Wednesday, February 3, 2016

BOL TV Issue Discussed at the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting

BOL TV Issue Discussed at the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting

The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information & Broadcasting will raise the issue of the suspension of Bol News and entertainment licenses and salaries of its employees in an in-camera meeting planned for next week (8-15 February 2016) in which representatives of the Interior Ministry, FIA and PEMRA have been summoned.

Representatives of the Bol Media Group have been also asked to attend the meeting, which will also discuss Interior Ministry’s controversial decision to cancel the NOC of Bol News’ no-objection certificate after first giving it clearance.  

The decision was made on Wednesday 3 February 2016, at the National Assembly’s Standing Committee meeting, which was chaired by Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla. Those who attended included Mariam Aurangzeb, Malik Shakir Bashir, Muhammd Azhar Khan Jadoon, Imran Zafar Leghari, Belum Hasnain, Malik Muhammad Amir Dogar, Arifa Khalid Pervez and Mushahidullah Khan.

The special in-camera meeting to discuss the Bol News issue has been called over Imran Zafar Leghari’s recommendation, which was unanimously agreed by all members.

Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam informed the Standing Committee that the Interior Ministry remains responsible for the closure of Bol licenses and the regulator has no role in it. If the Interior Ministry issues the no-objection certificate to Bol, PEMRA will take up its license issue in the very next meeting, he said. 

PEMRA illegally suspended licenses of Bol in September 2015 over the recommendations of the Council of Complaints, which does not have any authority under the law to make such a proposal. The Bol Media Group has already gone to court against this decision. 
Earlier the Information Ministry had also ordered PEMRA to shut Bol operations, rendering more than 2,200 media workers jobless. 

Giving chronology of events, PEMRA Chairman said that the Bol was given NOC by the Interior Ministry on March 25, 2013. But on July 4, 2013, the Ministry wrote another letter to PEMRA saying that the previous letter giving NOC to Bol was issued “erroneously”, therefore it stands cancelled, he said.

Bol Media Group challenged the decision in the Sindh High Court which initially gave a stay order, allowing the Bol Management to continue with the project. In its detailed decision, the honourable court asked the authorities to complete the formalities.  

Alam said that the issue of NOC for Bol is the responsibility of the Interior Ministry and despite reminders from PEMRA the ministry has failed to move on this issue. PEMRA Chairman also disclosed that 90 percent of the news channels do not give salaries to their employees on time and a majority of them flout PEMRA directives in their transmission. PEMRA will move against all such channels indiscriminately, he added.

Imran Zafar Leghari said that it seems that Bol Media Group is being unnecessarily maligned, saying that it remains the responsibility of the elected representatives to get it justice.

Muhammad Azhar Khan Jadoon said the authorities should explain why hype was created on the issue of Axact and Bol, which is also a humanitarian issue involving jobs of thousands of people.  
Committee members expressed their surprise that despite the passage of nine months owners of Bol Media Group have not been granted bail, though the interim charges are of bailable nature. 

Bol Media Group was represented by senior journalists Nazeer Leghari, Faysal Aziz Khan and Amir Zia. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

“Pakistan Foresight Initiative” Launched by AGAHI, Pakistan Node of The Millennium Project

“Pakistan Foresight Initiative” Launched by AGAHI, Pakistan Node of The Millennium Project

The Millennium Project and AGAHI sign a MOU, collaborating on Global Futures Studies and Research and specific applications for Pakistan.

The magnitude of the challenges that Pakistan is already facing is a crucial indicator to provide the population with meaningful knowledge skill-sets that would create an environment for policymakers, legislatures and political groups to realign the decision-making process. A test case study has been launched in 2012, to assess the Future of Pakistan until 2060. The research conducted was to check and test assumptions about Pakistan’s future among the leadership and wider society, explore perceptions of Pakistanis from both inside and outside the country, and identify future risks and opportunities.

Puruesh Chaudhary, Founder and President AGAHI said that “the ‘Pakistan Foresight Initiative’ creates a great opportunity for stakeholders in Pakistan to contribute to the global information system across 15 challenges such as: Sustainable development and climate change, Clean water, Population and resources, Democratization, Global Foresight and Decision-making, Global convergence of IT, Rich-poor gap, Health issues, Education, Peace and Conflict, State of Women, Transnational organized crime, Energy, Science and technology, Global ethics. AGAHI will partner at national and sub-national levels with experts and organizations based of their contributions, expertise and knowledge for producing specific futures studies and the State of Futures Index-Pakistan.”

AGAHI assumes the lead responsibility as a country Node for The Millennium Project in Pakistan to help improve humanity’s future prospects. Jerome Glenn, co-Founder and Director of The Millennium Project said that humanity needs to think together in a systematic research-based common platform about our planetary future; The Millennium Project’s annual State of the Future” reports and the Global Futures Intelligence System has begun to address that need. On behalf of The Millennium Project with its 55 Nodes around the world, Glenn welcomed the Pakistani Node to connect the views of Pakistan’s future-oriented institutions and individuals with others around the world to help build a better future for humanity as a whole.

Puruesh Chaudhary is also a member of the Planning Committee of The Millennium Project, which oversees the quality of the Project’s work, assuring that its research is apolitical, publishing results, and promoting public awareness and dialogue.

AGAHI in its independent capacity is developing alliances with key stakeholders at the academic and government tiers, with individual experts and civil society organizations in order to advance the purposes of foresight thinking in policymaking and strategic planning in the country.

AGAHI-Network will work on producing research that focuses on human capital development, strengthening institutions in Pakistan and Globally by institutionalising futures thinking on matters related to human security and territorial sovereignty, and participate in The Millennium Project studies. The Millennium Project is currently preparing to conduct a global assessment of how to prepare for future changes in the nature of work as artificial intelligence and other forms of automations are being implemented over the next 20 to 30 years.

The Millennium Project is a global participatory think tank connecting 55 Nodes around the world that identify important long-range challenges and strategies, and initiate and conduct foresight studies, workshops, symposiums, and advanced training. Its mission is to improve thinking about the future and make it available through a variety of media for feedback to accumulate wisdom about the future for better decisions today. It produces the annual "State of the Future" reports, the "Futures Research Methodology" series, the Global Futures Intelligence System (GFIS), and special studies.

AGAHI is a non-governmental organization established in Islamabad in 2011 under the Society Registration Act 1860It started off as an initiative of Mishal Pakistan and gradually became an independent organization. AGAHI is heavily focused on Research and Development mainly on national and international security, ICT, competitiveness, human capital development, and governance issues. It also aims to promote quality journalism through the Media Development Initiative program

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Agahi Awards - Pakistan's First Journalism Awards 2012

A Media Development Initiative in Pakistan – scaling up its training and capacity building efforts by recognizing the best journalists reporting on critical issues concerning; Terrorism, Conflict, Interfaith, Millenium Development Goals, Safety and Security of Media Workers, Ethics – Code of Conduct etc etc.

AGAHI, a programme launched in 2011 by Mishal Pakistan, is increasing the capacity of Investigative and Responsible Journalism in the country. This programme aims to use institutionalized sustainable media structures in Pakistan to raise the bar of journalistic standards. The programme has been able to successfully create a debate amongst the journalists from Multan, Karachi, Rawalpindi/Islamabad and Mirpur-AJK on media ethics, interfaith harmony, anti-money laundering and the importance of investigative journalism.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

15 different categories for Agahi Awards in shaping the future of journalism

Shaping the Future of Journalism
Agahi Awards 2012 Categories:
  13. CRIME
  15. Misc.
These will be selected on different mediums which are:
  • Print - English
  • Print - Urdu
  • Print - Regiuonal Language
  • Television - Urdu
  • Television - English
  • Television - Regional Language
  • Online Journalism
  • Blog
  • etc.
Send your entries to:

Address: 250-B, North Service Road, E-11/3, Islamabad - 44000, Pakistan

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Jamestown Foundation: Former Pakistan Army Chief Reveals Intelligence Bureau Harbored Bin Laden in Abbottabad

The Jamestown Foundation: Former Pakistan Army Chief Reveals Intelligence Bureau Harbored Bin Laden in Abbottabad


Former Pakistan Army Chief Reveals Intelligence Bureau Harbored Bin Laden in Abbottabad

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 9 Issue: 47
December 22, 2011 04:19 PM Age: 12 days

Pervez Musharraf

In spite of denials by the Pakistani military, evidence is emerging that elements within the Pakistani military harbored Osama bin Laden with the knowledge of former army chief General Pervez Musharraf and possibly current Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. Former Pakistani Army Chief General Ziauddin Butt (a.k.a. General ZiauddinKhawaja) revealed at a conference on Pakistani-U.S. relations in October 2011 that according to his knowledge the then formerDirector-General of Intelligence Bureau of Pakistan (2004 – 2008), Brigadier Ijaz Shah (Retd.), had kept Osama bin Laden in an Intelligence Bureau safe house in Abbottabad. In the same address, he revealed that the ISI had helped the CIA to track him down and kill on May 1. The revelation remained unreported for some time because some intelligence officers had asked journalists to refrain from publishing General Butt’s remarks. [1] No mention of the charges appeared until right-wing columnist Altaf Hassan Qureshi referred to them in an Urdu-language article that appeared on December 8. [2]

In a subsequent and revealing Urdu-language interview with TV channel Dawn News, General Butt repeated the allegation on December 11, saying he fully believed that “[Brigadier] Ijaz Shah had kept this man [Bin Laden in the Abbottabad compound] with the full knowledge of General Pervez Musharraf… Ijaz Shah was an all-powerful official in the government of General Musharraf.” [3] Asked whether General Kayani knew of this, he first said yes, but later reconsidered: “[Kayani] may have known – I do not know – he might not have known.” [4] The general’s remarks appeared to confirm investigations by this author in May 2011 that showed that the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden was captured and killed was being used by a Pakistani intelligence agency (see Terrorism Monitor, May 5). However, General Butt failed to explain why Bin Laden was not discovered even after Brigadier Shah and General Musharraf had left the government.

General Butt was the first head of the Strategic Plans Division of the Pakistan army and the Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) under Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1990 to 1993, and again from 1997 to 1999. Sharif promoted General Ziauddin Butt to COAS after forcibly retiring General Pervez Musharraf on October 12, 1999, but the army’s top brass revolted against the decision and arrested both Prime Minister Sharif and General Butt while installing Musharraf as the nation’s new chief executive, a post he kept as a chief U.S. ally until resigning in 2008 in the face of an impending impeachment procedure.

Brigadier Shah has been known or is alleged to have been involved in several high profile cases of terrorism. The Brigadier was heading the ISI bureau in Lahore when General Musharraf overthrew Prime Minister Sharif in October 1999. Later, General Musharraf appointed Shah as Home Secretary in Punjab. As an ISI officer he was also the handler for Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was involved in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. [5] Omar Saeed Sheikh surrendered to Brigadier Shah who hid him for several weeks before turning him over to authorities. In February 2004, Musharraf appointed Shah as the new Director of the Intelligence Bureau, a post he kept until March 2008 (Daily Times [Lahore] February 26, 2004; Dawn [Karachi] March 18, 2008). The late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto accused Brigadier Shah, among others, of hatching a conspiracy to assassinate her (The Friday Times [Lahore], February 18-24).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistani top military brass had serious differences on several issues. One of the most serious of these concerned Pakistan’s relations with Osama bin Laden. However, the disastrous1999 Kargil conflict in Kashmir overshadowed all of these. General Butt says that Prime Minister Sharif had decided to cooperate with the United States and track down Bin Laden in 1999. [6] According to a senior adviser to the Prime Minister, the general staff ousted Sharif to scuttle the “get-Osama” plan, among other reasons: “The evidence is that the military regime abandoned that plan.” [7] General Butt corroborates this. In his latest interview, he says that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had constituted a special task force of 90 American-trained commandos to track down Bin Laden in Afghanistan. If the Sharif government had continued on this course, this force would likely have caught Bin Laden by December 2001, but the plan was aborted by Ziauddin Butt’s successor as ISI general director, Lieutenant General Mahmud Ahmed. [8]

Arif Jamal is an independent security and terrorism expert and author of “Shadow War – The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir.”


1. Author’s telephone interview with an Islamabad journalist who requested anonymity, November 16, 2011.

2. Altaf Hassan Qureshi, “Resetting Pak-U.S. relations” (in Urdu), Jang [Rawalpindi], December 8, 2011. Available at

3. See “Government – Army - America on Dawn News – 11the Dec 2011 part 2,”

4. Ibid

5. Author’s interview with a security officer who requested anonymity, Islamabad, May 2000.

6. “Government – Army - America on Dawn News –December 11, 2011, part 1,”

7. Author’s interview with a former government minister who requested anonymity, Rawalpindi, February 2006.

8. “Government – Army - America on Dawn News –December 11, 2011, part 1,”


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