MEDIA DISAPPOINTS PEOPLE,

  CREDIBILITY QUESTIONED

 

BY JAVED ZAHEER       

 

                TORONTO: It is indeed very sad news that the very popular, respected and seasoned Pakistani diplomat, Ghalib Iqbal, who has made Pakistan and the Pakistani community really proud and respectable by his tremendous services, contribution and true leadership, would be leaving Canada in the first quarter of 2007. This would really be a great setback for the Pakistani community.

                Ghalib Iqbal, who deserves and earned respect and tribute on numerous occasions as 'The Finest Consul General of Pakistan in Toronto', would be missed very much. He always tries his best to do excellently the most difficult job---to keep the community united, educated, updated and on the march with full preparation and determination towards the destined goals---mainstream, respect and recognition.

This is how he won the trust and confidence of the people and various communities and the great respect he enjoys in Canada. His efforts paid. People hope that the new Consul General and his team would follow policies of Ghalib Iqbal and help the community face bravely and sensibly the crises and challenges. Ghalib has set good examples and made the job easy for the new Consul General and his trusted team.

                DEADLY KISS OF MEDIA: The Pakistani community indeed is in crisis these days. Due to some irresponsible and negative elements, it is in the grip of senseless infighting and serious allegations and accusations. This is very disturbing and bringing bad name to the community and Pakistan. Now, the newsy arena is Mississauga. Rightly, the mainstream media has given this game a name 'Dirty Tricks'. As a result, allegedly even other hollow news is splashed in an exploding, exploitive and damaging manner.

It looks that for Muslims, particularly Canadians of Pakistani Origins, perhaps ethics and rules are set aside and negative propaganda tactics used. Unfortunately, even the innocents are allegedly projected as guilty and criminals. Statements and comments are twisted, distorted and exaggerated. This seems to be the rules of some of the media play. Such media play and rules have badly disappointed and hurt the people. 

EASY LAUNCHING: On the other hand, the South Asian media is ineffective, remains tight-lipped and badly shaken, as if very scared on seeing a ghost. The reason---Mostly non-professionals are running the affairs, are incompetent and completely incapable of handling any situation, leave alone the delicate ones.  It is said that those who find hard to adjust and want to do something mostly think of doing two easy things---drive cab or launch journal. The internet has made the job very easy for them. Now even illiterates daringly come with proposals to launch newspapers and to become publishers and editors.        

                Those involved in dirty tricks and politics and criminal and anti-social activities must surely be discouraged, fully exposed, strongly condemned and strictly punished. This is what they deserve and this is how the good society and system could be protected and maintained. The Pakistani community fully realizes this and always remains active in helping the government, all the people and communities. The sincerity, integrity, efforts and contribution of the community in this matter should never be doubted.

Irresponsible elements are always found in every community and society. This is normal. The whole community must never be targeted and projected and promoted as irresponsible, guilty and criminals. Unfortunately, some media projection and policies create a wrong impression and promote hatred. No need to ask, the news and display explain all.

TORONTO STAR: The Toronto Star is a widely circulated, read and highly respected daily newspaper of Canada. It is published from Toronto. It is also my favourite newspaper.

What happened really shocked me. I never expected such coverage and display from the highly talented and experienced news team of Toronto Star.  San Grewal, Staff Reporter, is covering the 'Dirty Tricks' stories of Mississauga City Council elections. His first story in this matter, titled 'Candidate charged', was published very prominently (as First Lead) on page 1 in the Wednesday, October 18, 2006, issue. The picture display was massive and explosive. Although based on mere allegations, it looked as if he was proven guilty and a criminal. What was meant to portray and target---The person or image of the Pakistani community? I am not disputing the exclusive story or defending the accused persons but only questioning and defining the story and picture display. Being part of the community, I am hurt too.

The second exclusive story of San Grewal, titled 'Parrish levels new allegation of dirty tricks', published in Thursday, October 19, 2006, issue with a large picture of Carolyn clearly favoured Parrish and was damaging for Matanat Khan, her rival.  Such was the display. Policy aside, the intent seemed not good.

HOLLOW: Surprisingly, the story based on only a mysterious blocked call by an unknown caller was given such great importance and a byline to the staff reporter. It was not a solid but hollow story (lacking facts and probe), hurriedly prepared in a one-sided manner in the professional sense.

Has the standard and quality of Toronto Star fallen to such low? Please have some pity on Toronto Star readers. What is Toronto Star trying to achieve? How can such a weak story be allowed to become the First Lead on that page? This is not true professionalism or journalism. Keeping in view the good reputation of the newspaper, promote only objective reporting, which is always welcomed by all.

CURIOSITY: People are curious, wondering and asking as to how the leading and experienced staff reporter of Toronto Star, San Grewal, and the editorial staff could miss very important points and facts,  when preparing and finalizing the exclusive story about Carolyn Parrish and Matanat Khan:

                     The incident took place in late September, 2006. Why the highly experienced politician and former MP, Carolyn Parrish, did not immediately trace the unknown number, which she could have done very easily, and reported the same to the police?

                     Why the incident, which took place in late September, 2006, was delayed for such a long time and raised hurriedly right on the second day (October 19, 2006) after the story about Adnan Hashmi in Toronto Star on October 18, 2006?  San Grewal filed both the exclusive stories.

                     Surprisingly, why the very bold Carolyn Parrish preferred silence for so long and now chose this time to make the crank call an issue and reportedly involved the police?

                     Does Carolyn Parrish have any solid proof that Matanat Khan demanded $2500         (a very small amount for such important deal) as bribe to move out of the race?

It seems some negative elements are trying to create serious differences between Carolyn Parrish and Matanat Khan, highly respectable, influential and sensible personalities. It is hoped that they would realize the sensitive situation, understand the game and avoid any clash and controversy. People love both.

 RUMOURS: All sorts of rumours are circulating because of the negative impact of the stories on the Pakistani community.  Credibility of Toronto Star is at stake. There is a rumour that San Grewal, Staff Reporter of Toronto Star, allegedly has links with RAW (Indian Intelligence) and that is why he wants to harm the Pakistani community. This is the level of doubt, suspicion and anger of the community.

Rumour is also being circulated that Adnan Hashmi is a relative of Shahid Hashmi, a highly respectable and distinguished personality of the community.  Shahid Hashmi completely quashed the rumour: "No way. I have no relationship, friendship or any connection with Adnan Hashmi. It is the name Hashmi, which is creating confusion. I keep a good distance from all such people and controversies."

The shameful incidents and happenings in Mississauga and their explosive, exploitive and damaging coverage by the mainstream media has really stunned, shocked and angered the South Asian community, particularly Canadians of Pakistani origin. They are strongly condemning the dirty tricks, acts and politics and the bad elements involved.  Some say that it's still hard to believe this could happen. Others allege that in order to remove the rivals and win anyhow, some can stoop to any lows and do anything to harm them---even try to trap and frame them and level serious allegations.

ROTTEN EGGS: The City of Mississauga is becoming a powerful vote bank of South Asians and, therefore, the chances of winning are very good. South Asians want their true leadership representation from here for all people of the area. However, it is alleged that attempts are being made, with the help of rotten eggs of the South Asian community, to check and balance the increasing power and influence. The fast rising population of South Asians is reportedly becoming a cause of concern for many.

Fortunately, in Mississauga there are very good opportunities. Most of the South Asian community members are peaceful, educated, civilized, responsible and respectable and remain involved in their jobs and businesses. They are happy and have no time for dirty politics or unnecessary activities.

 Unfortunately, the few rotten eggs of the community allegedly took advantage of this free hand situation and started playing their dirty tricks and politics. Being cunning, exploiters and opportunists, they are wealthy and powerful. Allegedly, they have links with feudal mafia of back home and are expert in conspiracies, exploitation and cruelties.  It is because of their dirty tricks and politics, the South Asian community is getting bad name and badly suffering. Only promotion of true leadership can prove helpful.

ACID-SOAKED GINGER: The rotten eggs are allegedly those who have come to Canada but their minds are still corrupt and influenced by the feudal mafia of back home. They have always looted and harmed Pakistan, destroyed institutions, the good system and society, promoted corruption at all levels and in all sectors and are now harming the Pakistani community throughout the world including Canada.  Just because of them, the helpless and poor people in Pakistan are suffering badly and leading a miserable life.

For money and their vested interests they can do anything and stoop to any lows, irrespective of what happens to the people. Just think if we can do any such thing here: According to a report published in Daily Dawn of Pakistan, ginger is imported in Pakistan. In order to increase the weight and make money, it is being soaked in sulphuric acid and illegally openly sold in the market throughout the country.  After soaked in sulphuric acid in big factories made for only this purpose, the weight of one pound of ginger becomes five pounds. Just to make money, they are harming and killing thousands of innocent people. Just imagine the situation. The government is finding it very difficult but still trying hard to crush the powerful mafia involved in this dirty and deadly business. 

President Gen Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz are trying their best to improve the situation, system and society in Pakistan. They are facing great problems and many hurdles but are determined and achieving remarkable success and progress. They want to change the face of Pakistan and make it very prosperous and progressive.

On the other hand, the feudal mafia, corrupt elements and extremists want to remove at any cost both President Gen Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. The whole world knows that several attempts were made on their lives.  This shows how powerful and dangerous the feudal mafia is.

There are bad elements in every community. In Canada, recently it was reported by the media that even dead people were made members of a political group. Fortunately, the Canadian system is very good. It deals fairly and squarely and provides true justice.  It took prompt action against those involved.

So the rotten eggs too would be traced, exposed and punished. They will not be allowed to deprive the South Asian community of true leadership. It is the responsibility and duty of all to keep an eye on all such elements and to stop them. The media must help, instead of targeting the people and communities.    

                FOLLOW JINNAH: Ghalib Iqbal, Pakistan's Consul General in Toronto, in a very clear and strongly worded message asked all those contesting the municipal elections to stop talking about Pakistan during their campaign and activities. "You are in Canada and are Canadians so remain as such and only talk about Canada. You do whatever you want as Canadians but don't harm the reputation and image of Pakistan. Don't bring bad name to Pakistan.  Take none action which brings bad name to Pakistan. If you want to do something then follow the principles of Founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah," he said.

                Ghalib Iqbal stated this while addressing the audience during a reception-cum-dinner organized by the Pakistan Consulate in honour of a high-powered Senate delegation led by Chairman of the Senate in Pakistan, Mohammadmian Soomro. The delegation included Senators Ahmed Ali and Chaudahry Anwar Bhinder. The reception was held at the Maple Banquet Hall on October 19, 2006. The hall was packed with large number of dignitaries including Harinder Thakar, MPP and Minister, Wajid Ali Khan, MP, Shafiq Qadri, MPP, and Jim Karygiannis, MP. They all too addressed the audience. Tributes were paid to Ghalib.

                Senate Chairman Mohammadmian Soomro highlighted the progress made by Pakistan and said:

"There are problems but the situation has improved a lot. The progress is remarkable. There are very good business and investment opportunities. Canadians must visit Pakistan and avail the opportunities."

The tour of the delegation proved highly successful. Meetings and discussions were held with various high officials in Ottawa and Toronto including the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Premier of Ontario and Speaker of the Parliament in Ontario. 

                It was announced on the occasion that the Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, would lead a high-powered delegation to Pakistan in January, 2007. Harinder Thakar would also be in the delegation.

                                   WINNER OF FREE EXPRESSION AWARD 2006

Javed Zaheer (Masters in International Relations), Canadian of Pakistani Origin (CPO), Professional Freelance Journalist, Veteran Active Member  (VAM) of Toronto Press Club, Member of The Ontario Club, Member of National Ethnic Press & Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC), Council Member of Karachi Press Club (Pakistan), served as Senior Sub-Editor of one of the world's reputed and Pakistan's leading English Daily DAWN (1986-1999).  Associated with Journalism Profession since 1974 and believes in fierce and free expression. Address:  1709-35 Thorncliffe Park Drive, Toronto, Ontario, M4H 1J3, Canada.  Tel # (416) 696-0981.Email:  jazanews@yahoo.ca, jaza9111@yahoo.ca, jazanews@gmail.comjavedz@hotmail.com, newsviews@hotmail.com