Ansar Abbasi, you are a third class blackmailer, a yellow journalist, a supporter of the Taliban. Shame on you.
Son defends father in open letter
Monday, December 29, 2008 (The News)
By our correspondent
ISLAMABAD: Basit Riaz Sheikh, son of Deputy Director General (DDG) Intelligence Bureau Riaz Sheikh, wrote an open letter to The News to defend his father, whose name was mentioned by Ansar Abbasi, Editor Investigations The News amongst those, required to be interviewed by police to get to the bottom of the threats and vilification campaign launched against Mr Abbasi.
While Ansar Abbasi insists that he did not lodge any FIR against anyone therefore the question of making any person including Mr Sheikh as accused does not arise, the following is the unedited version of Basit Riaz Sheikh’s open letter addressed to Ansar Abbasi.
“My father, Ahmad Riaz Sheikh (former Deputy Director FIA and presently Deputy Director General Intelligence Bureau), and I have often admired your investigative reports in ‘The NEWS’. Your writings have been a popular topic over our dinner table and though we did not fully concur with your viewpoint on many occasions, your writings often stood out as tenacious dissenting slogans against anti-democratic elements in Pakistan.
A writer shares a unique bond of trust with his/her readers. This special bond of trust is built on a premise of a thorough research and investigation on the part of the writer to ensure that readers are not misled and misguided. Yesterday, our trust in you was shattered when you accused my father of spearheading a vilification vendetta and charged him for being part of a greater conspiracy against you. I could not phantom this coming from a seasoned journalist whose writings I had once so dearly admired.
I could have opted to stay quiet but there is way too much at stake to keep mum. It’s not only a matter of family honour for me; it’s a question of separating truth from ugly lies, it’s a question of our media’s future. We have all dreamt and struggled for a free and an independent media but all sacrifices would go in vain if that freedom were built on deceitful journalism and hideous motives. All I seek is truth and only truth, not for myself but for all those who have been duped in the name of free media.
The one and the only time my father met you was in a chance encounter at Islamabad Club back in June’08. In one of your earlier reports, you had shown great resentment over my father’s appointment in the Intelligence Bureau and claimed that he had been assigned the task of gagging any dissenting voices against the newly elected PPP government. My father went on length to explain that this was quite contrary to reality and he had been a victim of false perceptions. From the trials and tribulations of the mighty Attock Fort to vigorous attempts to deny my brother and I the right to study abroad even when we had acquired scholarships, the then state machinery worked terribly hard to make us exampled victims of a brutal politics of revenge. After getting convinced, not only you apologized and showed total remorse but also promised to compensate us for any grievances. Little did we know that the compensation would come in the shape of baseless allegations of vilification conspiracy.
For the last few months, my father has been extremely busy with his course work at the National Management College (NMC). He could have sought an exemption based on the grounds of absence from service for more than a decade, but instead he decided not to solicit any favour and opted to strictly follow all rules and regulations. Even a cursory glance at his NMC and work schedule is enough to figure out that he hardly gets any time to himself, let alone worry about you.
Ever since the coincidental meeting at the Islamabad Club, my father has not had any direct or indirect contact with you nor has he remotely dealt with any issues you have investigated or written about. As such, your allegations have not only shocked us but also betrayed our trust in our media. The allegations are totally false and concocted and we expect a senior journalist in you to either withdraw these false claims or else come forth with actual facts to prove these allegations. My father has offered to resign from his job if there is even an iota of truth in your alleged claims.
We could have chosen a path of legal suit against you, but like always we leave the fate of these false accusations to Allah Almighty. All we expect from you is to come out in open and share any information whatsoever and reveal all those hidden anti-state faces who might have intrigued you into wrongly accusing my father of something that he had been and continues to be a victim of.
Our family’s only desire is to have a truly democratic system flourish in Pakistan. We wish that in these tumultuous and troubled times at home and abroad, our political parties would rise above the politics of petty personal gains and stand united under the leadership of our President Asif Ali Zardari to fulfil the dream of a progressive and prosperous Pakistan that Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had inspired. If that is a crime, we stand guilty as charged under penal code by Ansar Abbasi.”