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May 14, 2014

Rejoinder by Geo, Jang Group journalists to Imran Khan


May 14, 2014

PTI chief collects a large amount of money for his projects from US, UK and Europe; his donors include Jews, Christians, Muslims and Hindus but he is not called anti-Pakistan; SC sought apology from Pemra official for levelling baseless allegations against Geo.

ISLAMABAD: Top professionals and journalists of the Geo and Jang Group have not only responded to the PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s allegations levelled against them and the group during the Sunday’s rally in Islamabad but also exposed the real objective behind the allegations at this specific time.

It should be noted that the Geo/Jang Group has already responded several times to the allegations levelled against it. Its response was available on the website, social media and also published many a time in the print media.

The allegations against the Geo/Jang Group were levelled by a particular channel and its anchor and afterwards another channel joined this vilification campaign. The Geo/Jang Group was termed traitor and agent of Indians and Jews. The Geo/Jang Group moved courts against the accusers who did not submit reply in the courts. Zaid Hamid aka Lal Topi Wala did not appear in the courts. The Geo/Jang Group’s stand would soon be vindicated in courts, Inshallah.

A few media people have designs against the Jang Group. They invite guests who give the impression that the Geo/Jang Group is being bribed by the US and the UK governments. The anchors did not question the guests. They should have carried out research and objected to this trend as the Geo/Jang Group’s point of view is available on websites, social media and newspapers. But because they have designs against the Geo/Jang Group, they do not raise any questions.

The fact of the matter is that there is no parallel to the Geo/Jang Group in the Pakistani media. This Group has, Mashallah, remarkably expanded. According to national and international surveys, the Geo/Jang

Group has 60 pc to 72 pc hold on the market. It has been recognised on the national and international level as the oldest, most influential and credible media group of Pakistan. This is distinction of Geo/Jang Group that it challenged almost all governments, military or civilians, whenever they committed corruption, acted against rule of law or indulged in mis-governance. As a result it lost revenue of billions of rupees as its ads were stopped and channels banned.

Suleman Lalani, a senior executive of the group, said Imran’s allegations against Jang Group were now in a questioning tone.

“Imran pointed towards the “Voice of America” (VoA) programmes telecast by Geo News. These programmes never contained anything anti-Pakistan and Geo had full editorial control. Because of differences on some commercial arrangements and rates they could not continue with Geo and made arrangements with another channel “Express” which is still airing. Astonishingly and mysteriously, Imran hasn’t named Express which has been airing it since long. The VoA also has some projects with the PTV. All programmes of VoA were strictly in accordance with the Pakistani laws,” Lalani said.

Lalani said Express TV and some radios also had arrangements with the BBC but they were not traitors for Imran. “It proves he only wants to defame the Jang Group. We have written a letter to four US agencies inquiring about the money they have sent to Pakistani media organisations. These organisations include US Office of Management and Budget, US Great, Voice of America and US State Department. These organisations haven’t responded to our letter and thus we served a legal notice on them. We are hoping to get the details of money paid by these US organisations to different Pakistani media houses and we will make this detail public,” he said.

Lalani said it was strange that Imran Khan was attacking Geo’s campaign on education. “In Pakistan, more than 30 million children don’t go to school while only little above than 25 percent teachers come to teach. We have launched a campaign for educational reforms in Pakistan and for funds we gave a presentation to the Department for International Development (DFID) which though funded by the UK government is a completely independent body which takes decisions independently without accepting pressures. We developed a campaign with their help,” Lalani said, adding, “Not only this, we constituted a board of advisers for our guidance here which comprised Pakistan’s important and famous personalities and businessmen who advised us and we worked together for two years. These advisers also include Asad Umar who is vice president of Imran Khan’s party PTI. This tremendous educational campaign was aired on Pakistan Television, Radio Pakistan and other TV channels in addition to Geo and published in newspapers in addition to The News and Jang but Imran Khan did not name other channels and newspapers for obvious reasons.”

Whole of this activity is in accordance with the Pakistani laws. In all over the world foundations, trusts and NGOs receive funds on these grounds. These are funds, not donations, and the recipients have to work hard and do research. The donors ask many questions to get themselves satisfied about the transparency and honesty of the recipients.

In Pakistan different projects in different sectors as health, education, legal activity etc receive funds in this way. It is what happens in the whole world. Before elections Imran Khan claimed that he would not take funds from foreign countries. But after taking power in KPK by his party, he realised that there is no way to avoid these funds if the government wanted to serve the people. Pakistan is a poor developing country and no government can survive without such foreign support.

Lalani added: “KPMG and Price Waterhouse Cooper were auditors of this campaign. Both are world’s independent and credible institutions to check transparency, credibility and value for money. Such credible donors release money after complete scrutiny and knowing about the structure of the group and its transparent practices. We always paid taxes for all projects for which tax was applicable but still we face charges of not paying taxes. The accusers never presented any evidence. All such allegations are wrong and disturbing.”

Lalani maintained that Imran Khan himself collects huge amounts of money from the US, Canada and other European countries for his different projects and party by arranging big ceremonies for this purpose. In these ceremonies besides Jews, Christians, Muslims and Hindus also participate and donate for his projects. Besides collecting donations there he also continued to get donations through banks afterwards. Imran Khan starts good welfare projects with the help of these donations. This all is within the law, though some of his party members raised objections to it.

“Similarly, government institutions, army and many other organisations take funds from foreign donors for different projects.”

According to media reports, during some years one-third of CIA budget was given to Pakistan’s elite intelligence agency. Does it mean that these institutions are furthering anti-Pakistan agenda?

Lalani said that same allegations of taking money from foreign countries were also levelled by some Pemra officials and when we challenged the same in the Supreme Court all the accusers had to tender an unconditional apology but we haven’t accepted the same and we still demand that either some evidence be provided or those who made the accusations be punished.

Lalani said details of all accounts of MKRF (with which Imran Khan himself worked for flood relief for a long time) were available with the SECP and anybody could seek them. Pemra was provided with the record of all the money taken to air the programmes of VoA on Geo News. The point of view of Geo/Jang Group is present on the group’s websites and those hurling allegations should have moral courage to also air our point of view.

Regarding Imran Khan’s allegation of agenda setting, Lalani said it was terribly wrong, as journalists and other professionals work independently according to their will and understanding without any dictations.

Imran’s allegations that “owner set agenda after taking this money from abroad” is worst ever naked abuse to all journalists working with Geo and Jang Group. All the top journalists attached or remained attached with Geo and Jang Group need to come forward and respond to the allegation levelled by Imran.

Imran simply termed all journalists attached with Geo and Jang Group as “Bakaoo Maal” (saleable commodity) as according to him all these journalists and professionals work for money and blindly obey the orders of the top management of Geo and Jang Group and that they don’t have any self-respect, dignity or intellect.

All journalists and professionals attached or remained attached with Geo and Jang Group, according to PTI chief, only write as per American or UK agenda given to them by the owners of Geo and Jang Group. There could not be anything more shameful than this for a person like Imran Khan. He takes billions from the US and the UK and his own party members accuse the party of huge corruption and he is levelling allegations against the Pakistani citizens who have ego, dignity and love for their motherland, and, unlike Imran Khan, they never level allegations to please hidden hands and always write or say anything with evidence like Umar Cheema’s stories on Imran Khan properties which he can still challenge in a court of law.

Editor Investigations The News Ansar Abbasi said it was no secret to the entire Pakistani media that the kind of independence Geo and Jang Group journalists enjoyed had no parallel. Not once, there are numerous occasions where journalists working for the group have been expressing their reservations and at times even opposition to the policies of the media house.

Some experts believe Imran is on the mission to mislead the nation on the instructions of some hidden hands which want to stage a comeback but want to silence the Geo News voice knowing that Geo/Jang Group always become the biggest hurdle to any unconstitutional move.

Some experts even see attack on Hamid Mir as part of this whole nefarious scheme. Dictatorship not only resulted in the breakup of Pakistan, but also gave Pakistan and poor Pakistanis gifts of terrorism, extremism, bigotry, Kalashnikov, heroin, religious fanatics and pushed the Pakistan on the verge of collapse. Politicians like Imran Khan were always used by such hidden forces and played havoc with the country. Interestingly, these hidden forces and puppet politicians like Imran Khan which were used by these forces always raised the slogans of patriotism and termed Pakistani citizens traitors.

Experts still remember Imran’s outright support for dictator Musharraf. Now these hidden hands have realised that they will never get power again and will have to work/act professionally as the present federal government will overcome the major problem of load-shedding within next two years and the economic condition of the country would also become much better which will bring an end to the role of these hidden hands in country’s politics forever.

These hidden hands also realize that because of some interval or peace, foreign investment and aid is coming now. For them these months are crucially important as if these days are passed and a democratic government is strengthened all their dreams will die. After all these realizations, the hidden hands have now started pulling the strings of puppets like Imran Khan to attack the democratic setup and issue decrees that there is no democracy in the country.

Schedules of countrywide protests have been announced by different parties in an obvious attempt to stop the present influx of foreign investment. The hidden hands know that an independent media always becomes the biggest hurdle in the way of their nefarious designs so Imran’s target is the biggest media group of the country. Imran levels allegations against the Jang Group on a daily basis and when he is asked to provide evidence he loses temper, ignores his previous allegation and comes up with a new one again without any evidence.

After finding himself helpless to present any evidence now he stooped so low as to start hurling naked abuses at the top editorial management and working journalists of Geo/Jang Group.

The hidden hands are also using some big-business-groups-turned-blackmailer-media-houses to attack Geo/Jang Group. Almost the entire media, news channels and newspapers, are siding with the independence of media, the Constitution and democratic values except these few.

All these media houses standing with the independence of media in these hard times have association of decades with the media and journalism. Only three media groups, which were set up a few years back by some business tycoons for gaining more influence and blackmailing tax authorities, are being used by these hidden hands to attack democracy and the independent media to fulfil the desired objectives.

Any sane and rational analyst would agree that no government can overcome all the major problems within one year and launching an attack on a democratic government within one year simply means the fishy designs of the hidden forces. Experts also see no signs of Imran Khan becoming prime minister using such dirty tactics.

Senior anchorperson Kamran Khan said Imran Khan had the best chance to discuss all his demands with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who had invited him on tea. Kamran said Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had also offered him to constitute a parliamentary committee.

Najam Sethi said he was in a state of shock as Imran Khan had stooped to the level of street politician and was acting childishly because of so-called ego problem. Sethi said Imran had backtracked from everything he said in the past from praises of Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Fakhruddin G Ebrahim to allegation of rigging against the judiciary for which he had apologize to the Supreme Court. In categorical words, Najam Sethi said a third force that had panicked because of Geo News and democratic government of Nawaz Sharif had given the green signal to Imran Khan to attack.

Director programmes of Geo News Ansar Naqvi explained in detail the functioning of a TV channel, especially news channels which remain on air for 24 hours and tried its best to make PTI chief understand the process, techniques, procedures and routines followed during the continuous transmission. Ansar Naqvi spoke politely and explained to the PTI chief, who claims to be the leader of youngsters, that 24-hour channel transmission could not be controlled by one person, as it is not humanly possible.

Naqvi said he had been attached with the group for so many years and never got dictation from any person and even the owner of Jang Group. Naqvi said the staff, journalists and other professionals take their decisions on their own. He said majority of decisions regarding Geo News transmission were taken by him. He explained that at times when there’s a very important or sensitive thing or news it is discussed with other colleagues and seniors. Same practice is followed worldwide in professional and credible organisations.

Imran is completely unaware that he is being misused and believes that he will not have to give evidences to prove the allegations and naked abuses he is hurling at professional journalists. He will have to in any case.

Jang Group journalists are independent professionals and they round the clock by putting their lives at risk serve the country and poor Pakistanis. People like Imran playing in hands of hidden forces to get high offices unconstitutionally could never deter the courage and resolve of professional journalists.

The present educational programme of PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is funded by The Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK. However, during his baseless campaign against the Jang Group and its tremendous educational campaigns, Imran never mentioned that in addition to huge amounts of money he takes from Americans and other European states his government in the KP also accepts foreign funding from the British government. Not only this, many other projects of PTI government in the KP are funded by Americans.