Word from the South Asia Tribune
October 17: Dear Readers, this is the final piece on the South
Asia Tribune, as this site is now being closed for good.
I understand that it may come as a rude shock to many and may
create despair and depression for all those who had started to
look up to SAT as a beacon of courage and resistance,
but this decision has been based on many factors, which I will
it has been based on consideration of my own health and family
circumstances. With age and growing health issues, I find it increasingly
difficult to run the site, all alone, although I am proud to say
that over the last three years a vast pool of committed writers,
contributors and journalists has developed who have kept the SAT
basic purpose of this site was to demonstrate to the world that
if one man decides and he is determined, he can make a difference.
When this site started in August of 2002, no one could imagine
that within a few months it would become of the most talked about
web places in Pakistan and outside.
Not only did the President of
Pakistan himself mention this site in his public and private speeches,
the Government of Pakistan officially gave advertisements in all
newspapers asking the people not to visit the site or read and
reprint its material. It was a recognition of our work, in a way.
the following months the traffic on SAT grew by leaps
and so increased the interest and contributions of hard hitting
reports, articles and analyses. We broke international news and
we were quoted by Pakistani and world media numerous times. SAT
became a source of reference material for almost all books on
Pakistan which have been published in the last about 30 months.
an individual effort SAT became a concept and a phenomenon
and no one can deny that it became the “alternative forum”
for any news about Pakistan which was either not published by
the mainstream Pakistani media or was suppressed to a point it
lost its original info value.
We achieved so much credibility
and popularity that not only Government officials or PIA executives
or private sector sources sent us documents and information in
bulk, we were amazed to find that senior Army officers involved
in sensitive defense purchases were ready to risk their all and
send us documents and information about one or the other on-going
scandal or corrupt practice.
Opposition parties found SAT as a convenient and easily
accessible source of information which would otherwise not be
available to them in the local media in Pakistan. So SAT
also became one of the prime sources of Opposition motions and
questions in Parliament as well as references sent to the National
Accountability Bureau against sitting Government functionaries.
this goes on to prove that SAT had established the point
that a focused and determined effort could rally like-minded forces
to a cause, even if resources were limited or difficulties were
I am retiring and closing this site, with the full confidence
that someone from the younger generation, as determined as I had
been, would pick up the thread from here and fill the vacuum which
may be created by our closure.
I may state here in the clearest
words that there is absolutely no pressure of any kind on me to
close this site, because had that been so, my reaction would have
been just the opposite. There is also no “deal” behind
this move as many may speculate and allege because if I had been
ready to make deals, I would not have been doing what I did for
the last three years.
believe that one should quit when at the top and this is exactly
the point in announcing the closure of SAT now. While
no one would believe, it is purely a decision made by me after
considering a number of options and weighing all the pros and
cons. One of them was to co-opt other partners in SAT,
another was to sell the company to the highest bidder, while yet
another was to change the SAT format and substance so
that it could exist and “co-exist”.
decided against all these options and with a very heavy heart
decided for the best option, to close and move on.
will be launching another project in due course of time, but for
the moment I would say Goodbye to all SAT readers who
have been visiting us in hordes and keeping it alive and kicking.
also thank all those friends, journalists, writers, analysts and
officials, all my secret sources of information, all the well
wishers and supporters, who helped SAT achieve its name
all those young and up-coming journalists and writers who were
looking up to SAT for inspiration and guidance, I can
assure them that I will remain available to all of you in my personal
capacity for any advice or opinion on any matter.
must also thank all the international newspaper organizations
including particularly the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters
sans Frontieres, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Human
Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists
and Karachi Press Club who stood up for SAT at all difficult
times and raised their voice. It was the greatest source of strength
and support for me to keep going.
would be on line for the rest of this month, till the end of October.
On November 1, 2005 it will disappear from the Internet. All those
who may be interested in keeping a record of any SAT
article or report can save it any time before that date.
God Bless You All.