I hate to name people but I strongly feel that the media people should be held accountable too and should not be above criticism. I hope this will be taken in the same spirit. I can’t be accused of being pro-Zardari or pro-PPP given that I wrote (both in DAWN and the NEWS on 4th September 2008) that Zardari was his own worst enemy.
Now, please read this report by the News [Feb. 17, 2010] titled, “PM’s ‘last chance’ to mend ways with SC”, by Ansar Abbasi.
Now a quote from this report:
“analysts say the PM will not have many more chances for correcting his blunders. It is expected that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would press for the approval of his recommendations for the appointment of judges in the Supreme Court and the high courts as they were in line with the law, Constitution, established conventions and principles laid down in Supreme Court judgments.….the country’s top legal and constitutional experts are unanimous that the government’s last week notifications for the appointment of CJ LHC Justice Khawaja Sharif as judge of the Supreme Court and that of Justice Saqib Nisar as acting CJ LHC were invalid and unconstitutional. To save his government from any further embarrassment, the prime minister would act wise if he announces to undo last Saturday’s unconstitutional notifications and rectify the situation by advising the president to approve the recommendations of the chief justice for the appointment of judges in the Supreme Court as well as high courts, including the LHC and the SHC.” It will also promote the image of the prime minister and even the president, who has hardly any credibility left, to sideline their top legal advisers like Babar Awan and Latif Khosa and get them replaced with the likes of Aitzaz Ahsan and Fakhruddin G Ebrahim. All the eyes are again set on the prime minister. Now he will have to show whether he would disappoint the already disappointed nation or would give them good news.”
Now is this reporting or analysis? Neither.
This report has few highly unprofessional points that are against all norms of journalism:
(a) The report warns the PM that this maybe his last chance. Now last chance for what? If the Prime Minister did not agree with the recommendations, it is within his rights to do so? Is he a grade 22 officer that he must follow the ‘recommendations’ of CJ. Is the reporter forgetting that the PM is the chief executive of Pakistan and it is he who advises the President to appoint the CJ and the judges.
(b) It is a gross distortion of facts to state that “the country’s top legal and constitutional experts are unanimous that the government’s last week notifications for the appointment of CJ LHC Justice Khawaja Sharif as judge of the Supreme Court and that of Justice Saqib Nisar as acting CJ LHC were invalid and unconstitutional.”
Justice (rtd) F.G. Ebrahim has clearly said there was nothing wrong with appointing the senior most judge of LHC to the Supreme Court. The former President of SCBA and a hero of the lawyers movement, Ali Ahmed Kurd has visibly distanced himself from the judgements of Iftikhar Chaudhry’s court.
(c) The report goes on to tell the PM which particular judge to appoint to the Supreme Court. What is the difference? Both Kh. Sharif and Saqib are judges? What is the fuss about? Is President or PM appointing his favorite cricketer as a SC judge?
(d) It does not stop there, it goes on to tell the PM who he should appoint as his legal advisers.
Do these journalists even know the meaning of objective reporting and analysis or Mir Shakil ur Rehman has been too busy making money to give them any training?
It has become a plague in Pakistan for reporters and columnists to not only get involved in partisan politics but also fancy themselves as astute and “ghak” political advisers with no regard to the responsibility they owe to the readers and viewers who have a right to expect unbiased and professional reporting and analyses. Little do they know, they are merely little and disposable pawns in the overall scheme of things and great games that are played.
It is true that all journalists have their leanings (be it in the developed world or in the developing world) but it is one thing to spin and completely another matter to become a mouth piece of a particular ‘party line’ and yet unashamedly profess to be a champion of all sorts of democratic principles and values.