Anjum Niaz, Raza Rabbani and the virus of yellow journalism – by Abdul Nishapuri

According to her ‘official’ profile at Naseeb Vibes:

Anjum Niaz is the first Pakistani woman to qualify under US Government Immigration as possessing Extraordinary Ability in Journalism. She works as a correspondent for Dawn, has been editor of Dawn Magazine, Managing Editor of The Earth Times, columnist for The Friday Times, Coordinator(??) at Johns Hopkins University and a Board Director The Population Institute in Washington DC. Anjum Niaz has interviewed hosts of Prime Ministers and Presidents of the Subcontinent and is a vast traveler.

Source: Naseeb Vibes

However, the above may be only a cosmetic account of Anjum Niaz’s actual journalistic practices, which frequently skirt with the shades of yellow.

In recent years, she has gained notoriety due to her exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, sensationalism, and unprofessional practices of journalism.

For example, almost eight years ago, we saw the following complaint in Dawn against Anjum Niaz’s anti-Semitic attitude:

An insensitive remark

I WAS shocked to read Anjum Niaz referring to the New York Times as the ‘Jew York Times’ in her revived column Scene and Heard (Feb 23), and even more shocked at Dawn’s decision to publish it. She is also very insensitive in her remarks about the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, who has since been brutally slaughtered.

Such anti-semitic language in a newspaper such as Dawn at a time when Pakistan is trying to project itself as a ‘moderate Muslim state’ confirms the worst fears of the West about us. It shows that deep down, even Pakistani liberals hold prejudices of the type held by Islamic extremists.

Living in the US, Ms Niaz needs to learn a thing or two about political correctness. In any case, anti-Semitism is unacceptable in the modern world. Comments about the ethnicity or religion of the owners of the world’s most influential newspaper reflect shallowness of mind. No one in Pakistan talks about Dawn as ‘Memon Dawn’, The Nation as ‘Punjabi Nation’ or The News as ‘The Delhiwala News’.

Anjum Niaz may have left Pakistan but the cattiness of upper-class Pakistanis has obviously not left her….

Maybe she should also try to write for the international media and grow beyond the gossip circuit within the Pakistani community.

New York

Source: Dawn

Here is the latest master piece of yellow journalism out of Anjum Niaz’s bag. In her column in The News on 3 March 2010, she tells us a first hand account of the unusual VIP protocol granted to Raza Rabbani. She wrote:

The VIP vice

Last Sunday on a PIA flight from Karachi to Islamabad, we had a VIP travel in the first-class cabin. When the flight landed in Islamabad, we were made to wait until the VIP was safely seated in his waiting Mercedes flying two flags – the Pakistan and perhaps the PPP flags. The wait for us was not long, but what was shocking was to see the car drive up to the apron, as close as it could get to the aircraft. Was the VIP a foreign guest warranting maximum security? No. He was in fact Raza Rabbani! To make sure I was not hallucinating, I double-checked with a member of the crew as we alighted. The airhostess confirmed it was the senator. Rabbani is currently chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and also heads the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reform. Do his handlers think that ordinary passengers like us are a threat to his life and therefore he must be whisked away the minute he sets foot on the ground?

“Raza Rabbani is one of the very few politicians who have been able to attain and sustain a high level of credibility in the eyes of public as well as among all the political parties,” says a Google search I did on him today. “He is one politician who does not have any scandals associated with him; financial, moral, or political. He does not come from a feudal background, but earned his credibility as a competent lawyer and then as a principled political leader.”

Why then does Rabbani fall for the VIP trappings? Surely, his life is not threatened the way Rehman Malik contends that his is? Malik has excused himself from appearing in person at courts because our security czar claims that there are people out to kill him.

Source: The News

As a matter of fact, the whole article is a pack of lies, a usual characteristic of Anjum Niaz.

Let us start with Rehman Malik. We all know that in his capacity as the Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rehman Malik is a leading figure in Pakistan’s war against terrorists and extremists known as Taliban, Al Qaeda and Sipah-e-Sahaba. We also know that these groups and their associates have the capacity to attack most of their targets (including Army’s GHQ) with sophistication and precision.

Despite these risks to his life, Rehman Malik has been appearing in various courts of law defending politically motivated cases filed against him by previous anti-democratic governments. Various news items about Malik’s appearance in courts have been widely published in Pakistan including in the very newspaper in which Anjum Niaz writes.

For example, here is one such news item:

Malik appears in court without protocol, security
January 03, 2010
By Faisal Kamal Pasha

Source: The News

Now, referring back to Anjum Niaz’s article about the VIP vice in Pakistan in which she narrates a ‘first-hand’ account of Raza Rabbani’s VIP reception at a Pakistani airport, it turned out that the whole story was a piece of irresponsible journalism written with the sole aim of tarnishing the image of the PPP’s leadership. In fact Raza Rabbani was no where to be seen on the flight that Anjum Niaz is fantasizing about. Actually, Rabbani did not travel on that day at all.

The LUBP has learnt that Raza Rabbani has strongly protested with the Editors of The News on this fraudulent story by Anjum Niaz. As a result, this is what Anjum Niaz published on 6 March 2010.

Please have a read yourself. Do you notice any sense of remorse, an apology in the whole article. Perhaps, that will be asking for too much from a narcissist pseudo-intellectual, who specializes in yellow journalism.

VIP virus

Saturday, March 06, 2010
Anjum Niaz

Why must I continue to dwell on the VIPs? Only because they are a social evil number one. We need an antidote to the virus they suffer from, found only in the Third World. It’s been largely eradicated from the developed world. Anyone inventing a cure deserves the Nobel Prize. The disease is as fatal as AIDS. It attacks healthy cells that produce a chemical called ‘humility.’ Our DNA, that differentiates us from every other human being, is made of molecules that store information. The DNA acts like a blueprint, or a recipe, or a code, grounded in our genes. No scientist to date has succeeded in identifying and separating the VIP virus from the genes of a person in power. His DNA is delusional, prompting him that his genes are superior to others around….

But I have good news to share with my readers. Senator Raza Rabbani has not been stricken with the VIP virus. Thank God for His small mercies. He’s symptom-free! I wrote in my last column that a flagged Mercedes car waited for him at the apron as he alighted from the PIA aircraft that brought us to Islamabad from Karachi last Sunday. It now turns out that the couple I saw sit in the limousine was not Raza Rabbani but Senate Chairman Farooq Naek and his daughter. Does Naek hold this post only because he was Zardari’s personal attorney fighting his corruption cases? Some VIP!

Source: The News

Did you notice the tilt in Anjum Niaz’s story? Instead of admitting her mistake, instead of apologizing to Raza Rabbani, she has turned her guns towards Farooq Naik and Asif Zardari.

Perhaps in addition to her concern about the VIP virus in Pakistan, Anjum Niaz may also dedicate some time and resources to get her yellow journalism virus cured!

And yes, while on her way to the Yellow Journalism Cure Clinic, she may also wish to take Ansar Abbasi and Shaheen Sehbai, her colleagues at The News, along with her.



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