With emotions running high in the aftermath of the Zainab murder case, Pakistanis are in a very unforgiving mood. From calls of public hanging of the murderer to the outrage that welcomed Newsweek Pakistan’s editor, Fasih Ahmed for making callous rape jokes, the citizens mean business.
Sensationalism, lies and yellow journalism that attract ratings but never the wrath of the common people seem like a big NO when it comes to justice for 7 year old Zainab.
Perhaps underestimating how personally invested every Pakistani is in the Zainab murder case, Dr. Shahid Masood went live on television a couple of days ago claiming that her murderer had 39 bank accounts with foreign transactions. Dr. Shahid Masood lied on live television – or made an “unintentional mistake” as he now claims – with immense confidence. He even went as far as to say that he had evidence to back his claim and that he would submit the same in the court of law.
Also Read: Zainab, Politics, Media And Us
Following Dr. Shahid Masood’s claims, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shebaz Sharif directed an inquiry into the matter.
Following revelation of information reg bank accounts allegedly held by the accused in Zainab case, I immediately tasked JIT to associate senior representatives from State Bank of Pakistan & DG Forensic Science Agency to inquire into issue & finalise the investigation accordingly pic.twitter.com/17S30OKhCz
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) January 25, 2018
As it turned out, the State Bank of Pakistan issued a response yesterday, proving the claims made by Dr. Shahid Masood as lies.
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An angry Talat Hussain tweeted the State Bank’s response, directing undiluted disgust towards his colleague.
State bank confirms the obvious, busts lies about Kasur children killer and rapist having bank accounts. Shameful, habitual liars playing with such sad incidents. pic.twitter.com/lyLcRBMRED
— Syed Talat Hussain (@TalatHussain12) January 26, 2018
Dr. Shahid Masood had been summoned by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to submit evidence supporting his claims. However, – and this is only an obvious conclusion – Dr. Shahid Masood lied, he did not appear before the JIT.
Despite written notice, Dr. Shahid Masood didn't appear before the JIT formed by Punjab govt to share the proof of information he claimed about bank accounts allegedly held by the accused in Zainab case. His contact numbers are switched OFF and we couldn't connect .
— Punjab 2013-18 (@Punjab13to18) January 26, 2018
The Government of Punjab has also issued a legal notice to the anchorperson for misguiding the public.
Punjab government has also sent a legal notice to anchor Dr Shahid Masood for his false, fabricated and misleading claims. https://t.co/X7w8WzXz82
— Punjab 2013-18 (@Punjab13to18) January 26, 2018
As reported by Express Tribune, Dr. Shahid Masood, responding to the avalanche of rage directed towards him said that investigation of a crime was not his responsibility and that it was the government’s job to ascertain the authenticity of a news item.
Enraged that Dr. Shahid Masood lied on live television so shamelessly, playing with the sentiments of the masses for mere ratings, Pakistanis across the board are demanding that the anchorperson be banned.
Shahid Masood has time and again proven to be a liar. His license of journalism must be cancelled for making mockery of such a serious case. Its high time that these so called rating driven anchors held responsible for their words/actions. #BanShahidMasood
— M. (@GrowGlow__) January 26, 2018
#BanShahidMasood anchors like him who make false stories for rating and personal gains !! On Monday CJ must set an example by cancelling his licence for stories based on lies
— Hamza Rizwan (@HamzaaRizwan11) January 26, 2018
— Aamir shahzad (@Gaggoopunjab) January 26, 2018
The common citizens are not the only ones who’re up set with the anchorperson. Journalists, too, seem positively indignant.
The State bank of Pakistan busts lie of 'anchor' Dr Shahed Masood that Zainab's killer Imran Ali has 37 bank accounts, says the accused doesnt have a single bank account. Shameful how the anchor played dirty games with the tragedy of Zainab. He shud be banned from TV screens pic.twitter.com/2O6rN64mXb
— Pakistan Media Watch (@PakPressWatch) January 26, 2018
The Supreme Court should penalize Dr Shahid Masood for his false claim about the 37 bank accounts because it diverted state resources to a dead end issue
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) January 26, 2018
There's a famous saying by Hazrat Ali (RA) to look at what someone is saying, not who is saying it. But I think we should always make an exception to that in the case of Dr Shahid Masood.
— Hasan Zaidi (@hyzaidi) January 26, 2018
Spreading sensational lies about a tragedy trivializes the magnitude of the event. This puts all the attention on the lie which was most probably concocted for the most cynical reasons.
— Nadeem Farooq Paracha (@NadeemfParacha) January 26, 2018
#BanShahidMasood is the top Twitter trend in Pakistan today and from all that we’ve heard and read, for good reason. The big question is: whether we will seriously follow-up against yellow journalism or allow the furor to die in a few days, giving a clean chit to Dr. Shahid Masood and others like him?