REFUGEE JOURNALIST IN MALAYSIA – THREATENED BY ISI
The important security-related Pakistan’s Institution ISI came into limelight during the beginning of Afghan-Soviet war in the 1980s. ISI has always been the symbol of national prestige for Pakistan. It is comprised of patriotic, committed, well trained and a highly efficient team of unsung heroes operationally responsible for gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world. The work of this primer intelligence agency of Pakistan is appreciated for boosting the morale of the people and in creating awareness among them about the designs and strategy of our unknown and not-so-well known enemies, who, in the garb of diplomatic activities, try to damage our vital national interests. Owing to the nature, sensitivity and magnitude of their work the intelligence agencies are globally acclaimed to be the first defense line of a country thus qualifying them for extremely campaigned opposition and ISI is not an exception. As a matter of fact, the frustration of the enemies of Pakistan who fail to execute their nefarious designs can well be gauged through such malicious campaigns.
ISI has met sever criticism and alleged with malpractices as part of defamation of this premier agency which in many contexts seem nothing more than well-structured propaganda against it. Recently, an anti-ISI article with the title “Refugee Journalist in Malaysia Tells of Threat by Pakistani Intelligence” appeared in ‘freemalaysia.com’ about a rogue Pakistani journalist (Syed Fawad Ali Shah). The article is a farcical piece of writing as a detailed analysis of the motives reveals facts that can form bases of initiating a firm case against all involved.
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Free Malaysia Today (FMT) is a bilingual news portal with a focus on Malaysian current affairs functioning since 2009. Its Chief Executive Officer is Rajendran Menon. FMT was set up four years ago, as a sister site to Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s website, Malaysia Today. The operators of this news organization are residing in England and are involved in many dubious activities even they remained wanted to the Malaysian Government. Apparently, it seems that these people are part of a racket meant to serve as stooge to some masterminds.
Raja Petra bin Raja Kamarudin is a Malaysian blogger known for running the Malaysia Today website and publishing a series of highly controversial commentaries inciting racial hatred, separation on Malaysian politics in the website or Twitter. He is currently living in Manchester, England. It is noteworthy that this person was detained for a second time under the Internal Security Act on 12 September 2008. On 7 November 2008, Raja was freed from detention after Shah Alam city High Court Justice Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad granted his habeas corpus petition and ruled that his detention was illegal. The court noted that the grounds for the detention order by Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar for the blogger did not fall under the scope of Section 8(1) of the ISA. The matter went to the extent that in May 2010 Cheras Umno Division chairman Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee called on the government to strip Raja Petra of his citizenship on the grounds that his activities could affect the peace of the country.
It can not be mere a co incident that two articles on the same subject have been published with gap of ten months in this FMT by some Indian origin writer Minderjeet Kaur on January 31, 2019 and December 8, 2019 which tells volumes about the connection of Raja Petra with Indian lobby. Both the articles are about a rogue journalist (Syed Fawad Ali Shah) from Pakistan who claims that he has been forced to seek refuge in Malaysia after getting into trouble with authorities there over his damning exposure of scandals involving powerful individuals. Ironically, Syed Fawad Ali Shah still writes for Daily Times, Pakistan Today, Express Tribune and had been reporter for CNN. He also writes for a bilingual English-Urdu news portal, Hamariweb.com.
His self-explanatory statements tell that he was pursuing cases of missing persons in Pakistan and alleged ISI for detaining him in 2010 for 18 days. He was eventually released with a warning: stop writing about missing persons, and give up journalism. “So I left for Thailand in August 2011,after a month, he approached the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) where he was interviewed 18 times. In 2014, he was recognised as a refugee and issued a UNHCR card”.
The way his image is being painted in these fabricated articles portray the ulterior motives in dramatic manner. He has unveiled FMT regarding recent threat came in a letter delivered by courier at his residence in the Klang Valley on Dec 6 2019. He further told FMT: “The letter stated, ‘Listen here, Fawad, remember the last hospitality that was extended to you. We thought you had learnt your lesson but you are still not mending your ways’.”He was being given “the last opportunity” to go to an agency in Kuala Lumpur to get an emergency passport. “They will arrange your ticket and other things, if you refuse to do so then we will make a horrific example of you,” according to Fawad. The letter included a reminder that his family members were still in Pakistan. Intriguingly, Fawad claimed that he recognised the agency’s logo on the envelope as resembling that of ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), the premier intelligence agency in Pakistan.
Fawad, 37, awaits news of his application for asylum in the US. He said his frustrations grow each day, and there is nothing he can do in Malaysia which does not recognise refugees. “I can’t work legally. I cannot get married. I am left hanging. All for what? He was also quoted as saying, “I don’t want to live as a refugee. I want to work. I have so much to offer but my life is at a standstill”. It clearly shows his frustration. Simply, he wants to acquire foreign citizenship by betraying own country and maligning ISI and Armed Forces is a favorite and easy way out of journalists. He is being willingly used by anti-Pakistan elements.
The stereo type information revealed regarding the hardships, journalists have to face in Pakistan, if critically analysed brings out facts which amply proves the above statement as it has become fashion to target security forces under the shadow of missing persons the majority of which has been found connected to TTP and their whereabouts are in Afghanistan rather than Pakistan. The gentleman was to the hit list of security agencies yet he managed to escape to Malaysia perhaps he is more smart than 007 fame James Bond. It makes one laughing stock when he alleges ISI which threatened him through official file emblems and letter head.
The timings of publishing of both articles indicate toward well thought out plan to initially apply and later emotional assertion to persuade authorities for US citizenship. I would like to appeal to media houses to be aware of sick minds like Mr. Fawad who are disguising under the cover of journalists and serve as puppet to their masters. I would especially call for the attention of APNS and PEMRA to take serious notice of such pseudo journalists who must be banned to write for print or web. I wonder if the foreign office of Pakistan has not initiated diplomatic case against FMT, which irresponsibly published content with almost no credible source to malign Pakistan. Being Pakistani we are proud of our security institutions who restored peace in the country with their unrelenting efforts and the true patriotic journalists in the country should stand with security agencies to foil propaganda against them.
About the Author: Mr. Masroor Ahmed is an International Relations’ Scholar and is currently working as Deputy Director in Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan. His Area of specialization is Regional Conflicts and Security.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Reader’s Review.