I saw no agenda in my 32-year career: Kamran Khan | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

I saw no agenda in my 32-year career: Kamran Khan

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: Kamran Khan, renowned journalist and the host of Geo News programme, ‘Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Sath’, in his analysis has said that Imran Khan on Sunday delivered an emotional speech in Islamabad and presented three unconstitutional and two acceptable demands.

He said the media analysed the Sunday rally of Imran Khan. A reporter from ‘Dawn’ said that Imran Khan looked confused and asked what he actually wanted. That day, Imran Khan levelled serious allegations against Geo once again, and Geo reiterated that those who had levelled allegations might probe the matter on their own by forming an impartial forum, he added.

Kamran Khan said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan should be given the credit for warming the cold political environment of Islamabad by staging a rally. The entire PTI leadership gathered at D-Chowk Islamabad, and once again, the same atmosphere was built up that was seen before the last year’s general elections, he said adding that Imran Khan heated up his supporters and the national political atmosphere as well.

He noted that Imran Khan staged the rally with reference to rigging in the last general polls, but he levelled allegations other than rigging.

Imran Khan said that the basic reason for the political show was that throughout the year past the general elections, he was a victim of boredom and so were his supporters. Kamran Khan said that in Sunday’s speech Imran Khan presented his demands out which some could be termed purely unconstitutional while some could be stated to be reasonable, on the basis of which talks should be held.

Other than this, Imran Khan sprayed a series of allegations on the government, Geo and Jang. With regard to demands of Imran Khan, Kamran Khan asked how the Election Commission (EC) could be dissolved as it was an unconstitutional act. The Constitution states a legal way of doing that without which the EC cannot be reconstituted, and this demand by Imran cannot be materialised, as the Constitution does not approve of this. According to the Constitution, the EC cannot be dissolved immediately. The Constitution does not allow for sending home the retired judges of the high courts who are working as the four members of the EC. The legal advisers of Imran Khan have not perhaps told him that according to Article 215 Clause 2 of the Constitution, the chief election commissioner, and according to Article 209, member of the Commission can be removed. Article 209 is about the removal of the superior judiciary judges, and the same procedure can be followed for removing the members of the EC. The basic demand of Imran Khan for removal of the members of the EC is not reasonable as there is no room for this in the Constitution.

With regard to Imran Khan’s demand for verifying the thumb impressions in four constituencies, Kamran Khan said that there was no space for this demand as Imran Khan himself took the case to the Supreme Court and it was under hearing of the court; neither the government nor any of its institutions could do anything in this regard; therefore, if this demand was said to be illogical, it was not tantamount to exaggeration.

With regard to Imran Khan’s third demand that whoever holds an office in the caretaker government, he should not hold any of the government’s offices for two years, Kamran Khan said that that desire of Imran Khan might not be fulfilled in its true spirit, for realisation of this demand would take four years, and the Constitution told a clear way for this as well. Kamran said that the Constitution says that the then Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition will make deliberations on it, and as it seems Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Khursheed Shah would deliberate on it, and this would happen in the year 2018. There is no possibility that PTI would take part in the deliberations directly, therefore this demand by Imran Khan does not seem to be realised.

Kamran Khan said that there were three demands by Imran Khan which had no room in the Constitution, but there also were some demands that should be given consideration and which were acceptable in every sense.

With regard to Imran Khan’s demands for reforming the electoral process, introduction of biometric system and AVM machine, and giving the overseas Pakistanis the right to vote, Kamran Khan said that this statement by Imran Khan was aired in the present day media but a clear reply to this was given by Nawaz Sharif 24 hours before his speech when inaugurating the first solar powerhouse in Bahawalpur, Sharif invited Imran Khan to direct talks and said that the doors for talks were open for Imran Khan to discuss all types of issues with Nawaz Sharif. This invitation by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should be surely acceptable to Imran Khan because, before this, Imran Khan talked to the prime minister not only with regard to peace talks but other national issues also. Imran Khan appreciated this gesture of the prime minister a few weeks ago and promised that he would talk to the government as regards all the important national issues. Kamran Khan asked if Imran had confidence in such matters, he should express the same confidence in other national issues, and talk to Nawaz Sharif directly with regard to the matters that he presented in front of his supporters in Islamabad. Kamran Kahn said that Imran should give it a chance as the solution to these issues might come up in a respectable way.

He said that the government had made a concrete offer with regards to Imran’s allegations on rigging, as on the floor of the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan opined that a parliamentary forum could be formed for the rigging, and Justice (R) Wajeeh-ud-Din Ibrahim could be made its head, for the Justice was directly associated with PTI. The government’s offer cannot be stated as non-serious in any case. It is responsibility of the PTI to give a positive reply to this offer. This offer of the government should have been kept in mind by PTI. Politics can be done but politics alone cannot make things better. The solution to national issues can come up through negotiations, and constitutional and democratic ways.

In his analysis, Kamran Khan said after last year’s general elections, the rally was an opportunity for PTI to gauge its popularity to this day. This gave way to the question whether the popularity of Imran Khan and PTI increased or decreased. There are divergent opinions in this regard, he said.

Because Imran was criticising Geo and Jang, Imran’s political show of power was beneficial in the sense that it was aired for many hours on the TV screens. Referring to this, a direct conclusion can be made on the basis of experiences shared by famous anchorpersons Kashif Abbasi, Moeed Pirzada and Talaat Hussain, with their viewers. Kamran Khan said that the Sunday rally by Imran Khan benefited himself in the sense that they got a live TV coverage for three to four hours, and Imran Khan made headlines of the newspapers. With reference to Sunday’s protest of Imran, news and analysis were published and aired. Out of these, an important analysis was published by the ‘Dawn’ on its front page. In his analysis, Khawar Ghumman asked what Imran Khan actually wants. Ghumman said that the announcement made by Imran Khan of staging this protest rally created confusion. He asked what Imran really wanted to achieve of this demo; whether this was aimed at recounting of votes in the four constituencies or he wanted re-elections in these constituencies, or furthermore, he wanted to derail the system, as critics blamed him for it.

‘Dawn’ says that the PTI leadership has been insisting frequently that they want justice, which they failed to get from the judicial system. They further insisted that applications from PTI filed in election tribunals and courts did not meet conclusion. PTI victimised the government in its Islamabad demo, but Imran blamed the courts for not dispensing justice to them. The analysis asks what the government can do if the judiciary is not dispensing justice to them. No one answered this question, but the Imran’s address intensified the confusion.

Kamran Khan said that ‘Dawn’ in its front page news story wants to know, like many of the political analysts, what Imran actually wants and what is the reason that in presence of a parliament, he dose not want to discuss issues in the parliament but on roads. Kamran Khan further said in his analysis that Imran made the allegations on Jang and Geo the subject of his speech, and he spent a major part of his address on the same allegations. Kamran Khan said, being a part of Geo, he could say that it was very much difficult to remain indifferent to these allegations. He said that he has been with Jang Group for 32 years, therefore he certainly wanted to take these allegations seriously. Imran Khan was a leader of country’s third biggest political party that is why he and the organisation take the allegations levelled by Imran very seriously. Kamran Khan said that he was serious about the opinion that if the blames put by Imran were true, and if their targets were the anchorpersons and Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Sethi, this was a very serious allegation. If this allegation is proved, it would be very difficult for them to support an organisation which is involved directly in such a scandal. He said that such an activity as said by Imran Khan, if proved, would seem very much heinous.

Besides, Imran said that asking questions was his right and he practised this right. Kamran Khan said that asking questions was really Imran’s right, and certainly it was responsibility of Jang and Geo administration to answer these allegations, and this reply was made many a times in a very logical manner. He said that he had, in his person and being a working journalist, analysed this reply and he was 100 percent sure that this allegation was not true.

Kamran Khan said that Imran wanted to come to a conclusion of this question, and for this a forum had to be formed. He said that the answer of which he was sure of, might not be a complete reply. Probe has to be carried out, and for this Imran can form an independent forum on his own, and the forum must be impartial, professional and respectable. He said it can be a commission of three judges or three experts, but it should be an independent forum which should probe the matter. Kamran Khan said that he was sure that Geo and Jang administration would cooperate in this regard.

Kamran Khan said that Imran Khan should form a commission comprising superior judiciary members, in which he could include Justice (R) Wajeeh-ud-Din, who was a respectable member of Imran’s party. Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice (R) Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui and very much honourable, Justice (R) Nasir Aslam Zahid can also be part of the commission. The commission should find out through investigation whether Geo and Jang really set the agenda of the Pakistani media by receiving money from the US and the UK, and whether there is any deal between this biggest media organisation of Pakistan and the US, the UK, as was alleged by one of the most important political leaders of Pakistan, Imran Khan.

Kamran Khan said that such a forum would have to be constituted to find answer to the question and remove the doubts through investigation. If the allegation by Imran was proved, then Kamran Khan would be the first to quit this organisation, Kamran Kahn argued. He said that no responsible employee of the organisation was willing to associate himself with any of such allegations. Kamran Khan said that he was confident that these allegations were no true in any sense, and if there was any reality in them, he would not have been doing this show on Geo News, and would not have been associated with this media organisation for the last 32 years. Kamran Khan said that Imran should delegate responsibility to the commission of punishing those found levelling false allegations, and define in which way proceedings against them should be launched. The proceedings against them should tally the level at which the blames were made.

Kamran Khan said that he was doubtful of Imran’s allegations because Imran did not have this position always. He said this was a new position taken by Imran. He said that he was interested to know personally why Imran held this position and what relevant proofs and allegations he had, as before this, he had a different impression about Jang and Geo. Kamran Khan said that he wanted to know with certainty that in which way the information of Imran Khan enhanced, and what were the evidences that he had got, which had led to change in his opinion. Kamran Khan said that in the Sunday rally, Imran not only censured Jang and Geo but also made personal attacks on Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman. He said that Imran levelled allegations like, “Foreign capital, and foreign agenda” on Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman. He said that though the name of Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman was highlighted but these allegations were related to all those who were associated with this media organisation. He remarked that he considered himself responsible for all this, as he had been associated with Jang Group for the last 32 years. He said for the last 12 years, he had been hosting this programme on Geo News; before this, he worked as a journalist for 20 years with the group. He said that during these 20 years, he published 3,000 investigative stories in The News and the Jang. Adding the experience of anchoring to the 20 years of journalistic career, the whole career adds up to 32 years.

Kamran Khan said that he could make it clear to Imran Khan that not even a single time Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman directed him to publish or air a news story or not. Moreover, never did he say what Kamran Khan should publish and what not, neither he said to do a news story on a particular issue, Kamran Khan informed. He said that Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman did not warn him regarding any news story and did not stop him from publishing news. He said that certain governments and important personalities were annoyed by his news stories, which also led to political storms, but Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman did not say even a single word about them.

Kamran Khan said that if there had been any agenda behind the scenes, he would have known it. If the agenda from the US or the UK was being imposed, it would have been made clear in his programmes or news. He said that he could say with certainty and happiness that Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman did not even ask him about to follow his choice of news. Kamran Khan said that the credit for this goes to this independent media organisation. He noted that in his programme, he could say anything which might not be likeable for Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, or something about which he had had reservations, whether it is the independence of judiciary or Arsalan Iftikhar Scandal, the most recent incident of attack on renowned journalist Hamid Mir, or the Geo News coverage that followed.

Kamran Khan said that he had reservations about the Geo News coverage of the allegations that came forth after the Hamid Mir attack. He said that he had reservations and disagreement with regard to this. Kamran Khan said that he did not agree with the coverage, but it was the courage of Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman and Geo that Kamran Khan was expressing these reservations through this programme on Geo News. He said interviews in which he expressed his reservations about the coverage, were aired on Geo and in detail. Moreover, he said, a programme was aired which had duration of 70 minutes in which he clarified his own position and opinion. Despite that Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman did not express his anger, reservations, did not criticise Kamran Khan and did not stop him.

He said Imran Khan was of the view that capital had come from abroad, agenda had been set through an important journalist, which is wrong because no one had directed him to stop an issue from airing on Geo, or publishing any story in The News in his 32 year’s career.

Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman did not stop Kamran Khan from publishing an issue and for this the credit goes to him, therefore, allegations should not be levelled in any case. Kamran Khan said that everyone makes mistakes and so could Imran Khan, Kamran Khan and Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman do, but false allegations should not be levelled as they did not have feet, they cannot stand, and in the end, the one who concoct them is embarrassed.

He said this media organisation has plenty of honourable people who have integrity. These people will also express their strongest reservations about those allegations and statements made by Imran Khan and in this regard, they would try their level best that probe these allegations. If proved, these people would separate themselves from the organisation and would demand that it be closed, Kamran Khan said adding that these allegations were baseless and concocted, so Imran Khan should suggest penalty for his own self.

Commenting on the prime minister’s tour to Iran, Kamran Khan said that Nawaz Sharif had visited Iran to assure that Pakistan valued Iran. The premier held successful talks with Ali Khamenei and President Muhammad Hassan Rouhani. On the occasion, the premier assured the Iranian leadership that Iran was a brotherly country and the Pak-Iran ties were of utmost importance and they would make this relationship stronger. In this connection, eight memoranda have been signed on Sunday. The prime minister’s tour had been very successful, which will have direct effects on the region. The tour has been based on the desire of Pakistan to have strong relations with the neighbouring countries.

Kamran Khan further said that the government said on Monday that it was waiting for restarting talks with the new Indian government for long-lasting peace. Pakistan has made the same desire for Afghanistan where a new government would be established in the next few weeks, he added.

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