July 15, 2012
Z B Saigol
ISLAMABAD: The proverbial can of worms has been reopened; Matiullah Jan, the former host of Apna Garban, is back again and pursuing the very same path that got his innovative program, initially telecast by DawnNews, shelved but a few months ago.
On Friday, Mati’s first program for Waqt TV since he quit DawnNews, is likely to set Pakistan’s media community on edge again. Initially done for DawnNews but never aired, Mati rehashed the intro and some of the contents to come up with another startling episode of his new program, Aapna Aapna Gareban.
Mati says the new program for Waqt will not only focus on corruption within the journalistic community but other institutions, departments and organizations as well. http://www.awaztoday.com/News-Talk-Shows/25260/Apna-Apna-Gareban-14th-July-2012.aspx
In this particular episode, Mati dressed casually in a checkered shirt and quite at ease, starts by explaining why his program was shelved, before going on to expose a list of journalists who have taken favors from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in setting up businesses or getting khokas (temporary outlets) allotted in prime Islamabad locations.
Foremost amongst the names to feature on Mati’s hit list are Mohammed Malick, former Resident Editor of The News Islamabad and currently signed up by the Dunya Group, and Waheeda Zulfiqar Ali Zaidi of the Capital World magazine.
Others, revealed to have benefitted from the CDA largesse are: Syed Irfan Raza, Senior Reporter at Dawn; Khusnood Ali Khan, Editor the Daily Jinnah; Zahid Malik, Senior Journalist/Analyst, and owner and Founding Editor of the Pakistan Observer and the Chairman of the Nazriya-e-Pakistan Council; Rao Hamid, Islamabad Bureau Chief of Daily Pakistan; Muhammed Anis, Senior Reporter The News and Javed Baloch, Reporter for the News Network International (NNI) news agency.
As the program progresses, Mati hones in on the locations of the businesses or khokas through which the ‘corrupt’ journalists have benefitted, verifying from third party sources the ownership and link to the businesses as well as largesse shown by the CDA.
Of prime interest were the charges leveled against Malick and Waheeda Zulfiqar Ali Zaidi aka Mrs Zulfi, who Mati corners for one-on-one interviews that get pretty prickly.
Mohammed Malick: The former editor of The News and host of the current affairs program Kehnay Mein Kya Harj Hai finds himself charged with benefitting by getting a whopping 25 acres of land allotted by the CDA at the lucrative Lake View Park in Islamabad in 2007. The land is being used for Malick’s off-road motor sports venture under the label of ESP Initiatives.
Malick defends his acquisition, saying it was obtained through legal means at a time when he was not a journalist and therefore not clashing with the ethics required for a journalist of his ‘stature/calibre’. He said the land was leased for 15 years.
He dodges the real question of culpability with sublime skill while insinuating that he did not get the land because he used his clout as a journalist. He also manages to insult Mati by mocking him for not having the acumen to become an editor which he obviously does.
There was no regret or shame expressed at anytime that he had been ‘caught out’.
Waheeda Zulfiqar Ali Zaidi: Mrs Zulfi, as she is commonly known, when accused of setting up several khokas courtesy the CDA and one especially profitable one outside the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMs) decided to take Mati head on. She too fails to admit any wrongdoing in getting allotted space for a khoka which is being run as a dhaba-style restaurant.
Mrs. Zulfi, who has well known connections in the CDA, is accused by other genuine khoka owners in front of PIMs of threatening them and complaining to the CDA about them with the result the CDA confiscates most of their only source of earning.
Somehow this paragon of virtue, who is always taking up ‘principled stands’ on one issue or the other, fails to admit she did wrong; no possibility of a mea culpa from this brazen individual.
Zahid Malik: Shocking as it may seem, the name of this senior journalist who is also the owner and Founding Editor of the Pakistan Observer and Chairman of the Nazriya-e-Pakistan Council, does not come as a surprise.
His building of the Nazriya-e-Pakistan Council in F-9 Park was seen as illegal and the Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered it confiscated and returned to the CDA from which it was obtained.
Syed Irfan Raza: This brazen senior reporter of Dawn, whose beat includes the CDA, got a khoka allotted in the name of his wife at the G-6 melody Food Park at a rent of Rs7,500 per month, pittance compared to what others are paying. The khoka is being used as a food outlet.
Khushnood Ali Khan: Got allotted a khoka outside PIMs which he runs as a kitchen for the poor. The rent of the khoka, which feeds hundreds of people free of cost per day, is just a few thousand rupees. Although his set up was supposed to be temporary, Khushnood has made it into a permanent structure financed by Bahria Town tycoon Malik Riaz.
Rao Hamid: The Islamabad Bureau Chief of the Daily Pakistan got a khoka for his brother at the thriving Aabpara Market at the ludicrous rent of Rs650 per month!
Javed Baloch: Reporting for the news agency NNI, this journalist has managed not only to get a lucrative business going through a khoka allotted to him by the CDA outside PIMS, but also has two rooms in his name in the CDA Hostel and Federal Lodges.
Despite the obvious connection, former CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat insists the authority did not do anything illegal and that no khokas have been allotted to journalists or media personnel during his tenure.
He says although journalists are not blackmailing the CDA, which has dozens of accusatory fingers pointing at corruption within, they are a nuisance and cause the CDA embarrassment by printing stories and reports that do not show the authority in a good light.
(The views expressed by the writer are not necessarily those of JournalismPakistan.com)
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