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|Born||Agha Iftikhar Ahmad
4 November 1950
|Occupation||Broadcaster, journalist, and anchor|
|Years active||1974 – Present|
|Notable credit(s)||Has headed the Election Cell for Jang Group from 1988–97
Geo News from 2002-till date.
Agha Iftikhar Ahmad (Urdu: اغا افتخار احمد; born 4 November 1950) is a Pakistani research journalist and an active political activist. Ahmad started his career in 1980, after his released and joined Jang Media Network and since then, he occupied a senior position in the Network. Ahmad is currently serving as Director of Elections, Investigations, Special Projects, and Research (EISPAR) for the Geo News Network (GNN). Iftikhar Ahmad also hosts interview show Jawab Deyh (or in English "Answerable!") on Geo TV.
Early life and education
|Media Adviser to the Prime minister Secretariat|
22 October 1974 – 5 July 1977
|President||Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry|
|Prime Minister||Zulfikar Ali Bhutto|
|Succeeded by||BGen Siddique Salik|
|Political party||Pakistan Peoples Party|
|Cabinet||Cabinet of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto|
His political philosophy was very much in line with the socialist ideas and he was mesmerised by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He wrote his undergraduate thesis advocating the socialist ideas and its role in modern societies. In 1973, Ahmad wrote his thesis supporting Bhutto's socialist economics policies and advocating for the need of socialism in the country. Ahmad served multiple jail terms under the martial law governments for various violations of LFO.[clarification needed] He was sent to the Sibbi Central Jail, Shahpur Central Jail, Camp Jail Lahore and the Lahore Fort detention center. Ahmad has also served as adviser to two Chief Minister and one Governor of Punjab. His political philosophy is that the real political divide is always between the poor and the rich. He argues that Pakistan may never see a leader better than Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and a slogan better than "Roti, Kapra aur Makan".
Ahmad started his journalism career in 1980 and worked for various publications including Daily Aftab and Daily Pakistan. He has been working for Daily Jang since 1986. In the 1980s Ahmad introduced personal interviews of politicians; these were different in the way that for the first time politicians divulged private information as well. Ahmad through his interviews for Daily Jang set a new trend in Pakistani journalism.
Ahmad is started Jang Group's Election Cell. He has run it since 1988, and has covered more than five elections and also Geo Election Cell in the General ELections of 2002, 2008 and 2013.
Ahmad has also worked closely with the Geo News Admin and fellow friend and journalist Hamid Mir on the Zarra Sochiye campaign. A campaign which aimed to start debate on issues that divide us[who?], after the broadcast of the debate on Hudood Ordinance, the National assembly of Pakistan had to ratify the Hudood Ordinance.
Controversy: Pleading the case for Bhutto
Ahmad, through his program, Jawabdeh has questioned several key power players of the coup d'état staged by General Zia-ul-Haq and the subsequent hanging of the then elected Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (see Operation Fair Play).
In these interviews, some of these people, closely worked with General Zia-ul-Haq, spilled the beans about General Zia's real political intentions. In his programme, former Justice Naseem Hassan Shah, who was a member of the bench of Pakistan Supreme Court which upheld Bhutto's death sentence, admitted that he should have voted against the hanging and felt bad for not doing so. Justice Shah also admitted that there was not enough evidence to put Bhutto on death row. It was the political pressure by General Zia-ul-Haq that manipulated the decision. Those who voted against the decision, such as Justice Fakh-ruddin Ebrahim and Justice Dourab Framroze Patel, General Zia-ul-Haq insulted them, and forcefully retired them from their services.
Ahmad has done at least 40 interviews which even though very relevant from an historical point but are seen by many[who?] as an attempt to absolve Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Due to the special attachment to Bhutto, some analysts[who?] argue, undue attention paid, and thorough probing done by Ahmad, the certain lost period of Pakistan's history from 1977 to 1988. Due to his still continuous support to Bhutto, Ahmad has been labelled as a Bhutto loyalist, or a Bhuttoist.
He is said[by whom?] to have over-glorified Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and has been accused of trying to resurrect Bhutto by some senior politicians. The opponents also point out that Ahmad still maintains close relations with the Pakistan People Party, especially with the original members of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's cabinet.
His Interview of Naseem Hassan Shah led to the PPP to make the decision to file for the reopening of the case of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The interview also served as the basis of a lawsuit against Justice Naseem Hassan Shah in which the claimant claimed that after Justice Naseem Hassan Shah's admission in the interview that the decision to hang "Bhutto Sahib" had been forced upon them by Zia-ul-Haq.
Resignation in protest
It was reported 17 November 2008 that he resigned from Geo TV in protest over its refusal to broadcast his interview with Shahid Masood. He alleged that he was earlier pressured to censor certain portions of the said interview, which he declined.
The Geo TV administration retracted from their position and the complete interview was broadcast the following week. After the program went on air, Ahmad took back his resignation.
- Ahmad stated in Hamid Mir's Capital Talk: "Pakistan may never see a leader better than Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and a slogan better than "Roti, Kapra aur Makan (Food, Cloths, and House)".
- "Bhutto's Granddaughter Seeks Justice", Daily Times, 11 January 2010.
- "Geo 'Jawabdeh' host Iftikhar Ahmed resigns in protest", Daily Times, 17 November 2008.