Et tu, Hassan Nisar?

By Saeed Qureshi
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.
It’s hard to believe that he has been erroneously implicated in this scam as all the particulars are self-explanatory. It appears utterly improbable for him to get absolved from the calumny that has demolished his thus far adorable public profile of all these years. The building of a reputation comes in stages, by hard work and over a prolonged period of test and trials. But it can be washed off instantaneously and one stands tarnished by the surreptitious and sudden developments as the one we are witnessing now. One stands exposed in a jiffy no matter how cleverly he masks his real intentions or covers up behind- the-door activities by thick blankets of subterfuge and ruse.
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.
This projection could be plausible when seen in the light of a highly uncalled and offensive comment made by Luqman Mubashar, a shrewish anchor of the Dunya TV channel. In one of his programs in which a stalwart of MQM and Fauzia Wahab were guests, he demanded in a louder pitch to hang the chief justice. He was egregiously disrespectful and it was evident that he was communicating his odious marks to some one somewhere. Otherwise a minimum modicum of decency and decorum is normally observed   in television programs, all the more about the head of Supreme Court who should command respect if not total support.
That was most distasteful demeanor of this anchor who became boorish as to leave the basic norms of a normal human being. Fauzia Wahab despite being a prominent member of the PPP and averse to chief justice did not agree with his vicious and scornful outburst. The rabid nexus between Luqman, Mehar Bukhari, Malik Riaz and prime minister’s son Abdul Qadir Gilani was established in full public glare on the TV screen when they thought they were talking in camera.
There is no comparison between Luqman: a cheap and sold out media person and Hassan Nisar to be sitting on a high moral pedestal. Hassan’s terse postures and uncharitable, scathing and rather brutal critique of the stinking political and socio-economic system, the rapacious violation of the constitution and laws, the bad governance and rampant plunder by powerful lobbies and individuals, earned him the respect and aplomb of   the watchers of his TV program.
And now he seems to be half way through an abyss that eliminates the infinite difference of between him and the notorious lot of media in regard to an upright conduct. It is a steep downfall that cannot be rescaled upward by tons of explanations on the part of him or his zealous fans.
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
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