Abdullah Saad talks about Pakistani media’s corporate interests and our threat perceptions, discussing how the media reacted to Saad Khan’s tragic death, Annie Pattersons secret (but leaked) letter to Rehman Malik and more importantly (for me) the hot topic ie Blackwater-Xe. Abdullah Saad: LINK
Pakistani media’s corporate interests
Journalists on Payroll
you wont even believe if names are revealed!
Pakistan's icon of press freedom, Zamir Niazi, whose book The Web of Censorship is a prescribed read for students at Ivy League universities, is today, flying solo against the poseurs in Pakistani press.
Anticipating another labour of love, I shoot off an e-mail to him.
"It's more a labour of anger and frustration!" he archly relies. "For the last three decades, I have fought for freedom of thought and expression. The press is really free to a great extent," reminding me that while the newspapers of today are "better printed and better produced," with more pay to its workers, "but look at the content…believe me, with a few honourable exceptions, the majority of reporters are on the payroll of one or another agency."
A scholar of international acclaim, who has dedicated his life researching, analyzing and writing on Pakistani press, he now feels let down by his own ilk. "Most journalists/reporters/writers shun reading books or absorbing themselves in serious study," he laments. "You will not believe that even senior persons, including some editors, do not read their own newspapers." He has contempt for journalists who enjoy all kinds of "perks and privileges" and when their demands are denied, "they cry foul."
As a crusader for this very class of people who wield the pen, Niazi, who wrote his famous book, The Press in Chains, is a bundle of angst who now wants the title changed to The Books in Chains – Libraries in Flames.
Pakistani media’s corporate interests
Mubashir Lucman, Javed Chaudhry and Mujeebur Rehman Shami have the audacity to lecture Pakistan!!!
11 – Sultan Ali Lakhani & family Pakistan Ranking: 9 (tied at 9) Worth: £400m ($800) Industry: Businessman
The Lakhanis are currently having a hard time at the hands of NAB. Sultan Lakhani and his three brothers run this prestigious group and the chain of McDonald’s restaurants in Pakistan. NAB has alleged the Lakhanis of having created phoney companies through worthless directors and raised massive loans from various banks and financial institutions. Sultan is currently abroad after having served a jail term with younger sibling Amin, though the latter was released much earlier. NAB had reportedly demanded Rs 7 billion from Lakhanis, but later agreed they pay only Rs 1.5 billion over a 10-year period. Lakhanis, like their arch-rivals Hashwanis, are the most well-known of all Ismaeli tycoons. Their stakes range from media, tobacco, paper, chemicals and surgical equipment to cotton, packaging, insurance, detergents and other house-hold items, many of which are joint ventures with leading international conglomerates. Though Lakhanis are in turbulent waters currently, the success that greeted them during the last 25 years especially has been tremendous. They have rifts with large business empires despite being known fur their genteel nature. Whether it is any government in Sindh or at the Federal level, Lakhanis have had trusted friends everywhere, though the present era has proved a painful exception.
Lakhani brothers in NAB hands
KARACHI: While the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) made an official confirmation to the Lakhani family in Karachi about the arrest of Sultan Ali Lakhani on a wide range of criminal charges Tuesday evening, official word was still awaited until Tuesday night about the whereabouts of Sultan’s younger brother, Amin Lakhani.
Leading businessman Amin Lakhani also runs the Karachi operation of the fast food chain, McDonald’s. Beside running the McDonald’s franchise in Karachi, the Lakhani brothers run Lakson Tobacco Company, a textile unit, an internet company called the Cybernet and Century Publications.
Sources informed the News Intelligence Unit (NIU) that the Lakhnis are now being questioned on alleged charges that include: questionable loans worth hundreds of crores of rupees for setting up granite and marble processing plants; bank default; evasion of excise duty; concealment of foreign property; links with the smuggling of 11 containers case; causing huge revenue losses to PTCL through illegal termination of long distance calls and financial dealings with Mr. Hakim Ali Zardari.
Government agencies had received credible reports that in a number of marble processing plants, which had caused huge losses to various DFIs particularly the NDFC, many of the fictitious directors were actually fronting the Lakahinis. The information came from people who had previously worked for the Lakhanis and an absconding banker.
The government investigators are also looking into their possible connections with a range of income tax, customs and excise officials beside their association with various bankers. Mr. Sultan Lakhani, who had served a term as a member of Senate, had connections on both sides of the political divide, but was considered mainly to be a close confidante of Pir Pagaro.
Amin Lakhani is the Honorary Consul General for Singapore in Karachi while Sultan was serving as Honorary Consul General for Mexico. Their diplomatic assignments, not their position as businessmen, apparently caused confusion in top government circles — leading to the long delay in confirming the Lakhanis’ arrest.
Legal notice to Sultan Lakhani for publishing concocted stories Wednesday, October 11, 2006 News Desk
In view of all these points, we believe that the false, baseless and mala fide reports about Geo are motivated solely by vendetta. The group’s associated newspapers, Jang and The News, have in the past printed stories about the dark deeds of the publisher of The Express which have never been contradicted. Among the news printed were items about the large bank loan defaults, arrest by NAB, fleeing the country, the proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee etc. Lakhani was arrested by NAB in connection with certain cases. Among the allegations on which stories were published were the case of taking and defaulting on huge loans for a granite and marble processing plant, tax and excise fraud, hiding foreign properties, the smuggling of 11 containers, causing huge losses to PTCL, etc. There were also reports that Lakhani set up fictitious companies and borrowed huge amounts from banks in this connection. The News, in! April 2004 published a story stating that he agreed to pay 1.5 billio n rupees worth of loans but only paid 200 million.
In July 2006, The News published a story about the PAC proceedings regarding Lakhani’s loan default. It was clear from all these reports that the Lakhanis were spreading their business through public funds and were not paying back loans taken from the banks and other financial institutions, which caused a huge loss to the national exchequer.
NAB in tight corner as businessmen refuse to pay dues
By Kamran Khan
Two important business families of the provincial metropolis who had earlier agreed to pay about Rs1.8 billion to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and various banks – an offer that won them an immunity against allegations of financial impropriety and release of their key directors from prisons – have reneged on their promises.
The defiant businessmen, senior NAB officials concede, currently constitute the single most important challenge to their drive against white-collar crime in the country.
Senior NAB officials have confirmed that Sultanally Lakhani and his three brothers, who partly run and operate the Lackson Group of Companies, and the Mcdonald’s food restaurants in Pakistan, after two initial payments of Rs100 million each, have stopped further payments for an agreed amount of Rs1.5 billion. The NAB had alleged that the Lakhani brothers created phoney companies through worthless directors and raised massive loans from various banks and financial instituti! on.
Kamran Khan a Correspondent for The News International/Jang Group of Newspapers's News Intelligence Unit. I wonder why our Esteemed Journalist Kamran Khan suffer from acute Inferiority Complex to name his feature as if its a section of US Central Intelligence Agency, he should have been proud of just quoting the story as Special Report.??? What the hell is News Intelligence Unit? There must be a difference between Special Branch Report and Newspapers..
He was the One who met with Murtaza Bhutto in Damascus [on the orders of Brigadier Imtiaz, Kamran Khan was on his payroll] several times and insist him to Come back to Pakistan, he used to fly to Syria every month during those days.
Read observation of Mr Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid on Kamran Khan.
Kamran Khan, a correspondent of The News, appeared with a written request that he should be heard as a witness to reply to the statement made by the former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, to clear his name, to which the tribunal said it was not holding a defamation trial. The tribunal said it was not concerned with who had said what and that the former prime minister had named 50 people in her statement and there was no time to allow all those who had been named in her statement the opportunity to hear them. "We have limited time and by March 17 the report has to be submitted to the government and we will not allow you to examine Ms Benazir Bhutto and if we allow that there will be no end to it," the chairman observed. The chairman asked him to submit a written statement before March 17. He also observed that he (Kamran Khan) should have come forward earlier, when the messages were being sent to him. He was reminded by the tribunal that one of the reporters of The News, Maqbool Ahmed, was given the message to convey to him for his appearance when his name was mentioned in the list submitted by the PPP (SB) party counsel, Manzoor Bhutta. "You kept quiet when you knew about it through the newspapers. You did not wake up until she came and named you by saying 'if he could be used by me others can also use him.' "Kamran Khan said he did not know who Maqbool Ahmed was. He said Ms Bhutto had used the tribunal's platform to say things against him and, therefore, he wanted to reply to her from the same platform, to which the chairman said she had a locus standii, because her brother had been killed and her husband had been arrested in the case.
Transparency in Pakistan’s Media, Benazir and the US December 26, 2008 By Yousuf Nazar
For example, PILDAT has received support from the USAID and International Republican Institute (IRI). USAID is a US government agency. IRI's Board includes John McCain and former US Ambassador to Iraq L. Paul Bremer.
People associated with PILDAT do have a conflict of interest when they are discussing the US policies. Should not this be disclosed and highlighted to the viewers?
The big brother still stares down. We do not need to glorify the Khakis as some TV channels seem to be doing. The top generals have followed and continue to follow Washington's line. It is wrong to view them separately from the historic and current realities. Remember they said something about drone attacks…. mumbling something about sovereignty? Did those words carry any value?
The jingoism is bad and destructive. The main issue is many people are scared or shy of talking about the role of our military leadership; and the role in the context of its close relationship with the Pentagon and the CIA. The connection is too old, too deep and too murky to be denied or ignored.