April 15, 2011

Dawn's yellow blood transfuses to The Express Tribune (1)

Special Report

“I VISIT The Express Tribune (a collaboration of Express Newspaper in Pakistan and International Herald Tribune of NYTimes) daily, not because of their quality journalism but as they allow comments on their news which gives one an idea of what the nation (or the English reading elite that visits ETribune) is thinking. However, since they are new on the scene, they are guilty of more than a normal mindfucks." 

This is what Two Paisa said in a post. Many journalists, who were having highest expectations from this newspaper of ‘international standard’ earlier, are now saying: old daily Dawn's yellow blood has been transfused into the young body of The Express Tribune.

“With the arrival of some sick minds from the sick newspaper,” a mediaperson said, “the transfusion has unfortunately taken place."

The Express Tribune's Executive Editor M. Ziauddin is a former Correspondent/Resident Editor of Dawn while its City Editor Farman Ali is a former News Editor of Dawn Islamabad.

Another journalist also expressed similar grievances over some reports, columns and blogs of The Express Tribune. He had sent three samples from the newspaper to The Terrorland blogs, seeking "detailed analysis of the sick culture of the old newspaper (Dawn) being developed at the new newspaper (The Express Tribune)." He has requested to publish these articles as well "because some controversial reports after publication suddenly disappear from the website (of The Express Tribune)."

It’s a professional tragedy. But this might not be the dream of the young Publisher, Bilal Lakhani, of The Express Tribune, who is proud of being in association with The New York Times group! Anyway, if you had not seen the ‘malicious’ stories earlier, or were not aware of the 'behind the scene' stories, then let's read the first article in this episode and then analyze it. Here is the article:

Change of editor at English paper

By Omar R Quraishi

KARACHI: One of the country’s oldest newspapers, Dawn, saw a change of editors on Oct 4, with its printline (on the back page) formally changing to reflect the transfer to Zaffar Abbas. This is the fifth editor the newspaper has seen in the past decade, and hence this can be seen as a time of transformation for it given that prior to that period the paper had the same editor for almost 30 years.

Mr Abbas takes over from Abbas Nasir, who himself was appointed as editor in May 2006. Mr Nasir, a former head of the BBC Urdu Service, had taken over from Tahir Mirza, the last of what many thought were the old-style traditional editors of the paper.

Mr Nasir was approached for his comments for this report but declined to respond. He brought in change to the newspaper, particularly as far as salaries were concerned. However, he was also asked to take charge of Dawn News, at that time a fully English news channel, which was struggling. Mr Nasir was seen by many staffers as accessible but at least two rounds of dismissals at the television channel somewhat tainted his staff-friendly reputation.

Under Mr Nasir’s stewardship, changes were brought to the newspaper’s website, www.dawn.com, for which a separate staff and editor were hired. However, there were allegations of favouritism given that the editor, Musaddiq Sanwal, did not have editorial experience prior to this in Pakistan’s English print media, and also happened to be a good friend of Mr Nasir’s.

A staffer who has been working at the paper since 1987 said – he didn’t want to be quoted by name, for obvious reasons – this of Mr Nasir’s tenure: “The man perhaps had too much to do – he started off well by significantly raising staff salaries, but then got bogged down in the Dawn News fiasco, and then over time it seems that the inertia of the organisation overtook the editor and prevented him from doing all the things that we all thought he would do.”

Another staff member, who joined the organisation after Mr Nasir, said: “To his (Abbas’s) credit, he was accessible and encouraging, especially of the lower staff, and he did manage to get some of the deadwood out of the organisation by not renewing contracts of staffers who had reached retirement age.

Zaffar Abbas, the new editor, has previously worked at the monthly news magazine Herald and the BBC. In August 2006, he joined Dawn as resident editor of its Islamabad edition. He was also approached for comments for this report but did not respond. Mr Abbas made his mark as a reporter, first for Herald and later as a BBC correspondent in Karachi and then Islamabad.

Aamer Ahmed Khan, former editor of Herald, and currently the head of the BBC Urdu Service in London, has worked many years with Zaffar Abbas. Of his association with him he said: “Zaffar Abbas has been a key player in Dawn’s editorial strength for as long as I have known him. It is exciting to see a journalist of his experience take charge of one of Pakistan’s best known newspapers in today’s highly competitive environment.”

Another former colleague of Mr Abbas – he was editor of Herald and both him and Mr Abbas worked there at least for around 10 years – is the current editor of The News, Karachi, Talat Aslam. Mr Aslam said: “I have always found Zaffar a solid, reliable and dependable individual and it was very good to have him at the magazine. His feet are firmly on the ground and he would always give us very useful and realistic feedback and assessment. During my time at Herald, I saw Zaffar evolve and grow – though as a person, of course, he never changed. I think he will make a very good editor at Dawn – and it will be good to have a good friend as editor of a rival newspaper.”

Muhammad Ziauddin, Executive Editor of The Express Tribune, said: “I have been watching Zaffar’s career since the early 1980s – since he began at the Star. During his days with Herald in Islamabad we met frequently. He is a top professional and a man of integrity.”


·         Saad Durrani: Zafar does bring a lot of expertise on the table. It would be beneficial for not only for the Dawn but for the industry as well.

·         Ammar: Quality of programming at Dawn News is terrible now. It’s like a wannabe Geo-tv now.

·         Sufi Shams: Zafar Abbas – isn’t he the brother of Maj. Gen Athar Abbas? Wonder what that means for the paper. Also, wonder if Zafar Abbas’s professionalism will mean that the agents of the intelligence agencies will not get printed on Dawn newspaper’s front page

·         Ayesha Siddiqa: Abbas Nasir has the honor of contributing to Dawn’s decay. He and his team were responsible for raising a young, cocky and extremely arrogant editorial team which has no sense of respect and lack knowledge. This is what happens when owners begin to temper with the editorial. Dawn moved from Altaf Hussain to Ahmed Ali Khan, and back to the days of Altaf Hussain!

·         Meekal Ahmed: I hope the new Editor puts some life into the paper. Over the years I find it to have become dull and on the verge of downright boring.

·         Muhammad Ilyas Khan: Omar R Quraishi sb, for me the best days of Dawn were when you were editor of a section of the paper to which I regularly contributed for sometime. I feel you really encouraged and included articles from a wide range of people, belonging to all parts of the country and with diverse backgrounds, completely on the basis of merit and without any favouritism. I don’t feel the same kind of openness, diversity, merit and ‘depth’ in terms of the quality of the material printed on that section of the paper anymore since you departed. I don’t see much ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking or creativity on that page of my interest for a long time now. I wish Dawn regain that glory again in terms of the quality of stuff in its various sections especially its Sunday edition and its section such as EDUCATION, MAGAZINE and Books and Authors. Dawn (when you were there) has played a vital role in the development of my career and in broadening my mental horizens. I owe a lot to this prestigious newspaper and I wish it becomes more open and responsive to the common readers (and contributers) in terms of representing their views on its pages.

·         T. Ali: I wish Abbas Nasir good luck and hope that Zafar Abbas comes up to the expectations of Dawn readers, who still have not forgotten icons like A.A.

·         Khan: So another change at the daily Yawn. I thought Abbas Nasir would bring the newspaper up-to-date but he didn’t. As for the arrogance of the new editorial staff, I second Ayesha Siddiqa’s views. Let us hope Zaffar Abbas – a talented and experienced journalist – is finally allowed to make the necessary changes by the increasingly ‘sethia’-minded owners.

·         Kazim: @Khan: Daily Yawn… hahahah


After reading the above article and the comments, you may have got a rough idea of the “news behind the headline.” Zaffar Abbas is the one who ended M. Ziadudin’s carrier at the Dawn Media Group in the most humiliating way. Here are some interesting points especially for the researchers of the future as currently, finding truth in the 'free' media has become impossible due to militarization of the outlets. Plus, search for the truth in Pakistan has become a big crime and very dangerous for journalists.

1-     In his typical way, Zaffar Abbas, as a correspondent of the BBC Urdu, interviewed M. Ziauddin at his office, Dawn Islamabad, but didn't mention Mr. Zia as editor or even as a journalist, but as an economist (this is his typical tactic, but some professional economists say it's very funny to call a journalist, covering business affairs, an economist). And the next time Mr. Zia was out of the office and Zaffar had replaced him as Resident Editor. See video: BBC Urdu

2-     After kicking his boss, Abbas Nasir, out from Dawn, Zaffar Abbas chopped out the hands of M. Ziauddin who was struggling hard to become Editor Dawn. An insider says: “Both are reporters and don’t know even the basics of editing—but are experts in shenanigans... so they're editors. Our current editors mostly belong to this breed of journalists.”     

3-     M. Ziauddin, after taking over as Executive Editor The Express Tribune, adopted a 'liberal' policy regarding Zaffar Abbas and his powerful brothers, especially Maj-Gen. Athar Abbas, chief spokesperson of the Pakistan Army. Critical comments regarding the Abbas Brothers were allowed in the pages but nothing was said about Dawn, the organization of Mr. Zia’s dreams.

4-     Cafe Pyala was used against the newborn newspaper, The Express Tribune—“ they (Cafe Pyala) are a team of journalists led-by Omar R. Qureshi and patronized by Zaffar Abbas of ISI-fame..." said A Reluctant Mind."

5-     A perturbed Zaffar Abbas decided to take revenge on M. Ziauddin in his hidden-hideous way! Thus he planted one of his “partners in crimes” – Farman Ali – as City Editor in The Express Tribune. And then started the blunders... and many more—Link-1,  Link-2; then  the representative blog of Zaffar Abbas said: “Express Tribune has a circulation of under 2500 nationwide Link-3”.

6-     Insiders say that M. Ziauddin became ready to publish the above given story along with his own 'forced' comments about Zaffar Abbas for two reasons. 1) he got a call from someone more influential— 2) an ‘illiterate’ nephew of the editor of The Express Tribune, Munawar Azeem, is an employee of Dawn and a co-accused in Habib Sulemani's case.

7-     Observe in this video M. Ziauddin’s response to a 'burning' question... note the body language of the 71-year-old gray-haired 'master chameleon'... his name tops the list of those journalists who have got residential plots in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

 (To be continued)

NOTE: If anyone wants to clarify any point, we're ready to publish every point of view.—The Terrorland Team

Other parts of this post

Related Posts

1-Criminal inquiry sought
2-Alas! Mr. Jinnah's Dawn is dead, long live Pakistan
3-Pakistan escapes but Dawn succumbs to coup d'état
4-The paradigm shift — Dawn takes shelter under Islamic extremism
5-Mr Jinnah's Dawn in danger
6-Intellectual dishonesty 2010
7-All in the name of human rights
8-Human Rights Day: how helpless God is today!
9-Intellectual dishonesty 2010
10-Intellectual dishonesty 2010 (Part 2)
11-Intellectual dishonesty 2010 (Part 3)
12-Mr. Sulemani's phone, internet service cut off; life in danger
13-Pakistani government issues notice to The Terrorland
14-Five months of solitary confinement
15-Terror in the Pakistan blogosphere
16-Gilgit-Baltistan – The Orphaned Land of Pakistan
17-Tribalism — Aga Khan's pluralism under threat in Gilgit-Baltistan


  1. Bro you really need to consult a psychiatrist, otherwise it will be too late. i again appeal to the relatives of Mr Rehman to have mercy on him and take him to any psychiatrist. Mr Rehman is not only maligning some respectable people but also bringing disrespect to his innocent family.


  3. In comments on this blog at the Pakistani Press Google Group

    Ms. Umm-ul Hussain said:

    I met Zia-ud-din sahib frequently on news events during his last few years as Dawn's correspondent in London. He always came accross as one of those "he came-he saw-did nothing-and-retired" kind of print media oldmen. Although he was just like our *naana jaan* and we (younger generation of female journalists) always expected him to behave like one, but for some reason he would rather often behave like a shy, somewhat rude youngman (with hormones playing up probably), extremely concious of female presence.!!!There was something "not just right" about him..It is good not to see him on news events in London anymore..He certainly would contribute some 'Yawns' to The Express Tribune as well as he did to Dawn for some 30 long boring years. Anyways Wish him best of luck!!!



    Jamal Khan said:

    M. Ziauddin is thorough professional and professionally green character wise white and being human being is a golden person he is lightening tower for the professional and honest journalists and he must evade trash which he imported from MSR paper

  4. In a discussion on this blog at the Media Watch Pakistan

    Imran said:

    ts saddened to here that but now a days the infection of yellow journalism spreading very fast and found in every second newspaper or
    news channel.

    We strongly condemn against such professional dishonesty.


    S. Mirza said:

    English news papers are always follow the restricted policy of news reporting, nothing new so no need to be aggressive.


  5. nice post

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  6. After this post, Omar R Quraishi appears @ Cafe Pyala: http://cafepyala.blogspot.com/2011/04/necked.html

    and photos of Muhammad Ziauddin and Kamal Siddiqi disappear @ET: http://tribune.com.pk/anniversary/

  7. In comments on this blog at the Pakistan Press Google Group: A case against ‘corrupt’ journalists

    Rehman Pakistani said: Hi guys, Talking about the 'corrupt' journalists in Pakistan is a taboo subject while the common media persons are being tortured, kidnapped and killed. However, here is a 5-episode investigative report on the criminal elements in the
    guise of ‘respectable’ journalists in the Pakistani media—the ‘brains’ behind global terrorism. You can read the articles here:
    * Corrupt journalists Part-1: http://networkedblogs.com/gF2xy
    * Corrupt journalists Part-2: http://nblo.gs/gI40X
    * Corrupt journalists Part-3: http://nblo.gs/gJTW1
    * Corrupt journalists Part-4: http://nblo.gs/gLIve
    * Corrupt journalists Part-5:

    Shazia said: my father says all journalists r blackmailers in pakistan.

    Anwar Iqbal said: “My Dad Says”is an American television sitcom.. The father is a very
    opinionated 72-year-old who is known across America for his unsolicited rants.

    Zalaan said: Jang Group Columnist .please check this link: http://i51.tinypic.com/2evenfo.jpg

    Omar R. Quarishi said: Anwar sahib. The actual name of the TV show is "Shit my dad says"

    Vidya Rana said: My father taught me to question his judgments so that I am able to form my independent opinion in the light of my own experiences. He says that the ability to trust is a treasure. He also told me that different communities are a mixture of good and bad people so never pass a sweeping judgment about any community.

    Shaziashazya said: I agree. My father speaks from personal experience. He was blackmailed by a journalist. But there are more people who believe that journalists r blackmailers. They defame someone and then take money to stop. But then u can hardly blame them in a country where everyone is corrupt. Almost everyone. Journalists used to be poor, now most journalists r rich. But I agree with what ur father said. I like journalists. I like two kinds of people very much. Doctors and journalists. And actors. And singers. Rahat fatah Ali khan makes my drive to work beautiful every morning. Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WL_PfwvZuQ0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  8. @ Anonymous April 15, 2011 8:17 PM

    Ms. Umm-ul Hussain's analysis suggests that Muhammad Ziauddin seb is a passive-homosexual... but it has nothing to do with his journalism... being a gay is his personal affair... as an article in the ET said:

    Right from the outset, I want to state in no uncertain terms that homophobia infuriates me to no end. Whether or not one agrees, it is a natural proclivity and/or a conscious choice, the state has no business regulating sexual expression and practice between consenting adults. There are far more pressing matters for the government to spend its budget on than policing what people do in private.

    Having said that, I understand that lawmakers in Pakistan will not remedy homophobic laws because the majority of the citizens would oppose such a move. I’m not naïve enough to believe we’ll follow suit on the precedent set by Delhi last year when it de-criminalised sodomy by reversing bigoted laws set by the British colonials. Not any time soon at least.

    But what excuse does the so-called independent and free English media have for spouting such hatred?

    The problem is not that there are people who are anti-homosexuality; there is enough literature to enrich such a debate, theocratic or otherwise. I can even concede, hesitantly, that it is entirely rational to be opposed to homosexuality if one follows Islam strictly. Literal interpretations of the scripture would demand such a blanket disagreement with acceptance of homosexuality.

    The problem is when journalists and medical doctors get their facts blatantly wrong, twist conclusions, conflate several issues and misrepresent a correlation completely. In a country where personal freedoms are easily violated, especially if the suspect is poor and voiceless, this is downright criminal.


  9. ZIA SAB IS DOING GREAT WHY DON'T THE TERRORLAND POST SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN THE ET: There are several Muslim scholars who maintain accepting views on homosexuality, the discussions are available for anyone to peruse.

    In Indonesia during the Conference of Religions and Peace in 2008 it was concluded that homosexuals and homosexuality are natural and created by God, thus permissible within Islam. Siti Musdah Mulia cited al-Hujurat (49:3) from the Quran and said that one of the blessings for human beings was that all men and women are equal, regardless of ethnicity, wealth, social positions or even sexual orientation. She said:

    “There is no difference between lesbians and non-lesbians. In the eyes of God, people are valued based on their piety. And talking about piety is God’s prerogative to judge.”

    There are countless practicing Muslims who have managed to reconcile their sexual orientation and faith and find no reason to focus on conflict within the two. Some maintain blogs to document their every day experience while others prefer to challenge the plethora of preconceived notions through academic writing.


  10. The Express Tribune Executive Editor Muhammad Ziauddin is a homosexual. The Express Tribune is doing a great job to discuss homosexuality but I'm waiting for the daring moment when the newspaper's Executive Editor Muhammad Ziauddin would publicly announce that he is a homosexual. I salute the woman journalist who revealed it in a comment on The Terrorland.

  11. @ Shakirullah,

    "Only the words have changed
    Now they call me
    Cock sucker
    Etcetera, etcetera"


  12. Kamran Shafi saab has joined ET as was expected... do u remem when he defended Zia saab after Ms Umm-ul Hussain's comment while sitl at dawN.

    "This is most ridiculously scandalous. Not one word is true about the man who I have known and admired for over thirty years now. Ziauddin Sahib was, and is, one of the most upright journalists it has been my privilege to know, one of those few who are never afraid to say it like it is. Kamran Shafi"

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  14. Pathetic blog, please stop maligning people from such blog posts. The "illitrate" nephew of M.Ziauddin is the most honest person in Dawn. He doesn't even own a bike and he is a Dawn's reporter. The plot that you say that M.Ziauddin got after 30 years of journalism was paid in full and he is still under 25 hundred thousands rupees of debt for constructing a house on that. This payment and house construction is also paid by his elder son who earned that in Saudia Arabia for medicine practice for three years. If he had done any kind of such journalism, his children would each had at one house, but none of them own anything. You should be very very ashamed on your spill on a clean man like him. Muhammad Ziauddin has five children and a happy wife. His even lost his elder daughter when she was only 23. So, please stop staying any nasty things about such a man who devoted whole of his life for Pakistan and journalism. He could have lived anywhere in the world if he wanted to, but he chose Pakistan. He is the man I know as workaholic who enjoys writing and reading the most.

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