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ASHRAF ANSARI: is a professional journalist of Pakistan. He spent most of his time for media. His more than 45 years experience in journalism carry inspiring message for the young journalists not only in Pakistan but also in other countries of South Asia.

“Most journalists in South Asia lack skills, courage and commitment says Ashraf Ansari.”

(Interview taken by Zahid Gishkori, a Speakbindas reader from Pakistan)

Ansari is being interviewed by Zahid Gishkori for Speakbindas

(Ansari is being interviewed by Zahid Gishkori for Speakbindas)



Zahid Gishkori

  • Tell us about your early life and education?

Ansari

  • In the pre-partition days my family lived at Shimla (India) a fascinating hill station, which was summer capital of un-divided India. My family moved to Lahore at the time of partition when I was in childhood. Later we moved to Pasrur (Sialkot). Perhaps my father wanted to live as close to the hills as possible and may be for the reason that the hills overlooking Pasrur were off shoot of the Himalayas where Shimla is located. I started my early education at Pasrur. After matriculation I moved to Murray College Silakot which was in those days a very prestigious educational institution of Pakistan and was also known for its association with Dr. Muhammad Iqbal. I did my Masters in International Relations (IR) from Quaid-e-Azam University where my majors included foreign policies of India, China and Pakistan as well as International Law.

Zahid Gishkori

  • What was your ambition when you were at the university and how did you take to journalism?

Ansari

  • Ambition? No, I had no ambition. I was a dreamer (smile). I only wanted to serve the people in some useful capacity but without losing my sense of dignity and freedom. First I thought I should go to teaching, then journalism attracted me. I met with senior editors of various newspapers telling them that I would like to become a journalist. Most of senior journalists said they were impressed with my academic record as well as my expression but advised me to go to civil service instead of going through toils of journalism. One of the most illustrious journalists of the country told me that I was cut for civil service or for diplomatic assignment. Disappointed, I turned to teaching and started career at a European type school in Rawalpindi.
  • I also taught IR at university level. But as soon as I got an opportunity to become a journalist I left teaching and accepted position in Radio Pakistan as sub-editor on being selected by Federal Public Service Commission. So this is how I got to journalism. My choice for journalism was due to the reason that it would afford me opportunity of highlighting grievances of the people and national issues in the right perspective.

Zahid Gishkori

  • Can you give an account of your upward movement in professional journalism?

Ansari

  • Though I reached the highest ranks Controller News, Current Affairs and Reporting in Radio Pakistan, frankly I do not believe in promotions in terms of ranks. It does not matter much for a journalist to attain a high rank if one does not fulfill the objectives of the profession. A very junior journalist can do better like you if you are motivated and committed to the norms of journalism. I started my career with extreme dedication and was lucky that I was recognized and given important assignments right in the beginning.
  • An anecdote. Late Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was Prime Minster of Pakistan and he was fond of listening to radio programme. Once he rang up Director General Radio Pakistan asking him to send a journalist who would interview him on Pakistan-Australia relations. The Director General looked around and could not find a senior radio journalist who could confidently face the Prime Minister. Finally he called me and said, “You are the only persons who can frankly take to Z.A. Bhutto without annoying him. When I met Bhutto I found that a senior most journalist of television had also been called to team up with me. When we two sat before Z.A. Butto he had a look at our faces and turned to me to invite me to start the interview. While Butto was replying I kept on looking at the expression of his face. I gathered that he was glad at my first question. Strangely he asked me to also ask the second question third, fourth and fifth without turning to other senior television journalist. After that Mr. Butto asked me whether that was not enough. I frankly said it was not. He was not used to hear no in any case so naturally he gave an impression of being surprised. He asked me what else I was going to ask him. I promptly asked a question and told him it was a final question to save my life! That is how achievements and courage on my part have marked my whole career of journalism and it was all very satisfying.

Zahid Gishkori

  • Were you able to show courage during dictatorship in Pakistan, which was a long spell of time?

Ansari

  • Since I had come to journalism not because of any compulsion and had room in other professions, I was never under pressure of officialdom thinking that if I was thrown out of the profession I would take to teaching or go for law. Marshal Law days of General Ziaul Haq were the worst for journalists. I was Bureu Chief of Radio Pakistan at Bahawalpur when there was a tragic rail accident in early hours of a day. I rushed to the scene of occurrence and reported the news to central desk and the news was broadcast in 6:00 hour’s bulletin of Radio Pakistan. When I again went to the scene to update for the next bulletin, there I found Governor General Punjab Gilani who asked me as to why I had reported so many causalities without clearance from Marshal Law authorities. I told him it was my professional duty. He was annoyed and said that he would like to meet me afterwards on this issue. When I met him I stood by my position and did not express any apology. He told me that I was the only journalist that had impressed him and let me go.

Zahid Gishkori

  • What is the difference between a public and private organizations when it comes to demands on an independent mind journalist?

Ansari

  • Unfortunately I don’t agree with those who blame government when they fail to deliver. My experience is that a journalist can do a lot even being in public sector media organization provided one has skill and commitment to the people. In our feudal society the private sector puts more curbs on journalist than government. The private sector boss is conspicuously visible while the government is invisible. Those who blame the government bosses, they are mostly lacking in competence and commitment.
Ansari special poses for Speakbindas

Ansari special poses for Speakbindas

Zahid Gishkori

  • Would you tell about your experiences as a media person in foreign countries?

Ansari

  • I had the chance to visit almost forty countries of the world in all the continents. I worked for four years as senior editor with voice of Germany, Cologne. In advanced countries the journalist is really free to report and can be imaginative but in less developed countries like India and Pakistan, the situation is somewhat suffocating.

Zahid Gishkori

  • What is lacking in the media of our region?

Ansari

  • Most of journalists in our region, I may be excused, are in my view are not really cut for journalism. They lack skills and required commitment or vision.

Zahid Gishkori

  • How do you feel in working in newspaper after serving electronic media for a long time?

Ansari

  • I feel that radio and TV are more relevant to the needs of societies in South Asia because of the fact that most people in the region have no capability to read newspapers or Magazines.

Zahid Gishkori

  • What are your activities in free time?

Ansari

  • I am fond of long walks into the hills or along river and canals, reading books and newspapers and gardening.

Zahid Gishkori

  • Do you find enough time for your family in this hectic job?

Ansari

  • No. When I was in radio I used to work sometimes 18 hours a day without taking any weekly off but even now being in newspaper I do not find much time for my family.

Zahid Gishkori

  • You met a lot of people, who impressed you most?

Ansari

  • I was impressed by many people. They belong to various sections of society I can recall a peon named Abdul Aziz who impressed me most in Radio Pakistan. No body else impressed me so much.

Zahid Gishkori

  • How do you rate this media channel?

Ansari

  • Though online magazines are a new development but I am happy that online magazines like Speakbindas are creating healthy tradition and trying to touch grass routes. I must thank Mr. Devang Vibhakar for giving me a chance to express my views and tell about myself. This is a proof that Speakbindas would not be monopolized by so called political elite. I was also delighted by the way this interview was conducted in very cordial manner.

——————————————————————————–

The Interviewer / writer is 28 year old journalist based in Islamabad (Pakistan). He writes for daily English newspapers in Pakistan and also works with foreign media. He did his Masters in English Language and Literature and Political Science from BZU Multan and M.Sc Mass Communication from AIOU Islamabad. He can be reached at: zahidgishkori@gmail.com

About

37 thoughts on “Exclusive interview with a most senior Pakistani journalist

  1. Excellent interview Zahid. The questions you have selected make a real sense, mostly those related to journalism.

    Loved reading informative and personal answers produced by Mr. Ansari. This has been indeed a good interview by you for Speakbindas.

    Thanks a tone. Keep it up.

  2. Dear Zahid,
    Weldon! you did a great job. You seem to be a great writer in your early career. Keep it up.I want to see you. Can we patch up?

  3. Tom from UK says:

    Dear Gishkori,
    You interviewed as a professional journalist. To be professional is a good habit. Please write for UK papers also so that we can know about you in UK. Carry on your efforts your future is bright.

  4. Narendra says:

    Zahid, nice hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.so sweet you write

  5. Dear Zahid, your effort is appreciatble. But still you have to learn more. keep it up—————————-

    I appreciate Mr. Ansari who did a lot journalism and still keep it up.

    Allaha Hafiz

  6. Zahid bhai,

    So sweet I know well you were creative in our class when we were in BZ University Multan. Today you have proved that you have talent.

    Fantastic Interview. . Today at work I had received phone calls from university fellows that Zahid bhai did well.

    Well done Zahid and the very best of luck.

    Regards

    Anna Khan

  7. UZMAN ALI says:

    Dear Ghishkori,

    you did realy a great job by having interview of such a skilled journalist of pakistan,

    i appriciate your efforts of depicting the skills of Ashraf Ansari,a senior journalist in pakistan,by your interesting questions.

    May you get well in your life

    regards,
    uzmi
    pak observer pakistan

  8. Dear Zahid hi. you found a proper way to manage an interview with Mr.Ansari. The questions you asked showed their capablity of professional journalist.

    I have no words to apprecialte you sir.

    Regards

  9. dear Zahid

    i appreciated your professional duty as a journalist

    your interview is very comprehensive good and knowledgeable and an example your new young journalist

    excellent
    with best regard liaquat from Pakistan Karachi

  10. Hi Zahid,
    What a peace of writing done by you. you are so cute—————. Anasri is also looking good. Plz mange more interviews for Indian magzine.

  11. Jano Singh says:

    Ansari you are really great journalist. however credit also goes to Zahid who conducted this interview in way he leads the young journalists in South Asia. Ok——————-

  12. Good Zahid, excellent. Please do more interviews,hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.
    ok bye

  13. Hi Zahid u r so good. Ap n to kamal kr dia. You r sunder.
    Mr. Ansari bhi sunder hain. Your style is good. Bhagwan ap ko progress di.
    bye—

  14. Sunder Zahid. you r so beautiful wirter. do it more effort

    cheer to Ansair sahib as well.
    cheer=====================

  15. Wajid Ali from Islamabad says:

    Dear,
    Zahid ap ka interview bht acha lga, aur ap feature me ache journalist bn skte he, hmari duaen ap ke sath hn, Zahid U very======================= cute and very nice==========

  16. hi………sir zahid !u r so sweet,kamal kr dia hay…….plz continue ur job 4 walefare of pak [muslims]….

  17. Rajeev Kapoor says:

    Hi, there

    First of all nice interview.

    I am a psychologist from New Delhi. From the comments posted here, I believe that, most of the comments are fake, i.e. mostly posted by interviewer Zahid himself. If you clearly observe each of the comments, in someway, they mean to praise Zahid, the way a person praise ownself.

    Is that so Zahid?

    I guess, it won’t be easy to prove what I’m saying here. It’s a doubt based on my experiences of studying people’s written psychology.

    I hope, Zahid would be a honest,man to share with us whatever the reality is.

    And yes, the Admin of this blog can also take a look into the IP addresses of all these comments, that will give a proof if I’m right or wrong.

  18. Nouman Sati says:

    Ansari Sahib is really a great journalist of South Asia. I sought journalistic knowledge from him. His way of investigating the matter is so nice.

    I appreciate the effort of interviewer as well.

    regards

  19. Dear Rajeev Kapoor,
    Hope you are all fine. Thank a lot for posting your nice comments regarding my interview published at ‘Speakbindas.Com.’ I am really grateful to you for your critical comments.

    Mr. Kapoor every body has the right to express whatever he wants to say. Honestly speaking it is your personal opinion as a psychologist.

    As a psychologist how you can believe that, most of the comments are fake, i.e. mostly posted by myself.

    I explained that mostly comments are posted by the persons who are familiar to me since long. Some of them are my University fellows, colleagues and bosom friends as well. That is why they might appreciate my efforts.

    You guy as a psychologist speculated the whole matter which I categorically denied.

    However, your comments added another feather in my interview’s qualities. You also depicted the both side of the picture which is the nice one.

    Best Regards,
    Zahid Gishkori

  20. Rajeev Kapoor says:

    Dear Zaheed,

    My speculation had a reason that, while moving cursor over every name, where URI should be displayed (if put), it shows as http://dfss, http://dear, http://666, http://asas etc. which is a sign of fake or spam posting. I am not sure if this was done intentionally or due to the lack of knowledge what to put in URI.

    Whatever the reason be, now that you have clarified the truth, I have nothing more to say. I apologize if my comments hurt you. Believe me, it was just a doubt, which you clarified now, so all end well.

    Looking forward to see more interview from you. Get some Pakistani cricketer like Shahid Afridi.

  21. mohsin says:

    you did nice job dear.keep it up my prayers and regards are with u always,god bless you

  22. Dear Rajee Kapoor,
    You are always welcome just like my dearones. I end this debate with this message. Really I neither felt worry nor rashed with someone. Yes I felt pleasure because your comment were based on criticism, like Aristotle’s, one of the best critic in history. You guy highlighted doubts regarding comments posted by Speakbindas readers.

    Writer always felt pleasure as some one gives comments on his/her work. No doublt look before the leap is better habit but I think there is no need to appologize regarding this tinny thing. Hope you will keep in touch with me via email or my personal cellelur no which is availabel on Speakbindas website.

    Here I want to appreciate Mr.Vibakhar as well who always encouraged me just like my bosom friends.

    Awaiting comments from my readers, I appreciate Indians brothers who appreciated my work.

    Yes I will manage more interviews soon.

    Best Regards,
    Zahid Gishkori, Special Correspondent Pakistan Observer (Islamabad),
    http://www.pakobserver.net
    zahidgishkori@gmail.com
    +92-333-3341181

  23. danish ali says:

    being a student of air uni[080218]….I appreciate u and especilly ur work which need every one of pak….continue it with progress …

  24. Bilal Ishfaq says:

    Being a (early age) student of journalism how could I comment to your hard work and tireless efforts to organize an interview with a senior journalist however for your encourage your journalistic effort would like to write few words. Hope these words though simple and not much encourging would help to further buff your profession.
    The interview your organized for the readers seems to very much close to realities and doesn’t contain any unneeded queries which make the reader bore. You have created interest for the reader which inspires the reader to go through it despite having not attachment with it.
    with of Lot of prayers. May Allah award you courage to develop your professional skills in leap and bounds.
    Bilal Ishfaq Aamir Sani

  25. Rauf Bazmi says:

    Dear Zahid

    It is your excellent job. I appreciate your efforts for interview of Ashraf Ansari a veteran journalist of Pakistan.

  26. Mr Zahid your interview is so professional your ideas questions like senior journalist i appericiate you

  27. Ahsan Butt says:

    Well done Mr. Zahid Gishkori. I pray for ur success.

  28. ALLAHWASYO GHOTO says:

    mr zahid i appericiate you ,your interview is so much professional you are a good journalist

  29. your interview is very good you are a good journalist

  30. UZMAN ALI says:

    Dear Ghishkori

    This is good effort to have the interview with such a senior and informative journalists.

    I really appriciate it

    Mr.Ashraf Ansari is a very expert journalist in Pakistan.

    he makes the difficult writing so easy that even a lay man can understand it .

    i am much inspired by this person.

    Regards,

    Uzman Ali
    Pakistan

  31. Yasir says:

    Dear Zahid

    you are realy a developing journalist. this interview shows your hard work and determintation in the feild of journalism. keep it up.

    best wishes

    Yasir

  32. Karrar says:

    i read your interview with a senior journalist of Pakistan .it was a very good interview and wish that we will have more interviews in future.best of luck.

  33. Kashif Choudhary says:

    I admire you to take the interview of one of the living legend of Pakistani journalism Mr. Ashraf Ansari. you fulfill all the needs of an ideal interview. You have done a great job to share the ideas of
    people across the both borders.
    I appreciate you to provide us information from such a credible personality through your interview. I like your style of interview and selection of questions.
    Thanks,
    Dear Gishkori.

  34. Excellent work, dear Zahid. I know you are professional journalist. “Brevity is the wit of soul” and one could feel neither the questions nor the answer are based upon hanky panky stuff. Full marks to Ansari sab for his vivid and candid answers.

    Regarding a tiny tale of interview of Z A Bhutto, it confused me a bit whether ZAB’s regime was no more different to a despotic rule? That’s what it reveled through it. Anyways…

    Thank you Ansari sab once again for sharing ur inside out. The only flaw in this interview is…. It ends too soon.

    God bless u both.

    Mahtab Bashir
    Correspondent
    Daily Times
    Islamabad

  35. Fahad Wattoo says:

    Hi Zahid
    I have read the interview its realy nice, u shud keep it up, its realy appreciatable.

  36. Nazakat Hussain says:

    Dear Zahid,

    I have just gone through your interview to Mr. Ansari. I do appreciate that you have interviewed to one of the senior journalist. Mr. Ansari has educated to many junior journalists in his career. He has done a lot in economic and social development of the country.

    Wish you all the best.

  37. Slam
    I am so sorry to comment so late at ur exclusive interview.But it is said that if a person reachs at his home in the evening,he is not called missing!

    I have read ur interview carefully.I fond u a sophisticated reporter who have given a plenty of time to his respected interviewee to express his experiences.Beside this I have keenly noticed that u have intelligently used very short questions.In this way ur respected guest was able to express himself in a free atmosphere.

    My all Best Wishes r always with U.

    Regards

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