Saturday, February 13, 2010

Jang Group Advertisement: Bribery, Blackmailing, & 12 OCT 1999 Military Coup.

Isn't it strange that whenever there is a Political Turmoil in Pakistan, the Jang Group of Newspapers is always at Centre Stage and from 1988 onwards behind every Political Instability the Jang Group and its senior correspondent Mr Kamran Khan always played a very dirty role particularly against every Democratically Elected Government. History is as under in the light of latest news/columns filed/relayed through their news network. To refresh the memory of everybody it is to be noted here that before Musharraf's Martial Law of 12 Oct 1999, Jang Group played a very dirty role against the Elected Government of Mr Nawaz Sharif. Keep in mind the prises of Mr Kamran Khan for Senator Saifur Rehman while reading the history of Kamran Khan/Jang Group's Campaign against Senator Saifur Rehman just before the Martial Law of 1999. As per an "Allegedly Famous Investigative GEO TV Program" Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath –24 th November 2009 [Video ], Mr. Kamran Khan, Senior Correspondent for GEO TV/THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL & Daily Jang, continuously insisted while discussing NRO with Wajid Shamsul Hasan [Pakistan's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom] that corruption cases registered against Asif Ali Zardari for were genuine and Senator Saifur Rehman [Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz - & Former Undeclared Adivosr to General Musharraf] really and genuinely worked hard on these cases. What a shame for The Jang Group of Newspapers which was ruthlessly persecuted by the same Senator Saifur Rehman during 1999 and more shameful is this that the same Kamran Khan and Jang Group of Newspaper had filed stories after stories against Senator Saifur Rehman's Corruption and Violation of Rules and Law regarding Press Freedom.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009, Zil'Hajj 07, 1430 A.H [page 4]

KARACHI: The single bench of Sindh High Court (SHC) comprising Justice Ameer Hani Muslim has issued a stay order in a case filed by the Jang Group’s Independent Newspapers Corporation Limited (INCL) against the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), ordering the bank not to take any action against the INCL. The INCL said in its petition that a letter issued by the NBP on December 30, 2009 was an act of political revenge and that this action was being taken on pressure from the high ups running financial matters of the government. The petition said such an action was against not only the prevalent principles and traditions of the banking industry, but also freedom of press and freedom of expression guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan. “Because as a result of this an attempt is being made to financially strangle newspapers of the Jang Group and channels of the Geo Network, so that the Group could be stopped from presenting facts about corruption and irregularities of the government, especially details of President Asif Ali Zardari’s alleged corruption whose cases were withdrawn from Swiss courts, interference in judicial matters, and the non-implementation of the Supreme Court verdicts against the NRO and other matters. It is worth mentioning that a ban has been imposed on the official advertisements of the Group, besides strict actions are being taken by other government departments. In this regard, Jang and Geo Group have already filed several cases on these matters that are being heard in courts. The INCL has filed a case against the NBP on February 11, 2010. In this case, the SHC, issuing a stay order, stopped the National Bank from any action against the INCL. REFERENCE: Jang Group faces action for raising Zardari corruption By our correspondent SHC stays NBP action against INCL Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010, Safar 28, 1431 A.H [page 1]

Saturday, February 13, 2010, Safar 28, 1431 A.H [page 3]

Saturday, February 13, 2010, Safar 28, 1431 A.H [page 4]


Cassette exposes govt's assault on press

KARACHI: Editor-in-Chief of Jang Group of Newspapers Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on Thursday said that after victimising his group by freezing its accounts, seizing newsprint and serving income tax notices, the government was now preparing anti-state cases against him. Addressing a crowded press conference at the Karachi Press Club, Mir Shakil said that there would not be any problem for the Jang Group if he bowed before the PML government, instead of publishing the truth. The editor-in-chief said that the PML government had attempted to create an impression that the action against the Jang Group of Newspapers was an administrative affair because of income tax issues and misuse of newsprint quota. But every government action taken against his group was to stop printing of those news items, which would go against the interest of the prime minister, his business concerns and his family, he added. Flanked by senior journalists Z A Sulehri, Irshad Ahmad Haqqani, Maleeha Lodhi and Kamila Hayat, Mir Shakil said that he was under tremendous pressure from Ehtesab Bureau chief Saifur Rahman, who was out to victimise the Jang Group of Newspapers for not bowing before his whims.During the press conference, Mir Shakil also played an audio cassette on which some of his talks with Senator Saifur Rahman, Information Minister Mushahid Hussain and senior journalist Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shami, who played the mediator's role, were recorded.

Thursday, July 22, 2010, Shaban 09, 1431 A.H






The cassette also included the following dialogue between Mir Shakil and Senator Saifur Rahman: "Mir Shakil: The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has given verdict in our favour. "Saif: This was because of our leniency. We did not give him (chairman of the tribunal) the instructions. If we had given him the instructions, even his father could not have given that decision." Regarding the character of IT Tribunal Chairman Mujibullah Siddiqui, Mir Shakil said that he was an honest officer and had enjoyed enviable reputation for his integrity. This was a fact endorsed by senior lawyers, who had come to hear Mir Shakil's press conference. During the recorded meetings, Senator Saif and Information Minister Mushahid Hussain were heard demanding favours from the Jang Group on policies regarding the governor's rule in Sindh, the Shariah Bill and the economic policies. The government functionaries were heard as saying that 14 people on senior positions both in the Jang and The News should be removed. The journalists included Maleeha Lodhi, Kamila Hayat, Irshad Ahmad Haqqani, Mahmood Sham, Kamran Khan, Abid Tahami, Marghoob, Khawar, Aftab Iqbal and others. The government also demanded that such journalists should be replaced by people who could favour the government's policies. The government had divided the unfavourable journalists into 'A' and 'B' categories. Raising objections on the reports of investigative reporter Kamran Khan, Saif said during the meetings the government had secured assurances from the ISI about him and he should be controlled by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Former Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan, Syed Sajjad Ali Shah narrating details as to how Mian Nawaz Sharif and PML - N had attacked the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1997.
Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 1

Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 2

Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 3

Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 4

Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 5

The government team also accused the Jang Group of spreading hatred among the masses against the ruling party. They demanded that telephonic surveys on national issues should not be conducted by newspapers. Mir Shakil said that because of restrictions on newsprint supply, the Jang Group was facing hardships in bringing out its daily newspapers. "Despite clearance from the Customs authorities, 2,000 reels of paper have not been released todate. Because of this problem, from Saturday, daily Jang will print only six pages and The News will bring out 10 pages," he added. Mir Shakil said: "All our bank accounts have been seized. The personal accounts of mine and my mother have also been seized. Yesterday (Wednesday) when my brother gave statement in our favour, his account in the United Bank Ltd, Al-Rahman Branch, was also seized."

The editor-in-chief said that the Supreme Court was moved against the injustices meted out by the PML government. "It was a remarkable thing that this step was taken by us in the country," he added. Mir Shakil said reports were received that anti-state cases were being prepared against him. He said: "The government is making all out attempts that the issue should not be construed as one of 'press freedom' and 'freedom of expression'. I am afraid that something terrible is in the making. I also fear for my life." He said he would prove whatever published in the Jang Group of Publications was the truth. "Whatever we published was also covered by other newspapers, but only our group was being targeted. I don't care whatever they will do with me. I will prove each and everything on the basis of logic and facts. Whatever we published, it is our job to prove it. And what the government said, it is their responsibility to prove it," Mir Shakil remarked. The editor-in-chief said that the government's actions were based on malicious intentions and were taken with 'unfair mind'. According to the tape-recorded message, Senator Saifur Rahman said that the income tax and other legal notices would be withdrawn and government advertisements would be released, if the Jang Group supported the government's policies. Mir Shakil said: "There was a time when I got confused. I thought about my life, my family, my organisation and about my 4,000 workers and their families. It is very difficult to stand before the state power. Some people advised me to bow down and accept the government's conditions to save the institutions. But there were also people who advised me to stand for the truth."

BBC Documentary on Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Corruption

Regarding a story which was published in daily Observer of London and reproduced in Pakistan by a number of newspapers but could not be covered by the Jang because of pressure from the government, the editor-in-chief said: "I felt sorry for it. In the market economy, it is very difficult to survive, if one is not in the competition." Mir Shakil said: "The government did too much against us and is still doing a lot. The organisation of newspaper owners -- the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) -- and the association of editors -- the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) -- also intervened into the matter. But under the given circumstances, the Jang Group had to take decisions which were not recommended by the APNS and the CPNE. But they are with us. There is also a resolution from them in our favour."

The editor-in-chief said that the situation was in the Jang Group's favour. "We were not involved in selling imported newsprint quota in the market. We did not avoid payment of income tax. We did not publish stories which were incorrect," he added. Without giving names of other newspaper organisations involved in selling newsprint quota, Mir Shakil said the government was not taking any action against them. The editor-in-chief said that when he addressed a press conference in August 1998, some newspapers played a nasty role. "They propagated that there was a deal between the government and the Jang Group. But that was not true. If there was any deal and if that was any administrative matter, then why the ban was imposed on releasing public sector advertisements to us," he added. Mir Shakil said: "I did not leave any stone unturned to resolve the issue. I went from pillar to post. I wrote a letter to Abbaji, the father of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but to no avail. The government's action against the Jang Group began in August 1998, when income and wealth tax cases of the group's various companies and directors, previously being dealt by different Income Tax (IT) circles, were pooled in one circle. This circle is renowned as a branch of the Ehtesab Bureau in the IT Department where cases of those politicians are dealt, against whom the government has decided to take any action." Referring to a television programme telecast the previous night on the PTV, Mir Shakil said that it was a one-sided propaganda. "If there is democracy, then versions of both the sides should be presented and then experts will decide what is right and what is wrong. This is the policy of the Jang Group to give views of all concerned parties. We have printed complete view of the government's side also in our newspapers," he remarked. REFERENCE: Mir Shakil says govt preparing anti-state cases against him; fears for his life; 'our organisation is being destroyed'; audio cassette of talks with Saif, Mushahid played during crowded press conference; journalists flabbergasted By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: While admitting to having issued 'instructions' to the Jang Group on almost all the points mentioned in the advertisement "War on Jang" published by the group on Monday , chairman Ehtesab Bureau Saifur Rehman categorically declined to swear an oath at Faisal Mosque about his role in taming the press. He, however, denied that at any point of time he had asked the Jang Group administration to sack 16 journalists and replace them with "our people." Visibly disturbed over publication of an advertisement carrying his photograph and facts about issuing diktat to country's largest group of newspapers, Saif said he would not be apologetic about issuing directives on certain matters to the Jang Group, as his boss, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, wanted the national press to support him and his policies. He was addressing a press conference on Monday at his office following a national seminar "The Government and the Press--Face toFace" organised by the Jang Group on the occasion of seventh death anniversary of its founder, Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman. Mr Saif was accused of issuing the following diktat: sack 16 journalists and replace them with our people! If your journalists do not behave, let me know. I have the right medicine for them. I can have them picked up. Or else...; don't print anything against Shariah Bill (CA-15); judicial system is to be changed, support us on the cases where the courts are ruling against us. Also on Karachi situation. Or else...; do not print anything regarding the ruling family's loans, tax arrears, business and private affairs! Or else...; We will expect your unconditional support on issues as well and we will give you directions whenever such support is required. Or else...

Senator Saif also issued two documents about the Jang Group's allegation: Facts and Fictions; and Facts on Jang/News Group vilification campaign against Senator Saif-ur Rehman Khan. In these two documents, he has repeated what he or the government has been saying for long. The Jang Group and chief editor of Jang/The News, Mir Shakil-ur Rehman, has already termed it a "pack of lies." Declining to accept the challenge to swear an oath at the Faisal Mosque, Mr Saif gave a counter-proposal involving family members of Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman to swear an oath at the grave of founder of Jang Group, Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman, to prove each others' allegations and counter-allegations. "Its not a war on Jang but a simple case of tax evasion, and we will press ahead with it," threatened Rehman adding "it is not a problem between the government and the press, as he has unearthed cases of tax evasion by the Jang Group."

He said the Jang Group has made it an issue after the income tax department moved against it. "The government has not accepted the demands of the group, despite meetings between the two-member government team and a delegation of APNS," he added. He said the Jang Group was asked to to "behave" in order to strengthen government's hands in its endeavour to reform society and enforce Shariah. "We have told them not to publish negative stories, as it creates stir in the masses and hits the stock market." Rehman, who claimed that nothing wrong and illegal was done against the group, said some stories published in the newspapers of the Jang Group had created problems for the government, and even on Eidul Fitr one story carrying predictions of somebody was an attempt to provoke the people of Karachi. He said the government would welcome "healthy and constructive criticism", and not the stories which created problems for the government. "We have done nothing wrong." We are pursuing cases of corruption and catching the big fish, in line with prime minister's directives to uproot corruption. "The group has to pay around Rs2. 6 billion in taxes and duties. We have done our work on merit." When asked, he said concession could be granted to the Jang Group by pending recovery of taxes from 6 to 7 months, but the group should cooperate with the government. "The Jang Group is pursuing a political agenda to evade taxes." He also claimed that some accounts of the group were unfrozen for paying salaries to the employees, and newsprint was released from time to time. He said the Jang Group has launched 5-day advertisement campaign against the government at a cost of around Rs15 million. "There will be no use of fighting with us. We should settle it through negotiations," said Rehman, "We have not yet conducted any raid, but because of the power we have, raids can be conducted on the Jang Group."

He said his efforts to uproot corruption and arrest those involved in corruption have been successful as, so far, he has traced Rs2,000 crore of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari in foreign banks. "We expected these people to criticise us, but we will continue to do it." Senator Rehman said it was not his problem but he was dragged in because of tax evasion. "The tax evasion cases are only against the Jang Group and nobody else." He said he found no solid reason of launching a campaign against him. "The Jang Group can exercise its legal option if it thinks the government has done anything wrong." He also objected to publication of a story from a British paper about alleged purchase of property by the prime minister in London. He stressed the need for a Press Council to look into all such cases. "The media is extremely powerful, but we have taken on them in some cases for which notices have already been served." REFERENCE: Saif admits to pressuring Jang group Vows to pursue cases of tax evasion By our correspondent

RAWALPINDI: The journalist unions of the country have condemned alleged victimisation of Jang Group by the government and termed the action as detrimental to the freedom of press. Reacting to the ongoing tussle between the government and the Jang group, the office bearers of various journalist unions dubbed the campaign as tantamount to clipping wings of the press and vowed not to desist from any step to ensure its freedom. Shafi-ud-Din Ashraf, Central Chairman, All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC), said in a statement on Tuesday that nobody, including the rulers, had any right to put pressure on newspapers about publishing or otherwise of news reports. He said the admission by Ehtesab Bureau chief Senator Saif-ur-Rehman that he had asked Jang to publish and not to publish certain news reports tantamount to open interference in the freedom of press and and is a form of press advice. He said newspaper workers had made a very long struggle to gain freedom of press, and now no ruler will be allowed to sabotage this freedom. He said as far as the issue of tax between the government and the Jang Group is concerned it should be resolved honestly and in a transparent manner, according to the law and Constitution. Muhammad Zakir Ansari, Chairman, All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC) Karachi, said Chief of Ehtesab Bureau, Senator Saif has no role in the affairs of newspapers and neither he has any constitutional role in this connection. He added the pressure in connection with actions relating to Income Tax and Customs makes the whole matter further non-transparent. Zakir Ansari said the admission by Saif of having made telephone calls to get news published in favour of the government is a form of press advice. Wirasat Hussain, President and Afzal Baloch, General Secretary, respectively, of the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ), said putting pressure on newspapers to publish or not to publish any news in any case negates the freedom of press.

LAHORE: PTI chief Imran Khan meets PAI president Tahar-ul-Qadri at a seminar organised by Mir Khail-ur-Rehman Memorial Society, on Tuesday. --The News photo They said the statement of Saif-ur-Rehman, chief of the Ehtesab Bureau, that he gave instructions to the Jang Group to strengthen the hands of the prime minister was interference in the freedom of press. They said he has no right to issue such instructions. They appealed to All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) not to leave a member of theirs alone as if today the government has this attitude with Jang, tomorrow it can adopt the same with other newspapers. Therefore, the APNS should unitedly face the pressure and aggression, they said.

The Karachi Union of Journalists (Dastoori) also strongly condemned the pressure on newspapers by Saif-ur-Rehman to publish news in favour of the government and giving dictation to newspapers. KUJ President Rashid Aziz, Secretary General Suhail Afzal and other KUJ office-bearers, in a joint statement, termed the government action against Jang as the worst from of revenge. The KUJ leaders said at this crucial juncture the journalists' community expresses its complete solidarity with the Jang Group, and pledges to make every sacrifice for the freedom of press. The office-bearers of Peshawar Press Club vehemently denounced government action and resolved to brave 'black-mail and threats' at every level. All journalists and representative bodies are with the Jang Group in its battle for the freedom of press, President Peshawar Press Club added.

The Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) also lent its countenance to the Jang Group and expressed profound concern over 'Chairman Ehtesab Bureau's campaign against it'. The KhUJ office bearers said it was shocking to learn that Senator Saifur Rehman, was pressurising income tax department to take action against Jang Group. Directives by the Ehtesab Bureau Chairman to newspapers to publish pro-government news reports is regrettable that Saifur Rehman himself admitted the same. "After this, it is not possible for the torchbearers of freedom of press to remain silent," the office bearers added. President of KhUJ (Dastoor Group) dubbed the action as detrimental to freedom of press as envisaged by the Constitution of Pakistan. He said Saifur Rehman's confession in this regard was a negation of the government's claims of upholding the press freedom.

Lahore Press Club president Syed Saqlain Imam Wasti has condemned the government's strong-arm tactics against the Jang Group of Newspapers. In a statement Tuesday, he said it was open intervention in the freedom of press. He said hostility against print-media in a democratic setup was regrettable. He said the onslaught against the press was being spearheaded by a man who neither knew a word about politics nor had any respect for journalism. He warned the government to refrain from such tactics as the journalist community knew how to defend itself. Punjab Union of Journalists Secretary General I H Rashid also blasted the government for victimising the press. He said the press wouldn't allow any kind of intervention in its affairs and no government official should try to meddle in the affairs of press. Speakers at the seminar 'The government and the press -- face to face' organised by the Mir Khalilur Rahman Memorial Society in Lahore on Tuesday, to mark the seventh death anniversary of the founding editor of the Jang Group of publications, termed the government's pressure on Jang Group as undemocratic and un-Islamic.

They strongly condemned the government for its negative attitude towards the national press and asked the rulers to fulfil their electoral promise of press freedom and resolve all the issues with the Group through negotiations. Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) chairman and PAI president Prof Tahir ul Qadri condemned the government for what he called stifling the voice of press. He said the freedom of speech was the first basic right guaranteed by Islam and democracy, but the government was bent upon usurping this basic freedom. He alleged the government was demolishing all pillars of state one by one. He said after taming judiciary and the armed forces, the government was now after the press. He warned if this last pillar fell then the survival of the opposition forces would be threatened. He said Islam had taught the faithful to stand by the truth in the face of worst opposition and quoted a Hadith that said, "to speak truth in front of an oppressive ruler is the best of jehads."

Citing Quranic verses, he said the obedience to The Almighty and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was absolute and unconditional but all other obedience including that to the rulers was conditional to their own obedience to Quran and Sunnah. Maulana Qadri cited the first address of the first Caliph Hazrat Abubakar (RA), who directed the people to obey him only when he himself was obeying Quran and Sunnah and to check and correct him whenever he strayed from the right path. Qadri also cited examples from Islamic history when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) changed his decisions as majority of Muslims were against them. He criticised the 13th, 14th and 15th constitutional amendments saying the voices of the President and Parliamentarians were gagged through these changes and attempts were being made to pass Shariah Bill so that an Islamic cover could be given to the dictatorial policies.

Chief of Pakistan Tehrike Insaf Imran Khan came down hard on the government, and said that all the governments who came to power after independence always tried to suppress the freedom of thought. He said the first ever Islamic war was fought because one group wanted to suppress the freedom of thought, and that Islam has reached its zenith in all fields when freedom of though was allowed. He said the most dangerous thing was that every ruler wanted to curb freedom of thought instead of promoting it for the sake of the country's development. About Ehtesab, he said credibility was a vital ingredient if it was to be carried out successfully. He also raised the question of why Ehtesab Chief Senator Saif-ur-Rehman, responsible for the accountability process, had engaged himself in so many other tasks, such as calling up newspapers to seek support for the government, as he had himself said he had done.

Imran said majority of the people was corrupt due to the system and corrupt were ruling the country while those who should be in power were hiding in fear. He said there was dire need of strong institutions and the press was the last one fighting for its survival. Irshad Ahmed Haqqani, delivering the opening speech at the seminar, said the reaction of Jang Group was due to the wrong policies of the government regarding the press. The step was taken by the group in self-defence as it never wanted to start any conflict with any institution of state. Haqqani said the freedom of press was equal to that of personal freedom and press freedom and democratic freedom were different parts of the same picture. The government can exert more pressure on Jang Group regarding paper quota, advertisements but nobody can deny the rights of the press. He asked both press and the government to refrain from taking steps which could lead to a conflict. He asked the government to review its policy and stop victimising the Group. Columnist Abdul Qadir Hassan said conflict between the press and government started on the day the government was formed. He said, "if both the government and press join hands then who will take care of the people." In his view the Jang Group has bigger mandate than that of the government as it was publishing newspapers for general public. He said Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil never asked him to write columns in favour or against the government whatever he wrote was published as it was. He added sensible rulers never began any conflict with the press as it were the rulers who suffered in such wars.

Chief Justice (retd) Dr Nasim Hassan Shah, who chaired the seminar, said that constitution of the country fully allowed freedom to press and if any government put any bar on it, it would be taking an unconstitutional step. He said after five decades the same situation had surfaced again which was not at all a good trend. He said some newspapers published news without any authentic proofs which was very bad on their part and they should refrain from publishing such reports in future. He praised the services of Mir Khalilur Rehman for the newspaper industry. Renowned columnist Munnoo Bhai said it was unwise of a government enjoying heavy mandate to gag press freedom. He said the outcome of wrestling against a democratic institution would be disastrous for the government. He criticised Senator Saifur Rehman for following an agenda to consolidate the rule of the Sharifs instead of conducting Ehtesab.

He quoted Mir Khalil ur Rehman,"the basic responsibility of the press is to look after the right of the people to know the facts." He said the basic problem of the country was that one per cent minority was occupying the 99 per cent resources which must be removed in order to make the country prosperous. Chief Editor of Daily Pakistan and president, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Mujeebur Rehman Shami, said the loyalty of journalists was to the nation, its ideology and the country, but not to the government. He recalled that never in the history of the subcontinent had any government emerged victorious out of a conflict with the press.

He said Senator Saifur Rehman was trespassing his mandate under Ehtesab Act because it empowered him to investigate into the matters of politicians and government officers only and the press or newspapers were nowhere mentioned in it. He said different agencies were there to investigate into the 'illegal activities' of the newspapers. Jamil Athar, Editor of Daily Tijarat, underlined the immediate need for developing an environment of tolerance and justice in the country so that it could be taken out of the current crises. Najam Sethi, Editor of English weekly The Friday Times, regretted this was the first time that any major newspaper group had initiated the idea to bring the government and the press face to face. He pointed out the cudgels should be taken up for every newspaper, and not only when a major group was in trouble. He however lambasted the government's assault on press freedom. He said when the rulers were in power they disliked the press and when the same people were in opposition they wanted press support. He said he was very happy to learn that Jang Group had stood against the government and this was the only way out of the present crisis. He said the day was not far away when the prime minister himself would visit the residence of Mir Shakil and say sorry to him for his wrong doings against Jang Group, as he had after carrying out similar vindictive action against both himself and his wife, Jugnu Mohsin, in retaliation against material being carried in their weekly.

Earlier, president of the society, Dr Hassan Rizvi gave a brief introduction of the topic of the seminar. The speakers at a similar seminar in Islamabad assured their support to the Jang Group in the present row with the government for the cause of press freedom. The speakers were unanimous in saying that the present conflict was a bad precedent in the history of the country's journalism. "If the government succeeded in overcoming the group, then the newspaper may be the first one but not the last," the speakers feared. They asked the government to resolve the present controversy and recalled that even the martial law regimes had failed to pressure the journalists. Tuesday's programme was the second leg of the seminar organised to commemorate the seventh death anniversary of Mir Khalilur Rehman at a local hotel. Law Minister Khalid Anwar failed to show up in the seminar for reasons best known to him.

This time the speakers included Editor-in-Chief of The Pakistan Observer Zahid Malik, MQM leader Sheikh Liaquat Hussain, Editor of Jang Shorish Malik, Editor of Al-Akhbar Ghulam Akbar, Editor of Ausaf Hamid Mir, Editor of Kainat Mohsin Raza, President of Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (Dastoor) Zafar Mahmood Malik, Vice President of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) C R Shamsi and Chairman Jang Executive Committee Rana Tahir Mahmood. Zahid Malik insisted that they should always keep the national interest above all considerations. He appealed to the journalists to exercise their freedom to the optimum level by upholding truth which was also guaranteed in the Constitution. They should also not forget the national interest because they did not enjoy unfettered freedom, he maintained. "Press is not a sacred cow and national interest should dictate its agenda or policies," Zahid Malik insisted. He said the bodies like the APNS and the CPNE, publishers and editors, were with the Jang Group and would continue to support them because it was a common cause involving the press freedom. Such organisations, he said, would play their role for the amicable resolution of the conflict. About the Karachi situation, he supported Saifur Rehman, saying one should not forget that some time back, terrorists were on the rampage there.

The MQM's Sheikh Liaquat Hussain assured support to the Jang Group on behalf of his party, suggesting that his party had always raised its voice for the press freedom. He was optimistic that the days were not far away when the journalist community would succeed and the Jang would continue to serve the people in the same fashion as it was doing now. Sheikh Liaquat said that the government was responsible for all acts of terrorism, especially in Punjab, and claimed that no one had, in the recent years, heard of any sectarian violence in Karachi. He also unleashed severe criticism against the prime minister and asked Chairman of Ehtesab Bureau Saifur Rehman to tell the source from which he established his business concern in Dubai. Shorish Malik asked the government to solve the problem with open-heartedness as the people of Pakistan would be the ultimate losers in the final round. At the same time, the newspapers should also keep the sanctity of words and truth at all costs without any fear or favour, he added. Ghulam Akbar recalled the era of Ayub Khan when there was a lot of repression on the journalists. He quoted the example of a newspaper, Kohistan, which collapsed due to the government pressure. Hamid Mir demanded across-the-board accountability against politicians, newspapers and editors of different newspapers instead of victimising alone the Jang Group on tax evasion charges. He said Mir Shakil was lucky in a sense that all working journalists were with him. Mohsin Raza asked senior editors of different newspapers to play their part to end this controversy and said a group could not fight for its cause alone and others should also come for its rescue. REFERENCE: Journalists unions, press workers slam Saif for press advice Qadri condemns rulers for trying to stifle voice of press; had judiciary been independent Jang would not have had to face such problems: Imran; Constitution guarantees Press freedom: Justice Shah; politicians, editors back Jang Group; By our correspondents

Punishment For Telling The Truth A Tale of Vendetta and Intimidation What we published:

1. Deteriorating law and order situation (July 1998).

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

3. Traders refuse to pay GST (July 15, 1998).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Stories about CTBT (Sept. 1998).

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

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

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

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).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

43. Government preparing another case against the Jang group: Saifur Rehman (Dec. 18, 1998).
44. Nawaz Sharif Spends three days shopping in London: Sunday Telegraph (Dec. 21, 1998).

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

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

Government’s reaction:

• Government reacts strongly, demands to stop the news.

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

• Discussion on PTV, the Jang criticized by name, July 16, 1998.
• Government suspends advertisements to the Jang group, July 21, 1998.

• Government objects to the display of the news.

• Government objects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Government gets very upset and conveys its anger.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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). REFERENCE: Punishment For Telling The Truth A Tale of Vendetta and Intimidation


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