Purveyors of fiction

Published: December 16, 2010
The writer is a freelance print and broadcast journalist george.fulton@tribune.com.pk

The writer is a freelance print and broadcast journalist george.fulton@tribune.com.pk

For those who don’t know Ahmad Quraishi, according to his website — ahmedquraishi.com — he is “a public policy writer, commentator and broadcaster”. In reality, he is widely known to be a crude propagandist for the army/intelligence nexus. At least Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda films had artistic value. Noxious, yes, but art nonetheless. Sadly, no such claim can be made of Quraishi’s leaden prosaic prose.

He is also “one of the founders of PakNationalists, a supposed forum focusing on shaping Pakistan’s foreign and domestic policy options”. Actually it’s an anti-India bile-spewing machine that spreads untruths, smears and uncorroborated stories. His most recent article on his website, entitled “Guardian uses WikliLeaks for Propaganda, Pakistani Media Can’t?” is an astonishing convoluted defence of the fake cable that was exposed by Cafe Pyala and subsequently picked up by the Guardian correspondent, Declan Walsh and this newspaper’s blog section. The phrase ‘twisting in the wind’ comes to mind.

Quraishi begins by attempting to undermine the original story of the fake cable: “(The) Guardian’s Islamabad correspondent Declan Walsh claimed the stories were ‘credited to the Online Agency, an Islamabad-based news service that has frequently run pro-army stories in the past. No journalist is bylined’. Fabulous, only that it is not accurate. The story was published by the ‘Daily Mail of Pakistan’, a newspaper launched recently and staffed by journalists coming from the newsrooms of Pakistan’s frontrow newspapers.”

He goes on to say: “A large part of the original Pakistani report is credible. It was published by a prominent news organisation and the story has four names in the byline. The Guardian unethically tried to link the story to Pakistani intelligence agencies by suggesting the story comes with ‘no byline’ and can’t be sourced. The Guardian’s Mr Walsh compensated his lack of investigation by offering his own conspiracy theory that the report was planted by Pakistani intelligence agencies.”

Let’s state some facts. All the newspapers that ran the story did credit it to the Online news agency. No byline was given by any newspaper. It cannot be sourced. Ah, but what about this ‘Daily Mail of Pakistan’ that he quotes. Unfortunately, this is not an authentic newspaper but one that peddles propaganda. (It was ‘The Daily Mail of Pakistan’ that planted the bogus story that the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal was orchestrated by the Indian intelligence agency RAW.)

What about the bylines Mr Quraishi mentions on the ‘Daily Mail of Pakistan’ website? It’s true that the fake cable story is bylined “From Suzie Wang in Washington, Christina Palmer in New Delhi, John Nelson in Kabul and Ahmad-Almurad in Cairo”. The only problem is that these people don’t exist. They are figments of his imagination. I would love to meet Suzie Wang from Washington and Christina Palmer who apparently works in New Delhi.

Yes, it’s highly likely that the ‘Daily Mail of Pakistan’ — and all these other bogus websites (again Cafe Pyala has done a brilliant expose of these bogus sites) — are probably paid for by a budget that we, as taxpayers, and our elected officials do not have permission to scrutinise. Good to know, isn’t it.

So the question that comes to mind is: what is the point of Ahmed Quraishi’s article? He has been proven to peddle half-truths and misinformation on some rather shady websites. As a self-described nationalist, I am sure he would defend what he was doing as being for the greater good of Pakistan and its people. But I subscribe to Charles De Gaulle’s view of nationalists and nationalism: “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.” Mr Quraishi is a hate-monger. One must also wonder how much Mr Quraishi really loves the people of this country since he seems to make a living peddling half-truths to them.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (54)

  • Asif
    Dec 16, 2010 - 11:50PM

    Excellent piece.

    One expects columnists to make sense of the world around us with an opinion we hope is honestly held. Sadly, despite the protestations of Ahmed Quraishi, he does not respect his readers, nor the Pakistani people if he thinks they are supposed to be lied to in order to hold opinions he thinks are appropriate, even if blatantly untrue. What kind of nationalism is that?

    Unfortunately he seems unrepentant, and follows the dictum of Geobells, lie enough times and people will be believe it. Well, the lie should be competently constructed, not as amatuerish as the one Ahmed Quraishi is defending.

    The Pakistani public deserve better than Ahmed Quraishi. If he is a nationalist he would know that. Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2010 - 12:01AM

    My God, George is on fire! Somebody throw some sand on him lest he turns into an inferno! :p

    Good writeup but my point is, is Tribune the new home of personal cyber wars between the “burger” liberals and the self declared “nationalists” aka conspiracy theorists? How many days before Ahmad Quraishi’s reply is published in the column section of this paper?Recommend

  • Asif
    Dec 17, 2010 - 12:35AM

    @ Hamza Malik

    That would depend, can Ahmed Quraishi actually defend the immoral (faking cables)?

    Actually you are right, he can. Because he already did. Recommend

  • shafaat
    Dec 17, 2010 - 1:26AM

    brilliantly done GEORGE this man needs to be put to his size . he is just a propaganda machine Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2010 - 1:34AM

    Cool. Keep it going, George. Follow the AQs of this world till the end. If an iota of shame, they can find in themselves, they should quit their expanding business of selling fake and hate. Thank you very much. Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2010 - 1:49AM

    People like Ahmad Q. dont believe that the people of Pakistan deserve to know the truth. They are just consumers of propaganda for him who should be told what to think and do in the name of “national interest”. The contempt with which some people in this country hold their fellow Pakistani’s is sickening. Recommend

  • Salma
    Dec 17, 2010 - 2:12AM

    George, such character-assassination tells us more about you than Mr Quraishi. By resorting to ad hominem attacks, I am reminded of lowly journalism that is more suited to Fox News, so please write about something important rather than smear people you may not agree with politically.Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2010 - 2:41AM

    After reading the following AG wont think Guardian is perpetuationg a conspiracy now would he?


  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Dec 17, 2010 - 9:38AM

    George, you have become WikiLeaks for us. What ever you have penciled down up-to-date does make lot of sense. We need to know more about those so called Anchor Persons/Journalists who are on the payrolls of others rather than doing some objective reporting. You are doing a very good job by unearthing these elements. We all know that yellow journalism is every where but here it seems to be moving out of hands. Let the people know why your articles/findings are not welcomed in leading Urdu Language news papers. Don’t forget that “Yeh George ka Pakistan Bhi Hy” so keep it up.Recommend

  • Gurriya
    Dec 17, 2010 - 9:38AM

    I second Asif, well written. It is no doubt an excellent piece. and shall i say, going by the vengeance the writer could be confronted with for writing such a daring column, George deserves more than just an applause. Salutations. Recommend

  • D. Jan
    Dec 17, 2010 - 11:02AM

    The writer has crudely attacked Mr. Quraishi for his criticism of the Guardian. I may not defend Mr. Quraishi but will surely question the ostensible honesty of the writer to discourage, criticise and even despise untruthfulness. They are teaching us the lessons of truth who had piled mountains of untruths to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.One organisation in the Us has documented over 900 lies Bush had told for preparing ground for war in Iraq. These puppets were equally and proudly sharing those lies. Hundreds of thousands of Iragis were killed and they went scott free. Instead they dubbed the Iraqis (victims) as terrorists. No boundaries to their shame. Most of them remained silent and unrepentant. On everyday basis, the western media is writing packs of lies, but no clarifications, no regrets, no rebukes. I was stunned to see the self-proclaimed experts in the US distorting historically known facts shamelessly. One leak about India may have proven fake, but others–emanating from UAE and UK–are not. I would appreciate the writer if he would write on those correct cables (he may first confirm from the Guardian). . Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2010 - 11:03AM

    Mr Fulton, good work. For those interested in Ahmad Quraishi, pakistanpatriots and the company they keep here is an excellent expose titled ‘Connecting the Dots’ on cafepyala on 27/11/2010.Specially go through the ‘uniformity’ of design and content of the sites being exposed to see the connection.


    Incidentally, apart from the newspapers that carried the ‘agency news’, two ‘commentators’ were quickly off the block, Mr Quraishi, and Mr ‘ex-ambassador’ Zafar Hilaly.Recommend

  • Shahid
    Dec 17, 2010 - 12:29PM

    Who is Ahmad Rashid?Recommend

  • parvez
    Dec 17, 2010 - 1:23PM

    Great read. Its good to have a peek behind the curtain.Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Dec 17, 2010 - 1:59PM

    For people like AQ the definition of Pakistan is “anti India”.Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2010 - 2:16PM

    @D. Jan and Syed Edroos – I dont think any country has come out looking good after wikileaks. The important lesson to learn from the wikileaks phenomenon is to introspect and learn to be more transparent with your people about your intentions. Recommend

  • harkol
    Dec 17, 2010 - 3:04PM

    Phew! No one has taken on AQ like this before. Great article.

  • thenewblackkk
    Dec 17, 2010 - 3:56PM

    Another sensational article void of any depth Recommend

  • Ali khan
    Dec 17, 2010 - 9:11PM

    Hope George has his visa sorted out ;) any full power to his elbow for another perspective.Recommend

  • Averoes
    Dec 17, 2010 - 10:18PM

    What I would like to know is if their is any sane person who takes Ahmed Qureshi seriously?Recommend

  • Shemrez Nauman Afzal
    Dec 17, 2010 - 11:54PM

    Umm… The post on Cafe Pyala says that Christina Palmer is a pseudonym used to protect her identity :/ but yeah, then AQ says is Madhuri Gupta Christina Palmer? so…Recommend

  • Muneeb Afzal
    Dec 18, 2010 - 1:24AM

    Excellent piece George. Nice Job by Cafe Pyala as well. But the real problem is that you go to facebook you will Cafe Pyala having a 500 fans and Qureshi having 9000. His Lies penetrate into a far larger crowd therefore we must keep writing on such issues again and again at different PaltformsRecommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Dec 18, 2010 - 3:55AM

    No one with high IQ admires Ahmed Quraishi. Those with low intelligence, your writing will make no difference.

    So why waste space on such character?Recommend

  • Bina
    Dec 18, 2010 - 11:00AM

    So, I guess you really really hate Ahmad Quraishi, huh?Recommend

  • Afridi
    Dec 18, 2010 - 12:11PM

    Thank you sir, for the first time I came to know about this guy, who I was watching on TV when we were school boys, I would love to go through his materiel, for now I go with the Charles De Gualle definition of the patriotism.

    thanks Recommend

  • zoya Khan
    Dec 18, 2010 - 4:20PM

    George you rock! Recommend

  • Dec 18, 2010 - 4:25PM

    should not forget Zaid Hamid… equally corrosive.Recommend

  • UmEr
    Dec 18, 2010 - 4:32PM

    Whatever he is, it’s non of your concern!Recommend

  • Maulana Diesel
    Dec 18, 2010 - 6:32PM

    hey there is also a “doctor” Shahid Qureshi who writes for The London Post. You should read some of the stuff on this – will make your head spin. Maybe the two Qureshi’s are related?Recommend

  • Dec 18, 2010 - 7:40PM

    I seldom read both Fullton and A.Q.
    Well now i’ll be waiting for A.Q’s response ;) it would be interesting; isn’t it??Recommend

  • Majid Urrehman
    Dec 18, 2010 - 7:51PM

    Excellent Piece. At last someone noticed the reality of Mr. Ahmad Qureshi.Recommend

  • Faizullah Jan
    Dec 18, 2010 - 9:03PM

    Come on! George, this guy is not worth two letters.Recommend

  • nina
    Dec 18, 2010 - 10:04PM

    George Bush told the world that we had to go into Iraq because it had weapons of mass destruction, do you still believe him George? Or was it mere propaganda coming from the world’s super power, which we are expected to blindly follow as it comes from the most powerful nation on earth! Just examine the damage and death that this propaganda has caused to the citizens of Iraq and compare it to the damage caused by AQ.Recommend

    Dec 18, 2010 - 10:06PM

    Well many would have read stories on ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Now its all about ‘George in Pakistan,’ the land of the pure where few dare to take on the number one institution considered puritan to many in this country fearing backlash from them. However, its indeed very important that more number of journalists in Pakistan present the facts to its people and take on their fanatics head on without fear, only then this country can make progess. This should be followed with revolution by the moderate and educated young generation who should lead a crusade against old religious scholars, mullas and so called jihadis who are preaching and practicing hatred, in-tolerance and using extreme violence for forcing their outdated and stoneage ideology on the hapless people of Pakistan. George, keep up the good work and take care of your goodself. Recommend

  • Dec 19, 2010 - 2:19AM

    I am not Mr.Ahmed Quershi’s,advocate.However,since I have read many of his write ups,I wholly support them for being logical,researched,analyized and well supported by credible references and material.

    My question to the writer while he defends and calls cafe pyala and the Gaurdian as the gospel truth tellers and AQ a lier and a propagandist,Daily Mail of Pakistan’ — and all these other bogus websites,is that Can the original publishers of the Wicked’Leaks provide authenticity and veracity of these Wicked’Leaks? and will the writer produce the same for our digestion of thier credibility?. This person Julian assange is given favorable media and look at the hype preceding his revelations…..and why is nobody questioning his credibility?

    If only Wikileaks were ‘for real.” This would be a journalist’s dream. No matter how much some of us may want something to be, wanting it cannot make it so.
    In short they apparently seem like “Wicked’ Leaks” more then Wikileaks.

    Somehow, I cannot digest the idea of this Wikileaks website being run by a true whistleblower….because he (Assange) has been allgedly a source of causing more embarrassment to the US interest then both Osama and Mullah Omar put together .Yet he is alive,hale and hearty,seen and heard gallivanting from country to country with complete freedom?. This sounds dubious and raises the suspicion to mind that is J.Assange…Whistleblower or a Planter?

    What had crossed my mind is that he could be a Planter, propped up to intentionally leak out cherry picked,altered and fabricated contents with nefarious designs which could benefit and serve someone’s interest while harming others. This could be a system devised by them to embarrass their enemies and take old news and nominal blames for their own sweet selves to throw off any suspicions that they were behind this sinister game.

    Let us take for example one of the leak which spoke about how the Pakistan ISI had and is helping the Taliban’s against the US. This is something which the US, NATO and even the Afghanistan, President. Karzai had been accusing Pakistan, over the last some years. This kind of leak obviously reflects who it benefits and whose image it is bound to harm in the world,I had read somewhere that Israel is …going to be exposed where it benefits them….. Turkey is getting framed in helping Al-Qaeda in Iraq….because it’s not their favorites anymore…

    With the above suspicions gives also rise to some other important questions to understand, but they evade us all: One, for what price is Wikileaks selling this information to select newspapers? Are they really assisting the oppressed as per their claim? How could they hack such secured information?

    I think these example do give credence to suspicions of Assange,being a planter for False Flag situations.Recommend

  • Dec 19, 2010 - 5:40AM
  • Dec 19, 2010 - 3:59PM

    @M Sethi

    I guess WikiLeaks sites being blocked by the USA, payment channels being disrupted and Assnge being denied residence by several countries and eventually being arrested by UK, all are ‘evidence’ of his being a ‘planter.

    But then do you and Mr Quraishi consider the following to be a plant too


  • Dec 19, 2010 - 5:08PM

    @Vikas Ranjan,
    All these actions taken after the long length of period of their release of the Iraqi civilian killing clips release appear more of an eyewash.Assange arrest was more to deflect any further suspicions befalling the beneficaries, growing within the general public world wide.I would term it not as DETENSION but more as PROTECTION. Recommend

  • Dec 19, 2010 - 7:21PM

    @Vikas Ranjan,

    The second part of your question is irrelevent! If you re-read my comments.I have questioned the veracity of the so-called leaks and credibility of the whistle blower.

    By comprehending them as Plants imply’s that they could be cherry picked,altered and even fabricated to some extent to suit intended nefarious designs or persue a laid out planned conspiracy.The Gaurdian and the rest of the original publishers had confessed that they were careful in selecting those for publication which do not endanger the life and security of anyone.Thus if they could be selective keeping that in mind.Then why couldnt they be capable of doing the aforementioned acts?…Briefly,they could be a “mixed cocktail having the ingredients of truth and lies”.with a specific agenda to benefit a few and harm their adversaries or foes…I believe they were real whistle blowers then they should expose some issues that could have been discussed to impact in the future course of time and which could preempt them.Past references appear for like snitching,back biting or mischief mongering

    Best Regards.Recommend

  • Jahanzaib Haque
    Dec 19, 2010 - 8:49PM

    @MSethi Apologies for the delay in comment approval – we are working towards better management of comments. For specific complaints and enquiries, please email web@tribune.com.pk Best regards (Web Editor)Recommend

  • Dec 19, 2010 - 10:43PM

    @Jahanzaib Haque (Web Editor)
    Thank you for responding.Much appreciated !

    Kind RegardsRecommend

  • Waqas
    Dec 20, 2010 - 1:00AM

    George mate, well done and thanks for standing up… We will follow.Recommend

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Dec 20, 2010 - 3:39AM

    @ M Sethi

    You are truly amazing… I just cant fathom the mindset of a conspiracy theorist that plagues this nation of bigots that wont shy calling Assange a planter by the west…
    I am dumbfounded, speechless and really numb with the thought that there are “LITERATE” people out there who believe Assange to be a tool / planter / mole of US. The associated noise you have given to prove your point is so far detached from the reality that it makes it comical play to read.

    No wonder, we are going down as a nation.

  • abaabeel
    Dec 20, 2010 - 9:47AM

    I wish that the urdu translation of your articles be also made available for the benefit of the Pakistani nation, since people like Ahmed Qureshi love to misinform/disinform our nation through urdu newspapers mostly.Recommend

  • Asif
    Dec 20, 2010 - 1:09PM

    Whats funny M Sethi is that you are totally uninterested in the challenge laid down by George Fulton to Ahmed Quraishi, which is to prove the correspondents listed are real people.

    And, Ahmed Quraishi who was quick to write letters and comments to the throw away remark of Fasi Zaka, is utterly quite when it comes to a detailed break down of his fallacious article that he so vehemently defended only a week ago. Recommend

  • Dec 20, 2010 - 8:09PM

    Amusing thing about your comment is you dont even know ABC of this fellow Assange credibility and yet you lay undying faith in what went through him to the gospel truth teller western media of yours publishes.

    It is the same western media and literate possibly,but ignorant people who had been dubbing Pakistan as the haven for terrorist,whereas in reality it is the worst affected and targeted country in the world by terrorism.They portray their forces military occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq as Messiahs for the people of those countries,respectively., and it is people like you who believe them

    This ignorant and juvenile mindset of being gullible to what the west feeds is why our Nation could go down not because of the ones who have the guts and the intelligence to question,comprehend and assimilate and have the mental capability to differentiate and identify the grays in between the black and whiten and who refuse to sell their motherland for pocket full of dollars !

    Allah Hafiz (Adios and cheers suit you better)Recommend

  • Dec 20, 2010 - 8:21PM

    Hope you had a good laugh,because you found my disinterest in the challenge laid down by “George Fulton” to “Ahmed Quraishi”, funny ! Strange enough in the aforementioned sentence M.Sethi doesnt appear to figure.

    I hope you got the drift!Recommend

  • Dec 20, 2010 - 8:30PM

    Moderator with due respects.I posted my above comments addressed @Haris approximately some minutes back.Certainly not 13 hours ago ?.Your clock appears to be working over time it seems.Recommend

  • vikas ranjan
    Dec 20, 2010 - 10:48PM

    @M Sethi

    If Assange = US plant
    Why not M Sethi= A plant of Mother of all agencies and patron of Taliban

    As the ‘fakileaks’ that M Sethi finds so credible seem to come from the same source.

    Any theories, (including ‘conspiracy heories’)?Recommend

  • Dec 20, 2010 - 11:46PM

    In a single line “Everything is for Sale”….Mr.George you took a little more time then others to get surface. Like many others you have shown the similar anti nationalist stance against all those who are pro pakistanis.Recommend

  • Dec 21, 2010 - 1:00AM

    @Vikas Ranjan,
    Are you by any chance related to Assange?.Just wondering after seeing your die hard allegience to Him!Recommend

  • Zak
    Dec 21, 2010 - 1:55AM
  • Dec 23, 2010 - 12:01AM

    George, I am quite shocked after reading your article here. I am shocked because you are unable to maintain balance in your approach towards identifying the personality of Ahmed Qureishi. I believe Ahmed is not doing wrong at all. It is not acceptable for me that when baseless allegations are leveled against my country like Terrorists hiding inside Pakistan and Nukes are in danger and blah blah! people like you do not lift their pen to defend Pakistan’s position at that time. Now when the flames reach the windows of those who ignited it to hurt us, many advocates of truth jump in the ring to teach us lessons over lessons.

    I think Ahmed did perfectly right and his stance is proven correct when in just a couple of days major Indian newspapers quoted “Rahul Gandhi” saying exactly the same words as Daily Mail had revealed referring to the Wikileaks.

    I must advise all so called pen champions to stop defending the enemies of Pakistan so religiously.Recommend

  • mdoc
    Jan 7, 2011 - 6:24PM

    india is not an enemy of pakistan.this notion is being created by some oppurtunistic politicians and religious fanatics called as terrorists.Recommend

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