PPP allegations against newsmen slammed by all
By Usman Manzoor
ISLAMABAD: Allegations against two senior journalists, The News Editor Investigation Ansar Abbasi and Geo TV Senior Anchor Kamran Khan, of being agents of CIA and Indian agency RAW by senior PPP leader Raja Riaz and other MPs have been widely denounced by all political parties and members of civil society including stalwarts of the PPP.
The PPP leadership in the Punjab Assembly continued spewing venom against the Jang Group and Geo News, and its senior members allegedly for targeting the Presidency. The PPP leaders termed senior journalists, attached with the Jang Group and Geo News, Indian agents and enemies of democracy.
The coalition partners of the PPP are not standing with it over these allegations and have strongly condemned this desperate tactic of the government party. Senator Safdar Abbasi, a senior PPP leader, while talking to The News said it was unfortunate that a senior leader of the party had said such things about journalists. “This should not have been done,” he added.
Raja Shahid Zafar, a former PPP minister for industries, said the PPP had been fighting for independence of judiciary and freedom of the press, and it was unfortunate that at present his party was confronting the judiciary, the media and the army. “It is a fake PPP, a party of backdoor entrants who made their way into the party through agencies and now want to make hey while the sun shines,” Raja Shahid Zafar added.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) links these allegations to what the dictators have been doing in the past. Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, while talking to The News, said dictators had been awarding certificates of patriotism in the past to fake people, but history showed that those who resisted the dictators were the real patriots.
He said the PML-N not only condemned such allegations levelled by Raja Riaz, but also demanded a public apology from the PPP leaders to journalists. “When leaders do not have any answer of their corruption, they try to run away with such allegations.”
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Syed Munawar Hassan demanded that the allegations hurled by PPP leaders in the Punjab Assembly be expunged from the proceedings of the assembly and the rulers tender an apology to Ansar Abbasi and Kamran Khan. “If those who expose corruption are not Pakistanis, then who is a Pakistani in this country,” the JI leader added.
A spokesman for the Awami National Party (ANP) said his party had reservations about Geo TV because the channel did not give it as much time as it gave to the MQM for obvious reasons, but ANP condemned the PPP’s allegations. “This episode should end and should be avoided in future as nobody is anyone’s agent,” said the ANP spokesman, adding: “One can call someone as one-sided, but not a foreign agent”.
The MQM said in a statement that to criticise was part of democracy. “Had the PPP alleged that a few journalists are running a negative campaign against the government, no Pakistani along with the MQM would have objected, but calling someone RAW and CIA agent is condemnable.” “The PPP should avoid this sort of allegations otherwise confrontation might reach the point of no return,” the statement said.
PML-Q spokesman Kamil Ali Agha said it was below his level to comment on an allegation hurled by Raja Riaz of the PPP. “First Raja Riaz should himself clarify about his character and then hurl allegations on journalists who expose corruption,” he added.
Pervaiz Shaukat, president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, while condemning the allegations hurled by PPP leaders, said anybody could differ with the news published by a journalist, but calling someone an agent of RAW and CIA did not suit to any government. “Such statements will create further rift among institutions,” the PFUJ president said, adding: “There are defamation laws applicable in the country and if anyone finds any news item incorrect they can take the journalist to the court”.
Qazi Anwar, Supreme Court Bar Association president said he was shocked when he read the news about Ansar Abbasi and Kamran Khan. He said those who showed the mirror to the corrupt people were being named as agents while those who were looting were being spared. “For me nobody is more loyal to the country than Ansar Abbasi and Kamran Khan,” Qazi added.
Transparency International Pakistan Chairman Syed Adil Gilani, while commenting on the issue, said it had become a precedent in this country that those who showed mirror to the corrupt were blamed as agents.
“Instead of hurling allegations on journalists, the politicians should knock the doors of the court,” said TI chairman, adding: “It is not a new thing as whenever TI releases corruption index report it is accused in the same way”.
Our correspondent adds from Lahore: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has condemned the statement of Senior Minister Raja Riaz against senior journalists attached with Jang, Geo while terming it the reflection of frustration prevailing in the PPP camp.
In a statement Tuesday, the Lahore PTI President Mian Mehmoodul Rasheed said the remarks of Raja Riaz against senior journalists, including Ansar Abbasi and Kamran Khan, were highly condemnable.
He said in reality, the rulers were serving as foreign agents as their own hands were smeared with the blood of their own people of tribal belt. He said the PPP would have to pay for its corruption and the day wasn’t far away when the government would be in the public court.
Our correspondent adds from Karachi: The Co-ordination Committee of MQM has censured remarks of being agent of India and other countries against senior journalists of the country during the session of Punjab Assembly.
The Co-ordination Committee said difference of opinion and criticism was the essence of democracy and if the allegation was levelled against Kamran Khan, Ansar Abbasi and Hamid Mir that they were running a negative campaign against the People’s Party and its government, it would not have aroused any concern, but to say in a fit of anger that these journalists were agent of Indian and foreign countries was not right.
The Co-ordination Committee asked the high command of People’s Party to advise its leaders to exercise their right of difference of opinion in a healthy democratic manner but it was unfair to question the loyalty of anyone towards his country. The Co-ordination Committee asked the government and journalist organizations to find a solution of the problem through negotiations and advised against dragging this issue to a point of no return by increasing hostilities.
Source: The News