Archive for the ‘Gen Musharraf's Farmhouse’ Category

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Hearsay journalism vs Investigative Journalism-Letter to the Editor

June 21, 2009

Daily “The News”,

Section: Letter to the Editor

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Yellow journalismAccording to recent stories in your paper regarding Chak Shahzad farmhouses, a list of 34 persons charged with some sort of default or wrong tariff has been released by IESCO. Former president Pervez Musharraf’s name is conspicuous by its absence from this list. What happened to the ‘unearthing’ of a scandal about the former president’s farmhouse that was given extensive coverage in your columns? There were stories about free transformers, wrong tariffs and the most laughable of all, the installation of FATA meter at the ex-president’s farmhouse. All these allegations of your reporter seemed nothing more than his fantastical opinions portrayed as facts as not a single allegation in this series of stories has held ground. When one allegation is refuted, your ‘investigative’ journalist, instead of defending the first one, as someone who has done his research should be able to do, cooks up another allegation which is proved wrong the next day. Is this the understanding of investigative journalism of The News?

It is expected of the largest media group in Pakistan to at least be able to differentiate between hearsay journalism and investigative journalism.

Hammad Husain

Architect of Pervez Musharraf’s farmhouse, Chak Shahzad,

Islamabad

http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=184179

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Ansar Abbasi’s twisted stand on General Musharraf’s farmhouse

May 30, 2009

(A “Long Live Musharraf Report)

Dear visitors, We are proud to expose the malicious and unsubstantiated report of Mr. Ansar Abbasi of ‘The News’ in our blog soon after his one sided and false report was published. Now, we are exposing the twisted stand and position of Mr. Ansar Abbasi throughout this whole episode.

On 23rd May Edition of ‘The News’, Mr. Ansar Abbasi made two main accusations,

1- IESCO has provided former President free of cost transformer and other equipments. [1]

2- The electricity meter in use is meant for Agricultural use, of which former President is not entitled for. [2]

All said else was found to be an extension of the second accusation.

On 26th May Edition of ‘The News’, Mr. Ansar Abbasi made a new story, claiming that farmhouse is now getting Fata power rates by IESCO [3].

Enjoy the sensational words of him, “The Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) has silently changed the power connection of former president Pervez Musharraf’s palatial house at Chak Shahzad following unearthing of the power theft scandal by The News.”

There were few more important points in the story as well, like’

“While Musharraf has already been reported to have said that he was not involved in any irregularity, one of his sympathiser in an unsigned note conveyed that the story on Musharraf’s electricity tariff was factually incorrect. He, whose name was not even disclosed by the source to this correspondent, added the bill shown was of the meter installed when the plot was bought and was being used till now. “The new and proper meter will be installed this week. Secondly, full payment was made for the transformer,” concluded the note.” [4]

And this one;

“The SDO claimed Musharraf had applied for the new connection some six months back and have also paid the fee for the installation of transformer.” [5]

Mr. Ansar Abassi appeared on 28th May 2009 with this story;

“A self-claimed spokesman of Musharraf and the architect of his farmhouse, in a rejoinder e-mailed to The News on Tuesday, refuted different ‘facts’ of The News stories but argued that the agriculture tariff was installed in routine “by default” till a house was built on the plot for permanent occupancy.” [6]

Now, if we analyse the overall twists and change of position by Mr. Ansar Abassi, we can easily judge ourselves the way he maligned the issue to make sensationalism.

Ansar AbbasiFirstly, Mr. Abbasi came with a report that transformer is provided to Farmhouse free of cost [1] and that the electricity tariff is illegally provided [2]. Then he appeared with a news that IESCO is now providing Fata power rates [3]. Then, he admitted that a rejoinder to his one sided report is received by ‘The News’ which clearly stated that full cost of the transformer was already paid and that the new meter will be installed this week [4]. It is interesting to note that instead of publishing the rejoinder, Mr. Abbasi tried to ridicule it by his non-professional and biased attitude, like using the words “one of his sympathiser…” and “few days before Musharraf was ‘uttering’ these words”. In the same story, he also admitted himself that Musharraf already had applied for the new connection and that the fee for the installation of transformer is also paid, as confirmed by the SDO of IESCO [5].

The story of 28th May was the most interesting in which Mr. Abbasi indirectly admitted that all his allegations were fake and false. Although, Mr. Abassi twisted the facts again by his well designed words, like; “A self-claimed spokesman of Musharraf….” and “refuted different ‘Facts’ of The News stories…” So, Mr. Abassi is claiming that whatever published in his newspaper is ‘FACT’, because it suits him. However, Mr. Abbasi placed the text of rejoinder in his story. For every reader, who believes in well balanced reporting, it should be the matter of extreme disappointment that Mr. Abbasi had done nothing in 28th May report, instead of making new scandals and taking irrelevant issues. Matter of fact is that all his facts are proved wrong and he could not stand by his story. Regular procedure is followed throughout the construction and installments of IESCO. Cost of transformer has been paid. Once the farmhouse was completed and ready for residence, application was given for change in tariff.

We have received numerous mails, asking where Abbasi’s claim of Free Transformer and fata meter is gone, now? He himself admitted later that payment was made and application was given. So, where is his earlier claim, which according to him was ‘Fact?’ Role of Mr. Abbasi in making non-professional, half quoted and twisted stories to fabricate the realities and to make disinformation is now well exposed. All his initial claims are refuted and he has been left by nothing more to say.

We have confirmed by our sources that ‘The News’ deliberately refused to publish the rejoinder, sent on 24th May, from the architect of Farmhouse, on the behalf of former President. Realising the ill-intentions of Mr. Ansar Abbasi, we got the rejoinder from our sources and published exclusively on http://LongLiveMusharraf.WordPress.com to make the record straight for our visitors. We have also been informed that ‘The News’ published the rejoinder on 28th May, after getting message of starting up of legal case of defamation against the newspaper and the reporter by former President.

It is also interesting to note that on 23rd May’s story, Mr. Ansar Abbasi also claimed that there is Redco’s site office in the farmhouse of Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman. The next day, he clarified his own allegation by saying that there is no site office. So he gave ‘facts’ without even verifying them. He is not consistent and he just works on hearsay and gossip and still calls himself investigation reporter. We request our visitors to be careful of such so called ‘journalists’, who are scum on the name of balanced and professional journalism. We need to expose them LOUD and CLEAR, as they are making damage to Pakistan by their disinformation. We have many solid reasons to believe that such so called ‘journalists’ are also on the payroll of political parties and even Talibans, as well.

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Rejoinder to Ansar Abbasi’s malicious and unsubstantiated report on General Musharraf’s farmhouse

May 24, 2009

A Long Live Musharraf” Report:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Electronic and Press Media in Pakistan is enjoying full freedom since former President General Pervez Musharraf adopted the unprecedented policy of liberation of media, which no one ever dared to take on in the history of Pakistan. From state controlled few channels in 1999 to more than 60 channels in 2008, it was no other than a ruler in military uniform that always supported and encouraged the freedom of Expression. It seems ironical that the same media later started calling him Dictator and crossed all the limits of ethics in toppling him from office of President.

Like politicians of Pakistan, media quite often also behaves with so much incivility and irresponsibility, which not only serves the purpose of disinformation to the nation but also brings irrecoverable damage to national interests. For few years, centre of gravity of media and political parties is to bring down former President General Musharraf by a well orchestrated and well sponsored campaign against him. No news story attracts the attention of the reader, if it lacks some scandalous ‘information’ about former President. It is quite evident that ‘someone’ is still paying media to make false perceptions.

On 23rd May, Daily ‘The News’ published a story by Mr. Ansar Abbasi with the title, “Documents reveal power scandal in Chak Shahzad palaces”, which was simply based on malicious reporting and twisted facts. On TV channels and internet blogs, it appeared as big story and spread much quickly. This one sided report was followed by the ‘Breaking News’ that former President has vacated the army house. To add sensationalism in the news, it was said that Army has forced him to leave the army house. It was further added that General Musharraf has bought an apartment in London and is not likely to return back to the country.

President MusharrafIt was too much humiliating for all those who support General Musharraf and honour him as an honest leader and the man who always work for the ideology of ‘Pakistan First’. It was also so much sad and shattering for former President himself that he appeared on different channels and dismissed all such speculations. He said LOUD and CLEAR that he would live permanently in Chak Chehzad and is not going to leave Pakistan at all. He added that since the construction of his house was completed in Chak Shehzad, he moved out of official residence. On one question, he confirmed the news about his apartment in London and told that his future schedule for lectures in different countries and commitments for interviews is already well set. He has bought a flat in London to serve as a staying station during his visits. On one question he denied any role in killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti, saying he is ready to deal with the allegations levelled against him. He out rightly rejected any allegation regarding the rigging in the General Elections of 18th February 2008. He rejected the claim by PML-Q’s leadership that elections were engineered, calling this accusation totally baseless. When he was enquired about the allegation of acquiring electricity on cheaper rates, he rejected this false allegation, saying he abides law and never remains involved in such illegal act.

The next day spokesman of the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) clarified that new connection to the farmhouse is given as per the IESCO-Wapda rules without showing favour to any VIP. He said the contents of the news item were investigated and scrutinised, but no irregularity was found in provision of new connections to these farmhouses. There was no special concession in demand notices. (The News-24th May 2009)

This whole episode clearly depicts how irresponsibly the news reporters sometimes behave while making any story. Professional reporters always take versions of all the parties involved. Mr. Ansar Abbasi, unfortunately is too biased to practice this fundamental rule. We doubt he is probably paid to write such malicious reports, with half quoted and twisted facts. There is no freedom of media, without having feel of responsibility and sense of ownership.

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The given is the rejoinder to the malicious report of ‘The News’ by Mr. Ansar Abbasi.

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Written by Hammad Husain (Architect of Chak Shahzad farmhouse)

Mr Ansar Abbasi’s write-up in The News on 23rd May titled “Cheap electricity for Musharraf, ex-ISI chief and others” is a classic case of ‘hearsay’ journalism. Had the writer checked his facts, or at least taken the version of those he has callously accused, as a professional journalist is expected to do, his write-up would have been accurate. Mr Abbasi has claimed that “Gen Musharraf’s farmhouse was provided a free of cost transformer and other equipment in 2006”. This information is totally wrong. The correct fact is that a 25 kVA transformer was installed in 2003 right after Gen Musharraf bought the plot. On 25th Feb 09, as the house was nearing completion, an application was written to IESCO for upgradation of the transformer. A demand note was issued by IESCO on 11th March 09 titled “Extension of load and change of tariff”. A pay order of Rs 376,108 was deposited in the name of XEN(E), Islamabad-1 on 24th March and another pay order amounting to Rs. 102,000 was submitted as security deposit. Consequently, the old transformer was removed and a new 100 kVA transformer was installed. It is evident that instead of investigating the matter and verifying his facts, Mr Abbasi has depended solely on hearsay.

As far as the electricity meter is concerned, the published bill clearly shows the date it was installed (Dec 2003). The plot is in the P & V scheme of CDA where an agriculture meter D-2(1) is installed in routine (by default) till a house is built on the plot for permanent occupancy. The farmhouse was occupied a few days ago and the new meter with A-1(b) tariff (for residential use) is in the process of being installed this week in place of the old meter as per the above-mentioned demand note. The writer ought to know that exact electrical load is calculated and the purpose of the meter is clearly mentioned in all applications. IESCO installs meters after verifying the usage and loads and the customer does not have the option of choosing meters. (A-1(b) tariff is for heavy load and is more expensive than A-1(a) tariff that the writer mentioned in his story). Unfortunately, an unnecessary issue has been created out of a non-issue. After providing clarifications in today’s follow-up story, the writer still ‘stands’ by his story. It is easy to stand by a hearsay story, but it is difficult to stand by unverified and incorrect facts.

Hammad Husain

(Architect of Chak Shahzad farmhouse)

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Musharraf farmhouse: the architect responds

April 21, 2009

By HAMMAD HUSSAIN

Islamabad - A lot has been written in the forign and local press lately about Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, Islamabad. Journalists have (mis)reported and commented on the plot, the house design, cost, size and any aspect of the house that would make news. There has been a debate whether he will be able to live in his farmhouse or not.

As the architect of this farmhouse, I would like to clarify some facts:

The farmhouse has a very modest and functional design with minimalist and simple finishes. It is anything but ostentatious or palatial. It is made in accordance with the bye-laws of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Last year there was a controversy about the Chak Shahzad farms, including Gen Musharraf’s plot. After Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was reinstated on 20th July, he took suo moto notice of the ‘violations’ of law, claiming that the farms were ‘allotted’ to the present owners for growing vegetables and were not meant for residential use. He sought to cancel all the 499 plots in Chak Shahzad.

None of these charges was correct and this move by Justice Chaudhry seemed nothing more than an attempt to settle personal scores with Gen Musharraf. The reality is that these plots had originally been allotted as compensation to those locals who were evicted from their properties in the 1970s and 80s when CDA was in the process of developing sectors in Islamabad. Most of these allottees eventually sold these farms at prevailing market rates. Later, CDA legalized construction of residences in Chak Shahzad.

Gen Musharraf bought his plot at market price and it was officially transferred in his name by CDA, which also stamped and approved the drawings for construction of the house according to their bye-laws. Reports by some journalists that he was allotted the plot “at a throwaway price” and that the construction is illegal are false and malicious.

There is nothing controversial about Gen Musharraf’s plot or the house. It has just been blown out of proportion by sensational reporters.

(taken from http://nailainayat.blogspot.com with zillions of thanks)

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