June 16, 2012 3:13:55 am
The silent ghazal
It would be unfair to tag Mehdi Hassan a Pakistani singer. He belonged to the world of music. Newspapers in Pakistan,as in India,celebrated his life,and did not mourn his death. Websites of Pakistani news channels reported that his family had demanded the Sindh government to allow their father a resting place inside the premises of Muhammad Ali Jinnahs mausoleum,the iconic Mazar-e-Quaid,which has become emblematic of Pakistan. The newspapers,however,missed reporting this one. The request was not complied with and north Karachis Shah Muhammad Graveyard was chosen as the place for his burial instead,newspapers reported. The celebrated ghazal singer was laid to rest on June 15.
Memorandum of understanding?
LAST years Memogate Commission,probing a controversy involving Pakistans former envoy to the US,Husain Haqqani,saw its first pit stop. A sensational article in The Financial Times in 2011,by Mansoor Ijaz,an American businessman of Pakistani origin,stated that he had been tasked by Haqqani,on Pakistan President Asif Zardaris request,to pass on a memorandum (the memo) to then US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen by Ijazs friend and then US National Security Adviser,General James Jones,beseeching the Obama administration to help avert a possible military takeover of Pakistans government after Osama bin Laden was killed inside Pakistani territory by US Navy SEALS in May 2011.
Following the political furore created by Memogate,Haqqani was made to resign from public service,and a commission was formed to investigate the scandal. The Memogate Commission,as it came to be called,earlier this week declared Haqqani guilty of authoring the memo and being disloyal to Pakistan. Haqqani,an avid tweeter,defended himself on Twitter,The News reported on June 12: He… said that the commission is not a court and those claiming it has determined guilt or innocence are wrong. Those who endorsed military dictators and allowed them 2 amend constitution cannot judge my -or anyone elses -patriotism… The case has been adjourned for two weeks now.
CONTROVERSY is not new to Pakistan. It never was. Last week,this column recorded how chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhrys son,Arsalan,got embroiled in a bribery case involving a Pakistani real estate tycoon,Malik Riaz,cases against whom were being heard by his father. Chaudhry,showing professional uprightness,recused himself from the bench hearing the case against Riaz,earning loud applause from one and all. But this week,the tide turned.
Daily Times reported on June 13: Riaz accused Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry of holding secret meetings with him in the darkness of nights in the presence of his son… I have come here with the holy Quran,just like the chief justice did.
A new chapter was added every day to Pakistans newest scandal. Along with reporting on this news,the media itself became the news. Two of Pakistans controversial yet prominent TV news anchors have landed on the wrong side of the fence. Hosting shows on the bribery case,Mubashir Lucman and Meher Bokhari of the popular Dunya TV,appear to have had their hands in the pie too.
A video titled Malik Riaz Planted Interview with Mehar Bukhari and Mubashir Lukman on Dunya was uploaded on YouTube earlier this week by investigativereporter,that jolted all those watching the Arsalan-Riaz-Chaudhry triangle. A behind-the-scenes clip of a TV news show jointly hosted by Bokhari and Lucman,this video shows the duo interviewing Riaz.
The Express Tribune reported on June 15: The behind-the-scenes video includes dozens of sound bites that would implicate the anchors of (sic) scripting the entire show to please the influential businessman. One of the most incriminating statements during the show was made by Bokhari: Say what you want. What question we should ask. It will appear as though it is planted. It is,but it shouldnt appear it is, said Bokhari… Both anchors are also instructed against interrupting Riaz during the interview… Interestingly,tension could be detected between the two hosts during the off-the-record footage… Riaz is then seen pleading with the two anchors to stop the fighting. Please dont ruin my programme . My whole life is at stake… Other highlights of the video include a call received by Lucman from Abdul Qadir Gilani,the son of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani,and he hands the phone to Riaz to discuss the content of the show… Bokhari,the report added,defended herself saying what she did was normal and that if any other TV anchor who worked differently,was lying. Lucman was unavailable.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.