BY SHARJEEL INAM MEMON
Journalism is indeed a noble profession; the people belonged to this profession had to suffer a lot to protect their professional integrity and save their spotless individual character and reputation. However, with the passage of time deteriorating in ethos has begun and some so called journalists have even given up the sanctity of pen as ordained in the holy book of Quran. These so called journalists by their acts of omission and commission have reduced the integrity of this noble profession into a farce as hypocrisy, hatred, insinuation and personal gains have become their hallmark. There were old good days when the journalists used to analyze national issues in their true perspective and put forth their valuable and worth emulating suggestions, enabling government of the day to implement the same. However, the decline in ethos is so pathetic that involved journalists are bent upon to turn false, frivolous and unfounded insinuations as true and believable.
2. A column in daily “Jang” Karachi on Eid day under the title “Chalte Chalte” and contributed by Mr. Shaheen Sehbai reflects such mindset and one will hardly find appropriate words to condemn it. His thoughts elaborated in the column reflected contradictions which speak volume for itself; allegations as contained in the column are nothing more than figment of Mr. Sehbai’s personal imagination. He calls upon the concerned state institutions not let the people, enlisted in the column to flee the country for their involvement in corruption, these people have served the nation during the last 5 years. The people included, Salman Farooqui, Rahman Malik, Dr. Asim Hussain, Dr. Zulfikar Mirza, Faisal Raza Abdi, Dr. Babar Awan, Aijaz Haroon, Nadeem Yousufzai, Faisal Sakhi Butt, Farzana Raja, Yousuf Raza Gillani, Moosa Gillani, Nargis Sethi, Hussain Haqqani, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Ahmed Riaz Shaikh, Raja Pervez Asharaf, Farooq H. Naik, Riaz Lal Ji, Riaz Malik, Muzaffar Awais Tappi, Obaid Jatoi, Dr. Qayyum Soomro, Mohsin Naqvi, Anwar Majeed, Iqbal Memon, Javd Pasha and Faryal Talpur.
3. It is strange to note that name of Mr. Salman Faruqui preceded the name of current prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as well as ex Prime Minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani in the list given by the writer, this indexation is not without a reason which has an interesting tale to tell, according to that Mr. Shaheen Sehbai recently visited Mr. Salman Farooqui , Principal Secretary to the President , Islamic Republic of Pakistan at the Presidency in connection with his personal gain but he had to return empty handed that utterly disappointed him. While levelling unfounded allegations, the writer has bitterly failed to realize that there is an independent judiciary actively working in the country and many people enlisted by him have already faced the court in the cases against them and proved their innocence and this fact has too been admitted by the writer himself when he opines that charges against these people are yet to be established; in spite of such open admission, it is preposterous to think when the same writer demands that these people must be called and investigated in connection with embezzlement of Rs.83 billion of OGRA funds.
4. There is a need to pause and ponder as to why a journalist first declares some people as innocent and then in the same breath demands arrest of these people with a view to account for their financial corruption during last 5 years; of what kind this journalism is? and based in what kind of ethos? The writer later on alluding to an Indian film song in which the heroin laments and points her finger at some people whom she considered to have deprived her of chader (decency). To discover the whole truth, we need to have a peep into Mr. Shaheen Sehbai’s past to determine and expose his character and credentials. He happens to be one of those so called journalists who always betray all ethos of this noble profession for sake of personal gains and deprive the same profession of integrity that is always upheld by the men who believe in uprightness and integrity. Mr. Shaheen Sehbai left Pakistan during General Pervez Musharaf regime in 2008 owing to a dispute of domestic nature; in the USA, he along with his old momrade, Mansoor Aijaz launched a smear campaign against Mr. Zardari and his party which speak volume for his nefarious designs and motives.
5. In the United State, he tried to discover new vista of his fortune but in vein. They launched a web based magazine titled “South Asia Tribune” but could not sustain as journalism based on mere character assassination can find an easy sailing in Pakistan but could not work in the country like the USA, then he joined as editor, The News. He returned to Pakistan in 2008. It is beyond one’s comprehension that once Mr. Sehbai told Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, then Co-chairman Pakistan Peoples Party that credit goes to him ( Mr. Sehbai) for drafting the Charter of Democracy concluded between Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif for restoration of true democracy into the country, though Mr. Asif Ali Zardari knew better that it
were stalwarts of both the political parties including Mr. Raza Rabbani, Safdar Abbasi , Ahsan Iqbal and Ishaq Dar who on the directives of their party leadership, burnt midnight oil to make the charter possible which proved as a watershed in the country’s history. When the writer failed in all his efforts to woo Mr. Zardari, he again returned to the USA.
6. There are some excerpts taken from some articles contributed by Shaheen Sehebai during last 5 years, enabling the readers to determine truth whatsoever disclosed in his analysis and so called predictions. On August 6, 2010, he in his article appeared in daily ‘The News’ and ‘Jang’ disclosed of a cold war between the G.H.Q. and the Presidency and concluded that days of the current government are numbered. On September 17, 2010, he came out with a road map claiming that the MQM will soon part its ways with the Gillani-led coalition government; the PML(N) is poised to bring a no confidence motion against the Prime Minister and the President will face impeachment; the apex count will disqualify the PM and the nation will witness a change. His such writing were tantamount to instigating the Army and the apex court to interfere in political arena. When his dream remained unfulfilled with all his predictions proved illusive and obsured, he steeped so low, when he accused President Asif Ali Zardari for entering into a secret marriage. On 25th July 2011, he informed the nation about formation of a government comprising on 20 technocrats. On September 25, 2011, he claimed that the Army had been moved against
the government. On December 8, 2011, his allegations and insinuations attained a crescendo which took every one by surprise that President Asif Ali Zardari has been admitted in a Dubai-based hospital after his ailment and since his recovery from ailment is not possible hence he will not return to the Pakistan. However, it is known by all and sunday that President very soon returned to the country; there was no coup by the Army; and Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gillani bowed before the decision of the apex court just to avoid conflict between the state institutions. It is unfortunate that all his false, absurd and illusive predictions failed to restrain him from making more predictions as on July 25, 2012, he against resorted to his old habit and claimed that President, Asif Ali Zardari will get himself elected from the current National and Provincial Assemblies, the government soon refuted the assertion. For now, Mr. Sehebai is again calling upon some unidentified intuitions to arrest 29 persons mentioned by him. It is, therefore, well known by all and sundry that all prediction made by Mr. Sehebai failed to prove their truth and objectivity. There is financial corruption in Pakistan but to launch a crusade against it while sitting in the USA is not appropriate. He first should come in Pakistan and then he is well come to expose all wrong-doings in substance and not based on marc speculations, conjuncture, and self imagination to achieve his nefarious designs and motives.