Monday, December 14, 2009

Shaheen Sehbai, Hillary Clinton & Asif Ali Zardari.

WASHINGTON: The State Department, specifically Hillary Clinton, has almost categorically declared that they are no longer interested in saving President Asif Ali Zardari if he falls in his current battle for survival, waging in the superior courts of Pakistan. But the message Pakistanis have been sent is to get over with the in-house turmoil and transition as quickly as possible to stabilise the democratic system and focus on the war on terror. When Ms Clinton claims that she has “no preferences” in Pakistan, it is a clear signal that Zardari is no longer the choice and Washington would shed no tears if he was to be consumed by the current judicial and accountability process. Clinton and all other spokesmen, however, stress repeatedly that they want the system to continue and make its own corrections.REFERENCES: Zardari on his own after US pulls support - Viewpoint By Shaheen Sehbai Monday, December 14, 2009

This message from Washington is also accompanied by a quiet but significant reshuffle within the Obama administration, especially dealing the AfPak policy. Richard Holbrooke, who was the point man and spearhead, is no longer in that driving seat and others are calling the shots. There is a strong feeling that many assessments and evaluations of Holbrooke about Pakistan, Zardari, the Chief Justice and Mian Nawaz Sharif turned out to be wrong and Washington had to face the embarrassment finding itself on the wrong side of the fence and the popular tide. The unexpected release of the lists of the corrupt with an officially certified stamp shocked many. Despite political pressures on bureaucrats, especially in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and FIA, the lists were not trimmed or tailored and even details of dirty money were given to the superior courts, which left an impression in Washington that the grip of the Zardari group had weakened and some other power centres were playing a balancing and much-needed stabilising role from behind the scene. REFERENCES: Zardari on his own after US pulls support - Viewpoint By Shaheen Sehbai Monday, December 14, 2009

On the same National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agecny and Ehtisab Bureau [Senator Saifur Rehman 1997 - 1999], Mr Shaheen Sehbai [present Group Editor, The News International] web based magazine South Asia Tribune [Shaheen Sehbai Founded this magazine after he escaped from Pakistan in 2002 to seek political asylum in USA] used to defend the same "Corrupt Zardari".

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



Cases Gather Dust in Courts as Zardari Rots in Jail - By Aijaz Mahar Issue No 26, Jan 20-26, 2003 ISSN:1684-2075

ISLAMABAD: A high-powered four-member lawyers teamheaded by Farooq Naik and comprising Abu Bakar Zardari, Arshad Tabraiz and Qurban Ali Khoso, represents Asif Zardari in the numerous cases against him in various courts. The lawyers are not shy to declare that most of these cases have no substance and evidence but are politically motivated. Senior lawyer Farooq Naik said that Asif Ali Zardari has been imprisoned in Pakistan and seventh consecutive year has been started now to him in jail. Since the government of his spouse, Benazir Bhutto former Prime Minister of Pakistan, was dissolved by Presidential fiat on 5th November, l996. He was arrested on November 5, 1996 from the Governor house Lahore and since than facing the solitary confinement in different jails and presently he is kept in a small room in the government's hospital known as PIMS at Islamabad declared as sub jail. He is no doubt an ailing person but his morale is very high as he believes in democracy, social justice, equality before law and supremacy of God who tests his people by putting them under various pressures as after all life and death is Ordained by God Almighty claimed Mr. Naik.

While telling the history of the cases registered against Asif Ali Zardari, Farooq said it is the painful story spread over the years because past three successive governments of Farooq Leghari, Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf has registered 16 cases in Sindh and Punjab provinces. Out of the 16 cases, in one case, Pakistan Steel Mills reference, he was convicted. He was acquitted the case known as Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) case, while out of remaining 14 under trial cases he got bail in 13 cases and is now in jail because of the BMW car case. There is at present eight references under National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance 1999 pending against Zardari at Rawalpindi and Attock Fort, a military garrison, he observed. A legal expert said if the list of corruption charges against General Musharraf was prepared, it would be far more substantial and larger than the cases against Asif Zardari as in none of these cases conclusive evidence has been produced to convict him. That is why the Government has dragged these cases on to keep Asif in jail. Here is a brief list of the charges:

1. Asset Reference No.l4/2001: This Reference is pending since July 1998. Presently it is being tried in the Accountability Court at Attock Fort since April 2001 after Zardari was shifted from Karachi to Rawalpindi/Islamabad by NAB authorities. The prosecution till date has only examined 33 witnesses out of 62 witnesses.

2. Polo Ground Reference No. 6/2000: This Reference was adjourned sine die by the Accountability Court in Attock Fort on l7th March 2001. No date of hearing has been fixed since then.

3. Ursus Tractor Reference No. 25 /2000: This Reference, which was filed in July 1998, has not proceeded at all since the day it was transferred from the Accountability Court in Rawalpindi to the Accountability Court in Attock Fort in November 2001.

4. Cotecna Reference No.35/2001: This Reference, which was filed in July 1998, has also not proceeded since 12th June 2001 when it was adjourned sine die by the Accountability Court in Rawalpindi on the request of the Prosecutor General NAB.

5. SGS Reference No. 41/2000: This Reference was remanded to Accountability Court Rawalpindi, by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 5th Apri1 2001 after setting aside the judgment of the Accountability Court dated l4th April 1999 convicting Zardari along with his spouse Benazir Bhutto for retrial. Thereafter the prosecution evidence has not commenced till date.

Application of Asif Zardari that he has served his sentence and that he cannot be tried again on the principle of "double jeopardy" has not been heard and decided by the court despite the fact it was filed as far back as l4th September 2002 under Article 13 of the Constitution of Pakistan which lays down that no one can be tried or convicted twice for the same offence".

6. A.R.Y. Gold Reference No.23/2000: This Reference, which was filed in July 1998, is pending before the Accountability Court in Rawalpindi since its transfer in the beginning of year 2000. The Prosecution has not examined any witness since its transfer to the present court.

7. BMW Care Reference 59/2002: In this Reference, warrants of arrest of Zardari were issued in the evening of l5th December 2001 when he was bailed out in the last of the cases viz. Narcotics Case on 15/17 December, 2001. Issuance of Warrant and arrest of Asif in this Reference was only to prevent his release. The allegation is that he imported the car in 1995 and miss-declared the value thereof and evaded payment of duties and charges. First of all the car is not registered in the name of Asif. It has changed ownership thrice and there is no document linking Zardari with the car. Secondly under Section 32 of Customs Act 1969, if there is a declaration by any importer, short levied duty cannot be recovered after three years. In this case car was imported in 1995 and as such the recovery of dues, if any, is barred by limitation.

As far as the trial of the case before the Accountability Court is concerned, the NAB filed the Reference in May 2002. After the court indicted Zardari, the prosecutor examined one witness, who had been instrumental in importing the car from UK to Pakistan. The said witness has stated that one Ghani Ansari and his brother Rashid Ansari imported the said car through him and that Zardari had nothing to do with it. Asif has filed application for the acquittal, which is pending.

8. Steel Mills Reference No. 27/2000. In this Reference, which was filed in June 1998, the Accountability Court Rawalpindi convicted Zardari on 12 September 2002 after being put under extreme pressure by the government. The judgment was announced at 8.50 p.m. which is against practice and law as the court rise for the day at 4.00 p.m. Surprisingly at 9.00 p.m. on the same day the government announced on national media about the conviction in order to malign and defame Zardari.

The conviction order is without substance as there is not an iota of evidence involving Asif in the commission of the alleged offence. The allegation in the said case was that Mr. Sajjad Hussain, former Chairman Pakistan Steel Mills in order to gain favor of Asif Ali Zardari for confirmation of his service arranged a sum of rupees 30 million from mercury corporation which had a contract with the Pakistan Steel Mills by giving the said Corporation and paid the same to Asif Ali Zardari. Sajjad Hussain unfortunately died before he gave evidence in the court.

However, during his life time while he was unlawfully confined by the Nawaz regime to extract forcible confession from him, his wife Mrs. Amna Hussain had filed constitution petition in the Sindh High Court at Karachi contending that her husband is suffering from various deceases including acute depression and his being forced by the Nawaz regime specially senator Saif ur Rehman the then Chairman Ehtesab Bureau to make statement Asif Ali Zardari.

The irony of the case is that National Accountability Bureau recovered the said sum of Rs. 30 million from Mercury Corporation, as prior to the announcement of judgment convicting Asif Ali Zardari but the said fact was not revealed to the Accountability Court, which convicted the Asif Ali Zardari. The judgment is nothing but travesty of justice said the lawyer.

Six Criminal Cases at Karachi (Sindh): The said cases are not being proceeding since February 2001 when Zardari was sent on internal exile from his home town Karachi within the province of Sindh to Rawalpindi/Islamabad within the province of Punjab about 1000 miles away. These cases included four murder cases registered against him told Farooq Naik.

The Government is responsible for the delay, as Asif is confined in Rawalpindi, is not being produced before these courts at Karachi despite the fact that orders for his production are regularly being issued for every date of hearing by the concerned courts. Murder cases are titled as Murtaza Bhutto, Justice Nizam, Alam Baloch and Sajjad Hussain. One case is registered against Asif allegedly said that he has shifted households to Surrey Mahal London form Bilawal House Karachi.

Two cases have been registered against Asif alleging that he attempted to commit suicide in jail while he was under investigation.

Narcotics Case No. 436 1998: This case is pending in session court Lahore and Asif Zardari is being taken to Lahore for appearance before the Sessions Judge in violation to the order of the Supreme Court but however, he is not being produced before the Court at Karachi under the cover of order of Supreme Court.

In the said case since 1998 till date out of 23 witnesses only five-prosecution witness have been examined. The evidence of all these witnesses which has come on record explicitly show that a false case at the behest of Saif Ur Rehman former Chairman of Accountability Bureau during the period of Mian Nawaz Sharif, the then prime minister, was registered against Zardari, his lawyer observed. He said it is obvious that the government with malafide intentions and ulterior motives in a systematic and planned manner wants to keep Asif in prison for the rest of his life claimed Naik. Asif Zardari is suffering from various life threatening ailments including Spondialitis. Zardari was admitted in Dr. Ziauddin University Hospital, Clifton Karachi, which had the requisite facilities including Hydrotherapy under the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, dated 11th August 2000.

However, NAB authorities without the permission of the Supreme Court shifted him from Karachi the Rawalpindi/Islamabad unilaterally and arbitrarily in February 2001 and confined him in a small room, the windows of which remain closed all the time and black painted, in the hospital known as Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Islamabad. All the facilities granted to Asif Ali Zardari in the hospital including Television and meeting with his counsel and family members (twice a week) are under the order of various courts. It can be said without fear of contradiction that government never of its own granted or gave any facility to Asif, said Naik. The officials on duty have strict instructions not to allow any facility to him over and above granted by the courts. A qualified physician/doctor does not accompany Asif in the ambulance which is old and rickety, for appearance before various courts said Farooq. The government till date has flouted the order of the court by not providing with the facility of walk as ordered by the court under the advise of the doctors and which is having serious adverse effect on his health, claimed Naik. The hydrotherapy treatment is not being carried out, as the said facility is not available in PIMS. The said facility is of utmost necessity as the specialists who examined him, have recommended the same.









Military Regime Snubbed as Asif Zardari is Acquitted by Lahore High Court By M T Butt WASHINGTON DC, Sept.9, 2004 ISSN: 1684-2057

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.


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