Sunday, October 2, 2011

This Lucman Is No Hakeem

I had not actually planned to write this post but am doing so on the insistence of some of our friends on Twitter who think, quite rightly, that that medium is a rather ephemeral one and the information supplied on it should be preserved in a relatively more easily accessible format such as this one.

This post is a follow-up to Pakistan Media Watch's scrutiny of an apparent campaign against well-known journalist and television anchor Najam Sethi, which raises some very valid questions about who is behind the vilification and to what end. They are obviously mainly rhetorical questions since we can all tell what the possible motivations are when one looks at some of the illustrious names involved and the means employed. However, the PMW post also includes links to two television appearances by current Dunya TV talk show host Mubasher Lucman, wherein he attacks Sethi by name almost without provocation, and this is what prompted sharing this story.

Here is the first of them, from Lucman's own programme Khari Baat - Lucman Ke Saath from September 26. The relevant bit begins around 8:45 into the clip when Lucman suddenly diverts a discussion about US-Pak relations into an attack on Sethi:




For those who cannot understand Urdu, here is a brief transcript of the relevant comments between Lucman and his guest, the reporter Sami Ibrahim who until recently covered the US for Geo in Washington and now works for Dunya:

Sami: ...Evidence exists with the Pakistan army that the CIA is involved in Balochistan and in the Tribal Areas and that India is fighting its proxy war. But the Pakistanis have not yet presented this proof [publicly].
Lucman: The problem is because of people like you, journalists like you who want to take favours from the US, and for which they are selling Pakistan and denigrating it... For example, people like, a name I took this morning in a programme too, Najam Sethi sahib...Look at how much he has maligned Pakistan just to get [American] nationality for himself and his children.. can you justify that?
Sami: Look Mubashar sahib, any journalist who keeps getting invitations from the US, whose earning comes from the US, he will obviously call Pakistan bad names and try and put American interests front and centre and try to justify it. And now if Sethi sahib is trying to do that...
Lucman: He's been doing it for such a long time and all of you are silent, all of you have made a lobby [for him], all of you America promoting journalists...
Sami: No, but I think the Pakistani people have understood these things. Whether it's such a journalist or politician or intellectual or whoever, I think they stand exposed. And now the way the Pakistani nation has expressed itself in a united way against the US, I don't think I am wrong in my understanding that the Pakistani people have understood these underhand tactics.


I will come back to Lucman (whose claims that Sethi says what he says to get US nationality for himself and his children could easily fall foul of defamation laws) but just want to point out a couple of things about what Sami Ibrahim says. For those who cannot tell the nuances from the translated transcript, Sami is obviously very much in on the diatribe against Sethi, the fake berating by Lucman belied by the unabashed smile on Sami's face. Secondly his attack on those journalists whose earnings are tied to the US is a bit rich coming from someone who represents a channel that has taken US funding to set up a bureau and pay the salary of its correspondent there.


In any case, coming back to Lucman, here is the other clip that PMW linked to, this one from the morning show on Pakistan Television earlier that same day, hosted by former film star Noor, in which Lucman is a guest. The relevant bit begins around 2:00 into the clip:




Here, once again, is a translated transcript of the relevant portion:

Noor: Which anchors are there which you think [present a constructive point of view on television]...?
Lucman: Better you not get me started... I can tell you the ones that I dislike intensely. I'll take the names too, I have no problems.
Noor: Ok, tell us.
Lucman: The one I dislike the most is Najam Sethi. Anyone who promotes America, I don't like. Those who earn from Pakistan, who have been made by Pakistan and then go and defame Pakistan, I curse such people. There are many such people.

Now, Lucman's dislike for Sethi and Sethi's views can be justified as his opinion and aside from the potential slander pointed out earlier, the principles on which Lucman professes his antipathy to Sethi cannot be called into question. Many 'nationalist' Pakistanis would feel the same way in theoretical terms about anyone who was promoting the agenda of some other country because of some vested interest. But note that I am NOT going into the actual content of what Lucman finds disturbing about Sethi's views - personally I have never considered Sethi's criticism of the Pakistani state as denigrating Pakistan, rather perfectly valid critiques that any right-thinking person needs to make - and as PMW has shown, there seems to be far more to this campaign than the simple views of a man who equates critique of the establishmentarian mindset with bad mouthing the country (and it should be remembered that Mubashar Lucman's father was, after all, in the military).

But what I find rather rich is the self-righteous claptrap about "defaming Pakistan" Mr Lucman is able to consistently spew on television (he has vigorously defended match-fixers such as Salman Butt and attacked rape survivors such as Mukhtaran Mai on his programme), given his own rather chequered past. I want to relate a small anecdote that should show how much he actually has done to keep Pakistan's flag flying high.

In 2005, before his advent on TV, Mubasher Lucman directed his first and (thankfully) only feature film, Pehla Pehla Pyar. The hype was immense but when it was finally released in 2006, it turned out to be the biggest flop of the year. However, the controversy that simultaneously engulfed Lucman was far more problematic. It turned out that Lucman, who had had post-production work done at a lab in Thailand had fled from there without paying off his bill, valued by the studio at around US$80,000. In fact, he had defrauded the lab by taking a work-print (which is sort of an unfinished draft print) on the pretense that he needed to have the film censored in Pakistan, and then used that print to make cinema release copies from other labs in India. (Labs generally do not release prints or negatives until their bills are settled.) The result of this fraud was not only that the release prints were of very poor quality (made as they were from an unfinished work print rather than the original negatives which were still with the Thai lab), but that Thai studios collectively banned all Pakistani filmmakers from using their facilities. In addition, the Thai lab then wrote a letter to Pakistani film associations detailing the fraud. Under the threat of legal action and immense pressure from film associations in Pakistan, Lucman finally, ostensibly, settled the dues, allowing Pakistani filmmakers from accessing Thai facilities once again.

And that is how Mr Lucman contributed to raising the stature of Pakistan himself. Ostensibly this was not considered when he was conferred Pakistan's third highest civilian award, the Sitara-e-Imtiaz this year. But what's that they say about those living in glass houses?


25 comments:

Concha said...

What did Lucman get the sitara-e-Imtiaz for?

Anonymous said...

for shitting on Mukhtar Mai.

yawar said...

Lucman is an idiot. And usually these kind if idiots know how they are applauded by other idiots. it's all in the family. And it's a mighty big family. 18 crore-strong.

Anonymous said...

Its not just Lucman, here is another show from Duniya TV, Hasb e Haal, their criticism is along the same lines.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olN1JDn4aHI

Reason could be Sethi moving onto GEO from duniya TV, and the owners not being happy about it.

Anonymous said...

I'll believe that Sethi is an honest man perhaps when his wife or him will not end up in parliament on PMLN's seat.
Wikileaks, do say that he is in the "GOOD BOOKS" of uncle Sam.

Another confusing thing for me about this blog is this "try" is based on the premise that "since Lucman is/was a fraudster so his allegations on Sethi cannot be TRUE"

Whats in a name said...

Sethi does have strange views. He talks as if he is the best analyst with the most knowledge.

As the title says, Lucamn is no saint as well.

Pakistani people know the reality of both of them. Sethi definitively has some agenda to promote.

Forbidden Fruit said...

That makes lucman a fraudia.
Plain n simple. And that's why he got the sitara.

Magnum said...

Top post, Pyala.

Lucman, Hamid Mir, Kashif Abbasi, Meher Bukhari, etc, etc, etc ... all in the same league. Bloody cartoons.

Anonymous said...

You don't understand the nuances of Pak domestic policy, cpyala, that's why you are engaging in disruptive rants while those in the know like Lucman are making constructive points. What is sauce for goose etc - Sadhana

Amna K said...

Wow, I feel like I can punch Lucman in the face. Really.

Irfan said...

Lucman is one of many talentless hacks that proliferate on Pakistani television.

It is clear Lucman is jealous of Sethi's reputation and prestige as a journalist par excellence. And Sethi has humiliated the likes of Lucman more than once. Accusing Sethi of being a 'traitor' is his cheap, under-handed way of getting back.

I would challenge the likes of Lucman to prove what statements Sethi has made or what action he has committed that violates the laws of treason? It seems these days, offering a reasoned explaination or an informed viewpoint is a crime.

Najam Sethi is the antidote to this country's growing reliance on idiots like Lucman.

Anonymous said...

Another anecdote that reflects on Lucman's odious persona. Back when he was involved with making films, his earnest advise for young female filmmakers and students would be to sleep with those who can forward their career. And he would insist that was the only way. So much for morality.

Anonymous said...

As we all know that Lucman is pro MQM and biased.. I don't think any sensible person will take his views..

He is just another one on Payroll of MQM who is trying to counter Sethi..

AKS said...

A few years ago I ended up spending a couple of hours with Mr. Luqman (he knew a client with whom I was traveling to Islamabad). This is before he hit the big time I honestly don't remember what his private views were. He was a little arrogant but generally quite nice.

The thing I do remember was his penchant for name dropping and his seeming awe and reverence for establishment / military figures.

He is an establishment guy through and through, on everything from foreign policy to NGOs.

Yasser said...

Mr. Najam Sethi, what else we can say about him, his agenda is visible to any independent viewer, any regular viewer of his program can say with authority that he does run the US agenda on his show, i would have said the same what Lucman said.

And cpyala, Lucman film fraud cannot be compared to Sethi US backed agenda, because what Sethi does is create an opinion and try to prove it as facts though it is just agenda which Sethi is running and clearly visible to viewer with some knowledge.

Salman Javid said...

Mr. Luqman is clearly after Mr. Sethi, here is a link to his show which went on air last night, where he is accusing Mr. Sethi to be a RAW agent for his part in the 1973/74 insurgency of Balochistan.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miVdLQ1-H08

I hope Mr. Sethi the best as Mr.Luqman is really after him and want the same fate for him as Salman Taseer.

khobar said...

Lucman is no doubt a 'unmitigated disaster'. He thinks that he was the only 'patriotic' citizen of Pakistan and therefore he must back any action whether right or wrong. He is driven by misplaced pride about Pakistan which has track record of many disasters one after the other.

Lucman was livid when the whole world was pointing fingers at ISI for alleged murder of a leading journalist Saleem Shehzad.

Lucman was unhappy at the channels for showing footages of Rangers shooting at point blank on an unarmed man in Karachi. The man was lying on the road bleeding to death but Lucman found that the Ranger was offering water to the wounded man who ultimately died.

Lucman loves Altaf Hussain and took whole of his crew to Nine Zero where hundreds disciples of Pir Altaf Hussain were assembled and he was telling about the so called martyrs of MQM.

Lately he is having a go at Najam Sethi who is acclaimed to be a seasoned journalist and whose analyses are brilliant. I suspect Lucman has taken a cue from Mustafa Kamal who in a recent press conference expressed anger at Najam Sethi whom Mustafa called Yajooj. In a way it serves Najam Sethi right as he has always been eulogising Mustafa as an energetic and brillian mayor because he got a few flyovers constructed but the money spent on them is not auditable.

Moderate said...

Lucman defamed Sethi and Cafe Pyala defamed Lucman. Thats it. You didnt even answered that if Najam Sethi and his family have a US citizenship?

Anonymous said...

Just one question CPM. You linked a Christian Science Monitor article in the post that mentions how Dunya tv and one of its journalists is on the payroll of the State Department. But you never considered writing a cafepyala post on this very important issue yourself. Why? Is it because as some people say that one of the so called journalists in question, Huma Imtiaz, who also draws her salary from the State Department is a very dear friend of yours? If you're so keen on calling a spade a spade especially when you so bravely hide under a pseudonym, you really can't take sides like this. I expect the truth and an answer.

Anonymous said...

So Sethi saheb got US citizenship/green card or not that is the question?

Anonymous said...

How about refuting the man's claims about Sethi? Your article is nothing more than cheap attacks on Mubashir Luqman. Najam Sethi's daughter graduated from a prestigious American university and writes for right-wing publications. She routinely paints the Pakistani Army as being rouge and hell bent on world destruction. Najam Sethi also promotes such views. The article that you posted indicates that PAKISTANIS JOURNALISTS are receiving paychecks from America. Why is it irrational to assume that Najam Sethi might be one of those individuals? Anyone who promotes another nation's interests at the expense of his nation's interests is characterized as a TRAITOR.

hasan shiekh said...

sethi is an ass...he is a traitor,,more dangerous then tehreek taliban pakistan..the writer is so biased in this topic that i beg to wonder whos payroll he is.?
IF u really want to write something make sure it is balanced.OK u talk about facts lets talk about facts...what about najam sethi joined with BLA in liberation of balochistan ? kindly give me answer to this.!

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Anonymous said...

interesting response. has there been any updates to this?

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