Peshawar: Eminent journalist and academic Shiraz Paracha is the new Media Advisor to the Chief Minister Khybar Pakhtunkhwa, Pervez Khan Khattak. He will also act as the spokesman of the Chief Minister.
Mr Paracha was to join a leading foreign university as a Vice Rector President in September, but following his detailed meetings with Chief Minister Pervez Khattak he has decided to join Mr. Khattak’s team whom he knows since 1986.
Mr. Paracha has returned to Pakistan after working for 17 years in the international media and academia. For six years, he was a dean and a journalism professor at a top English language University of the CIS. He was the winner of 2011 best dean of the university award.
After working for over 10 years in Central Asia, Shiraz Paracha has the firsthand knowledge and understanding of the region.
He is an expert on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russian affairs. As a commentator, Mr. Paracha has always argued that foreign presence in Afghanistan is a major cause of instability in Pakistan and the CIS region.
In 2004, an encounter between President Bush’s defense adviser Richard Perle and Shiraz Paracha at an international conference in Central Asia had made headlines in the media, particularly in the Russian speaking world.
Mr. Paracha has been engaged in public debates over policy with American politicians and policymakers such as Richard Halbrook, leading Jewish American Dr. Ariel Cohan, Zbigniew Brzezinski and many others.
In his 25year career in journalism, Mr. Paracha has worked for newspapers, television, radio and on line companies in Britain, Central Asia and Pakistan.
He has a Masters degree in International Journalism from City University London and has studied Development Studies at the University of London. He also holds a masters degree in geography.
In 1999, Mr Paracha did a research project on militant tendencies among young British Muslims. He was the first to point out that discrimination against Muslims in Britain could cause a backlash.
Shiraz Paracha was involved in journalism training programs as well and had also worked for the BBC World Service in London.
From 2001 to 2006, Mr. Paracha was the editor for the Middle East, South and Central Asia region at a leading British news agency in London. In that capacity, he frequently traveled to many countries of the region to supervise the work of his teams.
The new spokesman of Chief Minister Pervez Khattak produced hardhitting TV programs at an international TV network in London. Mr. Paracha had persuaded maverick British politician and parliamentarian George Galloway to present TV shows on the Network for which Mr. Paracha was working.
Till 1998, Shiraz Paracha was based in Peshawar where he was bureau chief and columnist for a national daily. Between 1994 and 1996, he had hosted two popular television programs on PTV.
One of the shows, Awami Jirga, became extremely popular after the Jirga team had raided the police check post at Attock and caught on camera hundreds of fake police officers.
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