Monday, November 16, 2009

Credibility of Shaheen Sehbai & General (R) Musharraf !

Group Editor of The News Shaheen Sehbai taking part in the programme expressed the view that Musharraf’s remarks about President Asif Zardari, as attributed by Hersh, could not be casually ignored. He said it must be investigated why Musharraf accused Zardari of not being a patriot, because, according to Sehbai, Hersh had some inside information given to him in interviews with Musharraf and Zardari which he did not reveal in his report. Seymour Hersh while standing by his report, pertaining to the comments offered by former President General (R) Pervez Musharraf about incumbent President Asif Zardari, has disclosed that the former president had given some harsher comments about his successor but in the ultimate scrutiny he allowed the remarks that he made part of his article. REFERENCE: Hersh claims US nuke team already in Islamabad By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir Sunday, November 15, 2009 GEO TV: National Interest, Seymour M Hersh, Shaheen Sehbai & Dr Shahid Masood. URDU TEXT OF MUHAMMAD SALEH ZAAFIR'S REPORT FILED IN DAILY JANG [TO PROMOTE ANTI PAKISTAN SEYMOUR HERSH].

Musharraf, who was forced out of office in August, 2008, under threat of impeachment, did not spare his successor. “Asif Zardari is a criminal and a fraud,” Musharraf told me. “He’ll do anything to save himself. He’s not a patriot and he’s got no love for Pakistan. He’s a third-rater.” ANNALS OF NATIONAL SECURITY - DEFENDING THE ARSENAL - In an unstable Pakistan, can nuclear warheads be kept safe? by Seymour M. Hersh NOVEMBER 16, 2009 FOR FULL TEXT OF SEYMOUR HERSH SOTRY: DEFENDING THE ARSENAL by Seymour M. Hersh
ANNALS OF NATIONAL SECURITY - DEFENDING THE ARSENAL - In an unstable Pakistan, can nuclear warheads be kept safe? by Seymour M. Hersh NOVEMBER 16, 2009

Mr Shaheen Sehbai in fervour of "Get Asif Ali Zardari" is ready to give importance to the negative statements of Musharraf against Zardari whereas Mr Shaheen Sehbai himself used to trash Musharraf in his web based magazine South Asia Tribune [Shaheen Sehbai Founded this magazine after he escaped from Pakistan in 2002 to seek political asylum in USA]. Let say and assume that Musharraf is right about Zardari [as per Shaheen Sehbai] but then question arises about Shaheen Sehbai's veracity about Musharraf???

General (R) Pervez Musharraf as per Shaheen Sehbai's articles in South Asia Tribune


Musharraf Engulfed in Biggest Emerging Financial Scandal of His Tenure By Shaheen Sehbai WASHINGTON DC, Sept 13, 2005 ISSN: 1684-2057

NEW YORK, September 13: When General Pervez Musharraf attends the Pakistan Human Development Fund Qawali in New York on September 15, (Price Tag: $275 per seat), he would be stamping the seal of his approval confirming to be an active partner in what would eventually emerge as the biggest financial scam of his tenure. The scandal involves massive wastage of almost Rs2 billion of Pakistani taxpayers’ money handed over practically to one individual, without any official oversight or accountability. The latest published statistics reveal much more than they conceal, although the money has been kept out of the searching eyes of any Government auditor.

According to a signed document, Rs 1.5 billion had been doled out by the end of June, 2004. The money is claimed to have be spent in the name of the poor, illiterate and deprived people of Pakistan but no one knows where it is going or has gone. What is being claimed on documents is simply not verifiable but it is packaged in such attractive donor jargon that it has fooled even some international agencies.

The biggest loser is the Government of Pakistan which has dished out a wholesome $32 million to a favorite of General Pervez Musharraf. The General was tricked by this soft spoken, poker faced, crafty Pakistani expatriate whose main reason to have come close to General Musharraf was that he offered some legitimacy to a pariah military dictator prior to 9/11.

“If any civilian politician had done half of what Musharraf has done in this case, he would have been hanged by the Army. But since a General has officially authorized grant of millions of dollars, without any Government audit or accountability, no one has the courage to challenge the scam, although every one knows what it is,” a senior Information Ministry official now in New York confided to the South Asia Tribune.

The scam is brewing in the National Commission for Human Development (NHCD), a body created cleverly under law and then smartly weaved into a privately owned Pakistan Human Development Fund (PHDF). Unsuspecting eyes would never find out the difference between these two identical sounding organizations and would never know where the billions were coming from and where they were going.

The mastermind behind the whole idea is Dr Nasim Ashraf, a Pakistani medical doctor who settled in United States and for years made his living from his medical practice until he had enough money to pursue his political ambitions and become active in the Pakistani community as well as an active donor to US congressmen, thus buying some influence.

Yet Dr. Ashraf, was a relatively unknown person until he got into the hi-profile project of the film on Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, which a former Pakistani High Commissioner in UK, Dr Akbar S. Ahmed, had produced. He even persuaded some known Pakistani-Americans to donate for the film as it was being produced to match the Oscar winner feature film ‘Gandhi’.

‘Jinnah’ never took off and Dr Akbar Ahmed was financially burnt in the project at the hands of Dr Nasim Ashraf. Dr Ahmed’s wife Zeenat publicly accused Dr. Nasim Ashraf of handing over the film in London to an Indian accountant Mr. Singla, appointed as Receiver. She also alleged that Ashraf brought out the film in DVD format with an addition in which he praised General Pervez Musharraf who had nothing to do with the film. Ashraf thus used the film as a political platform to get closer to Musharraf.

Dr. Ashraf denied her charges but it was a fact that he got closer and closer to Musharraf by exploiting many other well respected names including that of former Prime Minister Moeen Qureshi, Imran Khan’s ex-wife Jemima Khan, Princess Sarwath of Jordan and even Abdul Sattar Edhi, the Pakistani social worker of international fame.

When Dr Nasim Ashraf launched the Pakistan Human Development Fund, he used all these big names and some of them even contributed up to $100,000 each, thinking that it may be a genuine project with some achievable honest objectives of helping the poor people of Pakistan. Even today the web site of the Commission claims "four persons of international repute will manage the accounts" while in fact none of these four have either the time or the will now to involve with the Fund any more. These four persons are former Pakistan Prime Minister Moeen Qureshi, Imran Khan's former wife Jemima Khan, Princess Sarwath of Jordan and Maulana Abdul Sattar Edhi. Click to view web site

It was the early period of General Musharraf when despite support from many Pakistanis and expatriates he lacked legitimacy abroad and was looking for help from any quarter. That was the time when he found in Dr Nasim Ashraf an attractive ally who could lend him some credibility in the Pakistani community in US and congressional leadership in Washington. Dr Ashraf marketed himself well with the Pakistani dictator looking for legitimacy.

By that time he had already conceived the Human Development Plan and in June 2001, Musharraf appointed him as head of a Task Force on Human Development which made its recommendations in June 2002. The main proposal was to create the National Commission on Human Development but all funds granted to the Commission were to go into a privately run Fund of Dr. Ashraf called the Pakistan Human Development Fund. It was a pre-planned set up to divert funds into a private company set up under the 1984 Companies Ordinance.

All kinds of false promises, disinformation and misinformation was used to get the Government grant after Dr. Ashraf was appointed Chairman of the new Commission in the rank of a Minister of State. General Musharraf was promised that if Government handed out Rs 2 billion to the NCHD (Read PHDF), Dr Ashraf will raise Rs 4 billion from the US and other donors.

“We are initially targeting a sum of Rs. 6 billion for the Fund of which we expect that one-third each will be contributed by the Government, the donor community and private sector philanthropists,” General Musharraf said in his inaugural speech as President and Chief Executive at the Pakistan Human Development Forum on June 24, 2002 at the Convention Center in Islamabad. How could the Government just hand over Rs 2 billion to a private company was never explained. Click to View Text of speech

But in his inaugural speech Musharraf did explain that: “This fund will include members from all segments of the society, in particular, leading philanthropists and important personalities like Mr. Abdus Sattar Edhi.”

“I want to assure you that government will ensure that this Fund will be managed by an independent Board of Trustees in a transparent manner and it will be audited by a firm of international repute. The Annual Report of the Trust Fund will be made public and the copies of the report will be sent to donor communities as well. I shall personally be monitoring the work of the Commission and the Fund,” the General said, taking direct responsibility of the billions he was going to hand over to his friend.

The explanation was also to pre-empt any objections to such a large grant to an unknown and untested Pakistani expatriate who just happened to have come into the good books of an all-powerful dictator.

But while the General was promising transparency, he had been very cleverly set up to declare that the audit of the Fund would be carried out by a firm of international repute. That was patently illegal and against the Pakistani laws as any organization receiving Government funds has to be audited by the Auditor General of Pakistan.

Dr Nasim Ashraf never allowed the Auditor General to touch his account books despite growing resentment in the Ministry of Finance and Ministries of Education and Health. The resentment grew so much last June that the Senate of Pakistan unanimously recommended to the Lower House to get the accounts of the Commission audited by the Auditor General, but Dr. Nasim Ashraf foiled the entire Upper House by using General Musharraf’s powers who ordered the young junior Finance Minister, Omar Ayub Khan, to ignore this recommendation of the Senate.

It was a moment of shame for the Senate as the Opposition and Government both had joined hands with all the 100 Senators demanding an audit, to be defeated by one crony of the dictator.

When Pakistan's Secretary of Information, Mr. Shahid Rafi, was asked questions at his Press conference in New York last week about the Commission and why its accounts had not been audited by the Auditor General of Pakistan, first he could not believe there could be such a Department but then he realized the sensitiveness of the issue and redirected all the questions to Dr Nasim Ashraf, who was not present at the news conference.

The basic purpose of the NCHD was declared in the hi-sounding donor jargon to be the following:

- Based on a holistic development model, NCHD aims at enlarging the scale and scope of the efforts made by the government in ensuring the effective provision of social services. It perceives human development as a process of enlarging choices, building capacities and encouraging participation of communities at the grass roots.

- To ensure this, NCHD is directed towards supporting government line departments, civil society organizations and the local communities in the sectors of education, basic health care and income generating activities at the grassroots.

- NCHD identifies, and consequently presents innovative and cost effective solutions to fill implementation gaps, building the capacities of the involved agencies and stakeholders to effectively address the issues hampering the process. Through extensive training programs and capacity building workshops which cater to all the stakeholders involved in the process, NCHD helps ensure a lasting impact. These capacity building exercises are targeted towards Government Line departments, community based organizations and the community.

- NCHD believes in the importance of community ownership in all its projects where decision rights are provided to all stakeholders. This approach to poverty alleviation is multi-sectoral, therefore at NCHD we are taking an integrated approach focusing on the needs of people at the grassroots.

- Incubation of government and non-government delivery systems is a novel concept in human development. It is derived from the business world where a business incubator nurtures businesses through the initial phases of development. The ultimate objective is to help bridge the implementation gap between strategy and delivery by establishing a nationwide network of Human Development Support Units (HDSU) to operate under the aegis of the NCHD. Acting as incubators, the HDSUs will build the capacity and competencies of government line departments, and NGOs working in the social sectors at the district level by imparting skills to promote communication, coordination and knowledge sharing.

- The Education Program aims to assist the government in achieving 100% primary school enrollment and will open schools in areas where no government schools exist. The Health Program is focused on the improvement of Health Indicators.

- The NCHD has taken the initiative to create a National Volunteer Corps (NVC), following the UN International Year of Volunteers. Where thousands men, women and children are being mobilized to extend support to social sector interventions at the grassroots in Pakistan. NCHD is developing a system to match volunteer skill sets with the operational needs of the organization, in order to support its programs.

- An effective Communications strategy and Social Awareness campaign are being constantly developed to articulate the attitudes and behaviors necessary for human development and will identify and promote NCHD programs. It will use innovative Social Marketing methods to generate demand for the Health and Education Programs at the grassroots and to support global resource mobilization initiatives.

According to an expert in the Social Sector, all these attractive words mean nothing in terms of realities on the ground in Pakistan. In simple words, the Commission was duplicating the work of Education and Health Ministries, both provincial and federal, but without any government oversight of the billions it would receive. It was a license to enjoy life with Government money as almost Rs750 million had been granted to the Commission to meet its expenses for something which can never be measured against verifiable performance.

Now after over three years, the Commission and its performance have nothing to show where the hundreds of millions of rupees have gone, although the official reports published at the web site of the Commission gives lots of data and statistics about the expenses. The irony is that no one on the ground can verify whether the stats are correct and whether anything actually exists on the ground. Dr. Nasim Ashraf would not let Government auditors touch his accounts or verify the claims of his web site reports.

In one place the reports claims thousands of volunteers have been raised. A picture on the web site (above) shows only three persons as 'volunteers'. Where are these thousands is for the watchdogs and parliamentarians to find out but no one is available as far as knowledgeable people can see. Likewise the Commission claims it has taught 650,000 mothers to give ORS to their kids, as if the mothers did not know how to feed their children before.

The Chief Minister of Sindh, Arbab Ghulam Rahim was recently asked by a parliamentarian about the “great work” done by the Commission in his province. The CM scoffed at the MNA and said he had never heard of the Human Development Commission, far less any work it may have done. Some of the pictures posted on the web site are reproduced above but that is all they have.

An analysis of the Financial Report of the Commission for July 2004 to June 30, 2005 reveals a lot of pork barrel expenditure. It shows a total expenditure of Rs 757.3 million but out of this Rs 127.6 million went to Staff Cost, Rs 62.6 million to Program Support and Head Office Administration, Rs 45.9 million to Global Resource Mobilization and Rs 15.8 million to Communications. Click to View Report

Likewise another Rs 30 million went to Capital Expenditure and Rs 11.3 million for an unexplained head of “literacy in NWFP” while another "NCHD Literacy Project" claimed Rs 55.5 million.

There are many more heads which claims similar millions but no one can determine what they mean and whether this money ever left any bank account. At least until June 30, 2004 more than Rs 1 billion was parked in the private Pakistan Fund bank account, according to the very sketchy report of the private auditors. Click for report in PDF Format (Size: 2.5MB)

The Global Resource Mobilization for which Rs 46 million were spent included a grand gala dinner for General Pervez Musharraf in New York in 2004 in which a stolen drama production “Anarkali” was shown. Click to view SAT Report

But these resource mobilization efforts have produced hardly the figures that were promised to General Musharraf who had himself announced that while the Government would grant Rs 2 billion to the Fund, it would raise Rs 4 billion from other donors.

The Audit Reports and Income Statement of the Auditors shows as against the promise of Rs 4 billion, the Fund has not been able to raise even Rs 100 million in the last 3 years but has been living lavishly on the tax payers’ money.

All the assurances and explanations of General Musharraf before he gave away the billions to his crony, have now come to a point where they are falling flat and will soon come back to haunt him.

Everyone knows that as long as General Musharraf remains in power, Dr Nasim Ashraf and the men and women who have benefited from this scandal will not be touched.

But a very responsible Senator told the South Asia Tribune recently he had heard the key Fund guy admit at a private sitting saying: “Whenever Musharraf goes, I would be the first one to leave Pakistan.”

US Diplomats Think Ch. Shujaat Becoming Musharraf's Biggest Challenger By Shaheen Sehbai WASHINGTON DC, Aug 20, 2005 ISSN: 1684-2057

WASHINGTON, August 20: Senior US diplomats in Pakistan and in the State Department are genuinely intrigued about the display of an almost unbelievable confrontationist posture against General Pervez Musharraf, adopted by the most unlikely of politicians in today’s Pakistani spectrum --- the always obedient servant of the military establishment, Choudhry Shujaat Hussain.

These diplomats say on all key issues on which Musharraf wanted to curb the jihadis, or their political supporters, Choudhry Shujaat Hussain took a diametrically opposed line. What they cannot believe is that the Choudhry always won. The major issues they cite as examples are the handling of Madrassas, expulsion of foreign Islamic students, inclusion of religion column in passports, getting close to the liberal political parties like PPP, soft peddling the Hasba Bill of the MMA and rejecting any changes in the Islamic Hudood laws as proposed by Musharraf.

The Balochistan crisis was another such issue as Musharraf had vowed to sort out the insurgents saying they would not know what hit them, but Shujaat forced the political path on Musharraf.

It is natural for the head of the ruling political party anywhere to take up these issues of national import, but what the diplomats are confused about is that on every occasion Shujaat has embarrassed Musharraf, has succeeded in reversing what Musharraf may have claimed publicly with full military confidence and has gotten away with it.

More important than that, the US diplomats cannot understand where Shujaat was deriving his strength from, because the very nature of the man, and his entire politics, has always been subservient to the whims and desires of the Establishment. He has always been on the correct side of the powers ruling the country, thus cleverly avoiding any accountability or worse, political persecution.

Shujaat’s politics has been so crafty that despite being the main accused for the corruption of the Nawaz Sharif era and despite the fact that he was in the center of the Cooperatives scandal in which billions were looted from the innocent public, he not only escaped unscathed but was preferred by Musharraf to be made the most important political ally after the 1999 coup.

So what and who is now pushing Shujaat to take positions which embarrass Musharraf, the most powerful man in the country? This is the key question US diplomats are wondering about.

At recent meetings with US diplomats in Washington I had the genuine feeling that it was not Shujaat who was bothering them. It were his secret supporters and the strength they have given him to confront Musharraf which is of prime concern.

When I tried to probe one diplomat on this issue, he was evasive but certainly agreed with me in the undertones that the only people who enjoy such status and power are some of the Punjabi Corps Commanders of General Musharraf’s Army.

If Shujaat was speaking or acting on their behalf, it was a matter of grave concern for the Washington Establishment which has committed, whether anyone admits it or not, the mistake of putting all its eggs in the Musharraf basket.

In fact our discussion at one point took a very interesting turn when the diplomat asked me a point blank question: “Would you like to support a liberal and enlightened Musharraf or would you prefer a conservative Jihadi General who is supported politically by Shujaat and company. Keep in mind the consequences for the Press and politicians in that latter scenario,” he asked.

I was confused. I told him I would support an enlightened and liberal leader but not a General who says something in the morning and goes back on it in the evening or who does not know what is going on after 9 pm any way. But my counter question was: “Why are you asking me this question. Is there a threat to Musharraf?”

The diplomat would not say anything but his thrust of argument was that since everyone knows Shujaat Hussain and his politics, the way he has been acting in recent months confronting Musharraf, it can only mean that Musharraf is either helpless in stopping Shujaat or he knows where he is coming from and prefers to eat the humble pie and backtracks on his public declarations about critical national policy issues, whenever Shujaat opposes him.

I was sort of surprised at the logic and force of these arguments as having known Choudhry Shujaat Hussain for years, it was incomprehensible for me to imagine that a man like him, with all the dirty political baggage that he carries, he would become the man calling the shots and that too to embarrass a military dictator in full form who has support of all the key international power centers.

But for the US diplomats, Shujaat represents the changing face of the Pakistan polity and probably he has assumed the role of the political wing of the Jihadi forces, included among them the Jihadi army officers.

Stories about differences between Shujaat and Musharraf have been appearing in Pakistani media off and on and it is well known that when Musharraf wanted to replace Zafarullah Jamali, he had the Lahore whizzkid Humayun Akhtar Khan in mind as the next Prime Minister but it was Shujaat who stopped him.

Likewise Musharraf's tryst with Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari and PPP in recent months was also sabotaged very effectively by Shujaat who declared publicly that he would not let Musharraf and Benazir get together. The handling of Asif Zardari’s return to Lahore from Dubai and the thrashing PPP workers got from Punjab police when Zardari was first released from prison testify to this hard line stance, directly defying Musharraf.

So I asked the US diplomat why was it that they were not pressing Musharraf to make alliances with genuine liberal and enlightened political forces in the country if he was feeling so threatened by Shujaat Hussain, the new front man for Jihadis.

This million dollar question was never answered but what left me wondering was whether Musharraf was really so weak now that he cannot control a politician like Shujaat Hussain.

If that be so, then it is not hard to imagine what his position would be if he were to seek alliances with the genuinely popular political leadership, mainly represented by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Any popular leader would not allow him concessions that would seem to be a betrayal of the public trust and demands of democratic norms.

Musharraf is thus caught between the rock and the hard place as on the one hand he has to keep on conceding and making colossal political concessions to the likes of Choudhry Shujaat Hussain and his supporters, even to his deep public embarrassment, and on the other he has to talk and negotiate a political deal with politicians who would not be ready to concede much in such a situation.

But the US diplomats and other experts do believe that the better option for Musharraf is to immediately start talking to the enlightened political leadership in and outside the country, give them some meaningful concessions, get for himself a dignified exit, get them on board in a way that they can jointly confront the hidden jihadis within the Establishment and the political front man of these jihadis, Choudhry Shujaat and his clan. The alternative would be a loss for not only Musharraf but his Enlightened Moderation as well.

Musharraf's Farcical Theater of the Absurd By Shaheen Sehbai WASHINGTON DC, May 14, 2005 ISSN: 1684-2057

WASHINGTON, May 14: What a farcical theater of the absurd is General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan presiding over. One day he says something and all the collections of scared political mice around him think he has unleashed a cat in their midst. They start running helter skelter as if the house of horror was falling on their heads.

The next day the General himself realizes his mistake and makes another statement which throws the keen listeners of his 'Enlightened Moderation' song into a spin but is meant to help the political runaways reclaim their confidence.

This double speak before a media unable, or unwilling, to question him, or a helpless lot of unbelieving political allies has been repeated time and again, as and when the General has found himself trapped in either one corner or the other.

But when his last minute salvaging act just barely stops the scales from tipping over, he finds himself back in the middle of the stage unable to determine the next direction he would proceed in.

Soon he starts drifting again, from one untenable position to another, swinging from one end of the spectrum to another and hoping that somewhere, somehow, someone would deliver to him a formula which would resolve all the contradictions of his personality, his thoughts and his ambitions, setting his fears to rest and promising him a safe future.

That magic lamp has not yet been found and the General keeps scolding and replacing his Aladins desperately, ordering them to expedite their search to beat the ticking political time bombs, approaching in shape of one election date after another.

In the middle of this imaginative picture, all what General Musharraf has been saying for the last many days and weeks appears logical. Likewise all what his allies and smaller co-sharers of power have been doing against his wishes also makes sense.

What alternate explanation could anyone give for what has happened recently. Both Musharraf and PPP leaders say serious negotiations are going on behind the scenes between “liberal, like-minded forces.”

But the same liberal PPP has been beaten black and blue on the streets of Lahore and hounded grievously in Sindh and Punjab where thousands were arrested.

When Musharraf says PPP and not the Mullas are his logical ally, the PPP deserters and the ruling PML coalition starts shivering. Willingly or otherwise, Musharraf has to assure them quickly that Benazir Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif will not be around in even 2007 elections.

Interestingly while he speaks in definite terms about Benazir Bhutto, about Asif Ali Zardari he keeps the window of possibility open by saying Asif’s political fate would be decided by the Swiss court cases, meaning that if Zardari was acquitted in Geneva, there would be room to share the bed with him.

But whenever he talks in these terms about PPP and Asif, the inflated political balloon of the Choudhries of Gujrat and the coterie of self-seekers and turncoats huddled together by the ISI, NAB and other agencies starts leaking air.

Somewhat similar is the case of Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and his political party.

Musharraf and his men are desperate because time is on the side of his political opponents. Choudhry Shujaat Hussain has threatened more than once that even the 2007 elections could be put off by one or two years. That is where the big Choudhry exposes his diminishing level of confidence in the wizardry of Musharraf.

Because if Musharraf cannot coerce, bait or co-opt the liberals into his fold quickly, keeping his present allies into place as well, the entire chessboard may have to be wiped clean. The failure to find the Aladin’s Lamp may mean that the cleaning act may have to be done by some other General and by that time Musharraf and his Ali Babas would have made an unbearable mess of everything.

Benazir and Nawaz Sharif are sitting tight and happy abroad. Benazir is more than happy.

Just imagine if General Musharraf gives a clean chit to Asif Ali Zardari and is ready to talk and share power with him, the date, time and the historic picture of President Musharraf taking oath from Asif in the President’s House may not be that far away.

Would that picture not be very similar to that Ministerial oath given by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan to the same Asif Ali Zardari, who had walked away with the Pakistan flag flying on his official limousine. A similar picture would place General Musharraf in the same category as the disgraced GIK and I would love to be present on that occasion when the big mouthed General leads Asif to his swearing in ceremony.

Benazir would be enjoying the bigger picture. Is it not a fact that 90 per cent of all the charges against her during both her tenures as Prime Minister were related to Asif Zardari. He was called Mr 10 per cent. He was the bad guy, the wheeler dealer, the friend of friends. He was kept as a hostage.

So the day Asif is declared ‘Kosher’ by the Army, what would be left against Benazir Bhutto and who would stop her and on what grounds from coming back and becoming Pakistan’s Sonia Gandhi.

But any concessions that Asif offers to General Musharraf or the Army, which are not publicly and expressly supported by Benazir Bhutto would mean nothing.

That is Musharraf’s dilemma and in this intricate web of intrigues, deceits, power plays and machinations, the General has been forced to play on the wicket of the politicians.

His own political cricket team is unable to either bat or bowl without his non-political source of power. His opponents are skilled Test players and the General has no clue whether the next delivery he faces would be a leg break, off break or a googlie.

It appears the time has almost arrived when the General stops the match altogether, declares himself a winner and tries to recapture the pavilion. The confused state of his mind is saying much more than his confused words.

Corrupt Musharraf's Generals, Exposed by Musharraf's Generals By Shaheen Sehbai WASHINGTON DC, April 29, 2005 ISSN: 1684-2057

WASHINGTON, April 29: General Pervez Musharraf cannot, and does not, publicly claim that he has eliminated corruption altogether in Pakistan but he frequently boasts about cleaning up the top levels of his military cum civil administration.

Now his own trusted men are exposing these tall claims by pointing fingers and naming the military regime’s big guns who are turning out to be the really big thieves. A few most glaring examples:

When a prominent cabinet minister who was visiting Washington a few months back, revealed quietly to me and a friend, the horrifyingly ugly scale of land grabbing and fake land sale scams going on in Pakistan, especially in Punjab, we frankly did not believe him.

We thought the minister was trying to get even with his uniformed masters for not fulfilling the tall political promises made to him. But the magnitude of the scams was such that the minister genuinely felt concerned and wanted us to write about them, although as a politician he was not going to raise his voice publicly and was prepared to serve those very Generals in every top position.

The minister has now been proved right. Thanks to one of the more upright Generals in the present lot, the Corps Commander of Lahore, Lt. General Shahid Aziz, details of the massive land scams are emerging.

Our ministerial source says Corps Commander Aziz, has started a serious investigation against his predecessor, the last Corps Commander of Lahore, currently posted in the GHQ, Lt. General Zarrar Azim, known in the real estate world of Lahore as General Zarrar Zamin (land).

Early results of this fight between the top military bulls has revealed that General Zarrar was so deeply involved in the scam of Lahore Defence Society that in the price of every plot of land allotted in the society, a fee of Rs 600,000 (US$10,000) had to be built-in, almost automatically, meant for the Corps Commander’s office.

In this scam, it is now being found by the detectives of the new Corps Commander, that not only the out-going CC was involved, he was using a junior officer, Major Lodhi as a front man. This major is related to General Musharraf’s coup partner and now retired General Aziz of Kargil fame.

The details of these Defence Society scams are mind boggling. Thousands of plots of lands are designated in official files as Defence Society land and these plots are then sold and re-sold on files. More paper Housing Societies are registered and approved and they claim vast tracts of land without owning a square yard.

According to our source, in Lahore alone there are 12,000 files of plots for Sectors 7, 8, 9 and 10 for which there is no land actually available on the ground. How many thousands of more such plots have been sold is not yet known but the probe ordered by Lt. Gen. Aziz will bring out some facts.

According to a going joke in the Army Mess Circuit, the last request General Musharraf made to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi was to give him 8,000 acres of land from the Indian territory across the Wagah-Atari border, 30 miles from Lahore, in return for Kashmir and Siachin, because “my boys have already sold this land in the files.”

Lahore is not the only Land of Land Scams. What has happened in Gwadar and Rawalpindi is of no less import.

The ministerial source said in the Bahria Town of Rawalpindi and Lahore, thousands of non-existent plots have been sold by the scheme managers. In Bahria Town of Lahore for 7,000 available plots 28,000 applications were accepted with deposits. But in Bahria Town Islamabad/Rawalpindi 77,000 plots have been sold which require land equivalent to 16 built-up sectors of Islamabad.

“What we are getting into is the Mother of all Scams because billions upon billions of people’s money has been collected by these project sponsors while there is no land to be allotted. How many of these buyers get back their deposits and when, is the 50 billion rupees question,” the source said.

Incidentally official records of the Ministry of Defence presented before the National Assembly show that Pakistan Army has Defence Housing Societies in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad on an area of only 179,308 Kanals, or 22,500 acres. Pakistan Navy and Air Force have two housing societies each covering an area of 712 and 536 acres of land respectively.

Another of Musharraf’s top commanders, Lt Gen. Tariq Wasim Ghazi, former Corps Commander of Karachi became notoriously famous in Karachi for similar land scams in Defence Society, Karachi, including Creek City and allotment to two special people, Humayun Butt and Fareed Veerani. Who are these specials and what is their involvement is being investigated by South Asia Tribune and will be revealed soon.

The Gwadar land scam has already infuriated the Baloch leadership and one reason why they are so violent and non-compromising is how their mother land is being sold and resold to outsiders after it was fraudulently bought from them for peanuts. In Gwadar the Generals and their front men were quietly told to buy the land from locals much in advance of announcement of mega projects. Once this mopping up operation was completed, the projects were announced and trading of this real estate began, multiplying the prices by 20 or even 40 times.

The ministerial source said the bigger scandal in Gwadar has started just recently when Government has ordered all its banks and State-owned Corporations to buy land in Gwadar at market prices. Middlemen have already sold and resold these plots many times over to different parties to perk up the market price. “The tax payer will now end up paying the premium to these land mafias,” the source said.

In a much quieter operation in Lahore the City Government of Nazim (Mayor) Mian Amer Mahmood claimed on Sunday, April 24, that it had succeeded in vacating 3,000 kanals (375 acres) of land belonging to schools from a land mafia, but interestingly he did not name the mafia. Most of those who read the small story or who were present when the announcement was made understood who was involved.

While Corps Commanders of Musharraf are involved in perpetuating or dismantling these land scams, one of his pillars of accountability, the former head of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lt. General (Retd) Amjad Hussain was himself accused of massive corruption in the corporation he has been heading.

This charge of corruption was leveled in the National Assembly of Pakistan and involved the Fauji Foundation, undeniably the largest corporate body of Pakistan, now waiting to take over the largest public sector company, Pakistan State Oil.

The National Assembly was told last week that a high-level inquiry had been ordered against the management of the Fauji Foundation after detection of huge financial bunglings. General Amjad was facing the inquiry for selling a sugar mills in a non-transparent manner at less than the highest bid to a business enterprise which did not even participate in the bidding process.

The Assembly was told that the Khoski Sugar Mills was sold at Rs300 million against a previous bid of Rs387 million offered by a private party. Defence Minister Rao Sikandar ordered the inquiry to fix responsibility on those who violated the financial procedures and rules by going out of the way to benefit a favorite firm.

While the above details show that in-service Generals and Corps Commanders were being investigated for corruption, another officially announced corruption case was against the management of the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games, interestingly consisting of all military officers headed by Lt. General Arif Hassan.

The management of SAF Games has been found involved in financial irregularities to the tune of Rs201 million, which among other charges, include giving undue benefit to private organizations through "verbal agreements," Daily Dawn said quoting an audit report .

The ninth SAF Games management included Chairman Lt. Gen. Arif Hassan, Chief of staff and chief coordinating officer Brig. Amjad Javaid, Information and media director Lt. Col. Syed Mujtaba Tirmizi, Administration Director Brig. Ahmad Riza Siddiqi, Communications Director Brig Abid Hussain Bhatti, Technical Director Lt. Col. (retired) Muhammad Yahya, Procurement Director Lt. Col. Mansoor Abbas, Information Technology Director Lt. Col. Umer Farooq, Finance and Marketing Director Lt. Col. Azhar Dean, Ceremonies Director Brig. Arif Rasul Qureshi, Protocol Director Brig. Khalid Rasheed Lodhi and Chief Engineer Lt. Col. Usman Saeed.

The question being asked in all relevant circles was that even to organize an sporting event, none of the very well qualified civilians was found to be suitable and from top to bottom all army men had been inducted as if it SAF Games were military exercises. And now these sacred cows have been found to be involved in irregularities and corruption.

In a military regime, obviously the Corps Commanders and senior Generals are the top level of Government and if scams and scandals involving these top men are officially exposed, some in the National Assembly and others by leaks to the media by his own people, how would General Musharraf explain his claims of eliminating top level corruption.



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