fundamental human right that "Har Bandey Nu'n Dil Peshauri Karan Da Hukk Hai" (Sorry folks, this cannot be translated).

As for taking photographs at a farewell dinner or at the airport, let me say that "parting is such sweet sorrow" that I don't blame anyone for preserving it on the film for pure academic pleasure later on. You accuse "stalwarts of the profession" of "waiting outside the offices of petty bureaucrats" to "get an extension of their foreign assignment".

Every journalist is not fortunate enough to have an unabashed practitioner of nepotism as an uncle at a major newspaper. Please understand that God Almighty did not allow us to choose our parents. The same goes about uncles! So, don't rub it in! The Pakistani "journalists" living or stationed here (in the West)have no right to judge their distant peers who live and practice journalism in a totally different environment. The only exception would be those who come out in public moaning and groaning about being victimized.

We do not need an Altaf Hussain of journalism in United States!

If you wish to hold peers accountable, a proper way is to evaluate their work and products. This can be done by taking specific stories and columns and measuring them with the "yardstick"of journalistic and linguistic principles. This may be done in a "media watch" type of column.

Journalism for people or for self-interests - Part - 5 (Apna Gareban Matiullah Jan DAWNNEWS)


Using your own approach, of suspecting the motives (the hidden agendas), please consider this (and correct me, if I am wrong): The is a business for profit web-site owned by you and/or your immediate family. You have advertisers who sponsor on the basis of "traffic" to the web-site. Your advertising rate also depends on the number of people who visit. Please answer these questions, if you have any respect whatsoever for your own "credibility", if any, and "integrity", if any:

1) Are you losing your main source of income (DAWN Correspondent) in near future and, therefore, need to boost your income from other sources (like your web-site business)?

2) Have your web-site revenues fallen to a point where advertisers may withdraw unless you boost the traffic?

3) Or, you already have or plan to ask the advertisers to increase their rates because of the purported or anticipated increased traffic to your web site (as a result of this reckless attack on the professional integrity of your peers and others)?

It is this last possibility that disturbed me enough to oppose your approach. You may continue this disconcerting approach simply to maintain traffic to your web-site. By wilfully using a "popular slant" (see para three) you may be trying to increase your income at the expense of other peoples' reputations. This sort of attack is not protected by First Amendment, to the best of my belief.

Please consult your lawyers (if it is Maggio & Kattar, please show it to them for your own sake, please). I give unsolicited advice only when I believe that irreparable harm could be caused to someone, if I (temporarily or forever) held both my peace and piece! The added controversy that may follow my response, may help you in the short-run, increasing "traffic" to your web-site. Perhaps, you used the term yardstick only as a figure of speech. It is one nasty instrument in real life. It is 36 inches long, it is very stiff and, if applied ruthlessly, it causes unbearable pain. This is why the prudent amongst us do not ask for it!

Nayyar Zaidi is a Washington-based writer and commentator on South Asian and Islamic affairs. He has been a subject matter expert for CNN since 1986 and has also appeared on major networks like CBS, ABC, PBS. REFERENCES: Only A Rat Asks Who Will Bell The Cat! Nayyar Zaidi January 27, 2000 MORE DETAILS: GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 1
GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 2
GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 3
GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 4
GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 5
GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 6

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