Guest Blog by RedKazim
Few people know that the journalistic career of Dr Shahid Masood began at the Karachi-based, pro-MQM Quami Akhbar. In those days Dr Shahid Masood used to practice at Jinnah Hospital. He would regularly visit the office of Qaumi Akhbar situated in a street adjacent to I I Chundrigar Road and urge the editors to place his single column nuggets, which he filed as a health reporter from Jinnah Hospital, prominently in the newspaper.
When Dr Shahid Masood was about to move to London (as a medical practitioner) he pestered the editor, Ilyas Shakir, for a letter stating that he was the ‘London bureau chief’ of Qaumi Akhbar. Ilyas Shakir avoided him for quite long apprehending that the doctor wanted to get a visa on the basis of his association with a newspaper. He bothered the news editor, Mr Khusnood, tirelessly who finally issued him an official letter.
Dr Shahid Masood’s break in the media came when famous singer Nazia Hasan died in London. He came to Pakistan with the body of Ms Hasan and interviewed the mother of the deceased. Qaumi Akhbar was the only newspaper of Pakistan which covered the story comprehensively and people noticed Dr Shahid Masood for the first time as a journalist.
Then came the Valima reception of Altaf Hussain for which the ‘bhai’ sent special invitations to Ilyas Shakir and reporter Sabir Ali. Since it was a personal invite from Altaf bhai, the two had to attend the reception. The ‘bureau chief’ was then asked by Ilyas Shakir to make arrangements for their stay in London. Now the ‘bureau chief’ pleaded his editor to take him along to the Valima ceremony of the MQM chief. That was probably the first big political gathering Dr Shahid ever attended.
Ilyas Shakir then planned to interview Benazir Bhutto who was also in London at that time. Once again the ‘bureau chief’ was accompanying Ilyas Shakir and Sabir Ali. When the three reached Benazir Bhutto’s residence, Dr Shahid Masood was stopped at the entrance by Wajid Shamsul Hasan (who has now been appointed Pakistan high commissioner to the UK) on the pretext that he was not a journalist. Sabir Ali argued in favour of letting Dr Masood in, saying that he was Qaumi Akhbar’s London bureau chief.
Finally he was allowed to enter the premises by Benazir Bhutto herself. After the conclusion of the interview, Dr Shahid Masood convinced Ms Bhutto to hold a copy of Qaumi Akhbar while he photographed her. Ms Bhutto obliged and in the next day’s issue of Qaumi Akhbar, the caption of the front-page picture read at the end: photo by Dr Shahid Masood.
Later, staffers at Qaumi Akhbar heard that the pest they always tried to keep away from had joined a television channel. Most people envied while some sent him congratulatory messages. To Dr Shahid Masood’s credit, he always met his ‘ex-colleagues’ respectfully even after his eventful stint at Geo.
I don’t know whether one should call it a success story or not. Successful Dr Masood is but at what cost? Sane people know Dr Shahid Masood as a religious fanatic who always likes to play to the gallery. Many people call him Dr Qayamat Masood because of the set of CDs he released suggesting that the doomsday was just round the corner. Not only is he ideologically an extreme rightist, his ‘facts’ are more often than not wrong and concocted. His level of general knowledge can be judged by an entry posted by London-based Ayesha Ijaz Khan, who is also a The News occasional contributor, on her website [PDF Download].
There’s no denying the fact that what he achieved came as a result of his untiring efforts to make inroads into the mainstream press but the outlandish manner in which he lied in his recent Jang column on the resignation of the president speaks volumes of his professional integrity and honesty.