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Wake up Pakistan ! Presently the Muslim societies are in a state of ideological confusion and flux. Materialism, terrorism,...

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Guilty until proven innocent - Panama Leaks & PM Nawaz Sharif

Instead of taking the high road, using the opportunity to deal pragmatically with the "Panama Leaks" explaining how and why his family's offshore companies and accounts thereof had come into existence, PM Mian Nawaz Sharif (MNS) seriously disappointed the nation by choosing to go the "fog of politics" route. Instead of exercising good sense he spent the better part of his April 22 televised speech alternatively feigning innocence and being belligerent about what is an international expose and not a home-grown conspiracy as he and his aides insist on implying. By clear inference, if not by name, he targeted Imran Khan, the Army and the Judiciary in that order. Going after Shaukat Khanum Hospital, which is doing a magnificent work in bringing cancer treatment within the reach of the common man, was in bad taste. Some of MNS' aides don't have either good taste or good manners but MNS himself is a decent human being and so are a fair number of his aides, why are they being vociferously "more loyal than the king"?

The normal principles of justice requires concrete evidence before someone can judge anyone guilty but for someone who is the holder of the highest executive public office, the onus for proving his innocence lies with him in the same manner as for Britain's PM David Cameron, MNS's continued inability to explain the expensive flats in London and the money trail leading to them is damning. As would be expected from the executive head of a government, Cameron swiftly laid everything before Parliament to weather the storm, the Musharraf-created extenuating circumstances post-1999 one can understand, the offshore companies and accounts funded pre-1999 remains unexplained. The phenomenal increase in MNS's net worth over the last three years after declaring meager tax returns for years is also inexplicable.

The Terms of Reference (ToRs) in the letter MNS wrote to the Chief Justice (CJ) Supreme Court (SC) studiously avoided mentioning the raison d'etre, the Panama Leaks. The silence in the ToRs is deafening. MNS asked for investigating every conceivable financial corruption under the sun since 1947, including non-performing loans (NPLs), such an inquiry should take about 50 years, give or take a few years.

Prima facie the evidence about wrongdoing is sufficient for NAB or FIA to take suo motu action, both have the expertise to legally carry out requisite investigation. With the government in power wielding enormous influence on FIA, and even NAB to an extent, investigators will hit a brick wall every step of the way, and if not, a brick wall will hit them. The "Client-Patron" nature of the relationship makes it difficult even in truly democratic jurisdictions like the US, UK, EU, etc, for the State machinery to incriminate those in power to whom they owe "allegiance", facts will be deliberately distorted and/or denied. In writing the letter to the Supreme Court, MNS has inadvertently accepted the controversy is surrounding his public office as PM; can he legally exercise the PM's executive powers till he should be cleared? Impending government paralysis notwithstanding, a more credible approach is to temporarily step aside for a neutral caretaker regime comprising of non-party technocrats at both the Federal and Provincial levels in place for the duration of the enquiry.

MNS has been down the route before, the precedent for overcoming the Constitutional hiatus legally exists in the form of General Waheed Kakar's formula. Serious differences in 1993 between MNS and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan led to open political and administrative confrontation and possibly a civil war between the Federal government and Punjab. Refusing to declare Martial Law, the "Kakar Model" of a strictly neutral stance persuaded both to resign from office. A caretaker government was appointed and the National and Provincial Assemblies dissolved. This time around there is no need to dissolve the Assemblies, they could be held in abeyance until a proper inquiry is completed under the aegis of the caretaker regime. MNS' televised address came after General Raheel Sharif symbolically made good on his promise of a few days earlier when he called for uprooting corruption and "across the board accountability" by sending home 13 high-ranking serving military officers, among them one Lieutenant General, one Major General, five Brigadiers, three Colonels and a Major on corruption charges. Some more sackings are expected.

Replicating Pakistan's "Kakar Model" in 2007, both the Bangladesh President and PM stepped aside and a CT government was installed to stymie the chaos that preceded 11th January 2007. A new Election Commission (EC) was also put in place. Not one military person joined the government or bureaucracy. Concrete steps were taken to purge Bangladesh of the corrupt, the 'untouchables' included ministers, lawmakers, party leaders, civil servants and businessmen, etc. As time went on, temptation set in, a handful in the senior military hierarchy of the Bangladesh Army (including disappointingly the CoAS, General Moeen Ahmed, someone for whom I developed a lot of respect during my conversations with him pre-2007, who let his brothers run riot (shades of Kayani)), got labelled with corruption themselves. This destroyed the credibility of the temporary "doctrine of necessity" exercise. To their credit, the caretaker government itself remained clean and the EC did a superb job, arranging free and fair elections on the strength of major electoral reforms which ensured that corrupt candidates could not take part in the elections.

The Sharif rubberstamp President can be manipulated at will and must also temporarily go "on leave", so must the Senate President being a dedicated party man blind to Zardari's corruption. The serving CJ can take oath as Acting President and nominate a retired judge to head the caretaker regime. All political appointees in government/semi-government posts must also go on temporary leave. The caretaker regime must carry out an impartial investigation into the allegations about the Sharif family, the forensic audit focusing on the world's major offshore financial centres, mainly British dependencies and territories. With a timeline to conduct the investigations, the Commission can call on foreign experts, forensic auditors/accountants, foreign lawyers, bankers, etc for help. MNS and others can come back to power if their enquiries find no wrongdoings.

Asma Jahangir contends that "accountability at the cost of democracy is unacceptable", that should translate into something close to Zardari's heart, "unfettered corruption being the cost of democracy is acceptable". Facing revelations of money-laundering that have not as yet been credibly explained, MNS is "prima facie" guilty until proven innocent. He must do the right thing while he can, tomorrow might be too late.
By Ikram Sehgal, defence and security analyst

http://www.brecorder.com/articles-a-letters/187:articles/41688:guilty-until-proven-innocent?date=2016-04-29

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Images of reconstruction, distortion of history

What happened in the past cannot be altered. But the past can be viewed from political, social and ideological perspectives so that historical events and personalities appear in varied shades.

This approach transforms history into a dynamic tool that can fulfil the aspirations and needs of a particular set of people.

For example, Renaissance scholars were eager to get rid of their medieval heritage the beginning of the Middle Ages is thus called the Dark Age as no development of new ideasand thoughts took place during that period. On the other hand, they revived the classical Greek and Roman past to create a new body of knowledge based on rationalism, rather than faith.

The followers of the Romantic period rejected the arguments of Renaissance scholars because they had experienced the Industrial Revolution and degradation of the natural environment, which led them to look back and romanticise the Middle Ages. They glorified the medieval past as an era of peace and harmony, which produced beautiful art, architecture and music.

The two contrary ideas are based ondifferent circumstances which scholars of both categories experienced. Hence, they viewed the past from their own perspective.

Similarly, in the medieval period, rulers, politicians and scholars highly admired the ancient Greek state of Sparta. They were very impressed by the Spartan`s military training, discipline and tolerance for war. Herodotus (d.425BC) further glorified the Spartans` courage and fighting spirit when he narrated the events of the battle of Thermopylae in which 300 Spartans fought against the huge Persian army. However, when democratic institutions developed in Western societies, democracy in Athens was praised for creating freedom of expression manifested in the works of the great philosophers, dramatists, architects, artists, historians and politicians of the time. Democraticsociety in Europe preferred Athens over Sparta. In fact, Spartan society was condemned for being dictatorial and despotic as it blocked all creative activities and reduced citizens to mere tools for fighting wars they died young in the name of Sparta.

In the age of democracy, the images of many individuals have been altered or rehabilitated according to the traditions and norms of popular democratic ideas. In Roman history, the assassination of Caesar (d.44BC) is regarded as an important event. Generally, Brutus (d. 42BC) and his friends who had a hand in the murder are depicted by Roman historians as enemies of the state, who subverted its development by killing Caesar a great general and conqueror. He extended the boundaries of the Roman state and brought war booty and a large number of slaves.

Admiration of Caesar continued for along time in historical narratives.

However, democracy changed the outlook, and Brutus and his associates were portrayed as defenders of freedom who wanted to restore the Roman republic. In England, Cromwell`s (d.1658) army defeated Charles I (d.

1649), the king of England, and executed him for being a traitor. Three years later, Charles II ordered the dead body of his father`s murderer to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

When Carlyle (d.1881) wrote a book on Cromwell, he rehabilitated him and restored his honour and prestige. As a result, British society also recognised his contribution to politics.

When history is written from a local perspective, it changes the central outlook. Akbar (r.1556-1605), regarded as the greatest Mughal emperor, became an invader and imperialist from the local Sindhi point of view for occupy-ing Sindh without any provocation.

From the Pathan point of view, the jihad movement of Syed Ahmad Shaheed (d. 1831) is considered a violation as he and his followers interfered in their political affairs and established an Islamic state without their consent.

But traditional historians criticised the Pathan tribes who opposed him and resisted his movement.

Initially, the East India Company tried to become the inheritor of Mughal rule and emulated their ceremonies, customs and traditions.

However, when it acquired political power, it rejected the Mughal past and portrayed it as despotic and oppressive.

This is how the interpretation of the past changes. The question is whether the present perspective can help us understand the past better. Mostly, we judge the past in light of the present situation, as in the case of Pakistan.

Presently, there is political chaos, social anarchy and economic inequality, so many of us feel that our colonial past was an ideal period. Similarly, when we compare the present to the earlier history of Pakistan, the rule of Ayub Khan appears to be peaceful and prosperous.

But this assessment of the past is not correct because we tend to ignore the exploitation of colonialism and the dictatorial policies of Ayub Khan. History should be analysed, free from all prejudices, likes and dislikes.

 Dawn.com  by Mubarak Ali | 4/24/2016

The founder lost

For the past few years I have been researching literature written on the life of Pakistan`s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah; and also scholarly works which quote him extensively to substantiate theories about what Pakistan is (or was supposed to be).

The exercise is a pursuit to trace the evolution of the image of a man who passed away just a year after the creation of a country that he had so painstakingly put on the map.

My research in this context has produced multiple Jinnahs; each one echoing the zeitgeist or a particular mood of the period in which he was written into books, essays and speeches.

Most interesting is the fact that between the creation of Pakistan in 1947 and the late 1950s, not much was written on him.

The 1950s were a highly mutable period in the history of Pakistan. The country`s founding party, the All-India Muslim League, in its new incarnation as Pakistan Muslim League, was constantly ravaged by infighting, and unable to address the many economic, ethnic and religious challenges that had sprung up when a minority of India became a majority in Pakistan.

My research suggests that, on an intellectual level, problems in this context were hardly ever tackled by evoking Jinnah`s sayings or personality.

Instead, the government and the state depended more on the works of poet and philosopher, Muhammad Iqbal. For example, in 1953, when anti-Ahmadiyya riots in the Punjab spiraled out of control, the government`s response was late but stern. It imposed Martial Law in the province which eventually crushed the riots.

Then, to undermine the men who had instigated the riots, the government published the Urdu translation of a booklet authored by respected Muslim scholar, Dr. Khalifa Abdul Hakim. Called `Iqbal and Mullah`, it cited heavily (and selectively) Iqbal`s scathing criticism of clerics.

In 1956, when the indirectly-elected Constituent Assembly of the country passed the country`s first constitution, many of the text`s authors explained the supposed balance between the religious and the worldly in the constitution by citing Iqbal`s ideas of `spiritual democracy`.

Again, there was little or no mention of Jinnah.

What`s more, Jinnah`s sister who had authored a book on her brother was dissuaded (by the government) to publish it. The book was not published until 1987.

In 1954, the government authorised British writer, Hector Bolitho, to write a biography ofJinnah. But the published version was heavily censored. Entire quotes of Mr Jinnah were removed from the f`inal text while others were altered.

It was as if`the state and government of Pakistan in the 1950s had failed to f`ind any use f`or Jinnah`s thoughts in an era in which the country found itself reeling from multiple political and economic crevices. Perhaps Jinnah`s memory had seemed to be too multicultural in tone and tenor to a state try-ing to enforce a more monolithic idea of Pakistan? But this attitude was radically altered by the arrival of the Ayub Khan regime in 1958. He became the first Pakistani ruler to promptly start placing Jinnah`s portrait alongside his own in public rallies.

In his quest to modernise Pakistan, he constantly evoked Jinnah as a progressive Muslim. In April 1962, his government published a hefty book containing Jinnah`s speeches. In it were also quotes and sayings that had been censored out from Bolitho`s 1956 biography of Jinnah.

Ayub pulled out Jinnah from the confines he had been relegated to in the 1950s. His regime presented the founder as a man who wanted a modern Muslim-majority state with a strong economy (based on industrialisation), and a powerful army willing to defend the country`s physical and ideological boundaries.

This image of Jinnah was reinforced in books such as 1965`s Struggle for Pakistan (by IH Qureshi); 1966`s Quaid-i-Azam as Seen by his Contemporaries (a compilation of essays); and in 1969`s Jinnah: Founder of Pakistan published by the Information Ministry.Ayub`s opponents on the right rejected this image. They suggested that since Jinnah could not formulate a cohesive ideology (due to his demise soon after Pakistan`s creation), the Ulema should take the lead in framing Pakistan`s ideological direction because the country was made in the name of Islam.

Ayub responded by claiming that this was not possible because most Ulema were opposed to Jinnah andthat Jinnah did not want a theological state.

Much of the literature on Jinnah in the 1960s advances Ayub`s image of the founder. But this image began to change when Z.A. Bhutto`s leftleaning PPP came to power in December 1971.

Coming in on the back of a manifesto promising `socialist reforms`, one of the first signs of another change in Jinnah`s image emerged in a 1973 press advertisement of the Board of Industrial Management. In it, Jinnah`s portrait appears with a 1945 quote of his in which he emphasises the importance of nationalising important industries.

As by the mid-1970s, Bhutto had begun to place himself somewhere between left-liberalism, nationalism and `political Islam`, the brief experiment of weaving a socialist Jinnah quickly gave way to propagating a charismatic and nationalist one.

In 1976, the Bhutto regime formed the Quaid-iAzam Academy. A plethora of literature on Jinnah appeared. In 1976, 12 books on Jinnah were published alone, with most of them presenting him as a charismatic and populist nationalist, who wanted to construct a strong democratic Muslim country. An image Bhutto also wantedfor himself.

Also in 1976, appeared Sharif Al Mujahid`s Ideological Orientation of Pakistan. Published during a period in which the Bhutto regime had moved considerably to the right, the book portrayed Jinnah as a man who worked on building a separate `Islamic polity` as conceived by Iqbal.

Jinnah`s image was changing again. After Bhutto was toppled in a reactionary military coup by Gen Zia in July 1977, the new regime announced the `discovery` of a diary kept by Jinnah. In the diary, Zia claimed, Jinnah had scorned at democracy and wanted a state based on Islamic dictates and a strong army.

The claim was debunked by the surviving contemporaries of Jinnah and the regime went quiet on the issue. Unable to justify its intransigent policies with any of Jinnah`s quotes, the Zia regime `advised` state-owned media to only use those quotes of the founder in which he mentioned faith.

In the 1980s, powerful independent scholarship on Jinnah too began to emerge. It severely tested and debunked Zia`s image of Jinnah. Stanley Wolpert`s Jinnah of Pakistan (1982) and Ayesha Jalal`s The Sole Spokesman (1985), completely turned Zia`s image of Jinnah on its head, present-ing the founder more like the modern, enlightened Jinnah first put forward by the Ayub regime.

As a response, the Zia government pulled out Iqbal`s writings on religion. This was ironic because, in the 1950s, the state had used Iqbal to undermine the so-called fundamentalists; in the 1980s, Iqbal began to be posed (by the state) as an anti-thesis to the alternate image of Jinnah which began to appear from independent scholarship.

So whereas Iqbal was used in the 1950s to counter religious radicalism, in the 1980s, he began to be used to counter those debunking Zia`s idea of Pakistan and Jinnah. It was all a matter of cherry-picking (out of context) from Iqbal`s vast works in philosophy and poetry.

Not much has changed since. If one read`s Riaz Ahmad`s book, Iqbal`s letters to Quaid-iAzam (1976), one finds that both men were on the same page on various subjects. But Iqbal passed away almost a decade before the creation of Pakistan.

Maybe this is why ever since the 1970s, ideologues, politicians, dictators, theologians and intellectuals have (rather convolutedly) placed both men on the opposite poles of numerous debates on democracy, faith, state and polities.
By Nadeem F Paracha
24 April 2016
Dawn.com

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Road to Raiwind via Park Lane London- Panama Leaks

In his speech to the nation on Sunday evening, Imran Khan seems to have hit all the right notes. It was a well scripted speech in which sensible demands were made. We need to know how the money was made by the prime minister’s family. Possibly, an inquiry through a Supreme Court judge would be the way to move ahead.

The government is in denial mode. One was amazed to see how quickly our PM reacted to the Panama Leaks, not even waiting one day to come on national television to address the nation to defend his family’s assets abroad. This is the same PM who dilly-dallied on other more important issues.

‘Will march towards Raiwind if Panama Papers revelations not probed independently’

While the PM of Iceland has resigned and the British PM seems to be tottering, our PM seems to think he has done nothing wrong. And the manner in which he and his close aides are defending the first family begs more questions than gives answers.

One was disappointed by the statements of Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid and the accusations that he made against Imran Khan and the Shaukat Khanum Hospital. Rashid has always been a sensible and mature person. Using the tactic of offense is the best defence, his press conference leaves one somewhat disgusted.

The response of the Sharif government on the whole has been disappointing. Instead of clearing its name, it has instead attacked Imran Khan, the only prominent politician who took the government to task. One need not be a supporter of the PTI to understand that the PTI and the hospital are two different things.

The accusation that Shaukat Khanum Hospital’s name was used to launder money is laughable. But if that has happened, let us launder some more. After all, the poor people of Pakistan have benefitted from this hospital the most.
Keeping aside Imran Khan’s politics, his hospital is a beacon of hope in a sea of helplessness. The hospital is run on professional lines and has helped thousands of people who would otherwise not receive any help through our government hospitals or those funded by other trusts and foundations. Imran Khan’s politics may have affected funding of the Shaukat Khanum Hospital but it continues to serve the people without distinction.

What is sad about the Panama Leaks in Pakistan is that our main opposition political party cannot take a stand against the ruling party. That is because their leaders are also named in the scam. We can call this the bankruptcy of our political system where the representatives of the people cannot hold each other accountable as they are all tainted by the same brush. Who then do we turn to? The answer is very much there.

The demand to bring in experts who investigate white collar crime is a good one. But we all know it won’t happen. We have seen in the past how international or impartial investigators have always been hindered when it comes to investigating wrongdoing in Pakistan. Who can forget the Scotland Yard team that came to investigate the murder of former PM Benazir Bhutto. The team was not given access to important records or information.

So what will happen next? We look forward to the end of the month when Imran Khan promises to surround the Nawaz mansion in Rawind. This is the same place where the Indian prime minister visited on his pit stop trip to Pakistan. We need to know more about this palace as well. How much of our public money goes into maintaining this? How was it built? Lahore journalists have all the answers. Maybe it is time for another round of leaks.

In all this, another issue that came to the forefront was how apart from the ruling party, our publicly funded Pakistan Television, cannot be used by anyone else to express their views. PTV is a funded through our electricity bills. Even those who don’t have a television are paying for the government’s propaganda. Why can others not be brought on air? Incidently, we got this brilliant idea from Turkey and was introduced in the time of our debonair PM, Shaukat Aziz. However, now we need to make PTV a public television. It is time for some introspection by the ruling party. We cannot continue denying.
By Kamal Siddiqi, Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th,  2016.
http://tribune.com.pk/story/1082223/the-road-to-rawind/

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sharif Family corruption



1. 1. CORRUPTION CASES

Nawaz Sharif and his cronies have always been working to plunder Pakistan’s wealth as their sole agenda. He expanded his business empire by misusing his authority as Chief Minister Punjab and Prime Minister Pakistan. And in order to gain financial benefits, he manipulated laws and changed policies. Likewise, in a bid to avoid accountability, the Nawaz Sharif Government amended “The Ehtasaab Act” and made it effective from “1990” instead of “1985” as proposed in the original text of the “Ehtasaab Act” prepared by the interim government of caretaker Prime Minister (Late) Mairaj Khalid (1996-97). And by bringing this change he cunningly saved his tenure of Chief Minister Punjab (1985-88) from accountability.
Despite all maneuvering following references were filed against the Sharifs:-

Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and others misused official resources causing a loss to the national exchequer of Rs 620million by developing 1800 acres of land in Raiwind at state expense.
Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif are accused of whitening black money during their first tenure (1990-93) and causing a loss of Rs 180 million to the national exchequer by evading income/wealth tax.
Nawaz Sharif, Saif-ur-Rehman and others reduced import duty from 325% to 125% on import of luxury cars (BMW), causing a huge loss of Rs1.98 billion to the national exchequer.
On the imposition of emergency and freezing of foreign currency accounts, Nawaz Sharif and Saif-ur-Rehman removed 11 billion US dollars from Pakistani Banks illegally. Without the consent of account holders, Foreign Exchange Bearer Certificates (FEBC) accounts were frozen and foreign exchange was misappropriated.
Illegal appointments in Pakistan International Airlines (Nawaz Sharif and Saeed Mehdi).
Abbotabad land purchase scam (Nawaz Sharif and Sardar Mehtab Abbasi).
Availing bank loan for Ittefaq Foundries and Brothers Steel Mills without fulfilling legal requirements (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif).
Concealment of property in the US (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif).
Illegal appointments and promotions in Federal Investigation Agency (Nawaz Sharif).
US wheat purchase scam (Nawaz Sharif and Syeda Abida Hussain).
Murree land purchase scam (Nawaz Sharif and Saif-ur-Rehman)
Tax evasion (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif).
Forging of passports and money laundering (Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar).
Concealment of private helicopter purchase while filing assets’ detail (Nawaz Sharif).
Favoring Kohinoor Energy Co, causing loss of Rs. 450 millions (Nawaz Sharif and Others).
Illegal cash finance facility given to Brothers Sugar Mills (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif).
Bribe offered to ANP’s Senator Qazi Mohammad Anwer (Nawaz Sharif and Others).
Hudaibiya Paper Mills Reference against Sharif brothers and Ishaq Dar.
Illegally appointing Chairman Central Board of Revenue (Nawaz Sharif)
Whitening of black money by amending laws (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif).
Causing Rs. 35 billion loss by writing off/rescheduling bank loans (Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar).
Bribing (late) Maulana Sattar Niazi from National Exchequer (Nawaz Sharif and Others).
Plundering Rs. 200 million from Jahez and Baitul Maal funds (Nawaz Sharif & Others)
Opening fictitious foreign currency accounts (Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar).
Making 130 political appointments in federal departments (Nawaz Sharif).
Relaxing export duty and rebate to transport sugar to India (Nawaz Sharif).
Whitening of money through FEBC (Nawaz Sharif).
Wealth Tax evasion (Nawaz Sharif).
Concealment of facts to evade property tax (Nawaz Sharif).
Withdrawal of case against Senator Islamuddin Sheikh (Nawaz Sharif, & Ishaq Dar).

2. FINANCIAL GAINS BY USING HIS AUTHORITY AS PRIME MINISTER

The first tenure of Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister in the year 1990 saw another reign of loot and plunder. During this period Mian Nawaz Shairf obtained loans amounting to more than Rs.614 billion from Banks through his influence against inadequate guarantees. According to the details of loans obtained by Sharifs include Rs.1556 million for Ittefaq Foundries, Rs. 543 million for Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills, Rs.455 million for Mehran Ramzan Textile Mills, Rs.373 million for Ramzan Bukhsh Textile Mills, Rs.339 millions for Ch. Sugar Mills, Rs.226 millions for Ittefaq brothers, Rs. 205 million for Sandalbar Textile Mills, Rs.182 million for Hudaibiya Engineering Mills, Rs.153 million for Hamza Board Mills Ltd, Rs.134 million for Hudaibiya paper Mills, Rs.351 Million for Brothers Sugar Mills, Rs.174 million for Brothers Textile Mills, Rs.159 million for Brothers Steel Mills, Rs.623 million for Ramzan Sugar Mills, Rs. 191 million Khalid Siraj Textiles, Rs.313 million for Ittefaq Sugar Mills, Rs.164 million for Ittefaq Textile Mills, and Rs.239 million were obtained for Ittefaq Brothers. Due to the malpractice the national wealth was used for establishing personal empire while the country’s economy was facing disaster. This loan was equivalent to the total internal loan obtained by the government of Pakistan! These so called patriotic politicians ruthlessly plundered the national exchequer and used national wealth for personal financial gains. In addition money laundering worth billions of dollars through illegal means, wheat import scam, awarding motorway’s contract to an internationally black listed company, receiving heavy loans despite of being defaulter, secret businesses in UK (Evidence attached), Sugar mills in Kenya and four flats in the most expensive area of London and huge commissions in privatization of Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) are also a few “achievements” of Nawaz Sharif and family.

3. THE AUDITOR GENERAL REPORT

The Auditor General Report released in the year 1988-89 reported that Nawaz Sharif, misusing his authority as Chief Minister Punjab, issued directives which resulted into direct malpractice of Rs. 35 billion.
The report said that the Chief Minister Secretariat had been turned into a hub of corrupt practices and Nawaz Sharif used public money like an emperor that resulted into huge fiscal deficit of the province.
The Auditor General Report released in the year 1986-87 said that the then Chief Minister Nawaz Sharif had used Rs. 1200 million for malpractices in only one year.
Nawaz Sharif allotted 3000 precious Lahore Development Authority (LDA) plots among his favourites due to which the province suffered loss of billions of rupees.
Nawaz Sharif was the lead character of the Cooperative and Financial Institutions Scam, which deprived the retired employees, orphans, widows, and poor of their total assets amounting to Rs. 17 billion.
Nawaz Sharif released Rs. 1200 million from his discretionary grant in the year 1985-86 while Rs. 1895 million were released in 1986-87, Rs. 1899 million were used in 1987-88 while another Rs. 1887 million were distributed among his cronies.

4. RELATIONS WITH THE TERRORISTS

Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and other party leaders practically share and proudly identify commonalities between PML-N and Taliban and they have very close ties and cordial relations with terrorists and banned terrorist outfits. In early 90s Nawaz Sharif received huge sums of money from Osama Bin Laden to overthrow former Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s Government. Even now PML-N’s cabinet members and spokespersons are commonly seen hanging around with members of those banned outfits, reportedly involved in managing terrorist attacks on thousands of innocent Pakistanis including soldiers, police officials and members of other law enforcement agencies.
Due to compromising attitude of PML-N’s leadership and their mild will to fight against the menace of terrorism the members of law enforcement agencies are completely demoralized. That is one of the reasons that the investigations against terrorists are not carried out in a proper manner and proof against arrested terrorists usually is not available. Due to the incapability of the Punjab Government terrible terrorist attacks took place in the province including suicide attack on Police Training School Bedian Road, blast in Moon Market Lahore, car bomb blast in the Rescue 15 building, car bomb blast in F.I.A building, suicide attack on Munawan Police Training Center, Model Town link road bomb blast, suicide attack on Jamia Naemia, terrorist attack on Ahmedi’s worship places, blasts in Imam Bargahs including Karbla Gammay Shah and suicide bomb blasts in the sacred shrine of Hazrat Data Gunj Buksh along with many others. After these attacks PML-N has morally lost its right of government in Punjab.
Further, it was Shahbaz Sharif, who instead of showing courage and political and moral will to fight against the enemies of Pakistan, in his speech in Jamia Naemia Lahore, begged for mercy from the terrorists. He, in a very disgraceful manner, requested them not to attack Punjab as they are likeminded and standing on the same side. This statement of Shahbaz Sharif reflects his mindset !

5. CONSPIRACIES AGAINST DEMOCRACY

Nawaz Sharif and Co. has always been involved in destabilizing the democratic system by one way or the other and did not even hesitate to take bribes to grab power. Lt. General (R) Naseerullah Babar, the former Interior Minister had disclosed in the National Assembly in 1994, that the ISI had disbursed money to purchase the loyalty of various right wing politicians, including that of Nawaz Sharif, in order to manipulate the 1990 elections, for the Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI- Pakistan democratic alliance), and bring about the defeat of the PPP. As proof Lt. General (R) Naseerullah Babar, Lt. General (R) Asad Durrani and others have filed affidavits supported by copies of various documents. In Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s human rights petition (HRC 19/96) in the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the former Chief of Army Staff Mirza Aslam Baig and the former Chief of the ISI and a banker concerning the criminal distribution of the people’s money for political purposes. The case is pending adjudication in the Supreme Court of Pakistan for the last 14 years.
1. 6. DECEIT AND LYING

Nawaz Sharif’s politics is based on the philosophy “lie repeatedly till it seems as the truth”. He has based his politics on deceit and lies. Nawaz Sharif and his “chellaz” believe in lying repeatedly and religiously follow their convictions in this regard. They are masters in the art of manipulation and alteration and use their wealth to achieve their goals. One example is enough to expose their hideous character. After conviction in the hijacking case, Nawaz Sharif and his family approached foreign friends who persuaded President Pervez Musharraf to have mercy and forgive them. Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and family sought pardon and signed agreements including a commitment not to participate in politics for a period of ten years but they kept lying and hid the existence of these agreements from the nation until the head of Saudi Arabian Secret Agency, Prince Miqran Bin Abdul Aziz and Prime Minister of Lebanon Mr. Saad Hariri’s unveiled the existence of these agreements and Ch. Nisar had to admit the existence of these agreements during the press conference of Javed Hashmi. Sharif brothers in return of Pervez Musharraf’s “Ehsaan” (generosity) have not only crossed all limits of hostility but also lied to the nation. Would Nawaz Sharif and his “chellaz” ever tender apology to the Pakistani Nation, for lying to them for so many years?

7. POLICE STATE

Under the horrible times of Shahbaz Sharif’s Government the Punjab province has been virtually converted in to a “Badmaash” (rogue) province. Here police officials get involved in heinous and brutal criminal activities like one in Sialkot. The administration did not take any action against the shameful and atrocious lynching of two young brothers until the footage was telecast on electronic channels. It is believed that only in Gujranwala Division, where a brother of PML (N) MNA was deputed as head of police department, more than two hundred extra judicial killings have taken place. The record shows that in Punjab, police force has been continuously used to harass and insult political rivals. An endless campaign of lodging false FIRs against political opponents has also been initiated. Use of brutal police force and baton-charge has become a routine. Every segment of society including journalists, doctors, teachers, students, nurses, Government employees, semi Government and private institutions and lawyers have faced the brutality of police while protesting for their demands.

8. POOR GOVERNANCE & MALADMINISTRATION

It is a hard fact that poor governance & maladministration is trade mark of Sharif brothers. Shahbaz Sharif is an attention-seeker and likes to show off. For the sake of “cheap publicity” he has started calling himself “Khadam-e-Ala” but miserably failed to meet the challenges of governance and administration. It’s a harsh reality that during his tenure in Punjab all institutions deteriorated conspicuously. In order to achieve their motives, Sharifs always appoint their blue eyed personnel on key posts by completely ignoring merit. Almost all districts of Punjab are being run by grade 19 officers who are incapable hence a basic reason for poor governance. Due to his dictatorial approach Shahbaz Sharif himself heads 12 provincial ministries and he seldom holds cabinet meeting. He takes decisions over ruling, the cabinet. His obstinate behavior is the prime reason for the maladministration in the province. It would be just and appropriate to suggest that Sharifs have failed to establish a democratic spirit in their government and have completely overlooked the norms of democratic political setups.

9. CRIMINAL ASSAULT ON THE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN

In order to consolidate and attain more power, ‘the champion of democracy and independent judiciary’, Nawaz Sharif attacked every individual and institution, he felt could get in the way and challenge his authority. In order to get rid of Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, who Nawaz Sharif despised, the latter created divisions amongst the judges using the humble services of a former judge, Rafique Tarrar (later President of Pakistan) to make life difficult for the Chief Justice. A group of judges refused to acknowledge CJ Sajjad Ali Shah as the Chief Justice and things got so bad that a number of junior judges made it difficult for him to carry out his duties. Eventually, Sharif ordered his thugs to attack the Supreme Court in order to prevent the Chief Justice from giving a ruling against him.
The police did nothing to stop Sharif’s thugs as they attacked and entered the Supreme Court premises. The judges inside the building barely managed to escape. The thugs, led by Sajjad Naseem and Mushtaq Tahir Kheli, Nawaz Sharif’s political secretaries, entered the court chanting anti-CJ Sajjad slogans and destroyed the Court Room.
1. 10. CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE PRESS AND JOURNALISTS

A number of incidents during 1998-99 indicated a pattern of harassment and intimidation of individual journalists as the government was increasingly becoming intolerant. Imtiaz Alam, a Lahore-based journalist, complains of threats over the telephone and then of his car being set on fire in a mysterious manner the next day. Another Lahore journalist, Mahmud Lodhi, was picked up and held in illegal custody for two days. He was questioned about his involvement with a BBC team filming a documentary on the rise and wealth of the Sharif family. Present Pakistani ambassador in USA Mr. Hussain Haqqani was picked up in a cloak-and-dagger fashion and interrogated at a FIA Center for money embezzlement while he held government office.
The residence of Idrees Bakhtiar, a senior staff reporter of monthly Herald and BBC correspondent in Karachi was raided by CIA police on Nov. 26, 1998. The police harassed the family and also arrested his 28-year old son, Moonis, who was later released. On Feb. 13, 1999, three persons, including Senator Abdul Hayee Baloch and a lady worker from Lahore, were injured when the police baton-charged, used water cannons and threw bricks on a peaceful procession of the Pakistan Awami Ittehad in front of the parliament house in Islamabad. The march, organized by the PAI for the freedom of the press, was led by PAI president Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan (late), the then opposition leader Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and secretary general of the alliance Hamid Nasir Chatta, besides a number of sitting and former PPP MNAs and senators.
The owner of the Frontier Post, Rehmat Shah Afridi, was arrested in Lahore on April 2, 1999, by the Anti-narcotics Force. The Peshawar-based Frontier Post was critical of government policies. Afridi’s arrest was seen by journalists and others as another attempt to gag the Press. On May 8, 1999, Najam Sethi, Editor of The Friday Times, was arrested on the orders of Nawaz Sharif. Police stormed into his house in Lahore and dragged him out of his bed room. After brutal torture and breaking furniture of the house he was shifted to some unknown place. And before leaving the house with Mr. Sethi, they tied his wife Jugnoo’s hands with a rope and locked her up in a dressing room. Later, Nawaz Sharif asked COAS Gen. Musharraf to charge Mr. Sethi under the Pakistan Army Act for being a traitor and give him maximum punishment (maximum punishment is death!).
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a press freedom organization, said on June 1, 1999 that it was conducting an investigation into a “hit list” prepared by the Pakistan government that contains 35 prominent journalists of Pakistan. According to reports received by the CPJ, the federal government had decided to establish a special media cell comprising officials from the police, Intelligence Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency to punish the journalists, who had been writing against the government. Ehtesab Bureau Chairman, Senator Saifur Rehman Khan was to head this cell which would function from Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar with its head office in Islamabad.
According to the CPJ, the journalists were: Irshad Ahmed Haqqani (late), Rehmat Ali Razi, Anjum Rasheed, (writer and anchor person) Suhail Warraich, Sohaib Marghoob and (late) Roman Ehsan (Jang Lahore), M. Ziauddin (Dawn Islamabad), Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Javed Jaidi, Nusrat Javeed, Mariana Babar and Ansaar Abbassi (The News, Islamabad), Rehana Hakeem and Zahid Hussain (Newsline), Ejaz Haider, Khalid Ahmed, Jugnu Mohsin and Adnan Adil (The Friday Times, Lahore), Mahmood Sham (Jang, Karachi), Rashed Rehman (The Nation, Lahore), Amir Ahmed Khan (Herald, Karachi), Imtiaz Aalam, Beena Sarwar, Shafiq Awan, Kamila Hyat and Amir Mir (The News Lahore), Abbas Athar (Nawa-e-Waqt, Lahore), Kamran Khan and Shehzad Amjad (The News Karachi), Azam Khalil (Pulse), Mohammad Malik (Tribune), Imtiaz Ahmed (The Frontier Post, Peshawar), Ilyas Chaudhry (Jang Rawalpindi), Naveed Meraj (The Frontier Post, Islamabad) and Syed Talat Hussain (The Nation, Islamabad).
The Government of Nawaz Sharif started a campaign against the Jang group in July 1998 when it refused to sack a number of journalists critical of Government policies. The government objected to the Jang group newspapers’ reporting about the law and order situation in the country and put a ban on advertisement. On August 13, a report was published about non-payment of Rs. 700 million to farmers by the sugar mills owned by the Nawaz Sharif family. Three days later, the government sent notices to Jang for non payment of taxes and the case was shifted to the Ehtesab cell. On September 27, 1998, the Government asked the Jang group not to publish a report of ‘The Observer London’ that Nawaz Sharif had siphoned off millions of rupees. The report was not published by the Jang but it was published by its sister English newspaper The News. On November 5, bank accounts of the Jang group were frozen and FIA raided the Jang and the News offices in Rawalpindi and customs authorities stopped delivery of newsprint to the Jang.
On Jan 28 1999, a sedition case was registered against Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman for publishing an advertisement of Muttahida’s Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation on January 1, which according to the police, was aimed at inciting people against the state.
Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman revealed that Senator Saif-ur-Rehman asked him to sack a number of Jang employees who should be replaced in consultation with the Government. He released to the press audio-tapes of conversation with Saif-ur-Rehman on this issue. Saif-ur-Rehman accused Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman for evading tax and customs duty to the tune of Rs. 2.6 billion.
The hostility of Sharifs towards media is also evident from the fact that in the parliamentary history of Pakistan for the first time a resolution, condemning the media, was tabled (by a group of MPAs belonging to Nawaz League) and passed in the Punjab Assembly.
1. 11. DESTABILIZATION OF INSTITUTIONS

There is probably no institution in Pakistan which Nawaz Sharif did not aggressively confront in order to make them comply with his wishes. Besides picking a fight with the President, the Judiciary and the restricted/limited media of that time, Sharif also decided to have a confrontation with the army, the only viable institution left in Pakistan. Due to his hostile and dumb approach in Nawaz Sharif’s first term as prime minister, he fell out with three successive army chiefs: General Mirza Aslam Beg, General Asif Nawaz and General Abdul Waheed Kakar. During his second tenure, he fell out with two other Generals, General Karamat and later with General Pervez Musharraf. General Karamat became the first Chief of Army Staff in the history of Pakistan to have been prematurely retired!
One by one all challenges and potential obstacles to his dictatorial mindset were removed from his way by Nawaz Sharif. Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Farooq Leghari, Sajjad Ali Shah, and General Jehangir Karamat were all removed from the scene by Nawaz Sharif.
1. 12. Ill-CONSIDERED ECONOMIC DECISIONS

Nawaz Sharif’s ill-considered economic decisions cost Pakistan dearly! But the Sharif family’s personal business empire grew exponentially through questionable means.
Nawaz Sharif, during his tenure as Chief Minister Punjab from 1988-90, deprived the provincial departments of Rs. 15.35 billion. In addition in 1997-99 he caused huge loss amounting in 11 billion US dollars to private account holders by freezing foreign currency accounts contrary to the law and constitution wherein he and his cronies managed to get away with huge sums even after the freeze. Billions of dollars were removed from the banks without the permission/consent of the account holders but the accounts of common Pakistanis were withheld.
In last two and half years, Shahbaz Sharif wasted more than 40 billion rupees in “Sasti Roti” and other subsidized food schemes that had been initiated to earn cheap popularity and to benefit their political supporters. Admittedly these funds have been distributed amongst their own supporters without any audit just to gain political mileage. A huge chunk of these funds has been disbursed by the ghost “Tandurs” (burners) owners. Inflation and un-employment is rocketing day by day due to the ill-conceived decisions of the provincial government. This is one of the reasons that Punjab could not help flood victims at the time because they had utilized their funds in senseless politically motivated schemes and now have an overdraft amounting Rs. 80 billion.

13. SELLING KASHMIR CAUSE TO VAJPAYEE IN 1999 AND HUMILATING ARMED FORCES IN USA, DURING KARGIL

The so called son of soil Nawaz Sharif virtually sold Kashmir in 1999 during Indian PM’s visit to Lahore. Nawaz Sharif deleted the word Kashmir from the joint declaration to please Indian counterpart. By crossing all the limits of treachery and falsehood Nawaz Sharif and his cronies claim that Pakistan armed forces lost the Kargil war. In fact, due to the decisions of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan lost this war in the drawing room of the American President after wining it in the battlefield.
1. 14. ATOMIC EXPLOSIONS
It is a proven fact that in 1998 Nawaz Sharif was double-minded about the atomic explosions. While the nation waited breathlessly for a befitting reply to India, Nawaz Sharif was busy in negotiating economic packages with US Government. Gohar Ayub Khan, who was foreign minister at that time, has also corroborated this fact in his book.

After all this I don't understand why people are so blind & stupid.
Image result for shahbaz sharif corruption

Source: http://defence.pk/threads/sharif-bros-corruption.242992/#ixzz45QAcij3v

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Panama Papers Problem


The Panama tax haven leaks reveal a lot about the lawlessness of the rich, as well as the ideological bias of the western press. “Vladimir Putin’s name appears nowhere, but the corporate media used his image repeatedly to drum up interest in what is an otherwise newsworthy story.” Americans are conspicuous by their absence from the story. That’s because rich people in the U.S. can avoid taxes “legally in Wyoming, Delaware or Nevada.”
The worst criminals on earth are not the poor who sit behind bars in jails and 
prisons. The biggest thieves are found among the rich. The 1% can buy legislation, politicians and the media to carry out and hide their dirty work. If they can’t change the laws to benefit themselves in their homelands they simply send their money elsewhere through shell holding companies. This transfer of wealth, much of it diverted from what ought to be tax payments, is an open secret. Panama, the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Luxembourg and Switzerland are known for securing the money and secrets of the rich and the well connected.

The leak of 11.5 million documents from the Panama based Mossack Fonseca law firm brings into the light of day what was long known but passively accepted. Now the facts are in the open but the way in which the revelations are reported is questionable and taints an important story.

The documents now known as the Panama Papers were leaked to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) who then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). ICIJ is a non-profit but with its own problematic origins. It is funded in part by the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundation, Kellogg Foundation and the Rockefeller Family Fund. ICIJ then worked with journalists around the world including from the Guardian and the McClatchy newspaper chain. They in turn will decide what will be kept secret and what will be shared with the public. The goal of revealing secrets instead turns into a plan to keep more secrets and to tarnish certain reputations based on bias and mysterious criteria.

The Panama Papers show that the heads of state of Ukraine, Iceland, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all held shell holding company accounts in different tax haven locations. Vladimir Putin’s name appears nowhere but the corporate media used his image repeatedly to drum up interest in what is an otherwise newsworthy story. There are Russians who have used Mossack Fonseca services and three of them have close ties to Putin. Guilt by association and innuendo follow instead of disinterested reporting of pertinent facts.

While the corporate media happily do the work of imperialism, Russia is making good on its promise to kick ISIS out of Syria. The liberation of the ancient Syrian city Palmyra should have garnered Putin as much press attention as the Panama story. But the United States and NATO have still not abandoned their goal of regime change in Syria. They were ready to let ISIS fight Assad and do the job for them. While they pretend to drive ISIS out of Syria the Russians are actually getting the job done. If the corporate media want to cover Putin, that development provides an excellent opportunity for them to do so.

While news outlets ranging from the Guardian to the New York Times do their best to connect Putin to the Mossack Fonseca scandal without evidence, the prime minister of the United Kingdom and the president of Ukraine are directly involved. David Cameron’s late father is among those mentioned in the Mossack Fonseca trove. Simply put, he established an offshore account to hide the family fortune. The goal of the scheme was as simple as it is devious: keep Cameron family money and the prime minister’s inheritance from being taxed.

The president of Ukraine is yet another thief. When Petro Poroshenko came to office after the 2014 anti-Russian coup he promised to cease playing any role in the operations of his confection company. That business made him a wealthy man with an estimated $800 million personal fortune. Instead he opened an offshore account in the British Virgin Islands to avoid paying taxes.

The media already knew that Poroshenko is richer than many of the Russian oligarchs they obsessively cover and they know that Ukraine is a failed state. They know that Ukraine owes Russia $3 billion and they know that the IMF violated its own rules in not making them pay up.

It is a good thing that the corruption of the world’s elites has been revealed. But as Wikileaks points out, all the documents must be released so that there is transparency available to all and an adherence to journalistic standards.

Hopefully, the proof of worldwide corruption will spur protest and opposition to a system which gives the masses nothing except more inequality. The people of Iceland didn’t wait to be told what to do. Thousands took to the streets and forced their prime minister to resign within three days of the story being published.

It is interesting but not at all mysterious that there are no Americans named in the Mossack Fonseca documents. The reason is simple. U.S. law so clearly favors the rich that they have no need to go offshore to form shell corporations. They can do so legally in Wyoming, Delaware or Nevada. Rich people everywhere know it too. No need to go to Panama or Switzerland. The U.S. is now the best tax haven on the planet. Hopefully the corporate media will decide to cover that story too.

By MARGARET KIMBERLEY
Margaret Kimberley writes the Freedom Rider column for Black Agenda Report, where this essay originally appeared. 
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/06/the-panama-papers-problem/

Friday, April 8, 2016

Questions from Nawaz Sharif Family - Panama Leaks - شریف خاندان سے چند سوال

شریف خاندان سے چند سوال
اگرائے گئے بم پر آنے والا ردِ عمل متوقع ہے۔ شریف خاندان اور حکومتی ترجمان کے مطابق پاناما لیکس دستاویزات میں کسی غیر قانونی اقدام کی نشاندہی نہیں کی گئی ہے، اور شریف خاندان نے کچھ غلط نہیں کیا۔
مالیات اور محصولات کے معاملوں میں فوری فیصلے، خاص طور پر کسی کو بری الذمہ قرار دینا، جاری کرنا بہت مشکل کام ہے۔ آیا مفصل اور خفیہ 'آف شور' کمپنیاں اور بینکنگ طریقہ کار اپنانے کے دوران پاکستانی اور غیر ملکی قوانین کی خلاف ورزی کی گئی ہے یا نہیں، یہ بات چند دن میں معلوم ہوجائے گی — کم از کم بین الاقوامی طور پر تو ضرور۔

پاکستان کے اندر، اور جبکہ ٹیکس اور زیادہ تر تفتیشی ادارے مکمل طور پر حکومت کے ماتحت ہیں، یہ بات بالکل بعید از قیاس ہے کہ وزیرِ اعظم کے خاندان اور ان کے مالی معاملات کے بارے میں کوئی مشکل پیدا کرنے والی بات سامنے آئے گی۔

شریف خاندان کے علاوہ بھی پاناما پیپرز میں جن افراد کے نام ہیں، وہ فائدے میں رہیں گے — شاید نیب کو چھوڑ کر چند ہی ایسے سرکاری تفتیش کار ہوں گے جو مسئلے کو عوام میں رہنے دینا چاہیں گے۔

بھلے ہی کوئی جرم نہ کیا گیا ہو، پھر بھی پاناما پیپرز پاکستان کی حکمران اشرافیہ کے جرم کی داستان ہے۔ عوام صحیح فیصلے کرنے کا اختیار منتخب نمائندوں کو دیتے ہیں تاکہ وسیع تر ملکی مفاد کو یقینی بنایا جا سکے۔ مگر پاکستان کا حکمران طبقہ صرف اپنے مفادات کا تحفظ کرنے، اور دوسروں کے اس مقام تک پہنچنے میں رکاوٹیں ڈالنے میں مصروف ہے۔

یہ سوال ضرور پوچھا جانا چاہیے کہ پاکستان کے امراء میں زیادہ تر سیاستدان کیوں ہیں؟ انہوں نے جو وسیع کاروبار قائم کیے ہیں، وہ ان کے زبردست دور اندیش ہونے کی ضمانت ہیں، مگر صرف تب تک جب تک اپنی ذاتی دولت کی بات ہو۔ ملکی معاملات کی بات آئے تو یہ دور اندیشی کہیں نظر نہیں آتی۔

اربوں کھربوں کے مالک پاکستانی سیاستدان عوامی پیسے کو درست جگہ استعمال کرنے اور سرکاری اداروں کو درست سمت میں رکھنے کے لیے وہ جادو نہیں چلا پاتے جس طرح وہ اپنے کاروبار چلاتے ہیں۔

نجی شعبے کے بڑے کھلاڑی نسبتاً بہتر ہیں جو ہمیشہ ریاستی امداد اور مسابقت ختم کرنے والی حکومتی مداخلت کے منتظر رہتے ہیں۔ ایسا لگتا ہے کہ پاکستان کے امراء نے تقسیم کرنے کا عمل الٹا سیکھا ہے — ضرورت مندوں سے لو، اور ہوس پرستوں کو دو۔

ایک خود غرض اشرافیہ کا سب سے بڑا اور حقیقی مسئلہ یہ ہے کہ نہ صرف انہوں نے پاکستان کو اپنی اقتصادی صلاحیت کو بھرپور انداز میں استعمال کرنے سے روکا ہوا ہے، بلکہ یہ ہر دوسرے شخص سے بھاری قیمتیں بھی وصول کرتے ہیں۔

پاناما پیپرز نے ٹیکس سے بچنے اور کرپشن کا پیسہ چھپانے کے مفصل اور باریک منصوبوں کی قلعی کھول دی ہے۔ اس سب سے معاشرے پر ایک غیر منصفانہ بوجھ پڑتا ہے۔ پاکستان کے اشرافیہ براہِ راست ٹیکس سے بچ نکلتے ہیں اور ہمارا ٹیکس نظام زیادہ تر بالواسطہ ٹیکسوں پر منحصر ہے۔ اور بالواسطہ ٹیکس، جیسے کہ خوراک، ایندھن اور بنیادی ضرورت کے اشیاء پر، ان عوام پر بوجھ ڈالتے ہیں جن عوام کی یہ اشرافیہ منتخب نمائندہ ہونے کی دعویدار ہے۔

تو جب شریف خاندان اس بات کا انکار کرتا ہے کہ انہوں نے کچھ بھی غیر قانونی کیا ہے، تو ان سے یہ پوچھا جانا چاہیے کہ بچائے جانے والے ٹیکس کے ہر روپے کا بوجھ کس پر پڑ رہا ہے؟

وزیرِ اعظم کے خاندان کو تو اس کے الٹ مثال قائم کرتے ہوئے ٹیکس ادائیگی میں سب سے آگے ہونا چاہیے تاکہ ان کی دیکھا دیکھی ملک کے باقی افراد بھی ٹیکس ادا کریں۔

یہ بھی پوچھا جانا چاہیے کہ جب رائیونڈ ایک محل جیسی رہائش گاہ ہے، تو کیا اس کے ہوتے ہوئے بھی لندن میں محل جیسے فلیٹ خریدنے ضروری ہیں؟

انگلش میں پڑھیں۔
یہ اداریہ ڈان اخبار میں 5 اپریل 2016 کو شائع ہوا۔

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

CAPITALISM’S ACHILLES HEEL: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System RAYMOND W. BAKER ; Page 76-85 on Pakistan: Bhuttos & Sharif's [اردو ترجمہ کے ساتھ with Urdu Translation]


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میاں نوازشریف کی غیر ملکی کمپنیوں کا راز ریمنڈ بیکر نے گیارہ سال قبل ہی اپنی کتا ب Capitalism's Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System میں فاش کر دیا تھا۔ ریمنڈ بیکر ہاورڈ بزنس سکول کے گریجوایٹ ہیں۔ میاں صاحب کی کرپشن سے پردہ اٹھاتے ہوئے انہوں نے لکھا تھا کہ پاکستان سے باہرکئی کمپنیاں ایسی ہیں جنہیں شریف خاندان سے جوڑاگیا ہے۔ ان میں سے تین برطانیہ کے ورجن آئی لینڈ میں قائم ہیں جن کے نام نیسکول، نیلسن اور شیم راک 68 ہیں۔ چینڈرن جرسی پرائیویٹ لمیٹڈ نامی ان کی ایک اور کمپنی جزائر رودبار (چینل آئی لینڈ) میں ہے۔ ریمنڈ بیکر نے یہ بھی لکھا تھا کہ ان میں سے بعض کمپنیاں مبینہ طور پر لندن کے پارک لین میں چار بہت ہی شاندار فلیٹوں کی خریداری میں سہولت کاری کے لئے استعما ل کی گئی تھیں۔ یہ چاروں فلیٹس مختلف اوقات میں شریف خاندان کے مختلف افراد کے زیرِ استعمال رہے ہیں۔ یہ ساری کہانی ریمنڈ بیکر 2005ء میں ہی بتا چکے ہیں، لیکن آج اس کی خبریں اور ان کمپنیوں کے نام ہم پھر سن رہے ہیں اور انہیں بریکنگ نیوز ٹھہرایا جا رہا ہے۔ حالانکہ یہاں واحد بریکنگ نیوز تو یہ ہے کہ پاکستانیوں کو وہی جانے پہچانے لوگ یعنی شریف اینڈ کو اور زرداری اینڈ کو لُوٹتے چلے جا رہے ہیں، جن کے نام ریمنڈ بیکر نے گیارہ برس قبل بتا دیے تھے۔کرپشن، منی لانڈرنگ اور خارجہ پالیسی کے حوالے سے ریمنڈ بیکر عالمی سطح پر ایک معتبر مقام کے مالک ہیں۔ ان کی کتاب پر بڑے شاندار تبصرے ہوئے تھے لیکن پاکستانیوں کو اس کے بارے میں شاید ہی کچھ معلوم ہوا ہو۔ ان کی کتاب میں جن کا نام لیا گیا تھا یعنی نواز شریف اور سابق فرسٹ کپل بینظیر بھٹو اور آصف علی زرداری، دونوں ہی نے ان الزامات کو یکسر نظر انداز کئے رکھا کیونکہ یہ سچے الزامات تھے۔ اگر وہ ریمنڈ بیکر پر ازالہ حیثیت عرفی کا مقدمہ کرتے تو عین ممکن تھا کہ ان کا کچا چٹھہ مزید کھل کر سامنے آ جاتا۔ یہ لوگ چور ہیں جو اپنا سیاسی اثر و رسوخ پاکستان کے وسائل لوٹنے کے لئے استعمال کرتے ہیں۔  <<پورا پڑھیں https://goo.gl/0L08ol >>
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Here is an extract page#76 to 87 about Corrupt leaders of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari .........

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CAPITALISM’S ACHILLES HEEL
 Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System RAYMOND W. BAKER
Extract page 76-87 about Pakistan
http://goo.gl/6huyj


Pakistan
Arguably the most dangerous nation on Earth, Pakistan is a bubbling cauldron of corruption and crime, where grasping politicians, greedy generals, drug smugglers, and terrorists intermix in a volatile web, made more threatening by a nuclear bazaar operated as a national sideline. Corruption and criminality run from the top down, with the political class constantly looting the national treasury and distorting economic policy for personal gain. Bank loans are granted largely on the basis of status and connections. The rich stash much of their money abroad in those willing western coffers, while exhibiting little inclination to repay their rupee borrowings. Banks fail and Pakistanis lose their meager savings. At the bottom, wretched and illiterate masses seethe with discontent, a perfect nurturing ground for terrorism. It started a long time ago:
In the distant past the East India Company used to siphon away a great  deal of the assets and treasures of the Indian subcontinent or buy them at very low prices and send them abroad when the British ruled the country.
But in recent decades it is the rich and crafty Pakistanis who have siphoned away a large part of the resources of the country with unremitting vigor. That began when a part of our export earnings was allowed to be kept abroad, with the practice of under-invoicing the exports or over-invoicing the imports. And that was followed by retaining abroad an increasing part of the money obtained as kickbacks during the import of machinery from the late 1950s.
Later, politicians in office, senior bureaucrats and top military commanders joined them by sending their illegally earned money abroad. Subsequently, obtaining large bribes abroad and putting them in their bank accounts there became the fashion. Some of the top rulers too
joined them merrily. . . .
The total wealth siphoned away in this manner has been estimated to be between 60 billion and 100 billion dollars.51
Pakistan’s recent history has been dominated by two families—the Bhuttos and the Sharifs—both merely tolerated by the military, the real power in the country. When it comes to economic destruction, there’s not a lot of difference among the three. 
Benazir Bhutto. Born in Karachi in 1953 and educated in private schools, Benazir Bhutto graduated from Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1973. Going on to Oxford for a master’s degree, she displayed her budding political skills and was elected president of the Student Union in 1977. Meanwhile, her father had become prime minister of Pakistan in
Dirty Money at Work 77
1971, was ousted in a military coup in 1977, and was executed in 1979 on charges of conspiracy to commit murder. In and out of prison and house arrest, Benazir was not allowed to leave the country until 1984 but then returned to lead the democracy movement two years later. Her father’s usurper, General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, was killed in a mysterious plane crash in 1988, which also took the life of the U.S. ambassador Arnold Raphel, and the head of the U.S. military aid mission to Pakistan, General H.M. Wasson. Benazir was elected prime minister that year, served until her ouster in 1990 on charges of corruption and nepotism, was reelected in 1993, and ousted again in 1996, amidst more charges of corruption. During her two terms in office and since, what has come out portrays Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari as world-class thieves.

Upon taking office in 1988, Bhutto reportedly appointed 26,000 party hacks to state jobs, including positions in state-owned banks. An orgy of lending without proper collateral followed. Allegedly, Bhutto and Zardari “gave instructions for billions of rupees of unsecured government loans to be given to 50 large projects. The loans were sanctioned in the names of ‘front men’ but went to the ‘Bhutto-Zardari combine.’ ”52 Zardari suggested that such loans are “normal in the Third World to encourage industrialisation.”53 He used 421 million rupees (about £10 million) to acquire a major interest in three new sugar mills, all done through nominees acting on his behalf. In another deal he allegedly received a 40 million rupee kickback on a contract
involving the Pakistan Steel Mill, handled by two of his cronies. Along the way Zardari acquired a succession of nicknames: Mr. 5 Percent, Mr. 10 Percent, Mr. 20 Percent, Mr. 30 Percent, and finally, in Bhutto’s second term when he was appointed “minister of investments,” Mr. 100 Percent.
The Pakistan government’s largest source of revenues is customs duties, and therefore evasion of duties is a national pastime. Isn’t there some way to tap into this major income stream, pretending to fight customs corruption and getting rich at the same time? Of course; we can hire a reputable (or disreputable, as the case may be) inspection company, have the government pay the company about a one percent fee to do price checking on imports, and
get multimillion-dollar bribes paid to us upon award of the contracts. Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), headquartered in Switzerland, and its then subsidiary Cotecna, the biggest group in the inspection business, readily agreed to this subterfuge. Letters in 1994 promised “consultancy fees,” meaning kickbacks, of 6 percent and 3 percent to two British Virgin Island (BVI)

1971, was ousted in a military coup in 1977, and was executed in 1979 on charges of conspiracy to commit murder. In and out of prison and house arrest, Benazir was not allowed to leave the country until 1984 but then returned to lead the democracy movement two years later. Her father’s usurper, General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, was killed in a mysterious plane
crash in 1988, which also took the life of the U.S. ambassador Arnold Raphel, and the head of the U.S. military aid mission to Pakistan, General H.M. Wasson. Benazir was elected prime minister that year, served until her ouster in 1990 on charges of corruption and nepotism, was reelected in 1993, and ousted again in 1996, amidst more charges of corruption. During her two terms in office and since, what has come out portrays Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari as world-class thieves.
Upon taking office in 1988, Bhutto reportedly appointed 26,000 party hacks to state jobs, including positions in state-owned banks. An orgy of lending without proper collateral followed. Allegedly, Bhutto and Zardari “gave instructions for billions of rupees of unsecured government loans to be given to 50 large projects. The loans were sanctioned in the names of ‘front men’ but went to the ‘Bhutto-Zardari combine.’ ”52 Zardari suggested that such loans are “normal in the Third World to encourage industrialisation.”53 He used 421 million rupees (about £10 million) to acquire a major interest in three new sugar mills, all done through nominees acting on his behalf. In another deal he allegedly received a 40 million rupee kickback on a contract
involving the Pakistan Steel Mill, handled by two of his cronies. Along the way Zardari acquired a succession of nicknames: Mr. 5 Percent, Mr. 10 Percent, Mr. 20 Percent, Mr. 30 Percent, and finally, in Bhutto’s second term when he was appointed “minister of investments,” Mr. 100 Percent. The Pakistan government’s largest source of revenues is customs duties, and therefore evasion of duties is a national pastime. Isn’t there some way to tap into this major income stream, pretending to fight customs corruption and getting rich at the same time? Of course; we can hire a reputable (or disreputable, as the case may be) inspection company, have the government pay the company about a one percent fee to do price checking on imports, and get multimillion-dollar bribes paid to us upon award of the contracts. Société
Générale de Surveillance (SGS), headquartered in Switzerland, and its then subsidiary Cotecna, the biggest group in the inspection business, readily agreed to this subterfuge. Letters in 1994 promised “consultancy fees,” meaning kickbacks, of 6 percent and 3 percent to two British Virgin Island (BVI) companies, Bomer Finances Inc. and Nassam Overseas Inc., controlled by Bhutto and Zardari. Payments of $12 million were made to Swiss bank accounts
of the BVI companies.54 SGS allegedly has paid kickbacks on other inspection contracts around the world. Upon being accused in the inspection kickback scheme, Bhutto sniffed, “I ran the government to the best of my honest ability. And I did it for nothing but acknowledgment and love.”
55 Then there was the 1994 deal to import $83 million worth of tractors from Poland. Ursus Tractors allegedly paid a 7 percent commission to another of Zardari’s Caribbean companies, Dargal Associated. Bhutto waived import duties on the tractors, costing the Pakistani government some 1.7 billion rupees in lost revenues. Upon discovery of this scheme the Poles hastened to turn over 500 pages of documentation confirming the kickback.
56 The Polish tractor deal was just a warm-up for the French fighter jet deal. After the U.S. government cancelled a sale of two squadrons of F-16s, Bhutto dangled a $4 billion contract for Mirages in front of the French— Dassault Aviation; Snecma, the engine manufacturer; and Thomson-CSF, producer of aviation electronics. Without missing a beat they allegedly agreed to pay a “remuneration” of 5 percent to Marleton Business S.A., yet another of Zardari’s British Virgin Island companies.57 This would have generated a tidy $200 million for the Bhutto-Zardari couple, but unfortunately for them she was driven from office before they could collect.
Ah, but the gold deal gave some comfort to these aspiring kleptocrats. Gold is culturally important in the Asian subcontinent, in particular as a way for women to accumulate wealth. Upwards of $100 billion is invested in this unproductive asset in Pakistan, India, and surrounding countries. Smuggling is big business. Ostensibly to regulate the trade, a Pakistani bullion dealer in Dubai, Abdul Razzak Yaqub, asked Bhutto for an exclusive import license. In 1994, yet another Zardari offshore company, M.S. Capricorn Trading, was created in the British Virgin Islands. Later in the year, Jens Schlegelmilch, “a Swiss lawyer who was the Bhutto family’s attorney in Europe and close personal friend for more than 20 years,
”58 opened an account for Capricorn Trading at the Dubai branch of Citibank. According to a 1999 U.S. Senate report: “Mr. Schlegelmilch did not reveal to the Dubai banker that Mr. Zardari was the beneficial owner of the PIC [private investment company], and the account manager never asked him the identity of the beneficial owner of the account. . . . Shortly after opening the account in Dubai, Mr. Schlegelmilch signed a standard referral agreement with
Dirty Money at Work 79
Citibank Switzerland private bank guaranteeing him 20 percent of the first three years of client net revenues earned by the bank from each client he referred to the private bank.”59 In other words, Citibank was contracting to pay a finder’s fee for millions brought in from dubious sources. Citibank went on to open three accounts in Switzerland for Zardari, with Schlegelmilch as the signatory.
In October 1994, Citibank records show that $10 million was deposited into Capricorn’s Dubai account by Razzak Yaqub’s company, A.R.Y. International Exchange.60 In December, Razzak Yaqub received an exclusive import license and proceeded over the next three years to ship more than $500 million in gold to Pakistan. Additional deposits flowed into the Dubai and Swiss Citibank accounts, and funds also were shifted to Citibank Channel  Island subsidiaries. The original ceiling on the accounts of $40 million was reached quickly.61
Toward the end of her second term, the Bhutto case took a bizarre turn. Representatives of the Pakistan Muslim League, an opposition party, met in 1995 with private investigators in London who offered documentary proof from an unnamed source of Bhutto’s corruption, in return for a modest fee of $10 million. That deal was not consummated, but two years later, with Bhutto out of office and under investigation, the offer was reportedly concluded for $1 million.62 The documents “appeared to have been taken from the Geneva office of Jens Schlegelmilch.”63
In 2000 Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau, with the thankless task of investigating corruption, drew upon these documents and other sources and released details of assets and accounts belonging to Bhutto and Zardari. Even to jaded observers, the scale of their holdings was stunning: hundreds of properties, dozens of companies, and dozens of bank accounts. A partial listing of only foreign holdings reported by the National Accountability Bureau is provided in Table 3.4.64
Summarizing this and other documentation, the New York Times reported that the material included “. . . letters from executives promising payoffs, with details of the percentage payments to be made; memorandums detailing meetings at which these ‘commissions’ and ‘remunerations’ were agreed on, and certificates incorporating the offshore companies used as fronts in the deals. . . . The documents also revealed the crucial role played by Western institutions. Apart from the companies that made payoffs, and the network of banks that handled the money . . . the arrangements made by
Dirty Money at Work 81
TABLE 3.4 FOREIGN ASSETS ALLEGEDLY BELONGING TO BHUTTO AND ZARDARI

The Bhutto family for their wealth relied on Western property companies, Western lawyers and a network of Western friends.”65 Even the Swiss finally had had enough. Seventeen bank accounts linked to Bhutto and Zardari were frozen. The two were charged with money laundering in connection with bribes received from the inspection company SGS and were convicted by a Swiss court in 2003, with fines and suspended prison sentences. This was short-lived; the decision was overturned and referred back to cantonal prosecutors upon appeal. Meanwhile, Zardari was in prison in Pakistan from 1996 to 2004 on assorted charges.
Bhutto, with her father executed, two brothers assassinated, her mother an amnesiac, her husband still troublesome, and she living in exile between London and Dubai, portrays herself as the victim: “I never asked for power. I think they [the Pakistani people] need me. I don’t think it’s addictive. You want to run away from it, but it doesn’t let you go. . . . I think the reason this happens is that we want to give love and we receive love.”66 Save your tears. In the global collection of displaced leaders, Benazir Bhutto may be the least sympathetic character of all.
Nawaz Sharif. 
While Benazir Bhutto hated the generals for executing her father, Nawaz Sharif early on figured out that they held the real power in Pakistan. His father had established a foundry in 1939 and, together with six brothers, had struggled for years only to see their business nationalized by Ali Bhutto’s regime in 1972. This sealed decades of enmity between the Bhuttos and the Sharifs. Following the military coup and General Zia’s assumption of power, the business—Ittefaq—was returned to family hands in 1980. Nawaz Sharif became a director and cultivated relations with senior military officers. This led to his appointment as finance minister of Punjab and then election as chief minister of this most populous province in 1985. During the 1980s and early 1990s, given Sharif ’s political control of Punjab and eventual prime ministership of the country, Ittefaq Industries grew from its original single foundry into 30 businesses producing steel, sugar, paper, and textiles, with combined revenues of $400 million, making it one of the biggest private conglomerates in the nation. As in many other countries, when you control the political realm, you can get anything you want in the economic realm.

With Lahore, the capital of Punjab, serving as the seat of the family’s power, one of the first things Sharif did upon becoming prime minister in 1990 was build his long-dreamed-of superhighway from there to the capital, Islamabad. Estimated to cost 8.5 billion rupees, the project went through two biddings. Daewoo of Korea, strengthening its proposals with midnight meetings, was the highest bidder both times, so obviously it won the contract and delivered the job at well over 20 billion rupees.
A new highway needs new cars. Sharif authorized importation of 50,000 vehicles duty free, reportedly costing the government $700 million in lost customs duties. Banks were forced to make loans for vehicle purchases to would-be taxi cab drivers upon receipt of a 10 percent deposit. Borrowers got their “Nawaz Sharif cabs,” and some 60 percent of them promptly defaulted. This left the banks with $500 million or so in unpaid loans. Vehicle dealers reportedly made a killing and expressed their appreciation in expected ways. Under Sharif, unpaid bank loans and massive tax evasion remained the favorite ways to get rich. Upon his loss of power the usurping government published a list of 322 of the largest loan defaulters, representing almost $3 billion out of $4 billion owed to banks. Sharif and his family were tagged for $60 million. The Ittefaq Group went bankrupt in 1993 when Sharif lost his premiership the first time. By then only three units in the group were operational, and loan defaults of the remaining companies totaled some 5.7 billion rupees, more than $100 million.67 Like Bhutto, offshore companies have been linked to Sharif, three in the British Virgin Islands by the names of Nescoll, Nielson, and Shamrock68 and another in the Channel Islands known as Chandron Jersey Pvt. Ltd.69 Some of these entities allegedly were used to facilitate purchase of four rather grand flats on Park Lane in London, at various times occupied by Sharif family members. Reportedly, payment transfers were made to Banque Paribas en Suisse, which then instructed Sharif ’s offshore companies Nescoll and Nielson to purchase the four luxury suites.70
In her second term, Benazir Bhutto had Pakistan’s Federal Investigating Agency begin a probe into the financial affairs of Nawaz Sharif and his family. The probe was headed by Rehman Malik, deputy director general of the agency. Malik had fortified his reputation earlier by aiding in the arrest of Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. During Sharif ’s second term, the draft report of the investigation was suppressed, Malik was jailed for a year, and later reportedly survived an Dirty Money at Work 83 assassination attempt, after which he fled to London. The Malik report, five years in the making, was released in 1998, with explosive revelations: The records, including government documents, signed affidavits from Pakistani officials, bank files and property records, detail deals that Mr.
Malik says benefited Mr. Sharif, his family and his political associates:
• At least $160 million pocketed from a contract to build a highway from Lahore, his home town, to Islamabad, the nation’s capital.
• At least $140 million in unsecured loans from Pakistan’s state banks.
• More than $60 million generated from government rebates on sugar exported by mills controlled by Mr. Sharif and his business associates.
• At least $58 million skimmed from inflated prices paid for imported wheat from the United States and Canada. In the wheat deal, Mr. Sharif ’s government paid prices far above market value to a private company owned by a close associate of his in Washington, the records show. Falsely inflated invoices for the wheat generated tens of millions of dollars in cash.71
The report went on to state that “The extent and magnitude of this corruption is so staggering that it has put the very integrity of the country at stake.”72 In an interview, Malik added: “No other leader of Pakistan has taken that much money from the banks. There is no rule of law in Pakistan. It doesn’t exist.”73
What brought Sharif down in his second term was his attempt to acquire virtually dictatorial powers. In 1997 he rammed a bill through his compliant parliament requiring legislators to vote as their party leaders directed.
In 1998 he introduced a bill to impose Sharia law (Muslim religious law) across Pakistan, with himself empowered to issue unilateral directives in the name of Islam. In 1999 he sought to sideline the army by replacing Chief of Staff Pervez Musharraf with a more pliable crony. He forgot the lessons he had learned in the 1980s: The army controls Pakistan and politicians are a nuisance. As Musharraf was returning from Sri Lanka, Sharif tried to sack him in midair and deny the Pakistan International Airways flight with 200 civilians on board landing rights in Karachi. Musharraf radioed from the aircraft through Dubai to his commander in Karachi, ordering him to seize the airport control tower, accomplished as the plane descended almost out of fuel. Musharraf turned the tables and completed his coup, and Sharif was jailed. But Sharif had little to fear. This, after all, is Pakistan. Musharraf needed to consolidate his power with the generals, and Sharif knew details about the corruption of most of the brass. Obviously, it is better to tread lightly around the edges of your peer group’s own thievery. So Musharraf had Sharif probed, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison, but then in 2000 exiled him to Saudi Arabia. Twenty-two containers of carpets and furniture followed, and, of course, his foreign accounts remained mostly intact. Ensconced in a glittering palace in Jeddah, he is described as looking “corpulent” amidst “opulent” surroundings.74 Reportedly, he and Benazir Bhutto even have an occasional telephone conversation, perhaps to gether lamenting how unfair life has become.
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