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Monday, January 30, 2023
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Media: The mouthpiece?

"The media should not become a mouthpiece for parties to settle their scores. At some points, arch-rival politicians of today become alliance partners tomorrow, but the stains left on the media never go away."

The media has flashed the statement of a retired justice about the source of expenses of the prime minister’s private residence.

The news-hungry media need anything and everything which sells like a hot cake.

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In a 24/7 battle for ratings and breaking news race, channels, commentators and reporters need the statements and spices coming from the people like retired Wajihuddin.

The statement and ensuing media treatment leave a trail of questions.

The retired justice, better call him a former (or estranged) leader of Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), stated on a TV show that Jehangir Tareen paid for Imran Khan’s household expenses. The statement has been rubbished by the prime minister and his supporters.

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According to retired Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed, the Tareen group paid Rs3 million monthly to run Khan’s house and this amount was later increased to Rs5 million. He gave this statement on a talk show without providing any proof or detail. The anchor was also not interested in knowing about the source of the claim. A man on the street would think that in which months, the payment stood at Rs3 million, and when it was increased to Rs5 million.

People wonder if a household bill can be as fatty as Rs3 million to Rs5 million.

Being a judge, Wajihuddin earned lots of respect from litigants, lawyers and fellow jurists.

Wajihuddin justified his statement of Prime Minister Imran not being financially honest with the aforementioned information. In the whole saga, Jehangir Tareen, the prime source of the alleged payments, remained silent for a day. Later, he tweeted that he helped the PTI in every capacity to help build a new Pakistan but did not pay a single penny for the maintenance of the Bani Gala residence. It is to be noted that Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen have not been on the best of terms since the launch of the FIA investigation on Tareen-related sugar scam.

Although the media has effectively exposed Imran Khan’s competence of being the prime minister, his worst critics, however, have yet to find a scam to make his integrity and financial honesty questionable. He is in somewhat in better shape than so many other public figures.

People say Wajihuddin Ahmed’s claims seem to come out of a place of hatred and missed opportunities as he resigned from PTI only two years before the party came into power. Moreover, it could also be jealousy that pushed him over the edge and forced him to make such claims.

When such accusations are stated, the media, instead of mindlessly flashing them, should put the accuser in the dock asking them to come with credible and irrefutable proofs to prove the claims. Politics has become of trade of trading accusations, Imran Khan himself has slapped his opponents with baseless allegations. Later, he had to retract his allegations in the media and courts.

Time and again, politicians’ personal life has been brought out on the political front by their arch-rivals even though the information provided has nothing to do with politics and political ideologies.

In the Bani Gala expense saga, the PTI has announced going to the court against Mr Wajihuddin. As the court will grill the former PTI member, the media had better go through sessions of brainstorming about handling the accusation-infested statements.

The media should not become a mouthpiece for parties to settle their scores. At some points, arch-rival politicians of today become alliance partners tomorrow, but the stains left on the media never go away.

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