Karachi: If Hassan Nisar is also one of the recipients of the graft money from Malik Riaz, the Pakistan’s billionaire property tycoon: then it definitely betokens the demise of fair journalism in Pakistan.
His name is there in the list with the soul-dampening information that, “ he received 1 Crore and 10 Lakhs Rupees: Money transferred from Account Title Bahria Town (Pvt) Limited, Account Number42279-2 at Habib Bank Limited, LDA Plaza Branch, Lahore, Code 1315, SWIFT: HABBPKKAX315 10 Marla Plot in Bahria Town.
In the TV Talk appearances as a guest or as a host in his own popular program “Choraha”, or in his Jang columns, he unleashes an avalanche of blistering censure against the corrupt individuals and agencies in Pakistan. He is adored and acknowledged as one among the whole crowd of journalists for scathing views and tongue lashing against a whole range of corruption, greed, moral degeneration and a failed system of governance. He is the most aggressive and unsparing critic of the incumbent government and the power wielders and their sleazy exploits in self-aggrandizement and money grabbing.
His defiant rhetoric did not spare the army generals, the bureaucrats, the highly placed government functionaries and exploitative business magnates and classes for plundering Pakistan at the cost of the peoples’ burgeoning woes.
But all of a sudden , his image looks so besmirched and hollow that one tends to believe as if his assertion of moral principles and manifestation of pious platitudes was a mere charade that has been lifted in such a freakish fashion.
The fundamental question stands out that why this former Bahria Town boss was squandering big chunks of money on a bunch of leading and most prominent journalist whose programs are watched both in and outside Pakistan by countless people. Understandably it was to purchase their loyalties in favor of the exploitative groups, lobbies and individuals whose front man is Malik Riaz. The charge could be credible that the perks and grafts given to Arsalan Iftikhar was aimed at silencing or blackmailing the chief justice for going soft on the gubernatorial cases pending against the powerful persons.
Human suffer from temptations for worldly pleasures and enticements and Hassan Nisar is no exception. But what is intriguing or painful is that he was an icon among the journalists for his fiery exhortations against the evil forces. A drastic downgrading from that sublime stature is not only mind boggling but squarely distressing for his admirers. How is he going to cope with this sordid turn of events is too hard a feat to be conjectured correctly?
The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat. He can be reached at email@example.com.