The Citizens for Free and Responsible Media, Pakistan, has sent an email to the Editors of The News and Jang regarding an unethical, false and irresponsible report about Ali Dayan’s testimony before the US congressional hearing on Balochistan, in response to a private member’s proposed resolution in the House of Representatives. Text of the email posted in a Note in the CFRM facebook page; also copy-pasted below. (Note: Contrary to the impression given in some sections of the media in Pakistan, the U.S. has not passed any ‘bill’ on Balochistan; even if such a bill does pass, it will have no legally binding status unless it is debated and presented for a vote in the form of a bill that would need to pass through both the lower house and the senate).
Mr Talat Aslam, Senior Editor The News
Mr Amir Zia, Editor, The News Karachi
Mr M. Malick, Editor The News Islamabad
Mr Muddassir Mirza, Editor Jang Karachi
Mr Shahrukh Hasan, Group Managing Director Jang Group
Mr Shakil-ur-Rehman, CEO Jang Group
We are writing to express our dismay at the unethical and false reporting in your paper regarding the appearance of head of the local chapter of a leading international human right NGO at a US congressional hearing.
The report in The News and Jang dated Feb 21, 2012 is not the first time that this particular reporter, Mr Ahmed Noorani, has targeted Mr Ali Dayan Hasan of Human Rights Watch in what appears to be a very vindictive manner.
The report of Feb 21st not only takes the highly unethical step of publishing Mr Hasan’s cell phone numbers, but is also full of falsehoods regarding Mr Hasan’s recent testimony at the U.S. Congress House of Representatives hearing on Balochistan in Washington DC.
The factual inaccuracies and outright lies of Ahmed Noorani’s opinionated ‘report’ include assertions that:
- HRW presented a “one-sided view” on Balochistan at the hearing, that the hearing itself was “illegal”
- Mr Hasan presented “wrong facts and figures on Balochistan” and “recently attacked Pakistan’s superior judiciary for considering a case of alleged treason”.
- Mr Hasan “has started a full campaign to fuel more and more fire on the issue of Balochistan by holding security institutions as solely responsible for the whole crisis”
- Mr Hasan “is narrating a one-sided story before the whole world from the platform of HRW without describing the background of the issue”
- Mr Hasan’s HRW “reports have little mention” of “killing of settlers in Balochistan
- Mr Hasan “used to glorify killings of Baloch people with the twist that all these were killed by security agencies.”
- HRW is an “American” organization (it is the second largest international human rights organization headquartered in NY, with offices all over the world).
Basically the entire ‘report’ is a malicious fabrication and appears to be calling for Mr Hasan to be tried for treason. None of the statements in The News/Jang report can be corroborated by facts, which are:
- Mr Hasan began his verbal presentation by stating that Balochistan was an internationally recognized province of Pakistan and HRW expected all constitutional protections available to Pakistani citizens and international human rights standards to apply to the people of Balochistan
- He presented facts and figures based on extensive on the ground research in Balochistan and from Human Rights Watch’s published reports
- He referred to Balochistan as a complex situation with multiple abusive actors – the military and intelligence agencies, Baloch nationalist groups and religious extremist groups – though he called the military the “engine of abuse”.
- Mr Hasan categorically stated in his verbal testimony that the US is responsible for introducing the practice of widespread disappearances in Pakistan by being complicit in the disappearances of Taliban and Al Qaeda suspects after 9/11.
- He pointed out that at least 40 per cent of Balochistan is non-Baloch, and any analysis of Balochistan must factor in this demographic reality and its implications.
- Mr Hasan’s written testimony provided on behalf of HRW details recommendations to the US Government to approach both Pakistani authorities and the Baloch nationalists with a view to ending human rights abuses by ALL parties.
- Mr Hasan has never “attacked” the judiciary. He in fact called for “due process” in the memogate proceedings and asked for “justice to not just be done but be seen to be done” in light of “the history of civil military relations” in Pakistan. (The News attacked him then too).
We would like to place on record our protest at this unethical and irresponsible reporting that is not only inaccurate and based on lies, but also endangers the life and safety of a Pakistani citizen.
We hope that our letter finds space in the letters column of The News and Jang, and that as responsible newspapers, The News and Jang will publish and apology and a correction.
Citizens for Free and Responsible Media, Pakistan
‘Reducing the social cost of silence’
NOTE: We are including links to other information that may be useful for those who wish to understand the issue in greater detail.
This ‘report’ in The News/Jang follows days after a somewhat menacing press release from ISPR on Feb 16 reacting to Ali and HRW’s continuing insistence on the killers of Saleem Shahzad to be held accountable. The Express Tribune condemned the ISPR statement in an editorial, making the connection with Balochistan. Blogger Sana Saleem also took this issue on in an oped in Express Tribune
A full transcript of Mr Ali Hasan’s oral testimony to the Congressional committee is at this link at the HRW website. Mr Hasan’s 20-page written submission to the congressional committee is also posted at this link on the HRW website. A PDF of the transcript of his five-minute presentation at the hearing is available here: Hasan Balochistan House Transcript
Here is a link to the video of the hearing.
Post-hearing, he explained his and HRW’s position further in this report published in Dawn