Asia Tribune is the concept and creation of Mr Shaheen Sehbai, a veteran
Pakistani journalist of over 30 years standing. He is known in Pakistan
and internationally as an independent and courageous journalist, who
faced, confronted and exposed corruption in government, politics,
business and journalism.
Sehbais life and career has been a continuous battle against
corrupt elected and non-elected politicians, self-imposed military
dictators, wily bureaucrats, twisted business tycoons and compromising
ambitious journalists. Throughout his career he faced challenges,
physical attacks, government persecution and even a botched murder
1990 he was arrested and fake cases were registered against him. Government-manipulated
media declared him an enemy agent. He was tried in a court on trumped-up
charges but acquitted honorably in December 1990.
his house was raided by masked men who pulled out pistols and threatened
his sons, challenging them to ask their father to write against the
Government again and see the consequences. The attack caused a nation-wide
uproar and protest demonstrations by Pakistani journalists. An attempt
to run him over in his car was made in 1994 by a military truck but
he survived and continued to write the truth and pinpoint corruption.
times he confronted elected politicians and military dictators, face
to face and in his writings. His courage to speak out against the
corrupt always raised his stature and he climbed from a reporter in
1990 to Islamabad Bureau Chief of Pakistans leading Daily "Dawn"
in 1993, to its Washington Bureau Chief in 1995 and then as Editor
of "The News", owned by the countrys largest media
group and published from four cities, Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and
London (UK), five years later.
he proved to be fiercely independent and continued to expose the weaknesses
of the Government and its corruption. When in 2001 he published the
first billion-rupee scam of the Musharraf Government, the Pakistani
General was furious and immediately punished his newspaper by blocking
all advertisements and government revenues. The scam took place under
the Labor Ministry and shortly afterwards the Labor Minister, Omar
Asghar Khan, resigned from the Musharraf cabinet. This former minister
committed suicide in June 2002 in mysterious circumstances amid speculations
that he was being hounded or haunted by the billion-rupee scam under
could shake Mr Sehbai though. He refused to follow the orders, persuasions
or pleas of Government media managers. In February 2002, Mr Sehbai
published stories on the kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal
reporter Daniel Pearl and the military government decided to move
against his newspaper, found an excuse and declared that Mr Sehbai
was acting against Pakistans national interest. He rejected
their charge but resigned in early March 2002, as his owners could
no longer face the financial sanctions and a total blockade of government
of criticism broke out as Mr. Sehbai wisely left the country fearing
threats to his life. His resignation received wide international coverage
and shocked the world media as General Pervez Musharrafs claims
of allowing a free press were challenged. All major US TV channels
including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC interviewed him. He is probably
the only journalist in the Third World, on whom the CNN International
telecast a full 30-minute program in its Q&A series, on March
19, 2002, focusing on the issue of Freedom of Press in Pakistan under
General Pervez Musharraf.
newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Financial
Times publish Mr. Sehbais opinion pieces, who has moved to the
United States. The South Asia Tribune and Mr. Sehbai is widely quoted
by South Asian, regional and international media.