Media should show responsibility, maturity, magnanimity -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Media should show responsibility, maturity, magnanimity

ISLAMABAD: The Zardari-Gilani govt on Friday responded to an article by Shaheen Sehbai in The News with a rejoinder.
It said: “Apropos Shaheen Sehbai’s “All gloves are off but time is running out” in daily “The News” today, it is shocking that the Group Editor of such an esteemed paper is openly calling for military intervention against Pakistan’s democratic dispensation through forceful means. Mr. Sehbai is already well known for his anti-democratic ideas and malicious targeting of heads of state through his writings. However, his latest piece sadly depicts him to be acting more like a media mafiaso.

“In his latest salvo, editor-cum-reporter-cum-political actor, Mr. Sehbai has tried to prejudge the Supreme Court’s decisions over cases pending. By using words like “new show of spine of SC”, the writer has not only tried to malign the honourable Judiciary but has also doubted its integrity and objectivity. Such brazen expression is tantamount to dictating the judges for wishful judgments.

“The writer has failed to acknowledge the sagacity of the democratic leadership of Pakistan People’s Party under President Asif Ali Zardari, which has brought Pakistan back from the brink with the help of all democratic forces represented in Parliament.

“More like a beltway bully, if Mr. Sehbai is so sensitive about Pakistan, he should come back and join politics to really make a difference. The worthy editor seems to have assumed the role of a reporter, which is against universally accepted norms of journalism. An editor is not supposed to put across his personal views directly under his name. An editor is known to be a modicum of impersonal and objective demeanour and not express his personal whims, likes and dislikes to the readers on the pages of a newspaper. But Mr. Sehbai has appointed himself to the position of a saviour of the nation.

“It is callous on the part of a person sitting in Washington to incite instability and attempt to derail democratic and constitutional dispensation in Pakistan. These are the same people who wish a clash between the executive, legislature and judiciary for their ulterior motives.

“The democratic government firmly believes in the tri-chotomy of the powers as given in the constitution and would continue to adhere to this principle as long as it is in the office.

“The predictions of foretellers, unfortunately led by Mr. Sehbai, have been proven wrong time and again. It is the need of the hour to demonstrate a great degree of responsibility, maturity and magnanimity towards democratic forces who are working as well as giving sacrifices for the well-being of our country.”

Shaheen Sehbai adds: It is amusing to read the government rejoinder as it shamelessly ignores all the main points raised in my situationer but attacks me personally, trying to teach me how I should do my job, where I should be located and how I have passed or failed as the so-called ‘political actor’, a term coined by President Zardari for anyone who mentions his corruption and asks him to be accountable and respectful to the courts and the country’s justice system.

The obvious and childish spin given to my words is despicable and not worthy of a government which claims to be democratically elected with a president who has “sagacity” and who has done wonders for Pakistan. It would have been better if the spokesman had responded to the PresidentÂ’s failures pointed out in my article.

The charge against me that I am inviting the Pakistan Army is not new but is totally baseless and self-serving because no other argument has ever been made to counter my point. I quote below the words I wrote on Friday and readers can themselves judge whether I am asking the Army to topple a democratic regime. I have been pushing the Army to play a “positive role” in favour of democracy and for strengthening national institutions as against its negative role in the past. This is what Mian Shahbaz Sharif probably meant when he proposed that the Army be made a participant in a conference of stakeholders. I am sure the Punjab CM was not asking the Army to topple his own government and take over. This positive role means ensuring that institutions are respected.

I had written (relevant lines in bold): “The onus has now come back on the Pakistan Army to support the judicial and democratic system to clean the polluted waters of this land. No direct intervention is needed but in the light of the Raiwind proposal, the army should itself declare, and unequivocally, that it would support all major judgments of the judiciary, whether politically sour or sweet.”

I again urge the government and the PPP leaders to put their own house in order, stop protecting their illegal millions and billions and respect the institutions of the country.
Source: The News
Date:3/12/2011