The Malik Riaz tornado seems to have hit everyone in the country. Even our TV anchors have been swept into its spiralling winds.
The real estate tycoon, who is now involved in a controversy over ‘unlawful’ deals with Dr Arsalan, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, has become the talk of the town.
Talk show hosts can’t help but talk about the newest scandal to hit town but some have also been dragged into the scandal, with a recent row between Najam Sethi and Talat Hussain surfacing a couple of days ago.
It all began on June 6, when Hussain said Riaz had informed him that certain anchors who referred to their sources as ‘churiya’ (birdie) and other such birds, in their respective shows, were in fact referring to him (Riaz).
However, Hussain did not take any names, perhaps, because it is well known in news circles that Sethi often refers to his sources as ‘churiya’.
On the very same day Sethi had an outburst during his show when his co-host Muneeb Farooq repeated the allegations hurled by Hussain. Sethi, however, went on to explain how another anchor, Mubashir Lucman, had levelled false allegations against him, such as holding a foreign passport and that his daughter was working in the US for Richard Holbrooke (former US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan).
According to Sethi, Lucman had levelled such allegations at least four times before Sethi sent him a legal notice, a copy of which is now available on Sethi’s website. He went on to add that the court had issued a restraining order against Lucman and he would now have to go to the courts to explain his false allegations.
After giving this backgrounder, Sethi came back to Muneeb’s question and said he would be sending a notice to Hussain too, without taking his name. But Sethi wouldn’t stop there: he had a few accusations of his own to hurl towards Hussain.
Sethi accused Talat, without taking his name, of reporting for Stratfor, a global intelligence company which Sethi said was a front for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), sourcing WikiLeaks.
Be that as it may, close aides of the popular newsmen claim that up till now legal actions have not been taken by either of them.
When Sethi was contacted, he refused to divulge into his actions against Talat.
Lucman and Hussain were not available to comment on the story, although Raza Muhmood Agha, who is the producer for Hussain’s talk show told The Express Tribune that it was unlikely that Sethi would send them a legal notice since Hussain had already clarified all accusations levelled by Sethi, the very next day on his talk show.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2012.