Shahzaib Khanzada failed to copy Kamran Khan style during his show on GEO News:
Shahzaib Khanzada failed to copy Kamran Khan style during his show on GEO News:
“What do you expect when you are cohorting with a venomous snake? It will make others abandon you and one day it will bite you in your own a**!” said my friend who used to work as a stylist at Geo Entertainment while talking about the infamous Shaista Lodhi-blasphemy fiasco.
Shaista Lodhi (previously known as Shaista Wahidi) became a household name for being the exuberant host of the morning shows, more recently at Geo TV Network. However, the same stint at Geo that brought her fame almost destroyed her personal and onscreen life inconsolably.
With the recently surfaced EMAIL Conversation, Mir Shakeel has left Shaista Lodhi alone in the line of fire facing the consequences of the backlash of doing a show that construed anti-Islamic and blasphemous sentiments – but also has added insult to injury by GEO suing Shaista Lodhi itself singling her out to be the responsible person for getting the blasphemous content on air.
Email of Shaista wahidi authenticated by Mir Shakeel himself by submitting it in Suit No. 1425/2014 filed in Sindh High Court!!!
It is no hidden truth that the show was totally orchestrated and planned by Mir Shakeel, who has Veena Malik on his Dubai payroll since the time she let the Indian Media published her nude photos with “ISI” tattooed on her arms. Mir Shakeel was equally responsible for that stint at that time as he is now for this one except for the fact that this time he is totally exposed!
The recent email of Shaista from August 2014 makes startling revelation about how GEO treats rather mistreats its employees no matter what they have delivered in the past for the GEO Mafia. Employees at GEO/Jang group and their family members are questioning that if this treatment is given to the top celebrity like Shaista then how they would deal with employees who do not have celebrity status and are place at middle or junior layers in the organization??
In the email to Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, Shaista insisted that she has been “abandoned” and faced “insulting, callous and degrading” response from her previous employer, even leading to her landlord sending her notice of eviction due to non-payment by her employer as per the contract. She also goes on to reveal that she will not hold back any information regarding the incident (allegedly the involvement of Mir Shakeel in blasphemy fiasco in her show) even claiming to go “all out” if denied her contractual rights and warned of the “consequences which [she] will still want to avoid”.
However, Mir Shakeel ur Rehman – being the master manipulator and blackmailer of his own legion, inversely sued Shaista Lodhi in Sindh High Court! Under the Suit No. 1425/2014 Independent Media Corporation Vs. Shaista Lodhi, the applicant (Independent Media Corporation) goes to blame the defendant, Shaista Lodhi as the one to blame as the host of the show due to which “religious feelings of many Muslims got hurt.” Thus accepting in the court on oath that the feelings of many Muslims got hurt by that program.
My friend quipped, “Shaista got bit badly by the Baray Mir Sahab! She knew what she was doing while doing that Veena Malik controversial show. She was reluctant to pursue it but she was assured thoroughly by Mir Shakeel not to worry. Look, who is the biggest of her worry now – Mir Shakil himself! Oh the irony!”
Being criminally sued in Pakistan is not a new thing for Geo/Jang Group owner Mir Shakeel Ur Rahman where he can take the advantage of our weak judiciary and flaws in our legal system and his affair with Nawaz Government. Not only has this ease at avoiding the litigations and their consequence had elevated his sense of recklessness and confidence of running a blackmailing mafia under the cover of a media organization. But seemingly Mir Shakeel’s fate has thrown him into rather “unchartered territory” for him – the ‘not-so-easy-to-hoodwink” foreign courts!
Mir Shakeel ur Rahman has been known to sabotage any competitor that seeks to get in the way of his own profit maximizing schemes – whether in print or electronic media. He has been successful in manipulating the situations to bring down competitors including famous publication like Pakistan Times in the 70’s. Last year he tried to the same strategy when a competitor named BOL Network surfaced with job offers significantly more lucrative than that offered by Jang and Geo Group. In result, hundreds of Jang/Geo Employees applied in the new media house seeking better career opportunity. Mir Shakeel started a slanderous campaign against BOL, which resulted in BOL filing a lawsuit against Mir Shakeel and his Independent Media Corporation (IMC PVT Ltd). But Mir Shakeel has left no stone unturned to keep the cases pending in the courts by using every hook and crook at his dispense.
Little did he know that he has bitten off more than what he could chew from BOL networkwhomoved the international courts of law to get Mir Shakeel to face his crimes without using his devious ways to keep out of harm’s way.Not only Bol Network managed to launch multiple lawsuits in USA, UK and elsewhere but also get their case registered at Dubai Police. Mir Shakeel-ur-Rahman and his son Mir Ibrahim were arrested by Dubai Police for questioning. This might serve as a shock for Mir Shakeel who considered Dubai to be his ironclad safe harbor from where he controlled his business away from the hands of Pakistani law enforcement agencies.Keeping in view the extent of international exposure and influence of BOL’s parent group being a global IT Enterprise and having many years of experience and partners and legal associates all over the world, it comes as no surprise when they come after him reportedly in USA, UK and also Dubai. Seemingly Mir Shakeel ur Rahman is now in a big fix all across the globe including UAE where he is facing criminal defamation charges and possibly looking at time behind bars and nowhere to run.
In a shocking television transmission that stunned the Pakistani viewers all around the world, distinguished Geo TV anchor, Kamran Khan announced that he is parting ways with Geo/Jang Group, effectively severing a 32-year old bond. Kamran Khan bade goodbye to his now-ex employer media group with much respect and integrity. However, if we delve deeper behind the scenes, there might be more to this shocking move by Kamran Khan.
It may seem that it was an amicable separation, but to the media experts and analysts share a completely different perspective. Geo/Jang Group and its owners have been finding themsleves involved in quite a few controversies over the course of the last year. Kamran Khan was reportedly uncomfortable with Geo News’ stance as dictated by its owner Mir Shakil Ur Rahman; so much so that 30+ years of working in the same organization seemed difficult for Kamran Khan to last any longer.
Reportedly, Kamran Khan voiced his concern regarding all these anti-Pakistani agenda to the owner of Geo/Jang Group and even spoke out about it on air that if Geo News found involved in receiving foreign funding for airing programming found to be biased and selling a paid-for agenda, he will distance himself from this organization. However, Mir Shakil Ur Rehman and company were hell-bent upon following their agenda and since Kamran Khan could not fix this, he decided it would be better to leave with his integrity intact rather than be a part of something he believed to be against Pakistan or the journalistic ethics he believes in.
The recent move by Kamran Khan quitting Jang/Geo network resonates his firm stance at no-toleration policy at being a ethically sold-out journalist for the price of money and his patriotism. For that, Kamran Khan will always be a respected individual in Pakistan. Likewise, his last words on Geo were,” Let the decisions in media enterprises be made in the newsroom and not by the owners. Pakistan will never be truly democratic unless the media is run freely.”
The humid yet cloudy weather at dusk looks like an omen for a storm stirring up in the gulf, but apparently it is not the only storm that is going to have a ripple effect all across the gulf to the Arabian Sea in Pakistan. As what information my friend, who also happens to be a journalist working in a reputable local publication in UAE unraveled to me is no short of a whirlwind shaking up the Pakistani media scene as we know it!
As per his source in Dubai Police, a criminal investigation case (Case No. 1108/2014) against the owners of Jang/Geo Group, Mir Shakil ur Rehman and his son, Mir Ibrahim is being processed at the request by an upcoming Pakistani media group, BOL Network, on the basis of “Criminal Defamation.” Apparently, after initial investigation, Dubai Police has found the claim sound and registered the case and called Mir Shakil and Mir Ibrahim to the Police station. When they didn’t show up after being called twice, the police officials went to their residence at Emirates Hill area. After that, a rather shaky Mir Shakil was seen appearing in the Dubai Police station at Jebel Ali for the related police inquiry roughly around July 10 or so. He was drilled for 3 hours by police official equivalent to an ASI in Pakistan.Imagine what will be the feelings of the person whose one call in Pakistan a few months ago can bring the IG of any province down to his knees.
If proven guilty, Mir Shakil ur Rehman and Mir Ibrahim look at about 5 to 10 years of imprisonment with damages as per the UAE laws against defamation subsequent deportation to land in Pakistan where already around 100 criminal cases are pending against them; This doesn’t seem farfetched considering similar cases resulting in severe actions against the guilty in UAE.
Mir Shakil ur Rehman, not new to the lawsuits in Pakistan, is already facing numerous lawsuits in Pakistani courts brought up by BOL Network after he started spreading organized rumors and tried publishing false news against the upcoming media network in his publications, Daily Jang and The News. But as the judicial process in Pakistan takes ages for cases to be addressed, the legally savvy strategists of BOL stripped him in Dubai as Mir Shakil is known to have permanent residence with large wealth in Dubai
“The Mir family is trying really hard to contain this news from spreading in Pakistani media industry, but this news is already circling among the top media officials with 1-2 members of Geo/Jang’s top management already looking for options to make the move away from being further associated with the Jang group and the Mirs,” said the journalist lighting his cigarette, “Mir Shakil is trying hard to get out of this fix by making their Indian allies put pressure on Dubai prosecutors to kill the case but the case is still alive so far. It’s not easy to shush Dubai Police once they catch the whiff of something suspicious. It’s not Pakistan! This actually can turn out to be Mir Shakil’s worst nightmare. He considered Dubai a safe haven, now the hands of law have clasped him here as well!”
Last year, the Ramadan television ratings in Pakistan were totally dominated by Geo TV, primarily because of Amir Liaquat’s Ramadan transmissions. However, since then the highly polarizing television host left the Geo Network along with Geo TV’s latest debacles with PEMRA and ISI bringing bad name to the channel has cost both the parties heavily. As a result, this year Geo or Amir Liaquat are able to score the top spot in the television ratings war.
The consequent gap left in the market has been filled by ARY Digital who took full advantage of the situation by getting a head start. In the first half of this year’s Ramadan, ARY digital tops the rankings. Apparently, the TV programme, “Jeeto Pakistan” surfaced as the new favorite TV show of Pakistani audience, particularly females. With 1285 GRPs, ARY digital became the most watched channel in the first 15 days of Ramadan.
ARY digital’s closest competitor has been Express Entertainment with 1230 GRPs. Apparently, the reason for this has been former Geo TV’s anchor Amir Liaquat Hussain’s show, “Pakistan Ramadan” which has retained a chunk of the audience for Express Entertainment. However, none of the old charm remains in his transmissions and Express Entertainment might find it very difficult to attain the top spot. However, the good news for the 2 aforementioned Tv channels is that it is a two-horse race as the third ranked channel, HUM Tv is well behind with 585 GRPs.
What remains to be seen is how long this sustainability shown by ARY is going to last. Next year Ramzan battle does not seem to simmer down with the rumors of Geo coming up with strategies to regain its spot while highly expected tough competition from upcoming BOL TV is also expected.
Pakistani Media Scenario is no less than a warzone since last few months, with Media mafias being exposed like Mir Shakil ur Rahman (Geo and Jang Group) with their underlying agendas against Pakistan Army and ISI under the cover of a media house uncovered. Geo Group further faced a major backlash regarding an alleged attempt of blasphemy on a morning show, which resulted in further backlash from public and PEMRA alike resulting in a 15 days nationwide ban on Geo News and severe hatred for the GEO and Jang group among the masses.
This provided competitors like Express News, ARY News and Dunya the golden opportunity to capture the market. But somehow,these channels failed to do so, mainly the reason being the lack of resources and quality programming that could not get the attention of the audience in that way to watch their channel.
All the media pundits who have observed Mir Shakil ur Rahman’s longstanding use of media as a mafia have predicted that he will not rest until he get his vendetta in motion against Army and ISI once again after Operation Zarb-e-Azb settles. Who knows what may be next in Geo agenda after Army and PTI – PEMRA? Supreme Court? Government of Pakistan and PML(N)?
The current situation in Pakistani media all the more calls for a player that can stand against Geo TV’s incessant revengenda against those who have ousted them for what they really are – blackmailers under the cover of media moguls! There is a gap to be filled by a voice that will not only supersede Geo in terms of financial muscle but also the quality of programming and neutrality of its agenda. None of the present players in the market has risen up to the occasion.Most of them falling short due to their comparatively limited resources and low professionalism. Geo still thrives on the prowess of its widespread reach.However, the newcomer Bol TV network, with its claim to be “Pakistan’s imminent Number 1 media enterprise” and the market abuzz with big names in Pakistani media making the move to Bol, seems to be someone who will take on Geo TV’s tyranny by coming with a plan, HR driven policies, robust systems, state of the art infrastructure and a claim to have an independent editorial board. BOL claims to bring a technological and professional revolution in Pakistani media, which is expected to throttle the reach on its launch beyond the level attained by Geo even after decades in business. With the launch of BOL it cannot be business as usual for GEO. One thing we can be sure of is that the upcoming few months will be the one to decide the fate of Pakistani media in coming years!
Just when you think Geo Network would not dare to create another embarrassing scene on an international level for Pakistani Media after the infamous faux pas with their rendezvous with Hindustan Times back in 2013, Geo Network proves to top their earlier mistake off by again making Pakistan’s name hit the news for all the wrong reasons. International Technological circles are abuzz with the latest Trademark Infringement suit being faced by Apple Inc for offering Geo Network’s apps: “Geo News”, “Jang” and “The News International” on iTunes store.
As per the news report on CNN iReport, Apple Inc. is facing a legal suit (No. 1:13-CV-13130-RWZ), filed by a person named Naeem Ahmed, who claims to own the copyright and trademark usage of the terms “JANG” “GEO” and “THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL”, which happen to be the names of the applications being offered by Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Limited (Parent company of Geo Network and Daily Jang) through the Apple’s iTunes Store.
Previously, Facebook also restricted access to ‘Daily Jang’ and ‘The News International’ official facebook pages in USA, UK and Canada based on the trademark infringement. Google Play, the android app market, has already removed the trademark infringing android apps from being offered in the Play Store to android users based on the trademark infringement claim. Apple, however, opted to serve a ‘Motion to Dismiss’ the trademark infringement notice, in response to which District Justice, of United States Federal Court for District of Massachusetts, has denied Apple’s “Motion to Dismiss” the complaint.
Trademark Infringement seems to merely add a “feather in the cap” for Mir Shakeel ur Rahman, owner of Geo News and Daily Jang, who is no stranger to controversy and lawsuits. Be it tax evasions and financial misrepresentation amounting to millions of Rupees or using his media enterprise for blackmailing, manipulation and promoting paid foreign agendas, the grimy history of Mir Shakeel ur Rahman’s career offers a wide array of utter disregard to laws and ethical boundaries. Despite all the evidences available and even broadcasted on online media, talk shows as well as the “Khara Sach” book published by Mubasher Lucman, the legal and regulatory authority are continuing their act of obliviousness.
Whether Apple decides to fight the legal battle or look for an out-of-settlement after the backlash by removing the controversial infringing apps of Jang, Geo and The News International from its iTunes store, the damage done to Pakistani Media Industry’s reputation and its morality has been done irrevocably by this disregard to intellectual property practiced by Geo Network on an international scale. The Government of Pakistan as well as the concerned regulatory body, PEMRA, should also take notice of the disciplinary violence of international laws at the part of Jang and Geo Network.
We live in Pakistan, the land of the pure, or so it used to be before a mix of power-hungry politicians and the questionable ethics of the Pakistani media devoured it. From the role of simply reporting the news, the media has empowered itself to a self-proclaimed watchdog of all the controversial issues of Pakistan.
Some would say that this helps Pakistan in some ways, i.e. keeping people vigilant as well aware of the prevailing problems in the society. However, turning it into an obsession and over-doing this role can be problematic, and some would take this interference as irksome.
Among all this chaos, let’s shine a light on one voice of reason; Mubasher Lucman. With the advent of his program “Khara Sach”. He took a bold step to highlight the issues prevalent in his own ranks; the media industry of Pakistan. Mubasher Lucman has highlighted many key issues in Pakistan and he has sought to investigate the roots of these problems and how they could be rectified.
Similarly, the book which he has launched recently, entitled “Khara Sach (Baba Jee k naam)” identifies many of the same issues (and is an excellent read by the way). This book is a first of its kind being a media investigative report about the Pakistan media, including Geo Network and its owners, namely Mir Shakeel ur Rahman (the renowned Babajee) & Mir Ibrahim and their own book of dark deeds and under the table deals.
There is a fine line between investigative journalism and making unfounded accusations for personal benefits. Mubasher Lucman’s actions would be classified as the former, as they have been backed by evidence. Whereas, some figures in the media industry fall regrettably, in the latter.
A media outfit should concentrate on reporting the news, highlight the wrong doings in the society but it should not forget to look on their own reflection while doing so. It is no doubt the responsibility of PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) to regulate and control the actions of media channels. So far, it has shirked that responsibility. If the media industry of Pakistan is to operate successfully, PEMRA must assert the required authority and take action on the facts highlighted through proper unbiased investigation of these media pariahs.
The story mentioned below might not win an Oscar for best screenplay for a motion picture but it sure does consist of all elements for an exciting Hollywood Noir Thriller- an international conspiracy, a mafia lord, meetings in the dark of the night and a toe-curling investigation. For the sake of amusement, let’s call it the grand script for “Geo Network’s Indian Misadventure with Hindustan Times – A tale of conspiracy gone haywire!” The story is told by the leaked internal investigation report carried out by Hindustan Times after publishing an article based on nothing but thin air, that resulted in facing litigation from the offended parties. The article, that was published on Sunday – 29 September 2013, claimed that internationally renowned underworld don Dawood Ibrahim is the actual owner of the upcoming Pakistani media enterprise, BOL Network.
The article was taken down within a few days after publication from Hindustan Times Website and a clarification has also been made regarding the authenticity of the claims made. It all happened when a high level internal inquiry was ordered by the chairpersons office of Hindustan times upon receiving a legal notice. The Chairperson and Editorial Director, Hindustan Times initiated an internal inquiry with the help of the Foreign editor of Hindustan Times, Pramit Pal Chaudhuri and their legal consultants Karanjawala & Co. regarding the source of this published news article and the internal source behind making this non-story a front page article. The HT enquiry team uncovered involvement of Pakistan’s Jang/Geo Media Group owner, Mir Shakeel ur Rahman, whose allegiance with an Indian intelligence official made it possible for a senior Hindustan Times Editor to get a source-less story on the front page of a nationwide newspaper as well as a headlining story on their web edition. The chairpersons office was shocked to find out that HT published a story that was already published by Jang/Geo group on their newspapers and website 90 days ago out of fear of competition that BOL has unleashed. The HT editor has no explanation for publishing that story against BOL without even referring to the rivalry and the originally published story. The story also linked Aqeel Karim Dedhi (AKD) a Pakistani businessman with Dawood Ibrahim for no reason other than the fact that there is a fierce rivalry between AKD and Mir Shakeel-ur-Rahman of Jang/Geo group along with Shakeel’s Samdhi (daughter’s father-in-law) Mr Jahangir Siddiqui. Mr AKD has filed several cases against Mir Shakeel and Jehangir Siddiqui and there is an intense fight going on between them.
This fact alone was enough for the HT enquiry team to believe that Jang/geo group is behind this publication. The following are the findings of the leaked internal investigation report of Hindustan times:
It can be safely assumed that Mir Shakeel ur Rahman sought for a way out that would tarnish the reputation of 2 of its biggest rivals (Upcoming media group BOL Media and AKD) who have already gone into defamation lawsuits against him. For this purpose, Mir Shakeel ur Rahman, using his contacts in Indian Intelligence, took a senior official of Hindustan Times, C.N. (Only Initials of the HT employee mentioned in the leaked report) into the fold and scheduled a meeting.
On Friday 27th September 2013, the scheduled meeting was held at Grand Hyatt Hotel, Mumbai at 8:30 PM IST. The meeting was a hushed private affair booked under aliases to avoid trace, in a pure Hollywood Noir fashion. The said meeting was attended by the senior official of Hindustan Times (C.N.), the representative of Indian Intelligence serving the liaison role and Mr. Jahangir Siddiqui, representing Jang/Geo Group and who being a stock broker is in direct competition with Aqeel Karim Dhedi (AKD) who himself owns several stock broking firms and is his biggest business rival for many years. Mr. Jahangir Siddiqui’s visit to India was kept under wraps even from his own office staff although the source warrants his presence claiming that Mr. Siddiqui’s passport can be used as an evidence of his presence in Mumbai during the time meeting was held. Mir Shakeel ur Rahman, who was in London at that time, participated in the meeting through telephone.
It was decided that associating the underworld element of Dawood Ibrahim with the competitors of Jang/Geo and Jahangir Siddiqui, right at the time when the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers are about to meet will make a desirable impact for all the parties involved in this scheme. The material for this story came from the previous defamatory activities including the anti-BOL article once published (and taken down) by The News International and Daily jang of Jang/Geo group, three months ago.
With limited time in hand given the scheduled meeting of the premiers of both countries, the prepared article was given OK to be published as front-page news with absolutely no source quoted and no background check made in the evening of 28th September 2013. Such a hasty action was only possible through the persuading power of C.N. and overbearing pressure from intelligence given the foreseen discussions to be made in the scheduled meeting of both countries’ delegates the next day.
The news article was published in all editions of Sunday’s Hindustan Times nationwide on 29 September 2013. Catching up on the published story, few electronic media groups also broadcasted news reports regarding this story.
On 4th October 2013, the Chairperson was presented the outcome of internally conducted inspection regarding the faux pass committed by Hindustan Times. As per the inspection report, the involvement of C.N. being the lead conspirator of the news came into light, which brought him into circle of interrogation. Upon being assured job security as well as indemnification of any action, C.N. revealed that he forwarded the story for publication because of excessive pressure from intelligence, which was working in allegiance with the Pakistani Geo/Jang Media Group. Upon receiving this information, the Chairperson decided to take down the published news report from the Hindustan Times website.
When asked to comment on this removal of the story and the involvement of the Jang/Geo group, the representatives of BOL Network and Axact denied to make a comment regarding the story. Later they communicated their official response through an update posted on the “Response” page of their official website; confirming that after initiating litigation against Hindustan Times for publishing the slanderous article, Hindustan times has removed the article “realizing the fallacy of the article and maintaining high journalistic ethics.”