Monday, October 27, 2008

Gauhars and Subversion of Free Press in Pakistan.

Ahmed Quraishi wrote:

The Collapse Of Western Institutions By Humayun Gauhar Sunday, 26 October 2008.

Thirty five years ago, a protégé of Field Marshal Ayub Khan jailed his press secretary. Mr. Bhutto had Mr. Altaf Gauhar in solitary confinement for three months for writing critical articles. Almost four decades later, Mr. Humayun Gauhar, the son, shares with us something that his father wrote during those jail years, a scathing critique of West’s ultimate hypocrisy: civility and rule of law for its own people, and aggression and tyranny for the rest of the colonized world.

Dear Quraishi Sahab,

Let me tell you about this Intellectual Pervert Humayun Gauhar [Editor of General Musharraf's Book 'In the Line of Fire] and let me tell all of you about Humayun Gauhar's Father Late. Altaf Gauhar [an Intellectual Dishonest to the core and worst Time server] whose photo is carried by your posted article above. Let me tell the services these Two [Father and Son] rendered for Pakistan. Let me tell you as to what Altaf Gauhar used to say about his 'ALLEGED' Translation of Quran [basically commentary upon another Deviant Translator Mullah Maudoodi's Tafhim] when he was in Jail. Agha Hassan Abidi [BCCI] had officially made Pimping an Institution through a section [BCCI Abu Dhabi Operations - UAE] in his so-called Celebrated Bank of Muslim Ummah and Abidi needed panderer like Gauhars for pimping. Humayun Gauhar's Father Altaf and his partner Qudratullah Sahab (Shahabn later became Sufis and used to tell as to how he witness the separation of his soul from his body [while alive in a Chapter of his biography Shahabnama)- both Bureaucrats of CSP/ISP Cadres) were the very persons who are the reason of the Collapse of Independent and Vibran Print Media and Journalism in Pakistan way back in 60s.




During the trial of Ayub’s Information Secretary Altaf Gauhar in 1972, a disclosure was made that quite a few members of the Press succumbed to the corruptive influences of the dictatorial regimes of Ayub and Yahyah. It was revealed that some members of the Fourth Estate were in the pay of various official agencies, doing assignments of purely political character, more often outside the ambit of the institutions they belonged to. Their role was part of the corrupt and unjust dispensation that had to be suffered all these years. Unfortunately, the names of the beneficiaries were expunged from the Court Proceedings.

The National Press Trust was a brainchild of Altaf Gauhar. To those who were brazen enough to present the naked dictatorship as ‘democracy’, it presented no problem to advertise the scheme for putting a number of important papers under the official thumb, as an enlightened attempt by
private “philanthropists” to “raise the standard of journalism and editorial policy”. An official compendium of Ayub’s “achievement”, Twenty Years of Pakistan, compiled under the supervision of Altaf Gauhar.

The Press and Publications Ordinance, 1960, was promulgated when Qudratullah Shahab, a super-bureaucrat, was Ayub’s Information Secretary. During his tenure as the Secretary, Ministry of Information, the Progressive Papers Limited had been taken over. The day these papers “turned a new leaf”, the editorial was written by himself claiming that “distant orbits and alien horizons- far from territorial and ideological boundaries of Pakistan- exercised a progressively increasing charm on the tone and policies of this newspaper (Pakistan Times). Which gradually began to look like a stranger in the house….”.

The decision to establish the National Press Trust had been taken, which was implemented by his successor. Shahab’s masterstroke was the creation of the Writers’ Guild. He himself was its first Secretary-General, while another Intellectual- Bureaucrat, Jamiluddin Aali (another Darbari Gawayya, not in the book my words) was appointed the Secretary. Three leading business houses of Karachi- Adamjees, Dawoods and Habibs-were marshalled to award “cash prizes” to “deserving writers” in order to “buy and corrupt their loyalties”.

Ayub during his last days, though a sick, lonely and broken man, did not forget Gauhar’s devotion and services to him. His final deed before vacating the President’s House was to hold a private investiture ceremony to pin a medal on Gauhar. Like his predecessor, Gauhar, since his removal from the corridors of power, has used every available platform to parade himself as the champion of the freedom of the Press as well as the man who had “nothing whatsoever to do” with the curbs on it. Soon after joining Dawn as its Chief Editor, it “dawned” upon him that the “curtailment of Press liberty has done immense harm to the country”.

During Altaf Gauhar’s sojourn behind the bars during the times of Bhutto, another realization “dawned” upon him, that of Maulana Abul Ala Maududi’s “profound understanding of Quran, the life of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Islamic History”, the same Maulana he had maligned full blast, when he was occupying a posh room in the Islamabad Secretariat. The Bureau of National Research and Reference, under the Ministry of Information, during the 1964 elections, produced tons of literature against Jamat-e-Islami. Khalid Hassan, at that time Assistant Director (Projection) of the Bureau, writes:

“It is a bit ironic that the Jamat-e-Islami which Gauhar was to intellectually embrace during and after his internment in the Bhutto years appeared to be the main subject of ‘research’ at the Bureau. I think practically everything written, published and distributed against the Jamat-e-Islami in those days was produced either directly by the Bureau or at its instances elsewhere”.

Surprisingly, the subjects for translation from Maudoodi’s Tafhim, chosen by Gauhar were “justice, accountability, repentance, tolerance etc”. After a decade, he made another disclosure. Debunking the “religious obscurantists forces”, Gauhar said he translated the Tafhim because “I was sent to prison where I had the Tafhim-ul-Quran not as a matter of choice. It was simply there, the only thing available to me in jail”. Since he had nothing to do he translated it. It had nothing to do with his convictions.

On the distribution of Secret Funds is described by no other than Former Director of the Public Relations, Khwaja Tasawwur Ali Hyder. Agitated by Gauhar’s interview published in the Hindustan Times in 1981, in which the former Secretary had said:

“In Pakistan journalism had not really developed the wayit should have. There was a heavy parochial and partisan bias”. The interview had been reproduced in Nawa-e-Waqt. Khwaja Hyder in his long rejoinder writes:

“In 1967, when I was the D.P.R., stationed in Lahore, Gauhar came to the provincial capital and visited my office…. I was surprised when he asked me to accompany him to the lawns of the office. He was my superior and there were no informal relations between us. While strolling across the lawns, I came to know that he had planted his men in various newspapers, Nawa-e-Waqt and Chattan, the two opposition papers, Gauhar told me we must know the inside working of these papers. For this purpose we should try to ‘hire’ some journalists in these organizations. I was taken aback by his words because I always considered that the PID was a different organization from that of the intelligence agency. Gauhar being an intelligent man himself, felt what was going on in my mind. He politely told me that the ‘hired people’ would be paid from the secret fund. He also told me that a senior staffer in Nawa-e-Waqt was supplying the needed information. After that meeting he visited Lahore twice, broached the subject and came to the conclusion that I could not deliver the goods. Suddenly, on April 14, 1967, I was demoted and transferred to Rawalpindi as the Deputy Principal Information Officer”.

“2/3 years back in a GEO TV program Capital Talk, Mr. Humayun Gauhar [the actual author of In the Line of Fire by Musharraf]s/ o Altaf Gauhar [the actual author of the Friend not Master] was advocating the case of Presidential Form of Government {Read Dictatorship} and lambasting Bhutto {agreed that Bhutto was not a saint but criticism must be objective} left and right."

Somebody must told Humayun some thing about his father and himself as well,

“If charity was Abedi’s real motivation, then he was hopelssly let down by the people he gathered around him. A classic example of the shenanigans of his associates was the running of the Thirld World Foundation, the Third World Group and its satellite companies, which involved the larger-than- life figure of Altaf Gauhar.

Gauhar, a long-time friend of Abedi from his early Pakistan days, is immensely well connected. He was secretary to the government in the days of Ayub Khan, and according to those who know him best, he was Khan’s ‘conscience keeper’. Gauhar is reputed to have ghosted Khan’s autobiography. Nadir Rahim describes conceding that Gauhar might have ‘run amok’, he states that at the time he was regarded as a ‘very powerful and seasoned civil servant.

When Bhutto came to power Gauhar lost favour. Charges were leveled against him and he was arrested. The incestuous bonds, which seem to draw everyone into Abedi’s web, took an exotic twist during Gauhar’s trial. It turned out that Raqaya Kabir, sister of Abedi’s chief financial officer, Masihur Rehman, admitted that she was Gauhar’s mistress. Raqaya and another of her brothers worked for Gauhar in a subsidiary of the Third World Group’s operation called Interspace Communications UK. Despite the fancy title it sold clothes- it was in the rag trade.

Gauhar was well attuned to Abeid’s predilection for helping the less fortunate and suggested that a Third World Foundation should be established, but again the control from the centre was to be remarkably lax. Gauhar recommended that there should be three trustees: Abedi, Naqvi and himself. But because Abedi and Naqvi had such great commitments elsewhere, it was written into the constitution that they would have no responsibility for the actions and decsicions of Gauhar who was also the secretary-general. Abedi and Naqvi went along with the suggestion, saying from the start that they would be much too busy to get involved.

Disaffected colleagues said that ‘whenever Gauhar found it convenient he took money from the Third World Foundation and put it into South Publications’ . South Publications’ magazine, South, frequently published eloquent contributions from Gauhar himself before it was finally wound up in 1990. Gauhar’s son, Humyaun, also worked for South Publications, and again according to one board member, ‘Father and son drew large salaries. South Publications were continuously running at a loss. What they were doing was just putting expenses down to charity.’

BCCI donated $ 10 million to the Third World Foundation and much of it was squandered on lavish conferences in exotic locations like Manila and China. Friends, families and their servants as well as World Leaders and journalists were all put up at the finest hotels, all expenses paid. The gathering were always well attended. Ted Heath, the former British Prime Minister, was a guest at the Manila conference.

Another worthy cause, which Gauhar invented, was the Third World prize. He persuaded Abedi that it could match the Nobel Prize in prestige. The Prize, like so much of Abedi’s charitable work, looked ethical to those on the outside, but was in fact totally self-serving. There was the loftiness of the ideal – a prize awarded to people who had contributed most to the Third World, with the backing of such figures as Javier Perez de Cuellar, SC OF UNO, Indira Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India. The list of recipients of the $ 100, 000 prize reflects BCCI’s drive from
international recognition, although as far as Abedi and his self-interest were concerned, who gave and who received probably did not matter, and sometimes, the giver was much more important to Abedi than the recipient.

1980 Dr Paul Prebish, international development economist from Argentina, with Dr Kurt Waldheim, the UN Secretary General in attendance.

1981 Dr Julius Nyerere, President of Tanzania, was presented with the prize by Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India.

1982 Zhao Ziyang, the Chinese premier, in a colorful ceremony in Beijing presented the prize to the International Rice Research Institute of Manila.

1983 Professor Arvid Pardo, the Maltese UN diplomate, received his prize from Belisario Betancur, President of Colombia.

1984 Willy Brandt, former German chancellor, with the new UN Secretary General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, giving his approval.

1985 Nelson and Winnie Mandela. The prize was received on their behalf by Oliver Tambo of the African National Congress from the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahatir Muhammad.

1986 Bob Geldof, for his work in raising funds for Ethiopia.

1987 The International Planned Parenthood Federation of India received the prize from the President of Brazil, Jose Sarney.

1988 Gro Harlem Bruntdland, the Norwegian Prime Minister, presented by Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

But all the time, Abedi was buying influence. The Charity Commission was not impressed by his motives and refused to grant the Third World Prize charitable status. Abedi turned to Cayman Island company to acquire a tax break on the Prize. How much money went into genuine charitable causes was always disputed. A source on the ICIC (International Credit and Investment Company) Foundation board said that Gauhar established a company before the Trust was set up, and the $ 10 million from BCCI went first into that company of which he and his son were directors: ‘One fine morning he [Gauhar] drew $ 7, 200,000 and put it in his personal account in London. When I came to know about it I told him he should immediately refund the money otherwise I would take action. So he refunded $ 7 million but not the $ 200, 000 he said he had spent on work for the prize. Until this day he has not returned the $ 200,000.’ The trustees then informed the Charity Commission about these unusual transactions and suggested it should look more closely at some of the lavish apartments being maintained by Gauhar and his son in London.



1 - The Press in Chains by late. Zamir Niazi.

2 - Bankrupt!:The BCCI Fraud by NICK KOCHAN and BOB WHITTINGTON.

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