Quite interesting news is as under about Senator Saifur Rehman after 12 Oct 1999 Pakistan Army Mutiny against the Elected Government of Mian Nawaz Sharif.
Saif touches Asif's knees, begs pardon - April 7: Saifur Rehman, the former chief of the Ehtesab Bureau, touches the knees of Asif Zardari to express regret and apology. "I know you are very angry with me for the excesses I committed against you, but I ask your forgiveness," Saifur Rehman said as he entered the Accountability Court I in Rawalpindi, where Mr Zardari was sitting, surrounded by friends and newsmen, after a hearing in the Pakistan Steel Mills reference. REFERENCE: COURTESY: ABDUS SATTAR GHAZALI - CHRONOLOGY OF PAKISTAN APRIL 2001 http://www.ghazali.net/world/pakistan/To_Date_Events/01Apr/01apr.html
Lets assume Mr. Muhammad Saleh Zaafir, Jang Group and Senator. Mr. Saifur Rehman are correct then how would the same Jang Group of Newspaper and its owner Mir Shakil ur Rahman would justify the below mentioned flagrant violation and abuse of Rules, Law and Justice by the same Senator Saifur Rehman (Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group) A GLIMPSE OF PAKISTAN MUSLIM LEAGUE - NAWAZ GROUP'S SENATOR SAIF UR REHMAN "ALLEGED ACCOUNTABILITY" AGAINST JANG GROUP OF NEWSPAPERS/PRESS/CITIZENS BY VIOLATING EVERY LAW IN THE BOOK. I HOPE JANG GROUP/THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL/SHAHEEN SEHBAI/MAHMOOD SHAM/MUHAMMAD SALEH ZAAFIR/DR. SHAHID MASOOD AND ABOVE MIR SHAKIL UR REHMAN WOULD AGREE WITH THE ACCOUNTABILITY STYLE OF SENATOR SAIFUR REHMAN.
Cassette exposes govt's assault on press - Mir Shakil says govt preparing anti-state cases against him; fears for his life; 'our organisation is being destroyed'; audio cassette of talks with Saif, Mushahid played during crowded press conference; journalists flabbergasted - By our correspondent KARACHI: Editor-in-Chief of Jang Group of Newspapers Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on Thursday said that after victimising his group by freezing its accounts, seizing newsprint and serving income tax notices, the government was now preparing anti-state cases against him. Addressing a crowded press conference at the Karachi Press Club, Mir Shakil said that there would not be any problem for the Jang Group if he bowed before the PML government, instead of publishing the truth.
The editor-in-chief said that the PML government had attempted to create an impression that the action against the Jang Group of Newspapers was an administrative affair because of income tax issues and misuse of newsprint quota. But every government action taken against his group was to stop printing of those news items, which would go against the interest of the prime minister, his business concerns and his family, he added. Flanked by senior journalists Z A Sulehri, Irshad Ahmad Haqqani, Maleeha Lodhi and Kamila Hayat, Mir Shakil said that he was under tremendous pressure from Ehtesab Bureau chief Saifur Rahman, who was out to victimise the Jang Group of Newspapers for not bowing before his whims.During the press conference, Mir Shakil also played an audio cassette on which some of his talks with Senator Saifur Rahman, Information Minister Mushahid Hussain and senior journalist Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shami, who played the mediator's role, were recorded.
The cassette also included the following dialogue between Mir Shakil and Senator Saifur Rahman: "Mir Shakil: The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has given verdict in our favour. "Saif: This was because of our leniency. We did not give him (chairman of the tribunal) the instructions. If we had given him the instructions, even his father could not have given that decision." Regarding the character of IT Tribunal Chairman Mujibullah Siddiqui, Mir Shakil said that he was an honest officer and had enjoyed enviable reputation for his integrity. This was a fact endorsed by senior lawyers, who had come to hear Mir Shakil's press conference. During the recorded meetings, Senator Saif and Information Minister Mushahid Hussain were heard demanding favours from the Jang Group on policies regarding the governor's rule in Sindh, the Shariah Bill and the economic policies. The government functionaries were heard as saying that 14 people on senior positions both in the Jang and The News should be removed. The journalists included Maleeha Lodhi, Kamila Hayat, Irshad Ahmad Haqqani, Mahmood Sham, Kamran Khan, Abid Tahami, Marghoob, Khawar, Aftab Iqbal and others.
The government also demanded that such journalists should be replaced by people who could favour the government's policies. The government had divided the unfavourable journalists into 'A' and 'B' categories. Raising objections on the reports of investigative reporter Kamran Khan, Saif said during the meetings the government had secured assurances from the ISI about him and he should be controlled by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. The government team also accused the Jang Group of spreading hatred among the masses against the ruling party. They demanded that telephonic surveys on national issues should not be conducted by newspapers. Mir Shakil said that because of restrictions on newsprint supply, the Jang Group was facing hardships in bringing out its daily newspapers. "Despite clearance from the Customs authorities, 2,000 reels of paper have not been released todate. Because of this problem, from Saturday, daily Jang will print only six pages and The News will bring out 10 pages," he added. Mir Shakil said: "All our bank accounts have been seized. The personal accounts of mine and my mother have also been seized. Yesterday (Wednesday) when my brother gave statement in our favour, his account in the United Bank Ltd, Al-Rahman Branch, was also seized."
The editor-in-chief said that the Supreme Court was moved against the injustices meted out by the PML government. "It was a remarkable thing that this step was taken by us in the country," he added. Mir Shakil said reports were received that anti-state cases were being prepared against him. He said: "The government is making all out attempts that the issue should not be construed as one of 'press freedom' and 'freedom of expression'. I am afraid that something terrible is in the making. I also fear for my life." He said he would prove whatever published in the Jang Group of Publications was the truth. "Whatever we published was also covered by other newspapers, but only our group was being targeted. I don't care whatever they will do with me. I will prove each and everything on the basis of logic and facts. Whatever we published, it is our job to prove it. And what the government said, it is their responsibility to prove it," Mir Shakil remarked. The editor-in-chief said that the government's actions were based on malicious intentions and were taken with 'unfair mind'. According to the tape-recorded message, Senator Saifur Rahman said that the income tax and other legal notices would be withdrawn and government advertisements would be released, if the Jang Group supported the government's policies.
Thursday, July 22, 2010, Shaban 09, 1431 A.H
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Mir Shakil said: "There was a time when I got confused. I thought about my life, my family, my organisation and about my 4,000 workers and their families. It is very difficult to stand before the state power. Some people advised me to bow down and accept the government's conditions to save the institutions. But there were also people who advised me to stand for the truth." Regarding a story which was published in daily Observer of London and reproduced in Pakistan by a number of newspapers but could not be covered by the Jang because of pressure from the government, the editor-in-chief said: "I felt sorry for it. In the market economy, it is very difficult to survive, if one is not in the competition." Mir Shakil said: "The government did too much against us and is still doing a lot. The organisation of newspaper owners -- the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) -- and the association of editors -- the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) -- also intervened into the matter. But under the given circumstances, the Jang Group had to take decisions which were not recommended by the APNS and the CPNE. But they are with us. There is also a resolution from them in our favour."
The editor-in-chief said that the situation was in the Jang Group's favour. "We were not involved in selling imported newsprint quota in the market. We did not avoid payment of income tax. We did not publish stories which were incorrect," he added. Without giving names of other newspaper organisations involved in selling newsprint quota, Mir Shakil said the government was not taking any action against them. The editor-in-chief said that when he addressed a press conference in August 1998, some newspapers played a nasty role. "They propagated that there was a deal between the government and the Jang Group. But that was not true. If there was any deal and if that was any administrative matter, then why the ban was imposed on releasing public sector advertisements to us," he added. Mir Shakil said: "I did not leave any stone unturned to resolve the issue. I went from pillar to post. I wrote a letter to Abbaji, the father of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but to no avail. The government's action against the Jang Group began in August 1998, when income and wealth tax cases of the group's various companies and directors, previously being dealt by different Income Tax (IT) circles, were pooled in one circle. This circle is renowned as a branch of the Ehtesab Bureau in the IT Department where cases of those politicians are dealt, against whom the government has decided to take any action."
Referring to a television programme telecast the previous night on the PTV, Mir Shakil said that it was a one-sided propaganda. "If there is democracy, then versions of both the sides should be presented and then experts will decide what is right and what is wrong. This is the policy of the Jang Group to give views of all concerned parties. We have printed complete view of the government's side also in our newspapers," he remarked.REFERENCE: Cassette exposes govt's assault on press - Mir Shakil says govt preparing anti-state cases against him; fears for his life; 'our organisation is being destroyed'; audio cassette of talks with Saif, Mushahid played during crowded press conference; journalists flabbergasted - By our correspondent February 07, 1999 The News International Pakistan http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/spedition/waronjang/news/jan99/jan99-29-1.htm
Now, in 1999, on the morning of Sunday July 18, Moinuddin Khan, who had been brought in by the prime minister early in his second round to be chairman of the Central Board of Revenue and who has now reverted to his original profession, banking, rang from Riyadh. He told me that his brother, Naeemuddin Khan, an officer of the United Bank who dealt with bad debts and recoveries, had been abducted from his house in Karachi the night before by the FIA under instructions from Senator Saifur Rahman, head of the accountability bureau, the prime minister's chief trouble shooter. Naeem's whereabouts were not known. Knowing how Najam Sethi and Hussain Haqqani had been recently treated, Moin was naturally worried. What could be done? Ringing Saifur Rahman would not help as he would deny all knowledge or involvement. All that could be done was to file a writ of habeas corpus, though many of our judges are not aware of the meaning or importance of the urgency of this writ, and do not realize that it must be heard as soon as a petitioner's advocate rises and announces that he has filed such a writ. Moin said that they had already decided to do this and that advocate Akram Shaikh was being instructed accordingly. Senator Saifur Rahman, close confidante and friend of the prime minister from whose secretariat he operates, has taken upon himself the responsibility of ensuring that Nawaz Sharif and his government rule over us in perpetuity. Like the rest of the partymen, using his clout he had borrowed money from the government bank UBL in 1991, during Nawaz Sharif's first round and become a mill owner and industrialist. Some sums have been repaid but as of today he, his family, his textile mill and his business concern Redco owe UBL, from borrowings made in Pakistan and abroad, some Rs.1.4 billion (140 crores). Before Nawaz Sharif came in for the second time, the loan repayments were rescheduled twice but the repayment schedule was not adhered to. Come Sharif and his second round, banker Zubayr Soomro was brought in to head UBL and the recovery process in all cases was activated. For the third time, Saifur Rahman's repayments were rescheduled, and yet again no repayments were made in time. Finally, UBL filed a recovery suit in the Lahore High Court and the harassment of Zubayr commenced. His safety was guaranteed by the fact that he is the son of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro.
Saifur Rahman, in turn, filed a suit in the LHC against UBL claiming damages, pleading that interest was un-Islamic, etc, etc. The suits are being heard. Then, about six weeks ago, Saifur Rahman filed a writ in Justice Malik Qayyum's court at the LHC seeking, inter alia, that proceedings in the UBL suit be stayed so as to give him time to approach the high-powered bankers' rescheduling committee. Justice Qayyum passed no orders. The heads of seven banks and financing institutions forming the committee are: Shaukat Tareen, Habib; Mohammadmian Soomro, National; Zubayr Soomro, United; Mian Mohammad Mansha, President, Muslim Commercial; Rashid Chaudhry, Allied; Mohammad Ali Khoja, PICIC; Bilal Shaikh, NDFC. This committee cannot take notice of any rescheduling until the affected bank itself refers the matter to it. This UBL has not so far done. Saifur Rahman can prevail upon five of the seven committee members (let each think he is one of the two). In the meantime Saifur Rahman managed to get one-time Ittefaq lawyer, Chaudhry Mohammad Farooq, who is also the Attorney-General of Pakistan, the first law officer of the people, to write to the Governor of the State Bank asking him to direct the committee to consider questions relating to Saifur Rahman's unpaid loans. The State Bank has brought this letter to the committee's attention but so far it has taken no action.
BBC Documentary on Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Corruption
In the meantime, on the orders of Saifur Rahman, the income tax authorities commenced harassing Naeemuddin and his other brother, Banker Bahauddin of Deutsche Bank. Saif rang Moinuddin in Riyadh on July 9 asking him to prevail upon Naeemuddin to be reasonable. Moin told him his brother abided by his own norms. On July 18, as soon as Zubayr learnt that Naeemuddin had been abducted by the FIA, he moved to save his man. The first person he turned to was naturally his father, Ilahi Bakhsh, who leapt into action, and found the prime minister at Lahore airport as he and his ninety hangers-on were about to board their special Umra flight. The prime minister took a second wise decision and instructed his Principal Secretary, Saeed Mehdi, to order the immdiate release of Naeemuddin, who had been flown from Karachi to Islamabad and lodged in Saifur Rahman's safe domed secretariat.
On July 22 when I rang Saif to ask him why he felt compelled to harass those who did not 'cooperate,' he denied all knowledge of Naeemuddin's abduction. For good measure, he informed me that the previous day certain power-wielders of Islamabad were considering sending the federal police to collect me from Karachi and to ensure my presence before the Privileges Committee of the National Assembly. When I asked who they were, he would not name them, but told me he had restrained them from taking any such action. I had to refresh his memory. On April 13, 1998, MNA Khwaja Asif, holding the rank of a federal minister, reported to the National Assembly secretariat that I had not only "used abusive language but also threatened me with dire consequences." He considered this to be "a clear breach of my privilege and attempt to stop me from performing my duties as a parliamentarian." I was summoned by the Privileges Committee. Much correspondence ensued. On December 5, 1998, I wrote a seven-page letter in the final paragraph of which I wrote : "Let me state that in principle I have no objection to appearing before the Committee but before I do I would like to be categorically told about the law under which I am required to appear, the details of the allegation, as well as the evidence upon which it is based, and the finding of the Committee on the crucial issues I have raised hereinabove." After my talk with Saif, I wrote another letter to the Secretary of the Privileges Committee drawing his attention to the General Clauses (Amendment) Act 1997 (adding section 24A to the General Clauses Act 1897) passed by parliament. This requires any authority, office or person making any order, or issuing any direction, to give reasons for making the order or issuing the direction. I reiterated my readiness "to appear before the Committee as and when lawfully summoned, but I must be made aware of the law which entitles you to summon me . . . . . I justifiably feel that an unsubstantiated statement made by a legislator is not sufficient reason to inconvenience any citizen." I would like to believe that my lawyer, Khalid Anwer, our present government's law minister, is giving 'sound advice' to the prime minister but that his advice is not being heeded. REFERENCE: Sound advice By Ardeshir Cowasjee 25 July 1999 Sunday 11 Rabi-us-Saani 1420 http://www.dawn.com/weekly/cowas/990725.htm
(b) "With him, amongst others, was Senator Saifur Rahman. Saif was later to deny having had anything to do with the transportation of the hordes, explaining that he had 'rushed' to Lahore the evening before to visit a judge of the Supreme Court. Having met His Lordship at 11 o'clock at night, he had hitched a ride back with Shahbaz." (b) Which Supreme Court judge did Saifur Rahman call upon at 2300 hours? (c) A 'move' exercise would have entailed a company of 111 Brigade motoring up and down the Constitution Avenue without resorting to action. (d) From the statement filed in the court by Senator Iqbal Haider on May 25, 1998. This was followed by the clandestine visit to the judges of the Quetta Bench of the honourable Supreme Court by the envoy of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Senator Rafiq Ahmad Tarar, whereafter the Quetta judgment of November 28, 1997, was delivered by Justices Irshad Hasan Khan and Khalilur Rahman Khan.
(e) The video cassette of the film recorded by the CCTV cameras installed in the Supreme Court building was considered sufficient evidence by Chief Justice Ajmal Mian to order a judicial inquiry into the storming. (f) Justice Abdur Rahman Khan confirmed that the storming had coerced and intimidated the judiciary. A clear case of contempt in the face of the court. (g) All the evidence remains on record of the Supreme Court. (h) On the production of evidence recorded by the court cameras a judicial inquiry was conducted and contempt proceedings followed. 5) That in the interests of the "sanctity, dignity and respect of the apex court of the country", I submit that Mian Nawaz Sharif, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Saifur Rahman, Lt General Nasim Rana, and the journalists present in court on November 28, 1997, be summoned to give evidence under oath. REFERENCE: Storming of the Supreme Court By Ardeshir Cowasjee 01 October 2000 Sunday 02 Rajab 1421 http://www.dawn.com/weekly/cowas/20001001.htm
Nawaz Sharif Osama Bin Laden Khalid Khwaja Connections 1
Nawaz Sharif Osama Bin Laden Khalid Khwaja Connections 2
Nawaz Sharif Osama Bin Laden Khalid Khwaja Connections 3
Rehmat Shah Afridi [Frontier Posts] Exposes Nawaz Sharif (PML-N)'s Corruption 1
Rehmat Shah Afridi [Frontier Posts] Exposes Nawaz Sharif (PML-N)'s Corruption 2
Rehmat Shah Afridi [Frontier Posts] Exposes Nawaz Sharif (PML-N)'s Corruption 3
Rehmat Shah Afridi [Frontier Posts] Exposes Nawaz Sharif (PML-N)'s Corruption 4
The Committee to Protect Journalists - Jang Group of Newspapers Targeted by Government Feb 1, 1999
Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 2
Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 3
Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 4
Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 5
Send a letter to:
His Excellency Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister's Secretariat
The Pen Is Mightier... Pakistan's press is certainly freer than before though it labours under the shadow of the government.NAJAM SETHI MAGAZINE FEB 22, 1999 NAWAZ Sharif has never liked the press. He once said newspapers only cause trouble. When he was prime minister the last time (1990-93), he had a short fuse and gave the press a hard time. Numerous cases of vandalism by ruling party thugs against newspapers and journalists were reported across the country. Takbeer magazine's offices in Karachi were burnt down. A sedition case was lodged against the editor of The News in Islamabad for publishing a poem in the letters column which Sharif didn't like. And so on. I had a particularly nasty experience in 1992-93 because, apart from the investigative stories of corruption in government, Sharif didn't warm to a weekly satirical column about him in my paper. Armed thugs were sent to rough me up but I escaped their clutches. I was advised my safety couldn't be guaranteed if some ruling party loyalists decided to bomb my office. Income tax notices flew thick and fast. Anonymous phone-callers abused my wife and threatened rape and kidnapping. My paper survived only because Sharif was booted out of power a couple of months later. Pakistani politicians like Sharif who are originally products of martial law have a special love-hate relationship with the press. They adore it when in opposition and abhor it when in power. Their problem is that they cannot come to terms with a Pakistani press which has come to savour and guard its independence after forty years of censorship under various authoritarian regimes.
Pakistan's press is certainly freer today than ever before. But it continues to labour under the shadow of the government. One, the government controls the bread and butter of newspapers newsprint imports are banned except for the press but the government retains a tight grip over newsprint quota. Two, as the government is one of the biggest sources of advertising, the press can't afford to shrug off its main source of revenue. Three, the government can use its vast coercive apparatus to browbeat the press or muzzle it if it remains unrepentant. In the final analysis, therefore, the press in Pakistan is free only to the extent that the government in power respects the rules of democracy or the judiciary, as the custodian of fundamental rights in the last resort, is strong enough to resist encroachments on democracy. If the government is authoritarian and the judiciary weak or divided, the press is a prime target for repression.
Some of us have been shrieking murder since Sharif assaulted, divided and weakened the judiciary in 1997. With the judiciary out of the way, we reasoned, it was only a matter of time before the press would come under Sharif's heel. The worst has now come to pass. The Jang group of newspapers has become the focus of Sharif's unmitigated wrath. By lashing out at the largest media group, Sharif is sending a stern warning to the small fry. The siege of the Jang group is unprecedentedly vicious. Its bank accounts have been frozen, newsprint godowns sealed, hawkers harassed, journalists threatened, stiff income tax notices served and sedition cases lodged against three editors. All that remains is for the group's newspapers to cease publication, its owners to be arrested and its journalists packed off. The confrontation began like this.
A column by Irshad Haqqani, Lahore Jang editor, kicked up a veritable storm in Islamabad in July 1998. Haqqani wrote advisedly about the need to revamp the government's ad-hoc decision-making system and suggested the army might have a small but positive role to play in it within the parameters of the democratic system. Islamabad reacted angrily by freezing ads to the Jang group. Then came the proverbial straw which broke the government's back. In October, army chief Gen. Jehangir Karamat suggested a National Security Council to tackle the country's mounting difficulties. The Jang group ordered a telephonic survey of public opinion: an overwhelming majority were all for the proposal. Two days later, Karamat was sacked. On the third day, Sharif stood before the national assembly and blasted those who wanted to derail democracy. And ordered senator Saif-ur Rahman, a loyalist who runs the controversial Accountability Bureau, to teach them a lesson. Jang was number one on the good senator's hitlist.
We know the rest, thanks to the charming indiscretions of the senator, who was taped by the owner-editor of the Jang group, Mir Shakilur Rehman, when he brandished the threats. Among other demands, the government wants the Jang group to fire 16 top editors and reporters. Where does the press, and in particular the Jang group, go from here? Forward. There is no choice. Here was an Urdu newspaper whose editorial comment pages were often conspicuously tilted, as a matter of policy, in favour of the government. Indeed, a number of highly paid hacks blindly loyal to Sharif were put on its payrolls expressly to keep Islamabad happy. Yet it fell foul of an autocratic regime when it tried to steer a marginally less devoted path. Imagine what might happen to a more outspoken paper (like mine) if the Jang group were to bite the dust. Saif-ur Rahman claims he is only going after tax dodgers, not impinging on press freedom. This is a hollow, self-righteous claim. The biggest tax dodger and loan defaulter is the senator's boss, followed by scores of fellow compatriots in the national assembly, including industrial robber-barons and feudal landlords who have scooted away with Rs 200 billion in public money, without as much as a scratch on their backs. The press is in for a rough time. It would do well to remember a fact of life. Governments are fated to come and go but the press is destined to go on forever. ( The author is editor of 'The Friday Times', a Lahore-based weekly ). REFERENCE: The Pen Is Mightier... Pakistan's press is certainly freer than before though it labours under the shadow of the government. NAJAM SETHI MAGAZINE FEB 22, 1999 http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?207042
Absolute power has corrupted our rulers absolutely. They have had their way since the demise of the Quaid-i-Azam. Corruption is a universal weakness and is hardly confined to Pakistan. But, whereas in other countries it is abhorred and severely proscribed and punished, we have allowed corruption to thrive and spread with total impunity. Today, it has pervaded the whole structure of our society, not excluding politicians, bureaucrats and even some sections of the army. Rampant corruption has now reached its peak and has engulfed every segment of the society. Successive governments always made vocal claims and hollow promises to weed it out. But it all sounds false, as all these people were themselves involved in all types of corrupt practices. Pakistan's credit-rating has been lowered by several foreign agencies, and it has been labeled as the third most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International. However, our rulers believe that corruption is a necessary evil in the developing countries that provides incentive for developments.
Corruption has been a perennial charge against all outgoing regimes and its eradication has been on the top of the agenda of all successive regimes. Unfortunately, the ground realities have only worsened in our country despite tall claims and promulgation of a heap of laws to arrest and contain corruption. It's not been the inadequacy of the laws but the failure to implement them, as well as the erroneous approach to contain corruption, which has thwarted every such attempt in the past 52 years.
The first statute, commonly known as PRODA, was enforced by the first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, in 1949. Later, General Ayub Khan, as chief martial law administrator, promulgated PODO in March 1959 which was then substituted by EBDO in August 1959. Under the government of prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Holders of Representative Offices Act and the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies (Disqualification for Membership) Act were passed in 1976. But no case was registered under these two acts which were later repealed by General Ziaul Haq who instead issued two presidential orders, commonly known as PPO No16 and PPO No17 (1977).
In September/October 1996 the then opposition under the leadership of Mian Nawaz Sharif and the then government of prime minister Benazir Bhutto tabled in Parliament their respective bills on accountability. These bills lapsed with the dissolution of the National Assembly. The caretaker government of Malik Meraj Khalid had promulgated the Ehtesab Ordinance (1996) which was replaced by a new act of parliament called the Ehtesab Act (1997). Even this Ehtesab Act was subsequently amended repeatedly by Nawaz Sharif through ordinances. The general elections in 1997 were held on the basis of the laws whereby defaulters of loans and utility bills were disqualified and every candidate was required to submit declaration of his assets not only at the time of election but also every year after becoming members of parliament. The Nawaz Sharif regime had deliberately allowed this law to lapse as it was made through an ordinance.
Since the tenure of the first prime minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, across-the-board accountability has remained the unanimous demand of all sections of the public and, after the dismissal of the Sharif government on October 12, 1999, it was once again a burning issue. Ironically, despite unanimity on this issue, the mode, manner, period and extent of the accountability to be undertaken has never been resolved decisively. In Pakistan, the word ‘accountability’ has only one meaning: to malign and persecute political opponents.
Ehtesab (Accountability) Law
The National Assembly, on May 29, 1997, amended the Ehtesab Ordinance to introduce major changes in the accountability process. The most significant amendment was the shifting of the starting date for accountability from the original 31st December, 1985 (when General Zia lifted the martial law) to 6th August, 1990 (when the first government of Benazir Bhutto was dismissed). The amendment also transferred the power of investigating charges of corruption from the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner to the Ehtesab Cell set up by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Although the amendment excluded the first Benazir government from the purview of accountability but the exemption for the 1985-90 period is significant since it was during this period that Mr. Nawaz Sharif, in his capacity as the Chief Minister of the Punjab, was strengthening and consolidating his industrial and political base. At the time of passage of the Ehtesab Law, there were reports that there were 167 cases of major loan default which include 107 cases involving top leaders of the PML(N) who got the benefit of huge write-offs and rescheduling during 1985-1990.
The transfer of the power of appointment of the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner from the president to the federal government reduced the office of the CEC to a mere post office. The real power was transferred to the accountability cell in the Prime Minister's secretariat. The head of the Cell, Senator Saifur Rehman Khan, was accountable only to the PM. The amendment also extended ex post facto legal sanction to the PM's accountability cell, which was under attack in a number of writ petitions in the Lahore High Court.
The original ordinance had empowered the CEC to initiate a case on a reference received from the appropriate government, on receipt of a complaint or on his own accord. Under the new amended law, if the CEC deems a reference necessary, he must refer it to the accountability cell for investigation. With all the accountability functions and powers concentrated in a cell functioning in his secretariat, the prime minister was able to keep a strict check not only on the opposition and the bureaucracy but on his own party-men also.
Ehtesab officials get SHO's power
The federal government, on Feb. 4 1998, amended the Ehtesab Act, replacing the name, "Ehtesab Cell", with "Ehtesab Bureau", and provided powers of an SHO to the chief of Ehtesab Bureau or any other official designated by him for the purpose of investigation. The amendments were introduced into the Ehtesab Act through a presidential ordinance, the first by President Rafiq Tarar.
The chief of Ehtesab Bureau or any officer designated by him enjoyed all the powers of an officer-in-charge of a police station. The chairman or designated officer were empowered to require the assistance of any agency or police officer. The amended law provided indemnity to officials of the Ehtesab Bureau on acts deemed to have been done on "good faith".
By amending Section 3 of the Ehtesab Act, the government had again brought in the original definition of "corruption and corrupt practice". In the original Ehtesab Ordinance, corruption by a government official was defined as "favours or disfavours to any person." Through a subsequent amendment in the original Ehtesab Ordinance of 1996, the words "any other person" was replaced with the words "his spouse or dependents." The government again restored the original meaning that any favour by a government official to other person other than his/her spouse or dependents would also fall in the definition of corruption, and he would be held responsible for that.
A reference made to the Ehtesab Bureau was to be treated as a report under section 154 of the Penal Code. After the reference of any case to the Ehtesab Bureau by the Ehtesab Commissioner, it would be an exclusive responsibility of the bureau to examine all the material, evidence and proof. No other agency had a power to look into the matter. For the purpose of inquiry into any matter referred to the Ehtesab Bureau, the chairman and the bureau had the powers of an officer in charge of a police station, including the power to ask any citizen to appear before it. Every government agency, police official or any other government official was bound to assist the Ehtesab Bureau in investigation.
After the amendment, the Ehtesab Bureau was also empowered to ask the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner to make a request to any court for the withdrawal of any case pending in a court. If the application was granted by the court, the case will be transferred to the Ehtesab Bureau. The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner had the powers at any stage of proceedings against an accused under the Ehtesab Act, to order the arrest of the accused..
The Bureau became an independent investigating agency with teeth of its own and therefore not dependent, as it formerly was, upon the powers of the FIA. This may be a sequel to the turf war between Senator Saifur Rehman's ehtesab machine and Ch. Shujaat Hussain's interior ministry, both of whom were vying for control over the FIA. The first and most striking change of course was to strip the original law of its neutrality and place the powers of investigation and prosecution firmly in the Prime Minister's Secretariat.
How FIA kidnapped notables to please Saif-ur-Rahman
Chairman of the Ehtesab Bureau, Senator Saif-ur-Rahman, used his power to harass political opponents and kidnapping leading businessmen. He operated mostly through a select group of FIA officials while Nawaz Sharif had first-hand information about Saif's involvement in the kidnapping of some of the very reputed citizens as he ignored strong complaints against this nasty operation even from his cabinet colleagues. 
For instance when the FIA sleuths kidnapped Farooq Hasan, owner of Hasan Associates, a renowned builder and developer of Karachi in 1998 and locked him at a Saif-run safe house in Islamabad, federal minister Halim Siddiqi had rushed to Nawaz Sharif to inform him about Saif's involvement in the kidnapping of a well-known Karachi businessman. Halim Siddiqi's pleas both to Sharif and Saif went unheeded as Hasan had to stay for about a week in Saif's dungeon and was only released when he signed a confessional statement that had been prepared by Saif's lieutenant at the Ehtesab Cell. Saif prepared confessional statement for Farooq Hasan relating to dealings of AES power plant with the Benazir government. Throughout his confinement Hasan was physically abused, mentally tortured and was not allowed to sleep. Hasan was also kept and interrogated at Saif's personal residence in Islamabad.
Jamil Ansari, the Chief Executive of a famous trading and business group in Karachi, was also kidnapped in 1998 by the FIA while he was about to board a Karachi-bound flight from Islamabad. For the next four days Ansari's family in Karachi had no knowledge of his whereabouts. The case was soon brought to the knowledge of Nawaz Sharif, who conveniently ignored protest from an associate who thought that such daylight kidnappings of the business luminaries without any charges would bring the PML government into disrepute. For more than a week, Ansari, a businessman, was questioned for his friendship with a ranking naval official. This week-long illegal detention under Saif's orders of the chief executive of a reputed firm had sent a shock wave in Karachi's mercantile community, but the Nawaz Sharif administration was not bothered.
The FIA was also involved in the kidnapping of Shahzad Sherry, a well-known international banker, from Karachi. Like other victims, Sherry was also swiftly shifted to Islamabad, where he was locked at a government-run safe house. For several days Sherry was kept in illegal confinement and questioned by the former Ehtesab Bureau stalwarts including Senator Saif-ur-Rahman. Sherry was apparently also paying price for his friendship with certain naval officials. His detention also continued for several days before being released without bringing any criminal charges against him.
Karachi-based Jamil Hamdani, another representative of an international bank, was kidnapped from his house in Defence Society Karachi in Oct. 1999 and was forced to board an Islamabad-bound flight for an urgent meeting with Saif-ur-Rahman and his team. Saif pointedly informed Hamdani about his disliking for his bank's interest in the privatisation of Habib Bank Limited. Jamil Hamdani was believed to be working on an international consortium that was interested in the management of overseas operations of Habib Bank. No apologies were offered after Hamdani was set free three days later by the Ehtesab sleuths who also warned him not to talk to the press about his ordeal.
Saif's frenzy to get private citizens abducted through the FIA touched its peak last year when he used the federal agency to kidnap Arif Zarwani, a UAE national and a reputed businessman, from his friend's house in Defence Society Karachi. Zarwani, who had been arrested in an FIA-cum-police raid, was quickly flown to Islamabad, where he was handed over to Wasim Afzal, a close associate of Saif-ur-Rahman. The Ehtesab action created a stir in the UAE as Nawaz Sharif was personally told that Zarwani's kidnapping in Karachi had endangered his official visit next day to the UAE. Zarwani, who was apparently picked up for his ties with Asif Zardari, was freed from the Ehtesab clutches, two days later, only after he was forced to listen to a telephonic sermon from Saif who was then touring Europe. No reasons were given for Arif Zarwani's arrest nor any criminal charges were brought against him. Despite an official protest from the UAE Nawaz Sharif did not question Saif or the FIA for the kidnapping of a foreign national.
In another case Ghulam Mustafa Memon, a well-known petroleum dealer and a former friend of Asif Ali Zardari, was kidnapped in an FIA action from his house in Defence Society, Karachi in 1998. During the operation the FIA sleuths ransacked his house. Memon, like other victims, was quickly flown to Islamabad where he was kept at a safe house for about a week. Mustafa Memon said that during the detention, he went through severe physical torture and mental harassment at the hands of senior Ehtesab officials. At last a week later Mustafa was quietly released from Islamabad and no criminal charges were brought against him.
Among others who made the hostage list of Saif-ur-Rahman was Naeemuddin Khan, a senior United Bank Limited (UBL) executive responsible for recovering Rs 1.2 billion loans from Saif-ur-Rahman's Redco Textile Mills. While using the FIA in the kidnapping of Naeemuddin Khan from his room at Karachi's Pearl Continental Hotel, Senator Saif is understood to have told the FIA that Naeemuddin was involved in money laundering. Without verifying the facts an FIA team barged into Naeemuddin's room in August this year and in the next few hours he was facing a Saif-ur-Rahman interrogation squad at an unspecified location in Islamabad. Naeemuddin's ordeal ended after Nawaz Sharif listened to a strong complaint in this regard from National Assembly Speaker Illahi Bukhsh Soomro and ordered the bank executive's release. Sharif, however, refused to order any probe into the kidnapping of a bank executive who was being punished for his attempt to recover Rs 1.2 billion of loan from Saif-ur-Rahman.
Leading newspaper columnist Hussain Haqqani had been kidnapped by the FIA sleuths along with his brother, an active service Army Colonel, during an evening stroll on direct orders from Saif-ur-Rahman in early 1999. It was at least three days after Haqqani's kidnapping that Saif-ur-Rahman ordered the FIA bosses to "produce" a case against him. Official sources confirmed Haqqani's account that he was beaten and kept awake during the first week of his arrest. Haqqani was of the few Saif victims whose captivity brought criminal charges, vehemently denied by Haqqani who said that the cases against him was the figment of Saif's imagination.
The annual 1997 Human Rights Report of US State Department said the Accountability Commission, established by the caretaker government and headed by a retired judge, had been overshadowed by an "accountability cell," headed by a close associate of the prime minister. This cell had been accused of conducting politically-motivated investigations of politicians, senior civil servants, and business figures, designed to extract evidence and, in some cases, televised confessions of alleged wrongdoers. The report gave the examples of televised confessions extracted from Salman Farooqi, secretary of commerce under Benazir Bhutto; Ahmed Sadiq, Benazir Bhutto's principal secretary; and Zafar Iqbal, chairman of the Capital Development Authority. It said most politicians and bureaucrats, who had been charged with corruption or other crimes, were out on bail. REFERENCE: Hegemony of the Ruling Elite in Pakistan BY ABDUS SATTAR GHAZALI
KARACHI: Barring two brief stints under Major General (retd) Enayet Niazi and Khawar Zaman, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) played second fiddle to former Ehtesab Czar Senator Saif-ur-Rahman in covert operations during which numerous respectable citizens were kidnapped, tortured and placed under illegal detention, an exercise never witnessed before in the country. Officials and business sources informed the News Intelligence Unit (NIU) that Saif-ur-Rahman operated mostly through a select group of FIA officials who danced to his tunes when Mian Mohammad Amin, Chaudhry Iftikhar Ali and Major (retd) Mohammad Mushtaq were heading the FIA. Major General Enayet Niazi and Khawar Zaman had, however, resisted Saif's attempt to use the FIA for illegal activities, a position that triggered their sudden transfer from the job.
These sources believed that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had first-hand information about Saif's involvement in the kidnapping of some of the very reputed citizens as he ignored strong complaints against this nasty operation even from his cabinet colleagues. For instance when the FIA sleuths kidnapped Farooq Hasan, owner of Hasan Associates, a renowned builder and developer of Karachi last year and locked him at a Saif-run safe house in Islamabad, former federal minister Halim Siddiqi had rushed to Nawaz Sharif to inform him about Saif's involvement in the kidnapping of a well-known Karachi businessman. Halim Siddiqi's pleas both to Sharif and Saif went unheeded as Hasan had to stay for about a week in Saif's dungeon and was only released when he signed a confessional statement that had been prepared by Saif's lieutenant at the Ehtesab Cell. Saif prepared confessional statement for Farooq Hasan relating to dealings of AES power plant with the Benazir government.
Throughout his confinement Hasan was physically abused, mentally tortured and was not allowed to sleep. Sources said during his arrest Hasan was also kept and interrogated at Saif's personal residence in Islamabad. Jamil Ansari, the Chief Executive of a famous trading and business group in Karachi, was kidnapped last year by the FIA while he was about to board a Karachi-bound flight from Islamabad. For the next four days Ansari's family in Karachi had no knowledge of his whereabouts.
The case was soon brought to the knowledge of Nawaz Sharif, who conveniently ignored protest from an associate who thought that such daylight kidnappings of the business luminaries without any charges would bring the PML government into disrepute. Sources said that for more than a week, Ansari, a businessman, was questioned for his friendship with a ranking naval official. This week-long illegal detention under Saif's orders of the chief executive of a reputed firm had sent a shock wave in Karachi's mercantile community, but the Nawaz Sharif administration was not bothered.
The FIA was also involved in the kidnapping of Shahzad Sherry, a well-known international banker, from Karachi. Like other victims, Sherry was also swiftly shifted to Islamabad, where he was locked at a government-run safe house. For several days Sherry was kept in illegal confinement and questioned by the former Ehtesab Bureau stalwarts including Senator Saif-ur-Rahman. Sherry was apparently also paying price for his friendship with certain naval officials. His detention also continued for several days before being released without bringing any criminal charges against him. Karachi-based Jamil Hamdani, another representative of an international bank, was kidnapped from his house in Defence Society Karachi last month and was forced to board an Islamabad-bound flight for an urgent meeting with Saif-ur-Rahman and his team.
Sources said that Saif pointedly informed Hamdani about his disliking for his bank's interest in the privatisation of Habib Bank Limited. Jamil Hamdani was believed to be working on an international consortium that was interested in the management of overseas operations of Habib Bank. No apologies were offered after Hamdani was set free three days later by the Ehtesab sleuths who also warned him not to talk to the press about his ordeal. Saif's frenzy to get private citizens abducted through the FIA touched its peak last year when he used the federal agency to kidnap Arif Zarwani, a UAE national and a reputed businessman, from his friend's house in Defence Society Karachi. Zarwani, who had been arrested in an FIA-cum-police raid, was quickly flown to Islamabad, where he was handed over to Wasim Afzal, a close associate of Saif-ur-Rahman. The Ehtesab action created a stir in the UAE as Nawaz Sharif was personally told that Zarwani's kidnapping in Karachi had endangered his official visit next day to the UAE. Zarwani, who was apparently picked up for his ties with Asif Zardari, was freed from the Ehtesab clutches, two days later, only after he was forced to listen to a telephonic sermon from Saif who was then touring Europe.
No reasons were given for Arif Zarwani's arrest nor any criminal charges were brought against him. Despite an official protest from the UAE Nawaz Sharif did not question Saif or the FIA for the kidnapping of a foreign national. In another case Ghulam Mustafa Memon, a well-known petroleum dealer and a former friend of Asif Ali Zardari, was kidnapped in an FIA action from his house in Defence Society, Karachi last year. During the operation the FIA sleuths ransacked his house. Memon, like other victims, was quickly flown to Islamabad where he was kept at a safe house for about a week. Mustafa Memon said that during the detention, he went through severe physical torture and mental harassment at the hands of senior Ehtesab officials including Khalid Aziz. At least a week later Mustafa was quietly released from Islamabad and no criminal charges were brought against him. Among others who made the hostage list of Saif-ur-Rahman was Naeemuddin Khan, a senior United Bank Limited (UBL) executive responsible for recovering Rs 1.2 billion loans from Saif-ur-Rahman's Redco Textile Mills. While using the FIA in the kidnapping of Naeemuddin Khan from his room at Karachi's Pearl Continental Hotel, Senator Saif is understood to have told the FIA that Naeemuddin was involved in money laundering. Without verifying the facts an FIA team barged into Naeemuddin's room in August this year and in the next few hours he was facing a Saif-ur-Rahman interrogation squad at an unspecified location in Islamabad.
Naeemuddin's ordeal ended after Nawaz Sharif listened to a strong complaint in this regard from National Assembly Speaker Illahi Bukhsh Soomro and ordered the bank executive's release. Sharif, however, refused to order any probe into the kidnapping of a bank executive who was being punished for his attempt to recover Rs 1.2 billion of loan from Saif-ur-Rahman. The Naeemuddin Khan episode also unveiled that Saif was using the Intelligence Bureau also to settle personal scores. Informed officials said that before being picked up by the FIA, Naeemuddin Khan was constantly followed by the IB agents while his personal and official phone was tapped for several months. The recording of his secret taping was provided to Saif-ur-Rahman. It is no more a secret that leading newspaper columnist and politician Hussain Haqqani had been kidnapped by the FIA sleuths along with his brother, an active service Army Colonel, during an evening stroll on direct orders from Saif-ur-Rahman early this year. Official sources said that it was at least three days after Haqqani's kidnapping that Saif-ur-Rahman ordered the FIA bosses to "produce" a case against him. Official sources confirmed Haqqani's account that he was beaten and kept awake during the first week of his arrest. Haqqani is of the few Saif victims whose captivity brought criminal charges, vehemently denied by Haqqani who said that the cases against him was the figment of Saif's imagination.
The only Saif-sponsored kidnapping that did not have any FIA role was that of Najam Sethi, Editor, Friday Times. Sethi, who apparently served the longest term of illegal captivity, had been dragged out of his Lahore house by the Intelligence Bureau officials who later handed him over to the ISI, that kept him at one of its safe houses in Islamabad for about three weeks. Like all Saif-ordered kidnappings of various reputed citizens, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had fully supported the unlawful arrest of Najam Sethi, as it was later discovered that Sharif had personally asked Lt Gen Khawaja Ziauddin to keep Sethi in ISI custody. REFERENCE How FIA kidnapped notables to please Saif-ur-Rahman DAWN/The News International, KARACHI 6 November 1999, Saturday 27 Rajab ul Murajjab 1420
Sethi, whom we'll meet in a moment, is the co-founder and editor of The Friday Times, a fiercely independent English-language newsweekly in Lahore, Pakistan . Dalrymple had taken issue with Levy's assertion about the kidnappings in his review: [T]here are numerous occasions where LÃ©vy distorts his evidence and actually inverts the truth. While seeking to prove that the ISI and al-Qaeda were jointly responsible for abducting Daniel Pearl, for example, he cites three precedents in which journalists were "kidnapped in Pakistan by ISI agents suspected of being backed up by al-Qaida." In reality, in two of the cases he citesâ€”Najam Sethi and Hussain Haqqaniâ€”both were arrested by the regular Punjab police as part of a campaign by Pakistan 's last civilian prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to intimidate the press. The case of the third journalist, Ghulam Hasnain, remains a mystery: he was picked up for a day and then released. He has never identified the agency that arrested him; but no connection has ever been shownâ€”or, up to now, even suggestedâ€”with al-Qaeda. LÃ©vy's misuse of evidence here is revealing of his general method: if proof does not exist, he writes as if it did. The ISI has been involved in many dubious activities, but there has never been any suggestion that it has abducted Westerners, least of all an American. This record is important evidence against any direct link between the ISI and Pearl 's abduction rather than the reverse. (Murder in Karachi ,New York Review of Books , Dec. 4, 2003 ). In the most recent exchange of letters, Levy modifies his original claim slightly, responding to Dalrymple as follows:
How does one best defend the interests of this "other Pakistan ": by multiplying the intellectual contortions meant to prove that Pakistan 's military-mullah complex is not implicated in the kidnapping of journalists such as Najam Sethi, Hussain Haqqani, Ghulam Hasnain, and Daniel Pearl? Or by speaking clearly, and by taking a clear position in favor of those who, like them, fight for free and truthful journalism in Islamabad and Karachi ?
Obviously, Levy takes himself to be doing the latter.
Shortly after the publication of Dalrymple's review, I had an email exchange with Najam Sethi on precisely the issues discussed in Levy's book and Dalrymple's review, asking him (Sethi) to clarify at length and in print what had really happened to him during his kidnapping. He wrote me the following detailed note, giving me permission to publish it; it is unchanged except for minor modifications of paragraphing, grammar, and punctuation. The â€œPrime Ministerâ€ referred to throughout the note is Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's last civilian prime minister, deposed in 1999 by General Pervez Musharraf. I've retained Sethi's somewhat pejorative-sounding (or is it affectionate?) references to â€œGeneral Mushâ€ as well:
My case was quite bizarre. An armed posse of the Punjab Police and the IB [Intelligence Bureau] smashed its way into my bedroom at 2:30 am on May 8th, 1999, beat up my wife and me, gagged me, blindfolded me, handcuffed me and dragged me away. I was in their custody for many hours. Then I was handed over to the ISI. The ISI kept me in a safe house first in Lahore and then in Islamabad . It investigated everything, found that the treason charges against me were trumped up politically by the Prime Minister (PM) and then confidentially told me that it was under pressure from the PM to court martial me. But it said that Gen Mush [sic] was against the idea of any military involvement in my case and was telling the PM that the civilians should handle it.
In due course, the ISI actually protected me from the IB which wanted to take me away for a few days and "fix" me at the behest of the PM and Saif ur-Rehman. The ISI general in charge of my case was Major General Ghulam Ahmad (deceased now) who came to see me in the ISI safe house three times and initally told me that he was giving me a clean chit of health because he would not be party to any wrongdoing. It was the ISI's clean chit of health that persuaded the Supreme Court (SC) to put pressure on the civilian government to release me. But within a day of releasing me, the government lodged a case of treason in a civil court against me and tried to arrest me again; but Justice Mamoon Qazi of the SC stepped in and judged that I could not be arrested in any case without the government's first showing the evidence against me to the SC. When I was released, I told the BBC in an interview that the ISI was largely responsible for my well-being.
Incidentally, the so-called "anti-Pakistan" speech that I was supposed to have made in India, which was the basis of the charge against me, was the same speech that I had made at the National Defence College in Islamabad earlier on the basis of which I had duly received a formal letter from the NDC commending me for having obtained the "highest marks ever" from the NDC for a presentation before the college.
The real reason why I was arrested by Nawaz Sharif had to do with a BBC documentary in which I had taken part, exposing the corruption of the PM. I was interviewed by the BBC in Pakistan two days before I left for India . The IB found out and informed the PM. Saif ur-Rehman called me and asked what I had told the BBC. I told him: "everything." "Negative or positive?" he asked. "Is there anything positive in your regime?" I replied. "We will get you," he warned.
That was that. They used the India thing to try and silence and discredit me so that my BBC testimony would be rejected by the people. Then they took the BBC to court in London for potential libel and threatened to close down its operations in Pakistan if the film was shown to Pakistani audiences. Then a â€œsettlementâ€ took place between the two parties--the BBC film was subsequently shown in the UK but never in South Asia . Before showing the film in the UK, the BBC asked me whether I wanted to censor or edit my statements against the PM in the film in view of what had happened. I said â€œno.â€ Everything I said was on the record and should be shown.
When Saif ur-Rehman was arrested in 1999 after the coup, he got his wife to phone me and ask for my "forgiveness." Later, Shahbaz Sharif called from exile and claimed he had never been a party to my ordeal and apologised on behalf of the Sharif family. Nawaz Sharif's son Hussain met me in London two years [later] and also apologised. Other members of that government have also apologised. But Nawaz is still silent.
Nonetheless, I remain committed to the view that military rule is not good for the country and that Gen Mush [sic] must compromise with the mainstream PPP and PMLN despite the many faults of their leaders. And I remain opposed to the continuing political role of the ISI in the internal and external affairs of Pakistan . In short, I propose a truth and reconciliation process in the national interest. This is the truth. Well, I wouldn't argue with that. Whatever one thinks of the larger issues discussed in Bernard-Henry Levy's bookâ€”and that is a complicated affair beyond the scope of anything I've said hereâ€”Sethi's note demonstrates beyond any shadow of a doubt that it is Levy who is guilty of â€œintellectual contortionsâ€ here, not his critic. The evidence is indisputable: Najam Sethi was not kidnapped by the ISI; he was effectively rescued and released by them. Anyone committed to clear speech and â€œtruthful journalismâ€ ought at this point to be able to acknowledge that. We may still not be certain of who killed Daniel Pearl but, for whatever it's worth, we can at this point be quite sure who didn't kidnap Najam Sethi. REFERENCE: Who Kidnapped Najam Sethi?By Irfan Khawaja dated 3-15-2004 http://hnn.us/articles/3968.html
ISLAMABAD: Leaders of major political parties of the country joined the protesting journalists on Monday in their demand for complete press freedom and marched up to the Parliament House calling upon the government to give up its hold on the press. Addressing the rally near the Parliament building, leaders of political parties as well journalists' organisations vowed to continue their battle for press freedom and asked for an end to victimisation against the press, the Jang Group in particular. Leaders of APNEC and RIUJ under Minhaj Berna, PFUJ president Abdul Hameed Chhapra, and others had organised the press freedom march to condemn the government for its 'dictatorial policies to silence the press'. Leaders of journalists' bodies CR Shamsi, Pervaiz Shaukat, Fouzia Shahid, Faraz Hashmi and others also addressed.
Chhapra said the government had tried to crush the press but pledged to lead a movement against it, saying the journalists would do all they could to liberate press from the clutches of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Senator Saifur Rahman. "The working journalists have won the first battle and would win other such battles also". He said the political leaders had joined the press in its struggle today. CR Shamsi, Pervaiz Shaukat and Faraz Hashmi condemned the government for attacks on the press and expulsion of 40 employees of daily Assas. They also called for an end to the contractual appointments. There were, in fact, two separate rallies in Rawalpindi and Islamabad as the political leaders first converged at the Murree Road and marched against 'the government's moves to muzzle the press.' Later, they travelled to Islamabad to join journalists at Aabpara Chowk and then walked up to the Parliament House.
Those who attend the press freedom rally were Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, former NA Speaker and head of PML(J) Hamid Nasir Chattha, key MQM Senators under Aftab Sheikh, leader of the opposition in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan, other PPP Senators, former PPP minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Benazir Bhutto's political secretary Naheed Khan. Also present were Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), Aftab Lodhi of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT), Amirul Azim of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Senator Dr Hayee Baloch of Balochistan National Movement (BNM) and Syed Kabir Ali Wasti of Pakistan Muslim League (Qasim), besides several others. Workers of the political parties also marched with journalists up to the Parliament House. Former ambassador to the United States and editor 'The News' Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Dr Maleeha Lodhi, editor Jang daily Rana Tahir, ex-editors of the Jang and scores of journalists attended the rally, which also included activists of several human rights groups, non-governmental organisations, representatives of lawyers, doctors, intellectuals, labour unions and others.
Shaheen Qureshi, Editor Coordination Jang Group categorically denied the group had entered into any deals with the government and said the latter had agreed to certain concessions to diffuse the pressure and buy time. "Let me make it clear that there is no compromise whatsoever as the government has claimed since Saturday," he said. Shaheen noted that the attack on press freedom was in fact an issue of the survival of Pakistan and democracy because both were closely related. He said the government had destroyed all institutions and had now directed its guns at the press. He said the real person behind attacks on press freedom was Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and not 'his stooge Saifur Rzhman'. He said the Jang Group had moved the courts for justice and it would win the legal battle for freedom of the press. "We don't need certificates from anybody to prove our patriotism," Shaheen Qureshi said.
Addressing the gathering, PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said victimisation of the press at the hands of Nawaz government had proved that it was out to demolish all institutions of the country. He said the federation was literally at risk now as the government aimed at dissipating the fourth pillar of the state. He said the politicians of the country had long been raising voice against the policies of Sharif but it was the press, which had united all of them as the press had also come under attack. Dr Hayee Baloch of BNM assured the journalists that his party fully supported them in their struggle. Imran Khan said the government claimed it had struck a deal with the Jang Group but asked: "Even if this be true, we won't allow Sharif to hush-up the alleged tax evasion of the Jang Group because it is the people's money." Imran said ever since "this business-minded person" had entered the Prime Minister's house, he had been signing deals for personal gains.
Syed Kabir Ali Wasti, who arrived in Aabpara at the head said the government wanted to mute the press so that its misdeeds did not reach the people of Pakistan. Amirul Azim of JI said it was a pity that those who wanted to recover the so-called taxes from the Jang Group were themselves tax-evaders. Allama Zubair Zaheer quoted a Hadith to say that truth should never be hidden and that to say truth before a tyrant ruler was Jihad. Qamar Zaidi of Therik-e-Jaffaria said Senator Saifur Rahman had resorted to a 'devilish act' . REFERENCE: Newsmen pledge to uphold press freedom Jang Group deal with govt denied; expulsion of 40 Assas workers resented By Raja Zulfikar http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/spedition/waronjang/news/feb99/feb99-09-4.htm
Read the allegation of Jang Group against Nawaz Sharif [1997-1999]:
1 - Jang Group: Deteriorating law and order situation (July 1998).
.Government reacts strongly, demands to stop the news.
2 - Jang Group: Irshad Haqqani’s column on the political situation (July 13, 1998).
NAWAZ SHARIF'S GOVERNMENT REACTION:
Objects to the column, sends seven articles, which were published on July 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 28 and 30, 1998.
3 - Jang Group: Traders refuse to pay GST (July 15, 1998).
• Discussion on PTV, the Jang criticized by name, July 16, 1998.
4. Jang Group: People’s reaction to the freezing of foreign currency accounts (July 1998).
• Government suspends advertisements to the Jang group, July 21, 1998.
5. Oil prices increased by 25 percent (July 25, 1998).
• Government objects to the display of the news.
6. Protest against price hike (Aug. 4, 1998).
• Government objects.
7. Flour mills increase Atta prices (Aug. 4, 1998).
• Government asks not to publish stories about the re-price hike.
8. Jang Group: Sugar mills owned by the Sharif family have to pay Rs. 700 million to farmers (Aug. 13, 1998).
• Don‘t publish stories about the Sharif family, says the government.
9. Jang Group: A survey on the Independence Day criticizing the government (Aug. 14, 1998).
NAWAZ SHARIF'S GOVERNMENT REACTION:
• Newspapers have had their fun, now it is our turn: PM (Aug. 16, 1998). MSF criticizes the Jang (Aug. 15 & 17, 1998).
10. Jang Group: Reports about US missile falling inside Pakistan during the US missile-raids on Afghanistan.
• Government gets very upset, begins sending income tax notices (Aug. 18, 1998). All tax cases against the Jang group sent to a cell headed be Senator Saifur Rahman (Aug. 19, 1998). PM delivers a speech against the Jang group, PML workers chant slogans against the Jang (Aug. 23, 1998).
11. Jang Group: Ittefaq Group and Redco are defaulters: Qazi Hussain Ahmed (Aug. 24, 1998).
• A magistrate, accompanied by the police, serves notices on Mir Shakilur Rehman. Four tax notices served on Aug. 24, 1998 after midnight. Six more notices sent (Aug 25, 1998).
12. Jang Group: A close relative of Kulsoom Nawaz inducted in the FIA as an assistant director (Aug. 27, 1998).
• Nine tax notices sent on Aug. 27, 1998.
13. Jang Group: A joint APNS-CPNE meeting expresses concern over government policies (Aug. 27, 1998).
• Some newspapers are talking about martial law, we should take them to the court: PM (Aug. 28, 1998).
14. Jang Group: Mir Shakilur Rehman addresses a press conference, speaks of the government’s actions against the Jang group (Aug. 27, 1998).
15. Jang Group: Mir Shakilur Rehman meets the Prime Minister (Aug. 28, 1998).
NAWAZ SHARIF'S GOVERNMENT REACTION:
• Government restores its advertisements. Promises to withdraw the tax notices. No notices served throughout the month.
• Government objects. Serves another tax notice on Sept. 23, 1998.
• Government objects.
16. Jang Group: Stories about CTBT (Sept. 1998).
17. Jang Group: Pakistan agrees to sign CTBT unconditionally (Sept. 24, 1998).
18. Jang Group: US appreciates Pakistan’s assurance to sign CTBT (Sept. 25, 1998).
19. Jang Group: IMF-government talks produce no results (Sept. 26, 1998).
NAWAZ SHARIF'S GOVERNMENT REACTION:
• Government sends a strong warning. Urges the group not to criticize economic policies.
• Government gets very upset and conveys its anger.
20. The London Observer publishes a story about the Sharif family. Jang was asked not to publish it. The News reproduced the story (Sept. 18, 1998).
• Government objects.
• Government objects to the coverage of the Jang.
• Government objects.
• Government says the group is publishing too many stories about the armed forces.
• Government objects to stories about its economic policies.
21. Jang Group: Kamran Khan’s story saying the government spending foreign exchange on the Prime Minister’s favourite projects (Oct. 4, 1998).
NAWAZ SHARIF'S GOVERNMENT REACTION:
• Government again suspends advertisements to the Jang (Oct. 13, 1998).
• Objects to publishing stories about unemployment. Sends three income tax notices (Oct. 14, 1998). Freezes Jang’s accounts, stops supply of newsprint to the Jang group although the custom authorities had already released it. Six more income tax notices served (Oct 15, 1998).
• Government shows its contempt.
• Six more tax notices served. (Oct. 27, 1998).
• Objects to the coverage.
22. Jang Group: General Jehangir Karamat proposes National Security Council, reactions (Oct. 5, 1998).
23. Jang Group: Corps commanders express concern over the prevailing situation (Oct. 7, 1998).
24. Jang Group: General Jehangir Karamat resigns, national and international reactions on his resignation (Oct. 8, 1998).
25. Jang Group: The economic situation worsens (Oct. 12, 1998).
26. Jang Group: Protest outside Nawaz Sharif’s flats in London (Oct. 12, 1998).
27. Jang Group: UBL sacks 8,000 employees (Oct. 14, 1998).
28. Jang Group: Jang and The News reproduce a story published in the Independent, London about the Sharif family (Oct. 21, 1998).
29. Jang Group: Court asks for official record in the plot case against Nawaz Sharif (Oct. 22, 1998).
30. Jang Group: PML and the MQM split (Oct. 30, 1990).
31. Jang Group: 18 people including PML legislators convicted in the contempt case (Oct. 30, 1998).
32. Jang Group: Kamran Khan’s story saying that all the accused arrested in the Hakim Saeed case were fake (Nov. 5, 1998).
33. Jang Group: APNS, CPNE meet in Lahore, ask the government to end its victimization campaign against the Jang group (Nov 14 1998).
34. Jang Group: Stories about the deteriorating law and order and the economic situation (November, 1998).
35. Jang Group: Income Tax Appellate Tribunal upholds the plea of the Jang group and unfreezes its accounts (Nov. 19, 1998).
36. Jang Group: Half of the newspapers are with me and the rest are with them: Prime Minister (Nov. 25, 1998).
37. Jang Group: My first preference is to make the press change its directions: President Tarar (Nov. 29, 1998).
38. Jang Group: The government is not victimizing the Jang group: Nawaz Sharif (Dec. 4, 1998).
39. Jang Group: No relief to the Jang: Official spokesman (Dec. 16, 1998).
40. Jang Group: Official actions against the press has hurt me: Waseem Sajjad (Dec. 17, 1998).
41. Jang Group: Nawaz Sharif, his mother and wife did not disclose their plots in Murree: PPP (Dec. 18, 1998).
42. Jang Group: Tax dues against Nawaz Sharif rescheduled in Jang: Mushahid Hussain (Dec. 18, 1998).
43. Jang Group: Government preparing another case against the Jang group: Saifur Rehman (Dec. 18, 1998).
44. Jang Group: Nawaz Sharif Spends three days shopping in London: Sunday Telegraph (Dec. 21, 1998).
45. Jang Group: Jang and The News publish details of the government’s actions against the group.
46. Jang Group: Mir Shakilur Rehman plays cassettes of a conversation with Senator Saifur Rahman at the Karachi press club (Jan. 28, 1999).
NAWAZ SHARIF'S GOVERNMENT REACTION:
• Objects to the coverage. Sends four fresh tax notices on Nov. 2 and five new notices on Nov. 5.
• A barrage of tax notices. Nine notices served on Nov. 5 and four on Nov. 6.
• Government objects to the Jang’s decision to take the dispute to newspaper associations.
• Government reacts strongly against the story.
• Government increase its victimization after the Tribunal’s decision. Sends a tax notice on Nov. 23.
• Sends six tax notices on Nov. 26. Another on Nov. 27. Ten notices served on Nov. 30. Customs officials stop newsprint. Another tax notice served on Dec. 3.
• A tax notice served on Dec. 10 Five notices served on Dec. 12. On Dec. 15 FIA raids the offices of The News and the Jang in Rawalpindi.
• Government intensifies the campaign against the Jang group and starts sending threatening messages. Agencies put listening devices to the telephones at the offices and homes of the editorial staff of the Jang group. Intelligence agencies increase their vigilance of the editorial staff of the Jang and The News. Another raid on Rehan Paper Mart. Agencies try to collect evidence against the Jang. APP spreads a story falsely implicating the Jang group in a case. Notices serves on Mir Shakilur Rehman to appear before a special Judge of the customs (Dec. 19, 1998).
• Expresses strong objection to the story and sends five tax notices on Dec. 22. Two income tax notices served on December 23 & 26. Five more notices on Jan. 12, 14, 15 & 21, 1999.
• FIA cordons off offices of the Jang and The News in Karachi and Lahore.
• Threat to try Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman in a military court under sedition charges. A case is registered the same day (Jan. 28, 1999). REFERENCE: Punishment For Telling The Truth A Tale of Vendetta and Intimidation http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/spedition/waronjang/ch.htm
Mr. Shaheen Sehbai [Group Editor The News International] talks about NRO and Accountability in his editorials and stories which he has been filing since months but forgetting what he used to say about National Accountability Bureau 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]. Mr. Shaheen had advised all the readers before closing down his website to save the material.
WASHINGTON, October 17: Dear Readers, this is the final piece on the South Asia Tribune, as this site is now being closed for good. I understand that it may come as a rude shock to many and may create despair and depression for all those who had started to look up to SAT as a beacon of courage and resistance, but this decision has been based on many factors, which I will explain briefly. SAT would be on line for the rest of this month, till the end of October. On November 1, 2005 it will disappear from the Internet. All those who may be interested in keeping a record of any SAT article or report can save it any time before that date. REFRENCE: The Final Word from theSouth Asia Tribune By Shaheen Sehbai WASHINGTON DC, Oct 17, 2005 ISSN: 1684-2057 www.satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/200510/P1_sat.htm
Military Regime Snubbed as Asif Zardari is Acquitted by Lahore High Court By M T Butt WASHINGTON DC, Sept.9, 2004 ISSN: 1684-2057 www.satribune.com http://www.satribune.com/archives/sept04/P1_asif.htm
ISLAMABAD, Sept 9: Jailed PPP leader and Benazir Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari scored another significant victory on Sept 9 when the Lahore High Court acquitted him in a corruption case, setting aside the 7-year jail term given to him by a special court. The court victory in the Pakistan Steel Mills case came days after a sitting Prime Minister, Choudhry Shujaat Hussain, who later resigned to make way for Shaukat Aziz, declared the drug smuggling case against Zardari as fake. Zardari has now been acquitted or bailed out in 8 cases while he is still being detained under the BMW Import Duty case in which his bail application is pending with the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The record of acquittals and bails has confounded the military rulers who keep on adding new cases against the PPP leader as he is freed in old ones, despite the immense pressure used by the Army on the judiciary. If the Supreme Court grants him bail in the BMW case, Zardari would have to be released by the military regime, unless some new case is registered. But since he is in jail since November 1996, there is hardly any room left for accusing him of any other criminal offence.
Exiled PPP leader Benazir Bhutto hailed the judgment of the Lahore High Court terming it the "triumph of justice". She said the verdict shows that those who show patience and persevere are ultimately rewarded, adding that the decision "demonstrates that despite the clouds of darkness, the light of conscience prevails in our land." The decision by two Judges of the Lahore High Court was expected several months back. Suddenly the bench constituted of Judges Maulvi Anwar ul Haq and Justice Aslam was broken up. After a long, legal struggle and applications before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Bench hearing the appeal was allowed to announce its landmark judgment. The Bench declared that Mr. Zardari should be immediately set free if he was not needed in any other matter. The first time Mr. Zardari was ordered free by a court was in 1998. But another case was filed to stop him from his release. Mr. Zardari was arrested on the night of November 4, 1996 initially under one preventive detention law known as the Lahore Maintenance of Public Order and then under a second Karachi Maintenance of Public Order.
He was acquitted in two attempted suicide cases, one murder case (Sajjad case), one corruption case known as KESC whereas the conviction in the SGS case was also set aside in 2001. The Steel Mill case is the eighth case in which Mr. Zardari has been granted relief by the judiciary. However, there are still 14 more cases against him. He is on bail in all the cases except the BMW case. The BMW case is so ridiculous it makes a mockery of law and justice in Pakistan. It revolves around import of a second hand car by someone other than Mr. Zardari. The duty on the second hand car was re-evaluated by the regime and a small percentage of disputed deficit was recorded as payable duty. Since December 2001 Mr. Zardari is languishing in prison on the basis of the BMW case, which was initiated by NAB under Gen. Musharraf. Usually cases of disputed duty do not result in any arrest, either of the importer or buyer. But Zardari has been kept in jail shamelessly. The ordeal in the Steel Mills case began in 1996 when Steel Mills Chairman late Sajjad Hussain was arrested by NAB headed by disgraced Senator Saifur Rahman. Mr. Hussain was tortured and tried to commit suicide to avoid a third arrest by the NAB authorities. His wife filed an affidavit before the Sindh High Court documenting the torture and threats to kill meted out to Mr. Hussain if he refused to implicate a "VVIP" meaning Mr. Zardari. Subsequently the Chairman Mr. Hussain was killed amid doubts whether it was a planned murder by the State or the result of random violence, which had plagued the city of Karachi.
The LHC Rawalpindi bench set aside the conviction awarded by the Accountability Court on October in dubious circumstances. The judgment was announced at 9 pm at night, after military authorities stopped the judge from giving his verdict during court hours. The prosecution had claimed that a meeting allegedly took place between Asif Zardari and the Steel Mill Chairman on September 14, 1995 between 6.30 pm and 7 pm in the Prime Minister’s house regarding kickbacks. However the prosecution’s case fell apart during examination. A witness deposed that Mr. Zardari was accompanying the Prime Minister to Lahore that day and could not have met Steel Chairman at Islamabad as the prosecution claimed.
Malik Muhammad Qayyum [Former Judge of the Lahore High Court] In 2001 Qayum was forced to resign in disgrace from the Lahore High Court after the Supreme Court ruled that Qayum’s decision in a case involving Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, had been politically motivated. The Supreme Court said that the judge had "acquired a personal interest" in the case and that there was "close liaison" between the judge, Saifur Rehman, the minister in charge of the anti-corruption bureau, and Nawaz Sharif himself. The Supreme Court also noticed that Qayyum and his wife had applied for diplomatic passports on 17 April 1998 after taking up the case against Bhutto and Zardari. The Foreign Office initially opposed their applications on the ground that diplomatic passports could not be issued to a judge and his wife. However, three days after Qayyum issued an order on 27 April 1998 freezing the properties and assets of Bhutto and Zardari, Qayyum and his wife were granted diplomatic passports Also, quite revealingly, at the Supreme Court appeal hearing defence lawyers produced taped conversations, which exposed the then law minister, Khalid Anwar, Saifur Rehman and Qayum discussing the case and the forthcoming verdict. ‘Give them full dose," was what Saifur Rehman told Qayum.
THINGS never get dull in Pakistan, do they? What do we have now? The fates catching up with a pillar, nay a titan, of the judiciary: His Lordship Justice Qayyum of the Lahore High Court, whose dispensation of justice was such that any bemused onlooker could be forgiven for thinking he was the Sharif family's personal judge, settling matters, both private and state, to their complete satisfaction. The Sharifs' notions of government were intensely private: which is to say, have your own man at every key post. They began with commissioners and police DIGs, the dregs of both services pandering to their whims and enriching themselves in the process. Major Mushtaq of the Police Service who has finally been caught by NAB for becoming a real estate tycoon while in service was an outstanding example of this breed: doing as he was told and becoming an impressive man of property along the way. But when Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister the second time round the family's sights were set higher. They had whiz-kid younger brother running Punjab. They had their own man in the presidency. After Sajjad Ali Shah's arranged departure from the Supreme Court, they thought they had the apex court lined up in their favour. In the person of Justice Qayyum at the Lahore High Court they had the closest thing they could get to a personal judge. Division of family assets, balancing of huge bank loans against dummy collateral, tightening the noose around Asif Zardari and Benazir: the only judge who could handle these sensitive matters was Justice Qayyum. Only the army remained unsubdued. True, Nawaz Sharif had got General Jahangir Karamat to write out his resignation, an event which gave rise to the legend that after conquering other institutions he had humbled even the army. Still, this was not the same thing as having another Justice Qayyum as army chief. This is the significance of October 12: Nawaz Sharif in Hercules mode setting out to rectify this situation by removing Musharraf and putting a fellow Kashmiri from Lahore, Lt-Gen Ziauddin Butt, in his place. The scheme went awry because it was not thought through properly or because the army command had had enough and was in no mood to be pushed around.
Remember also that the army command was smarting from Kargil, a defining moment in the longstanding love affair between GHQ and the Sharifs (the Sharifs having been discovered and groomed for great things by General Zia himself, Lt-Gen Jillani, Lt-Gen Hamid Gul and a whole line of minor geniuses in ISI). A wounded tiger and wounded generals: the mood between them is about the same. Nawaz Sharif did not have a measure of this feeling. He was also surrounded by a school of bumpkins, the kind who act as cheerleaders to prizefighters. "Play it on the front foot" was their constant refrain. Mian Sahib played it on the front foot once too often and did not know what hit him. What is that immortal line from Amir Khusrau? That the night of separation is as long as the tresses of my beloved. Of what duration are Nawaz Sharif's nights in the Holy Land? Arab hospitality is legendary but does it make up for time hanging heavy on your hands? Field Marshal Idi Amin, another distinguished exile in the Holy Land, has a better time of it. If envious rumour is to be believed, he can count on the company of nineteen wives and mistresses which is more fun than the occasional phone call to a second-ranking Muslim Leaguer deep in the Punjab boondocks or the occasional interview with a foreign radio service. Playing on the front foot: will not Nawaz Sharif be ruing the day he heard this accursed phrase? But back to the judicial titan, Justice Qayyum, who has had some sharp strictures addressed to him in the detailed judgment of the Supreme Court in the Swiss commission case against Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari. The Supreme Court has knocked down their convictions and ordered a retrial of the case on the grounds that the hearing judge, Justice Qayyum, was biased, was linked closely to the Sharifs and therefore was the wrong man to sit in judgment on Bhutto and Zardari.
In the Qayyum tapes which detail conversations between Justice Qayyum and Nawaz Sharif's fox-hound, Saifur Rehman, nothing matches the echo of these words uttered by His Lordship: "By the grace of God this will be done (that is, the judgment against Bhutto and Zardari) and then both of us will go to him (Nawaz Sharif) and seek forgiveness." Forgiveness for what? For not being able to wrap up the case against Benazir and husband as quickly as Nawaz Sharif desired. What are the Tehelka tapes when set against these resonant words? Fictitious arms deals and petty cash changing hands do not have half the colour of justice being prostituted in so brazen a manner. I wish though that this display of independence by the Supreme Court had been more timely. In an earlier epoch the Supreme Court declared General Yahya Khan a usurper when his usurpation had already passed into the trashcan of history. Instances abound of the superior courts being guided by the pragmatism of circumstances. Here again we see an indictment of bias when the origin of the bias has dwindled to a single stately home in the Holy Land. No doubt because of the Supreme Court roster Benazir and Asif's appeal could not come up for hearing earlier. But what if the Mandate had survived? What if the climate was different? Is this idle speculation? Not if one looks at the vagaries of Pakistan's judicial history.
Benazir and the PPP are naturally elated although if they should be making any offerings it is to Justice Qayyum and Saifur Rehman who between them ensured that an open-and-shut case should thus be torn into shreds. Does any newspaper-reading man in Pakistan doubt Benazir's and Asif's guilt? Does anyone think they got no commission from the Swiss firm, SGS-Cotecna? Does anyone doubt the financial acumen of the then ruling couple who turned Islamabad into an open auction mart where every deal, no matter how outrageous, was on offer provided the right palms were greased? But Saifur Rehman and his goons in the Accountability Bureau aimed not at justice but victimization. And because their hands were not clean retribution has knocked at their doors. The losers as always are the people of Pakistan. Of what matter to them if one set of looters is embarrassed while another set is distributing sweets over a form of judicial vindication? It is the army which has to make up its mind. Can it do without political allies? Can it negotiate the turbulent waters of Pakistani politics all by itself? The history of coup making suggests it cannot. Sooner or later it will have to identify its principal enemy and make peace with the other combatants in the arena. In war the axis of advance should, ideally, be one. Multiple fronts, as every Hitler has discovered, are a recipe for disaster.
Is there anything to choose between the jokers of the Muslim League and the PPP? Conventional wisdom says there is not although a closer examination may yield a different answer. The common factor between both parties is gangsterism and corruption. Shahbaz Sharif resembled nothing so much as a Mafioso don. What does Asif Zardari look like? In any Godfather sequel he can easily get a part. As for moneymaking it is hard to figure out who beat whom: the PPP leadership or the Muslim League? My own guess is the Sharifs were professionals: subtle about their money. Zardari left a trail, which goes all the way to Rock wood, French submarines, Amer Lodhi, and my favourite grand admiral, Mansur-ul-Haq. As for evidence, was their evidence against Al Capone? Is there evidence against a single patwari or thanedar across the country? Thieves do not leave receipts or footprints except when they get careless. Zardari was careless or he would not have been caught out over Rock wood. But if in all other respects the two representatives of the people are equal, in one important characteristic they differ. The Sharifs became a threat to the army, attempting to play politics with it. Except for the brief Sirohey episode during Benazir's first stint as prime minister, the PPP never tried to mess around with the army. In fact after each of her two dismissals Benazir took care to blame elements within the intelligence agencies and not the army as a whole for her troubles. Even now she is desperately waving an olive branch in General Musharraf's direction.
The army's political analysis therefore has all been wrong. Since Zia's time the prejudice which has never quite left the minds of senior generals is that somehow the PPP is a security risk. The facts speak otherwise. General Beg and that sorry figure, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, trying to scatter obstacles across the PPP's path in 1988 by building up Sharif. Then one after the other receiving a kick from him. Leghari and General Karamat ousting Benazir in 1996 and thus ensuring the birth of the Heavy Mandate and the writing of their own obituaries. Why is Pakistan's political landscape littered with such fools? But Musharraf says he will have nothing to do with either set of villains. His word would carry greater weight if his government had given a better account of itself since coming to power. Politicians cannot be banished through military orders. Ayub banished the pre-1958 leaders only to give birth to the demons of separatism. Zia hounded the PPP only to have his nemesis, Benazir Bhutto, replace him when his end came. The political field can be redrawn only through better performance. Ataturk swept aside the remnants of the Ottoman empire and created the Turkish Republic. De Gaulle opened a new era in French politics by laying the foundations of the Fifth Republic. But both were exceptional figures. If ambition must be tailored to capacity and performance, Musharraf and his generals will have to settle for lesser aims. REFERENCE: The come up pance of an upright man By Ayaz Amir 20 April 2001 Friday 25 Muharram 1422 http://www.dawn.com/weekly/ayaz/20010420.htm REFERENCE: Profile : Ayaz Amir (MNA - PMLN) http://pakistanherald.com/Profile/Ayaz-Amir-308 Ayaz Amir Corner, The Dawn, (Archives of his articles from 1999 onwards) http://www.dawn.com/weekly/ayaz/arc-ayaz.htm