In the past few weeks there has been a buzz spreading around Pakistan’s digital world talking about the recent fame surrounding the TV show personality Zaid Hamid who conducts a show on TV One called Brasstacks. It should be mentioned that brasstacks is reportedly a paid-for show which has started airing barely a few months back and has developed a very strong following amongst the masses. Admittedly Zaid Hamid is quite eloquent in his show and is well versed in his explaining his innumerable concepts of ranging from economic terrorism by the Zionists to other such issues which are poised at him even Islamic issues
I too have been guilty of occasionally catching a glimpse of his show and did even carry his five part series on Economic Terrorism. All seemed well until a close associate contacted me via facebook sharing his concerns about Zaid Zaman Hamid and revealed his suspicious association with Yousuf Ali, a self proclaimed prophet from Lahore in the 1990’s. Zaid Zaman was purportedly the right hand man of Yousuf Ali and was fondly referred to as his Hazrat Ali. Zaid Zaman was instrumental in spreading the message of prophecy far across Pakistan, to develop a large cult like following in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad mostly due to Zaid Zaman’s excellent communication skills.
Yousuf Ali had been preaching his divine revelation to his followers for quite many years when finally a handful defected and braved to testify against him in the Lahore High Court which ultimately gave Yousuf Ali, a death sentence on charges of Blasphemy. Yousuf Ali was then confined to Kot Lakhpath jail and in 2001 was shot dead by a fellow prisoner. Throughout the legal proceedings one witness after another testified to the fact that Zaid Zaman was a key figure in the promotion of Yousuf Ali’s Kazzab movement. I have been told that there even does exists an analog video of Zaid Zaman standing beside Yousuf Ali while he addressed his followers in Lahore. Somehow the fact that Zaid Zaman was a key figure in this movement is generally a foregone conclusion, as there are one too many eye witnesses and more importantly numerous had testified the fact which may even be present in the records of Lahore High Court, including Zaid Zaman’s testimony to the honorable judge, all records are securely preserved in the archives of Tahaffuz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat in Karachi.
The Zaid Zaman Hamid storm actually started with the email from Naufil Shahrukh, a close friend whom I have known since 1990, the email at first in the form of a private message on Facebook but soon propagated online and published on Dictatorship Watch, verbatim
If you guys remember the Pakistan false prophet, Yousuf Ali, who was arrested and sentenced to death by the Lahore High Court and then murdered in Kot Lakhpat jail by a fellow prisoner – this guy Zaid Hamid was known as Zaid Zaman at that time and was the Khalifah of that Kazzab. Zaid is still leading that cult which belongs to the Firqah Batinyah of Sufism and they have a different aqeedah altogether which they only profess within their inner core. Many of my personal friends fell prey to his charisma in the 1990s, some of them reverted back to Hidayah and were instrumental in filing a case against Yusuf Ali which ultimately lead to his death sentence and the cult members dispersed for a few years.
The time line of events that he narrates in his letter are erringly accurate and when Naufil mentioned to me later pointing out the common friends who fell prey to this cult one does weigh in a sigh of relief to have been spared of the poison. The most logical reason as to why our neighborhood was penetrated to such an extent can be attributed to the fact that Zaid Hamid hailed from our locality. Off the friends who willingly embraced Yousuf Ali’s prophecy was Ryzwan Tayyab who very soon featured himself as a militant leader of the movement and after the collapse of this movement has retreated into a cocoon of severe depression irreparably damaging his family around him. Ryzwan was also involved in actually issuing death threats to the few journalists who were critically investigating Yousuf Ali back in those days.
The resurfacing of Zaid Hamid after 15 years of hibernation is interesting, he catapults himself in 2006 as a security threat analyst frequently publishing PDF based Pakistan threat reports for a subscription fee of Rs. 25,000 but within a span of a two years mustered up enough finances to launch a self sponsored TV show which started transmission in the early months of 2008, suspiciously timed around the fall of the Pervaiz Musharraf’s regime. The sudden shot to fame on TV is being compared to the launch of Dr. Shahid Masood’s End of Time series, which too was based on an eloquent anchor with one too many theories to present.
Off the numerous people stepping forth to expose Zaid Hamid the must read narration is of a two year email correspondence between Zaid Hamid and Abidullah Jan. It gives an insight onto Zaid Zaman when he first started sharing his BrassTacks Security reports, slowly moving into becoming a much sought after personality. What was interesting to read was when in the early months of 2007 Zaid Zaman approached Abidullah Jan struggling to stay afloat and requested Abid to help promote his security reports to a wider audience “I am in need of some clients to stay afloat as I am being squeezed by the government’s men for being too open and ruthless”. Zaid Hamid a few months later, after the 3rd Nov Martial Law appeared on a couple of pro-Musharraf TV shows on PTV with Ahmed Qureshi. Then suddenly out of the blue he is able to muster up enough finances to launch a self sponsored show on TV One. Watching a person flutter from being financially strapped and haunted by ‘government’s men’ to appearing on a pro-Musharraf show, then having catapulting into his own show seems all too suspiciously the work of some ‘hidden hands‘
If coincidence was anything to go by, I also noted that around this time emerged Zaid Hamid’s articles on a very staunch pro-Musharraf proponent Ahmed Quraishi who continues to wage an online battle with the Anti-Musharraf sect. When today I inquisitively launched a witch hunt for Zaid Hamid on the website I was surprised to see that quite a few of Zaid Hamid’s editorials were missing for example the January 29th article which should have led to the page has been removed from the website sometime after September 5th 2008 [as indicated by the Google Cache] and this is not the only article missing of the series, I wonder why the sudden cover up after September 5th by Ahmed Quraishi.
The only acknowledgment of any link with Yousuf Ali came from an email shared with me privately where Zaid Hamid Alhamdolillah, i have nothing to do with Yousuf or his beliefs or any other people like him.
Lest I be charged of taking this message out of context I share with you the entire section of the email so people may understand his response fully
In the last 30 years of my life, In search of truth and to study this world and its ideologies, Allah took me to many places and I met many people. I have traveled with Iranian revolution, have faught in Afghan Jihad, have gone out with Tablighi Jmaat, spent time with Jamaat Islami, have met hundreds of people including Dr. Israr, Ahmad deedat, Yusuf Islam, Anne Marrie schimmel and so on and so forth. Have also been with sufi groups in Pakistan, Turkey, Madina and Cyprus. I have also seen the western society, its civilization from a close range. Whatever I speak and do today, is the result of these experiences in life but with the mercy of Allah, He protected his humble slaves and keeps them in His infinite mercy and guidance. He showed me the world and people, but kept me away from their harm and made me benefit from any khair they had.
I also met and studied many objectionable people who were controversial but in the end Allah kept me away from them. It was all learning experiences. Alhamdolillah, i have nothing to do with Yusuf or his beliefs or any other people like him
Though he puts forth a convincing argument but it seems yet again that he refuses to acknowledge his association with Yousuf Ali to categorically say that he has “nothing to do with Yousuf or his beliefs” is this admittance of his association or denial of the fact?
Proponents of Zaid Hamid continue to plead his innocence even today as Pakistan First blog, which has been previously labeled to have a strong pro-Musharraf tilt, shared an article by Asif Shiraz who writes Zaid Hamid: As I knew him
I first met Zaid hamid at the youthful age of 17, when the emotions were high, and the search for truth pristine and innocent. A friend had told me about Zaid Hamid, and I was anxious to meet him: I was not disappointed. Our first meeting was a blast. I enjoyed Zaid sahib’s charismatic talk on many different issues, especially his passion about Islam and his knowledge on a diverse set of subjects. Although it’s been many years now, I still remember highlights of that conversation: Quotations from Iqbal, recollection of glorious events from the lives of the Sahaba, and discussion of the relevance of having truth faith “Yaqin”. Not once on that day, nor ever afterwards in these fifteen years, have I ever heard anything from Zaid Hamid which is incongruent to ideas present in mainstream religious teachings of Ahl-e-Sunnah wal-jamaat. No mention of any “cult ideology”, and no reference to anyone claiming “prophethood” whatsoever. He is a firm believer in Khatme-e-Nabuwat and the finality of Prophet Muhammad(sm). In fact, Zaid Hamid is the only person whom I have met, who lives in a rented home, but still spends a handsome chunk of his earnings every year to pay a visit to the blessed cities of Hijaz-e-Muqaddas. It is nothing other than Zaid Hamid’s love and devotion to the Prophet(sm) that he has visited Masjid-e-Nabwi more than 10 times. After the first initial meeting, I have been in touch with Zaid Hamid off and on for many years, until I moved to Chaklala Scheme III becoming his neighbor and an even closer friend.
Asif Shiraz does admit in his article that he is now a neighbor of Zaid Hamid but surprisingly fails to disclose that he is an employee of BrassTacks as proclaimed by him in this Facebook message (Screen capture) whilst a little investigation also sheds some light that Mr. Asif Shiraz incidentally happens to be the Administrative domain contact for Zaid Hamid’s website Brasstacks.biz (screen capture)
It is sadly Asif Shiraz’s attempt to stand up for his boss only goes to discredit Zaid Zaman. To analyze Zaid Hamid’s Brasstacks TV show one should read the two articles published in The News by Fasi Zaka September 18th The Pakistan Report and on 25th September published a follow up titled Hate Speech – II
My concern here remains is that Zaid Zaman is appearing on public TV and continues to eloquently preach his philosophy to the public at large, had if this individual remained as private entity, then we would have had no right to question his beliefs, but once he dons the public forum, then I feel it is the right of the people to know the facts. Generally as a free society we cannot stop him from sharing his opinion with the public at large but it is our right to question his logic and any underlying issues that may tarnish his analysis as he chooses to present to the public, and in the same pretext its important to then question his association with the self proclaimed prophet a notion strictly prohibited in the religion of Islam.
The mystery surrounding this controversy seemingly gets worse with every passing day, could it be a mere propaganda, could it be his attempt to cover up his past, or does he simply choose ignore and hopefully forget, but more importantly does he still believe in the prophecy, so many questions, all shall remain a mystery until he alone chooses to address the propaganda and clarify his position once in for all