Mr Shaheen Sehbai, Ansar Abbasi, Rauf Klasra have forgotten while being Sanctimonious that what they all used to contribute for SOUTH ASIA TRIBUNE. Mr Shaheen Sehbai (former correspondent of Daily Dawn; former editor of The News; ex Director News of ARY ONE TV Channel; former director of GEO News Network; and presently Group Editor the News), escaped from Pakistan to save himself from the so-called wrath of the establishment headed by General Musharraf, after the controversy surrounding his story about the murder of Daniel Pearl. It was apparently simply to obtain the Green Card for himself, and his family in the United States. Mr Sehbai then started to run a web based news service, i.e., South Asia Tribune, funded through dubious sources, but he suddenly reappeared and closed his website. During his self-imposed exile in the USA, he used to raise hue and cry against the military establishment that he and his family members’ life was in danger, but the so-called danger suddenly vanished after the whole family getting the Green Cards. He then returned to Pakistan and that too under the same Musharraf regime, and joined ARY TV channel, then GEO, and then the News, where he is presently working.
SHAHEEN SEHBAI'S DEFUNCT MAGAZINE SOUTH ASIA TRIBUNE ON PAKISTAN ARMY.
Now read as to how Jang Group/The News International Correspondets played with the National Interest of Pakistan while contributing for magazine which was founded and based in USA.
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. REFERENCE: 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
Pakistani Generals Prepare to Take Over Billion Dollar State-owned Oil Company Special SAT Report Issue No 59, September 14-20, 2003 ISSN:1684-2057 satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/sep14_20_03/P1_pso.htm
KARACHI: The ruling Army junta is all set to take over Pakistan’s only Fortune-500 private company, the multi-billion dollar Pakistan State Oil (PSO), through a rigged and manipulated privatization process, being supervised by the Generals. Excellently run under a team of professional manageRs., the PSO is one of Pakistan’s best-managed state enterprises. In the fiscal year that ended in June, the PSO posted a record net profit of Rs. 4.03bn. It is now being eyed by the Fauji Foundation, the corporate face of the serving and retired generals watching and serving their collective financial interests, as the biggest fish they could net in the Musharraf regime. PSO has more than 3,800 petrol pumps all over the country and it commands about 68 per cent market of motor fuel in Pakistan. Being the main supplier of fuel oil to independent power projects, it also commands roughly 85 per cent of the market share of fuel oil. Last year, the PSO sold petroleum products worth Rs. 148 billion (over US$ 2.5 billion) in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
According to Pakistani media reports, independent analysts have billed the PSO as a "gold mine" for its prospective buyers and believe that at its present stock value, the PSO sale must earn at least US $1 billion (Rs. 58 billion) for the national exchequer. The Army is viewing the PSO as a prize which will turn the Army into the unquestionable corporate leader of Pakistan, leaving the over-awed private sector screaming and scared. While many Pakistani business groups are now known to be interested in the PSO privatization, the Army had started focusing on acquiring PSO back in 2001. Though Fauji Foundation is technically devoted to the welfare of retired Army personnel, it is run by a serving lieutenant-generals, who reports to General Musharraf as chief of army staff and the defence secretary of the Government of Pakistan.
Many independent analysts and informed officials question the Fauji Foundation’s financial capacity to undertake the PSO take-over that may cost up to Rs. 58 billion. The Fauji Foundation, presently, has about Rs. 17 billion in assets and unrealized profits and it will have no choice but to borrow the entire amount at a relatively higher price because of an existing weak balance sheet. The Fauji Foundation is currently headed by Lt-Gen Syed Mohammad Amjad, the former chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The Fauji Foundation is currently running the Fauji-Jordan Fertilizer Company, the Fauji Fertilizer Company, the Fauji Cereals, the Fauji Corn Complex, the Fauji Polypropylene Products, the Foundation Gas, the Fauji Oil Terminal and the Distribution Company Limited, the Mari Gas Company Limited and the Fauji Kabirwala Power Company Limited.
The Pakistan Army-run Army Welfare Trust (AWT), separately, runs an empire of business projects that also includes banks, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical and cement plants.
While the AWT is facing serious financial problems in various projects, the Fauji Foundation-controlled Fauji Jordan Fertilizer Company nearly faced bankruptcy as imprudent financial and technical decisions caused the FJFC an incredible loss of at least Rs. 5 billion in 2001. Severe financial health of FJFC had also dealt a serious blow to the financial viability of the entire Fauji Foundation two year ago. But it is not the financial worth of the Fauji Foundation that may hinder its bid for the PSO. Senior PC officials also agree that the PSO take-over by the Fauji Foundation will not reflect the true spirit of the privatization as several active service generals govern the Fauji Foundation through a governing committee.
Business analysts agree that in case the Fauji Foundation gets the controlling share of PSO, the control of Pakistan’s largest oil company will simply shift from the Ministry of Petroleum to the Ministry of Defence, if not the GHQ. The Fauji Foundation, the Kuwait Petroleum and a little-known Saudi group, Midrock, short listed by the Privatization Commission in 2001, have been invited to place their bids for the purchase of PSO at a yet to be announced date of early next month, according to a senior PC official, Pakistan’s Daily ‘The News’ reported. "No doubt, it’s not the ideal situation," commented Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Chairman, Privatization Commission. "But we have to generate the momentum and every one is waiting for the PSO’s privatization"
Reliable officials have disclosed that with only a few weeks left in the bidding, the Kuwait Petroleum Corp is still not ready to participate in the process, pending clearance from the Kuwaiti government and its parliament, a unique example of the supremacy of parliament in any of the Gulf kingdoms. Kuwait’s Oil Minister Sheikh Nader H Sultan serves as the chief executive officer and deputy chairman of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation that has a spending budget of about $10 billion. Some Pakistani officials who have dealt with the KPC on the PSO privatization issue spoke of various guarantees demanded by the KPC management to protect its interests. For instance, as one official said, the KPC wanted guarantee that the government of Pakistan will not object to the PSO’s future purchase of oil exclusively from the KPC sources only. The KPC controls oil and gas reserves of 96.5 billion barrels of oil and 52.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Privatization Commission (PC) sources said the Kuwait Petroleum’s requests for further delay in the bidding process would encourage the PC to initiate a fresh speedy process of seeking more letters of interest from prospective local and international buyers. The Privatization Commission has rarely adhered to the laid-down rules. For instance, in the case of the United Bank Limited’s privatization, the second highest bidder was allowed to increase its bid much after the completion of the bidding process. Recently, while inviting offeRs. from various brokerage houses for their selection as lead manageRs. for the sale of a fraction of the government shares of the PIAC, Privatization Commission Secretary Ahmad Waqar made a unilateral decision to not to publicly open the bids and made a selection on the basis of personal judgment.
In the case of PSO, when the Generals are directly interested in acquiring this crown jewel of Pakistan’s corporate landscape, the poor civilians at the Privatization Commission can hardly resist. They will bend the rules and bend their backs to ensure that the men in khaki become the owners of a national asset. The irony is that the blame for the handing over of the country’s billion dollar company to the Army will be placed at the door of a civilian “elected” government although poor Prime Minister Jamali has almost no say in what is going on.
Pakistan Must Provide Proof of Reforming the ISI By Bernard-Henri Levy Issue No 59, September 14-20, 2003 ISSN:1684-2057 satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/sep14_20_03/opinion_levy.htm
PARIS: There have been reports recently in the American press concerning the probability that the government of Pakistan has traded nuclear secrets and maybe even technology with Iran. Such disclosures were welcomed by those of us here in France who consider ourselves part of the "anti-anti-American society" and who have long wondered why the United States doesn't seem more concerned with the character of its major ally in the war against terrorism.
As an observer of Pakistan for more than 30 years -- I first went to the region in 1971 as a war correspondent covering the conflict between India and Pakistan over Bangladesh -- I have seen the government become ever more degraded as it fell from the hands of the Bhuttos to military leaders such as Pervez Musharraf and then to the point where now -- as the Daniel Pearl affair showed -- it is doubtful that the executive branch of the country's government is fully in charge.
Is it known in the West that President Musharraf himself had to cancel several trips to Karachi, the economic capital of his own country, for safety reasons? My last few visits, including one on a diplomatic mission for France following the Afghan war and several more as part of my investigation into the death of journalist Daniel Pearl, brought this point home and gave me a full sense of who really runs things there. What has become obvious is the tremendous power of the ISI, Pakistan's secret service -- so dreaded by average citizens that they rarely speak its name but refer to it instead as the "three letters" -- and the deep infiltration of this powerful organization by militant fundamentalists and jihadis. The most dominant factions in the ISI, in fact, have come to constitute a virtual jihadi group itself. And this is why Pakistan has become the subject of numerous other urgent questions: Did it shelter Osama bin Laden and other members of al Qaeda after the Sept. 11 attacks? Has it provided bin Laden with medical attention since the Afghan war, in the Binori Town Mosque in Karachi, which I happened to visit? Was it involved, and to what extent, in the murder of Pearl?
It is in this context that it's advisable to consider the problem of the Pakistani nuclear program and the dangers of proliferation that it presents -- with Iran certainly, but also with al Qaeda and the still-at-large elements of the Taliban. In my book I bring up the case of the so-called "father of the Islamist bomb," the man after whom Pakistan's leading nuclear laboratory is named, Abdul Qadeer Khan. He is a revered figure in his country. He is cheered in the streets. His birthday is sanctified in the mosques. I witnessed an Islamist demonstration in which gigantic portraits of him led the march. But this man has long been not only a government official but a fanatical Islamist. This public figure, this great scientist, this man who knows better than anyone (since it is he who developed them) the most sensitive secrets of Pakistan's nuclear program, is both close to the ISI and a member of Lashkar e-Toiba, a group closely allied with al Qaeda.
My story concerned Khan's "vacations" to North Korea and his links with bin Laden's men; one of my hypotheses is that Pearl may have been killed to prevent him from reporting on such trafficking of nuclear know-how. It is clear that the United States accepted the moral imperative when it came to the Afghan war. It is also obvious that, after Sept. 11, the war against terrorism had to be declared, and that it has to be carried on, with all the necessary alliances. But what is the real necessity, in this framework, of the US-Pakistan alliance? Was it necessary, after the most recent visit of Musharraf to Washington, to continue the massive funding of his regime? Is it not possible at least to tie this aid to certain simple political conditions -- for example, that the Pakistanis must give proof of a genuine effort to reform the ISI; or that they impose the most severe sanctions on their high-ranking nuclear scientists and officials who take "vacations" in Iran, North Korea or Taliban-held areas of Afghanistan?
This story, unfortunately, I'm unable to cover further, because I have become part of a growing club of reporters who cannot return to Pakistan, simply because they don't want to end up like one of the best journalists to have covered the nuclear trading story, Daniel Pearl. But I am convinced that a harsher tone, a reformulation of the terms of alliance, is called for, so that our relationship with Musharraf will be more than a gullible, naive embrace -- and will conform to moral as well as political imperatives. And I would add that waiting for us is the other Pakistan -- that which is liberal, democratic, secular, which fights, back against the wall, against mounting Islamism, and which does not understand why, in this combat, we are not at its side.
The writer recently published the book "Who Killed Daniel Pearl?"
How Army Generals will become billionaires, overnight Special SAT Report Issue No 21, Dec 16-22, 2002 ISSN:1684-2075 satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/dec16_22_02/P1_overnightgenerals.htm
RAWALPINDI: Top Pakistan Army Generals, and their fortunate juniors, who own prime property in the heart of Islamabad’s sister city, Rawalpindi, are on the verge of turning into billionaires over night. According to well informed insiders a summary is being prepared recommending that Rawalpindi’s busy Peshawar Road and the posh Mall Road, where army officers predominantly own large properties, be declared as Commercial areas, thus multiplying the value of these properties several times over in one stroke. The question being raised is why this concession is being restricted to these areas? Insiders confide that it is being done because one of the top most Generals owns land right next to the old Frontier Works Organization (FWO) Headquarters on Peshawar Road and wants to put up a gas station and build a commercial plaza, without paying the conversion fee. Conversion of residential property to commercial is allowed even now but a hefty fees has to be paid by the owner and that restricts many from opting for the change. If the change is ordered by the Government under a new policy, everybody will benefit though the exchequer may lose.
Real estate experts say one General, owner of a major hospital, who has taken possession of the old Supreme Court building on Peshawar Road on the pretext of running a social welfare outfit, will see the value of his land multiply into billions. The same will be true for all those retired or serving property owners in this area. Peshawar Road and Mall Road are two of the busiest places in Rawalpindi and properties are pre-dominantly owned by army personnel as this is the center of the military presence, with the Army GHQ located on the Mall Road itself, close to the biggest hotel of Rawalpindi. There are also reports that conversions in the Saddar Area, which had been limited into a time frame with a cut off date, may now be given a further extension to enable owners to apply if they could not do it so far.
The extension is being done to benefit another top notch General, whose family had earlier shown lethargy in getting its property located near Hati Chowk in Saddar, converted into a new commercial lease. The management of all properties in military controlled “Cantonment areas” was the sole right of Army authorities but the second Government of Benazir Bhutto cut into this huge commercial asset and changed the old British Act to take discretion away from the Quarter Master General of the Army and the Ministry of Defense. This Benazir decision raised alarm bells in the GHQ as this meant public scrutiny of whatever would happen in the future in the Cantt areas and was one of the main reasons why the Army hates Benazir Bhutto as an institution.
Under the amended law a policy was drawn up by the Ministry of Defense, but bureaucrats played their tricks with the PPP government and formulated a much softer policy, whittling down the intent of Benazir’s directive in many ways. One constraint plugged in was that all property owners desirous of converting from old grant to new lease or for converting from residential to commercial must do so within three years. Secondly, the fee for conversion was to be determined by a Committee headed by Army’s General Officer Commanding (GOC). The other members were Station Commander, Log Area Commander etc. Due to public objections, however, the latter was modified and fixed rates were announced for conversion from residential to commercial. Most private property owners continued to pay the rather steep fees for conversions. But now if the law is changed and officially a particular area is declared as commercial, it would mean a windfall for the owners.
The summary being prepared under quiet instructions of the top Generals would put the new political government of Mr. Jamali in a difficult position as it would be seen by all as a special favor to the military owners of property. Interestingly the Ministry of Defense is again headed by a top PPP leader, Rao Sikandar, who has defected from the mainstream PPP to join the Forward Bloc in support of the pro-army government of Mr. Jamali. But the political leader who will face the toughest time explaining any such decisions would be Information Minister and Rawalpindi’s popular politician Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. He will have to come up with a lot of arguments to convince his voters and constituents, specially living outside the areas which are to be declared commercial.
The PAF Kickbacks Scandal Revealed by Mistake Special SAT Report Issue No 21, Dec 16-22, 2002 ISSN:1684-2075 satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/dec16_22_02/P1_PAFStory.htm
ISLAMABAD: Strong evidence has surfaced of Musharraf regime's first major defense kickbacks scandal involving the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) last year when Pakistan purchased four CASA Transport aircraft from an Indonesian company for $50 million. Amusingly the scandal broke when a senior PAF officer mixed up the look-alike names of the commission agents and called in the wrong guy to contact the suppliers and submit the offer. All signs are that the kickbacks of four to five million dollars, were offered to the PAF high ups, and the role of the PAF Chief himself was so dubious many believe he could have been the ultimate beneficiary. Evidence, however, firmly establishes that his Dubai-based close friend was.
This is the first major defense purchase scandal of the Musharraf government though it may appear to be not so big compared to the one billion dollar submarines purchase or the purchase of several hundred million dollars worth of Ukranian Tanks, both highly controversial deals involving kickbacks. In the submarines case Admiral Mansoor ul Haq, the former Navy Chief, was arrested and tried but let off the hook after he paid some 7 million dollars. No one was touched for the Ukranian Tanks deal. The evidence now available about the CASA CN-35 aircraft scandal reveals that the Indonesian supplier offered a 3 per cent normal commission and 5 per cent extra commission for "defence and finance personnel" on purchase of the 4 Transport Aircraft. The total cost was $49 million with commissions and kickbacks totaling four million dollars.
The man in the center of the deal has now come out on record after failing to evoke a response from the PAF authorities, which refused to acknowledge or reply even to a legal notice served by him through his attorneys to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mushaf Ali Mir. The original story of the CASA aircraft purchase was reported in a section of the Pakistani Press earlier this year but the dubious side of the deal was not highlighted and PAF spokesmen tried to bury it under strong denials and unofficial use of pressure to stop the story from catching wings. The episode which could go down as a major blot on the Musharraf regime, started in December of 2000 when instead of Khalid Kashmiri, a PAF official based in Dubai and said to be a close friend of PAF Chief, Air Marshal Mushaf Ali Mir, officials contacted another ex-PAF officer, Khalid Khawaja, also in the same defense supplies business. The mix-up probably occurred because both had Khalid as their first name and all Khawajas are known to be of Kashmiri origin.
"I was approached by the PAF to get them the offer, whereas they could have directly approached the company. We got the offer and when I went to Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations) Air Marshal Kaleem Saadat, along with Air Vice Marshal (retd) Khudadad, to submit it, I asked AM Kaleem why after all had I been approached in particular," Khalid Khawaja said in an EMail interview to the SA Tribune. "He laughed and said in fact the Air Chief had asked him to approach another retired officer, Khalid Kashmiri, who happens to be the Chief's friend, " Khalid Khawaja said. “In the first place, Air Marshal Kaleem never contacted me directly. He had asked Air Commodore Ateeb, ACAS (Operations), to contact Khalid Kashmiri and Ateeb mistook it as Khalid Khawaja. Ateeb asked Group Captain Rizwan, Director Air Transport, to contact me and it was Rizwan who contacted me desperately. Later Rizwan and Ateeb followed it up and asked me to do them this "national favor".
“I met Air Marshal Kaleem first time when I handed him over the offer in presence of Air Vice Marshal Khudadad who was Director General of National Accountability Bureau. Later Khudadad was the one who met the Air Chief as well as AM Kaleem to resolve the issue,” Khawaja said, adding: "I do not find any reason to believe that AM Kaleem had any vested interest in the deal as he got me the Letter of Intent (LOI) and was very co-operative without any underhand understanding." "I was conveyed by the Indonesian company, through my contacts in Indonesia, that they will give us 3 per cent commission as our processing fee and 5 per cent (kickbacks) for PAF authorities," Khawaja said.
As evidence Khawaja sent a scanned copy of an Email sent by Prima Niaga (email@example.com), sent by one Vice President (Sales) Suryana Padma Abdurrehman which stated clearly that "They (PAF) have given us a confirmation about commission fee (off the record) - Agency Fee=3%, Pakistan Finance and Defense Department=5%.” The Email also asked Khawaja to "prepare the Technoman Company Profile completely which will (be) appointed as IAe (Indonesian Aerospace) Agency." Click to View E-Mail copy Technoman is the name of Khawaja’s company.
"The point here is that this was the offer which came from the suppliers, without any demand from our side. I could have bargained more by saying that people are demanding more, as I knew that there was enough margin in the price. Instead I called Air Marshal Kaleem and told him that they must get a good bargain and the extra 5 per should be deposited in the Government/PAF treasury," Khawaja said. "A few days after that we were told that the suppliers had chosen Mr. Khalid Kashmiri as their agent, as required by the top authority of the Air Force. In between we were told that if we let this one go to Khalid Kashmiri we can be entertained in some other deal, but I refused as I was already fed up with the past experience," Khawaja said. "Air Marshal Kaleem told me one day that it was not the PAF but the Indonesian company which had changed its agent but why would they do so, when I was doing a fine job. Why did the PAF want the deal to go through a friend of the Air Chief," Khawaja asked.
"When authorities in Indonesia were contacted they said that they could not afford to lose the business and if the PAF gave me a letter again they will be happy to deal with me." As Khawaja was frustrated in the deal, he decided to take legal action and sent a notice to the PAF Chief. Air Marshal Mushaf Mir, stating these facts. Click here for Legal Notice The Notice also stated that the supplier was prepared to pay 3% to the agency and 5% to defence and finance personnel but "Our Client immediately conveyed this, (offer) inter alia, to Air Marshal Kaleem Saadat, DCAS (Ops) and informed him that as Our Client did not intend to indulge in any unethical business practices, therefore, the 5% would be taken from the Supplier and paid into the Government Treasury."
"It appears that Our Client's honesty and high moral standards were not appreciated and the Supplier was informed that the PAF would deal with the Supplier through a nominee of the highest authority. Consequently, the Supplier acting in flagrant violation of its obligations towards Our Client appointed an agent of your choice," the notice said. When asked why he did not pursue the legal notice with a formal case, Khawaja said: "In fact some indirect communication started after the notice and the PAF Chief was too arrogant and confident that nothing can go against him. But somehow Air Marshal Khudadad after meeting the Chief and AM Kaleem could prevail upon my associates that pursuing the case will not benefit us. Rather we shall earn the wrath of the Chief and it will only damage our various business interests therefore the other directors of the company were of the opinion not to pursue the case any further." There was no immediate response to the notice from the PAF authorities but PAF media managers, however, went into overdrive to control any damage in the media and when some persistent newsmen tried to ask questions, the full force and authority of a military government was used to keep them at bay. One journalist was told to give the questions in advance, in writing, and when a very strong questionnaire was handed over, there was no response. No Pakistani newspaper touched the story again.
Is the ISI Chief being made the Scapegoat for MMA Victory? Those who should know are Saying: 'We Dont Know' By LampPost Issue No 17, -Nov-11-17, 2002 ISSN:1684-2075 satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/nov11_17_02/P1_Grapewinecomm.htm
ISLAMABAD: How is the country responding to the deliberate confusion unleashed by Government decisions forcing a “certain type” of democracy and government on the nation, despite the October 10 verdict? The answer is “no one knows” as everyone including the Government, Generals, Politicians, Media and the People are confused. But those who are supposed to be the ears and eyes of the Government, the famous, or infamous, intelligence agencies, are fighting an in-house battle to overcome the shock of the October polls, specially the MMA victory which came almost unnoticed by the agency which should have known, the ISI.
The news is now spreading in Islamabad like a wild fire that the ISI Chief General Ehsan was soon to be made the scapegoat for keeping Musharraf, and the Americans, in the dark. Either way, if he knew what was coming and did not inform any one, or if he did not know, he is to be held responsible. Who may replace General Ehsan is also of particular interest and the name circulating in media circles is of General Musharraf's Chief of Staff, Gen. Hamid Javed. Whatever happens to the ISI chief, the political confusion is also mainly due to the failure, or success, of the ISI. LampPost has collected some samples of this gigantic confusion. This will, of course, add to the existing state of lack of knowledge, but will confirm that what is going on is beyond any one’s control: Listen to what the government luminaries have to say first:
Interior Minister Moin Haider (In Karachi on Nov 9):
- We want that the political parties should come to an understanding to form the government with at least simple majority. The condition is that the parties should do it before entering the parliament. If this it could not happen, the situation would take another turn.
- I refute the impression that government is delaying the National Assembly session for its benefit.
- Political parties are responsible for the delay, as they were not in a position to reach any consensus on formation of the government.
- If the political parties do not arrive at a settlement before the NA session then, due to the deadlock in parliament, making another reference to people might become unavoidable.
- Regarding political meetings with Asif Zardari it should be considered a good thing if anyone meets him or he meets anyone.
Information Minister Nisar Memon (In Karachi on Nov 9):
- It is not fair to blame any of the political parties or the government for delay in the process of formation of the government at the Centre.
- The session would now be convened within the week's extended time. Sufficient time has been provided and it is also in the interest of the country that the process should be completed.
Federal Law Minister Khalid Ranjha (In a statement on Nov 8):
- The anti-floor-crossing law is in abeyance, at present, so the MPs-elect were free to choose their own direction, according to their own conscience.
What the Politicians are saying:
Qazi Hussain Ahmed of MMA:
- A solution to the deadlock prevailing on the nomination of Prime Minister and a coalition government would be resolved on the floor of the Assembly.
- If Pervez Musharraf agrees to sovereignty of Parliament, restoration of 1973 Constitution instead of insisting on LFO, the Parliament can consider his validation as President for the next term.
Asif Ali Zardari:
- A dialogue is definitely on and there are certain proposals under discussion between the two sides.
- PPP parliamentary leader Makhdoom Amin Fahim was in touch with the powers-that-be and talked with me about their proposals.
- I will have nowhere to go if I strike any clandestine deal with the powers-that-be and I don't want to put myself in a situation where whatever I have sacrificed in the past six years goes to waste.
MMA's Maulana Fazlur Rehman:
- We were suspicious that the PPP was playing game with us. But Asif Ali Zardari has assured me on Friday during my telephonic conversation with him that his party will support the MMA.
- The ARD is fully supporting us. Chances of formation of government with the PML(Q) are slim.
- PML-Q is a powerless party which is being remote controlled by the government.
PPP dissident Faisal Saleh Hayat:
- Whatever efforts I was making for the formation of government with the PML-Q was mandated by party chairperson Benazir Bhutto.
- My stance is clear that PPPP should join PML-QA in government-making.
- I have full backing of Benazir Bhutto regarding my endeavours.
- Mr Amin Fahim should explain if Benazir had not asked us to form government with PML-QA, during meeting at Dubai.
- (On Legal Framework Order (LFO) If certain politicians could contest October 10 elections under the LFO and return to the National Assembly under the shadow of this Order, then why do they now oppose it?
- A government of national reconciliation is imperative to bring the country out of the present crisis. Otherwise we should forget about democracy.
- Majority of PPP MNAs have the same thinking.
- I am following the directions of Chairperson Benazir Bhutto who had asked us to form a government at every cost.
PPP Secretary General Raza Rabbani:
- Coalition between the PPP and PML (Q) is a distant illusion.
- The government is trying to create a deadlock to pave way for the floor crossing.
- The party has reached a broad understanding with the MMA and other parties of the Alliance for the formation of the government.
PPP-P Leader and possible PM, Makhdoom Amin Fahim:
- I do not rule out the party's cooperation with the PML (Q).
- All the parties which have representation in the parliament have equal importance.
- PML (Q) is a democratic party and its presence in the parliament cannot be denied.
Mir Hussain Gillani, Vice-President of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam:
- My party's policies are clear. It is the religious duty of every Muslim Pakistani to protect and offer sanctuary to Taliban and al-Qaeda.
- Osama bin Laden was not a terrorist. Osama is one of the biggest followers of Islam. And what has he done? What has the United States and the West proven that he has done?"
All these samples show every one is saying what he wants without any coordination and definite knowledge. This is in simple words called mayhem.
But there is no mayhem in a small “empire” run by one General Qayyum, in a city near Wah, the small town near Capital Islamabad, where the country’s biggest arms manufacturing factory is located.
Qayyum was once the ADC of Benazir Bhutto and is now running POF like his fiefdom. To keep things in the family, he appointed his son-in-law as Staff Officer. While the father of this very son-in-law has been made principal of the medical college cum hospital complex the POF is building in Wah. During 1985-88, the days of late Mr Junejo, thanks to the small housing scheme, a colony by the name of Gulistan was built for the workers of Wah factory. The general believes that while on a visit to his factory, "the VVIP visitors" to POF consider the said colony as an "eye sore."
To hide it from the visitors, therefore, a wall was erected all around the huge colony with slabs of concrete, each costing Rs 100. How many millions were spent to keep the dirty sights away from the visitors is an question of maths.
How NAB "thief catchers" were caught red-handed Special SAT Report Issue No 19, Nov 25-Dec 1, 2002 ISSN:1684-2075 satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/nov25_dec1_02/P1_bankstory.htm
PESHAWAR: This story has not yet been told in full but it tells a lot more than anyone can imagine. A Pakistan Air Force Air Vice Marshal has been retired, just simply retired by the Musharraf Government, after Rs 320 million were recovered from a bank locker in Multan and a suspect said the money belonged to him. This is a story of the people who were made incharge of catching the thieves, read politicians, if you are wearing a uniform. Two lockers were raided by authorities, one belonging to the AVM’s mother and another to his sister, married to a Collector of Customs.
The Collector, Shaukat Ali Bhatti, is presently behind the bars but he has told his investigators the lockers and the money found in it, all Rs 320 million, belonged to the AVM Zakaullah, responsible for the Accountability drive in NWFP. The Collector was arrested after the money was found in the lockers but how did this scandal break out? The simple answer is fighting between thieves over the loot. The background of the case is a tussle over bribes in the local NAB office in Peshawar. There were two groups. One led by a Brigadier and the other by the AVM.
The Brigadier was transferred 4-5 months back because there were complaints against him. The AVM fell out with the rest of the team, which comprised a Colonel and two Majors, once the Brigadier was gone. The AVM transferred the two Majors who were so enraged they spilled the beans and reported the underhand deals negotiated by the AVM, besides revealing other secrets. An investigation was thus launched which led to the arrest of the Collector of Customs and the recovery of the loot from the Multan lockers. This story was reported in the Pakistani media, but suppressed. Wrong figures were quoted. Some said Rs 40 million was recovered, others said Rs 140 million. The big story is that nothing happened to the AVM who was simply retired. Now the newly elected government of Maulanas will pursue the case and they are sure that they will bring the culprits to book and give them proper punishment. This List is being constantly Updated as new information becomes available
The Partial List of Civilian Posts taken over by Army Officials Special SAT Report Issue No 10, Sept 23-29, 2002 ISSN:1684-2075 satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/sep23_29_02/P1_armylist.htm
ISLAMABAD: There can be numerous reasons why the Pakistan Army Generals would not transfer power to the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan. But one very obvious reason is the civilian positions of authority now under their clutches. SAT has received from a contributor a list of over 85 such key positions where civilian experts, technocrats, academics, engineers, doctors, media persons, diplomats, civil servants, administrators and sportsmen should have been running the show, to the best of their ability and for the maximum benefit for the country. But all these positions have been filled by serving or retired men in uniform; who already are either gainfully employed or have retired with full pensions, benefits and perks and have been re-employed depriving thousands of other more capable and deserving people.
This list is besides those armed forces personnel who have commercialized the names of their services and started business ventures like Fauji Foundation, Bahria Housing and Shaheen Air Services etc. Thousands of others in lesser positions, who have been inducted under a quota system, have not yet been counted. But their presence makes it clear what stakes the army has developed in controlling the political system of the country. The corporate face of the army also enjoys the full facilities and backing of the army establishment, whether their businesses run into profits or losses. The 85 key positions identified by our contributor are given under. Some more additions have been made by our readers. A few corrections have also been made:
01-05: General Pervez Musharraf (President, Chief executive, Defence Minister, Army Chief and Chairman of National Security Council);(The COAS slot has been included here just to show the hats Gen. Musharraf wears. This job will naturally remain with the Army).
06. Major General (Retd) Muhammad Anwar (President of Azad Kashmir);
07. Lt Gen (Retd) Khalid Maqbool (Governor Punjab);
08. Lt General (Retd) Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah (Governor NWFP);
09. Lt General (Retd) Moinuddin Haider (Federal Interior Minister);
10. Lt General (Retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi (Federal Communications Minister);
11. Col (Retd) S.K. Tressler (Federal Minorities & Culture Minister);
12. Lt Gen. Hamid Javed (Chief Executive’s Chief of Staff);
13. Major General Muhammad Yusuf (Chief Executive’s Deputy Chief of Staff);
14. Major General Rashid Qureshi (President’s Information Adviser);
15. Lt General Muneer Hafeez (Chief of NAB);
16. Major General Usman Shah (Deputy Chief of NAB);
17. Major General Shujaat Zameer (Deputy Chief of NAB);
18. Major General Abdul Jabbar Bhatti (Chief, Regional Accountability Bureau, RAB,Punjab);
19. Air Vice Marshal Zakaullah (Chief of RAB NWFP);
20. Major General Tariq Bashir (Chief of RAB Sindh);
21. Major General Owais Mushtaq (Chief of RAB Balochistan);
22. Lt General (Retd) Syed Tanvir Hussain Naqvi (Chief of National Reconstruction Bureau);
23. Lt General (Retd) Hamid Nawaz (Secretary Defence);
24. Air Marshal (Retd) Zahid Anees (Secretary Defence Production);
25. Lt General (Retd) Saeedul Zafar (Secretary Railways);
26. Major General (Retd) Fazal Ghafoor (Ambassador to North Korea);
27. Brigadier (Retd) Abdul Majeed Khan (Ambassador to Tajikistan);
28. Major General (Retd) Salimullah (Ambassador to UAE);
29. Major General (Retd) Muhammad Hassan Aqeel (Ambassador to Thailand);
30. Lt General (Retd) Asad Durrani (Ambassador to Saudi Arabia);
31. Vice Admiral (Retd) Shamoon Aslam Khan (Ambassador to Ukraine);
32. Air Marshal (Retd) Najeeb Akhtar (Ambassador to Brazil);
33. Major General Syed Mustafa Anwar Hussain (Ambassador to Indonesia);
34. Lt General (Retd) Muhammad Shafeeq (Ambassador to Bahrain);
35. Lt General (Retd) Zulfiqar Ali Khan (Chairman WAPDA);
36. Major General (Retd) Agha Masood Hassan (DG of Postal Services);
37. Major General Farrukh Javed (Chairman National Highway Authority);
38. Rear Admiral K.B. Rind (DG Ports & Shipping);
39. Rear Admiral Ahmad Hayat (Chairman Karachi Port Trust);
40. Rear Admiral Sikandar Viqar Naqvi (Chairman Port Qasim Authority);
41. Vice Admiral Tauqir Hussain Naqvi (Chairman National Shipping Corporation);
42. Major General (Retd) Muhammad Hassan (Chief of National Fertilizer Corporation);
43. Lt Colonel (Retd) Afzal Khan (Chairman Pakistan Steel Mills);
44. Lt Colonel (Retd) Akbar Hussain (Export Processing Zone Authority);
45. Major General Shehzad Alam Malik (Chairman Pakistan Telecommunications Authority);
46. Air Vice Marshal Azhar Masood (Chairman National Telecommunications Authority);
47. Brigadier (Retd) Muhammad Saleem (Chairman NADRA);
48. Brigadier Mirza Babar Aziz (DG NADRA);
49. Brigadier (Retd) Muhammad Anwar Khan (DG NADRA NWFP);
50. Major General Raza Hussain (Chairman SUPARCO);
51. Major General Sabihuddin Bokhari (Surveyor General of Pakistan);
52. Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema (DG National Crisis Management Cell);
53. Air Marshal (Retd) Shafeeq Haider (Chairman Federal Public Service Commission);
54. Lt General Arshad Hussain (Member Federal Public Service Commission);
55. Lt General (Retd) Jehangir Nasrullah (Chairman Punjab Public Service Commission);
56. Major General (Retd) Arshad Chaudhry (Member Punjab Public Service Commission);
57. Major General (Retd) Arshadullah Tarar (Member Punjab Public Service Commission);
58. Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Aliuddin (DG Civil Aviation Authority);
59. Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Arshad Saleem (Deputy DG Civil Aviation Authority);
60. Major General Zafar Abbas (DG Anti-Narcotics Force);
61. Major General Syed Haider Javed (DG National Logistics Cell);
62. Major General (Retd) Inayatullah Khan Niazi (DG Auqaf);
63. Major General Pervez Akmal (MD OGDC);
64. Brigadier (Retd) Rizvan Ashraf (General Manager OGDC);
65. Brigadier (Retd) Ishtiaq Ali Khan (MD Pakistan Mineral Development Authority);
66. Major General (Retd) Hamid Hassan Butt (Chairman Pakistan Railways);
67. Lt General (Retd) Syed Shujaat Ali Khan (Rector Engineering University Lahore);
68. Lt General (Retd) Arshad Mehmood (Vice Chancellor Punjab University);
69. Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Sardar Khan (Vice Chancellor Engineering University Peshawar);
70. Captain (Retd) U.A.G. Isani (Vice Chancellor Islamabad University);
71. Lt General (Retd) Sardar Ali (DG National Institute of Public Administration);
72. Brigadier (Retd) Maqsoodul Hassan (DG Directorate of Education);
73. Brigadier Muhammad Ejaz (Home Secretary Punjab);
74. Brigadier Abdur Rehman (Director Health NWFP);
75. Brigadier Shadab (Secretary C&W Punjab)
76. Brigadier Anees (Chairman Punjab Privatisation Commission);
77. Colonel (Retd) Shahid Qureshi (DIG Sindh Telecommunications);
78. Colonel (Retd) Ghulam Hussain (Secretary S&GAD NWFP);
79. Brigadier Mukhtar (Home Secretary, Sindh);
80. Brigadier Zaheer Qadri (DG, KDA, Sindh and not Secretary C&W NWFP);
81. Brigadier (Retd) Akhtar (Secretary to Governor Sindh);
82. General Muhammad Aziz Khan (Chairman Pakistan Hockey Federation);
83. Lt General Tauqir Zia (Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board);
84. Air Marshal Mushaf Ali (Chairman Pakistan Squash Federation);
85. Major General (Retd) Imtiaz (Chairman Pakistan Athletics Federation);
86. Brigadier Saulat Abbas (DG Pakistan Sports Board).
The following names have been added by one of our readers. All readers are invited to post any new names they can add to the Discussion Board under the List Story:
87. Brig. Khalid Javed, DG Projects Directorate, NADRA, Islamabad
88. Col Talmeez Abbas, DG Dataware Housing, NADRA, Islamabad
89. Maj Tahir M. Alvi DDG, Project Directorate, NADRA, Islambad
The following Amendments and Additions were sent by a Reader from GHQ, Rawalpindi:
Major General Tariq Javed: Retired in Jul 2002;
Ser # 62 Contract not renewed after Aug 2002;
Ser #64 Incumbent actually retired as a Lt Col from the Army & is employed as a Manager;
Brig Safdar Husain Awan is the Secy (C&W) NWFP
Ser #75 Retired;
Ser #80 Brig Qadri is DG KDA;
Ser 79 Brig Mukhtar is Home Secretary Sindh:
90. Major General (Retd) Hashmi, Registrar, Pakistan Engineering Council;
91. Major General (Retd) Anis Bajwa, Chairman PTDC;
92. Major Genera (Retd) Asif Riaz Bokhari, NRB;
93. Brig Muhammad Toseef Uz Zaman Khan, Civil Aviation Authority;
94. Brig Saeed Ahmed Malik, WAPDA Head Qtrs Lahore;
95. Brig Muhammad Iqbal, WAPDA HQ Lahore;
96. Brig Mushtaq Ahmed, WAPDA HQ, Lahore;
97. Brig Khalid Sohail Cheema, DG Pak PWD;
98. Brig Shamshad Khan, GM NWFP NHA;
99. Brig (Retd) Zareen Khan, Project Incharge Ghazi Brotha WAPDA;
100. Brig (Retd) Mukhtar Ahmed Tariq, GM Admin OGDC;
101. Brig (Retd) Muhammad Hamayoun Khan, GM Procurement OGDC;
102. Brig (Retd) Sardar Javed Ashraf, MD KW&SB;
103. Brig (Retd) Nisar, IG Prisons (Sindh);
104. Brig (Retd) Zafar Ahmed Malik, Karachi Building & Control Authority;
105. Brig (Retd) Aftab Ahmed, DG PHA;
106. Brig (Retd) Dilbar Husain Naqvi, MD National Construction Company;
107. Colonel Rauf, IG Prisons, NWFP;
108. Colonel Asif Jamal, MD, Multan Development Authority;
109. Colonel (Retd) Najam ul Hasan Malik, TMO Rawalpindi;
110. Colonel (Retd) Hafiz Abdur Rehman Malik, MD WASA, Rawalpindi;
111. Colonel (Retd) Kanwar Muhammad Sherbaz Khan, GM CS&E OGDC;
112. Lt Col Muhammad Azim, GM NHA;
113. LT Col Naqeeb Amjad Malik, Manager CS&E OGDC;
114. Lt Col (Retd) Aziz ul Haque Mirza, Member (Operations) NHA;
115. Lt Col (Retd) Hafeezullah Awan, MD WASA Quetta.
Another Reader has sent a new list of officers who, he says, have not been included in the above List. They are:
116. Major General (Retd) Shujaat Ali Khan, Ambassador to Morocco;
117 . Major General (Retd) Badruddin, Ambassador to Brunei;
118. Vice Admiral(Retd) Khalid Mir, Ambassador to Lebanon;
119. Brig (Retd) Muhammad Nisar, Ambassador to Argentina;
120. Brig. Sikandar Ali, Director, Anti Narctics Force;
121. Brig (R) Saeed Ahmad Rafi, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (He was inducted by Gen Musharraf into Foreign Service as incharge of overseas polling for Presidential Referendum in April);
122. Brig (R) Mian Khalid Habib, Chief of Protocol, M/o foreign Affirs;
123. Brig Tipu Sultan, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
124. Group Capt (R) Khalid Aziz Babar, Director General, M/o Foreign Affairs;
125. Naval Lt (R) Ghalib Iqbal, Consul General, Toronto (son-in-law of former Air Chief Anwar Shamim);
126. Naval Lt (R) Qasim Raza Mutaqqi, Counsellor, Rome;
127. Col (R) Salik Nawaz, Deputy Chief of Protocol, M/o Foreign Affairs;
128. Capt (R) Masood Akhtar, Deputy Chief of Protocol, M/o Foreign Affairs;
129. Capt (R) Shaukat Muqaddam, Counsellor, Dublin;
130. Capt (R) Zaighamuddin Azam Khan, Counsellor, Berlin;
131. Capt (R) Sohail Ittehad Hussain, Director General,M/o Foreign Affairs;
132. Capt (R) Khalid Durrani, Director, M/o Foreign Affairs.
How ISI threatens Islamabad, the beautiful - The Generals are ready to conquer the Capital Hills Special SAT Report Issue No 9, Sept 16-22, 2002 ISSN:1684-2075 satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/sep16_22_02/P1_Margalla.htm
NEW YORK: Pakistan's well known spy agency, the ISI, is ready to conquer a major hilly area, within Pakistan, the picturesque Margalla Hills overlooking the Capital City, Islamabad. Under the garb of national security and protecting the military government, soon influential Generals will be enjoying the lofty hills for their residences, overlooking the entire city. According to sources in President Musharraf’s delegation to New York, ISI had almost forced a frightened woman Federal Minister for Environment, Barrister Shahida Jamil, to allot 100 acres of land in the Margalla Hills National Park, one of the big attractions of the capital city. The agency wants to construct a new and “safe” Headquarter as well as, quite intriguingly, a housing colony for its officers. An official summary generated by Barrister Jamil’s ministry has been sent to President Pervez Musharraf, for an urgent decision on his return from USA. Approval is almost obvious.
The ISI bosses have argued with the Environment Ministry that they all were feeling very insecure in the existing building of ISI, located at Zero Point, on Aabpara Road in Islamabad. This building could be targeted by the al-Qaeda activists or Indian agents as it is located on one of the busiest road of Islamabad. This argument ignores the fact that the ISI building has never been targeted in the past, although it was the hub of all the activity during the entire war against the Soviet Union and the civil war inside Afghanistan. The Environment Minister secretly approved the summary for President Musharraf, before leaving to attend the summit on Environment in South Africa. The allotment of the Park land would be a clear violation of international laws governing the environment.
Anticipating attacks on its offices, or to build up a case for the lucrative Margalla Hills land, the ISI bosses have already closed one of the side roads linking the Zero Point-Aabpara road to Blue Area (commercial area) of the city and several armed personnel have been posted. Initially the Environment Ministry response was one of alarm as giving away 100 acres on these hills would almost destroy the whole area as a natural park which needed to be preserved. When the ISI bosses learned about it, they immediately contacted the Minister and “convinced” her about the immediate need of 100 acres. The lady, naturally, could not resist the pressure.
Some concerned officials of her Ministry, risking both their lives and jobs, held a meeting with the Minister and told her about the disastrous impact of her decision on the environment of Islamabad and Margalla Hills. She was also informed about the negative international reaction.
She was also told that once the gates were opened, other government agencies will start moving in and soon the entire hill area will be grabbed by one government agency or the other. The frightened Minister decided to get out of this dangerous game and a way out to save her skin was found. She asked the concerned staff to prepare a summary, giving both sides of the arguments, and send it to the President for the final decision.
Officials do not expect President Musharraf to turn down the proposal at a time when he was totally dependent on the ISI, both for his personal protection and advancement of his pro-US policies. Thus the first Musharraf Government decision to destroy the serene environment of Islamabad, is just around the corner. And again, the Generals would grab the best pieces for their homes. The ISI would practically start looking over every Islamabad resident then.
Billions lost in misuse of army grabbed lands: Official Report By Rauf Klasra Issue No 9, Sept 16-22, 2002 ISSN:1684-2075 satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/sep16_22_02/P1_armylands.htm
ISLAMABAD: While the dust of land grabbing stories of the Army is still to settle, official reports have come to light to show how the grabbed lands are being misused and mismanaged, incurring losses running into billions of rupees.
None other than the Director Genera of Audit of the Defence Services has issued a report, after a random check of 4 out of 11 military estate offices and he found close to Rs 5 billion loss caused by misuse of land, mismanagement and encroachments. “The report is an outright indictment of the military as it not only shows the monumental size of the lands acquired, but even the losses being cause are gigantic, compared to peanuts for which politicians are persecuted day in and day out,” an analyst said. The report says out of the 11 MEOs all over the country, four located at Lahore, Sargodha, Gujranwala and Multan were selected at random for an audit exercise conducted in 2000-2001. Irregularities involving loss of Rs 4,885.249 have been pointed out with 10 cases of misuse of land totaling over Rs 3 billion, 4 cases of encroachments costing over Rs 840 million and 9 cases of mismanagement incurring a loss of over Rs 550 million.
“There is a need to investigate each case to fix responsibility for various irregularities and loss to public exchequer,” the Defence Services report strongly recommends, adding that “Disciplinary action may be initiated against those held responsible.” It recommends that “Rules, Regulations, Order and Instructions should be strictly followed in letter and spirit so that irregularities are restricted to the minimum.” So far there is hardly any indication that the military has started any action against those who caused the loss of billions in just four cities. “What would be the situation in Karachi and Rawalpindi, the two biggest military establishments,” an analyst asked.
This scam is going to run into billions of rupees with no one ever knowing about what happened, who gobbled up what and who was responsible.
Latest Motor-Golfway: The ISI Virus: Defaulter Minister: The Top Defector: Secret Keeper By LampPost Issue No 6, Aug 26-Sep 1, 2002 ISSN:1684-2075 satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/aug26_sep1_02/P1_Grapevinecomm.htm
ISLAMABAD: Last week turned out to be stormyl for the LampPost. In surprisingly mild weather in the capital, heat inside the military drawing rooms got intolerable. This newspaper had published the list of army land grabbers and those named, and those still to be named, were fuming. They thought taking over State lands was their right, legal and patriotic, so why were they being painted as thieves. But the reaction outside these heated drawing rooms was one of shock and disbelief. LampPost saw numerous Internet Groups circulating the land grabbing story with gusto, as if it was the meat they had been looking for to launch discussions on the role of everybody, basically the army and its bad practices in the past. How many other such lists existed? Where else this kind of land grabbing had been going on? What is the number of Abadgars (Settlers) in Sindh and are they all army or ex-army people? Why are lands given to anyone who retires from the army irrespective of the fact whether he did anything to earn it? There were questions in abundance and answers were few.
But in its search for new subjects, LampPost hit many milestones. Grapevine has been talking about Musharraf's "Golfway" project conceived and launched by an ex-ISI chief, held secret from the public for "national security reasons". LampPost had used the title of "Golfway" just to relate it to Nawaz Sharif's Motorway. But lo and behold. There is a real connection between the Golf Course and the Motorway, the new one, in which Musharraf Government is involved. LampPost has been told some close relatives of the top family have been given the contracts for the Islamabad-Peshawar Section of the Motorway now being built. And the same relatives have also got a lot to do with the Golf Course in Lahore. The Planning Commission we are told had serious objections to what was going on and it is all available in writing. The Money Monastry over-ruled every objection, obviously because the job of the top money guy depends on keeping the super boss, and even his loved ones, happy. So "Golfway" turned out to be the right name, which stinks. Details are, however, coming in and will be revealed as and when fully available.
Keeping people happy has been many people's real job. An intriguing story was sent by a mole inside the Money Monastry about how the boss wanted to keep every body happy, present rulers and the past ones as well. PeePee strongman General Babar had once ordered an enquiry against this Money Monastry high-up but he was keeping someone higher-up more happier than Babar, so nothing happened. And this client was being kept so "well provided" that the well known Bibi once publicly asked this banker at the Karachi Airport: "How is your p..mping going on".
It seems the job she mentioned is still popular in the Money Monastry. One clear evidence emerged last week when LampPost obtained some documents in which Pak Government has asked the US Government to provide them the "officially certified" copy of the US Senate Sub-Committee testimony in which Citibank President had given details of Zardari's dollar accounts in his bank. SA Tribune published it all in its first issue of July 20. The interesting question the whole episode raises is that the Money Monastry guru was fully involved in the US Senate proceedings. His detailed statement was submitted before the Committee as part of the evidence which is on record. He could not testify personally as he had to rush home after the Mush coup. But he never told anyone in the Mush Government about it for almost three years. He kept the whole thing a secret from NAB. Islamabad's prosecutors of Bibi still, almost three years later, don't have a certified copy of that testimony. Some loyalties are to be questioned here, for sure.
Loyalty, it appears is more important to the Mush Government than even reputation and conduct. Had it not been so, there is no reason why his cabinet continued to have a minister until now who was actually a bank defaulter to the tune of Rs 25 million. Other defaulters have been vilified, demonized and sent to jail. This Sindhi landlord was a key minister. But his well kept secret came out when he wanted to file his nomination papers and had to repay his loan to clear himself from disqualification. At least the exchequer is richer by some more bucks.
But this minister had many juicy stories attached to his name. One involved a Parking Lot Scandal in the Parliamentary lodges in front of the President's House. This landlord was caught inside a car with the wife of an army colonel in the parking lot of the lodges by another resident, an army major. The major was shocked when he saw the two. The minister identified himself and was let go. The poor colonel's wife came home ashamed.
Wives do often drive people crazy but one cabinet minister is worried about his wife's health so much that in a meeting of the Economic Committee, which was discussing the sugar situation in the country, he argued that sugar production should not be raised because "people of Pakistan were getting diabetic including my wife.". The guy, an ex-ISI boss, was apparently worried that more sugar production may not turn him into an ex-husband. His arguments, however, gave a moment for all to laugh amidst the otherwise dull discussions.
Talking of ex-ISI chaps, a pattern is emerging that the ISI virus does more bad things to Generals than good. We had a big story in the Pakistani media that another ex-ISI chief had bolted the country with some Rs 3 billion (over $50 million) after running a government controlled organization which had large tracts of land available to offer to others. Later he appeared in Lahore saying he hadnot gone anywhere but an enquiry was confirmed against him. Keeping a list of ex-ISI bosses' wrongdoings is getting difficult. We know that one ex-ISI is working fiercely on the "Golfway" project of Rs 25 billion in Lahore. He has already got Pakistan into redesigning all its railway station platforms. Another ISI chief is known to have formed a political alliance against un-wanted politicians back in early 90s. He was never ashamed of it. Another ex-ISI vetoed a multi-billion dollars Saudi investment offer, smelling a rat. Yet another organized the Jehadis and was shunted out under yankee pressure. The present bosses are busy cobbling together another King's Party. There is only one ex-ISI chief who is not named in any scandal so far, the one appointed by the lady prime minister. But he never had any powers and ISI was side-lined in his days.
Back in Islamabad, the city was host to an Indian celebrity, Arunadhita Roy, the prize winning author. Even ex-ISI guys were there to listen to her and get their pictures taken with her. The cake was taken by a Foreign Office top guy. This bearded man who speaks a lot publicly for his office, used the "good offices" of an Indian newspaper Editor, to go to Ms Roy's room and ask her for an autograph on her book. Obviously he could not have done this at her public event. Formally the Foreign Office remained as dumb and silent as a LampPost on her visit. We LampPosts are required only to listen and not speak out.
Moving to UK, what I saw in the Commonwealth Games was stunning. All top managers of our sports contingent were army guys, who had nothing to do with sports as such. So where are the sports celebrities and what are they doing? The man in charge of the delegation was a Lt. General, an Air Marshal was Deputy Chief D'Mission and in charge of Squash. A Colonel looked after Swimming, said to be a man with no wisdom tooth. A Pakistani back-stroke swimmer disappeared to seek asylum in UK and when this colonel was asked, he accused the reporter of making anti Pakistani comments and then remarked: "So what if the boy ran away!"
The medal was, however taken by the Pakistani shooting team, comprising all army men. Now these army guys are supposed to be great marksmen and sharp-shooters but ours missed all their targets by yards, making a pathetic example of themselves. And they were supposed to be the best shooters in the army. So what will be the performance level of the others. How are they going to shoot the Indians? By the way the Indian shooters won many medals and were the 3rd best shooting team among the Commonwealth countries. Some commentary on our army's shooting training. But are they required or supposed to shoot the enemy? They are now officially involved in politics. On politics in UK, LampPost heard the story of a psychologically devastating defection from the Musharraf camp to the camp of the Lady in waiting, Bibi. It seemed the Prez was jolted when he learnt that his evening pal and informal adviser in chief a General Zaidi had sought a ticket to contest the upcoming election on the ticket of Bibi. Gen Zee always had a soft corner for Bibi and had even tried to patch up their differences, but in vain. Finally he jumped the ship and joined the party with many P's. LampPost has now learnt that even the best known political adviser of the Prez, a civilian named TA, was persuading the generals to reach some understanding with Bibi because her victory in October would put the uniformed men in an awkward corner.
After Punjab Lands, Army Grabs Fishing Business of Coastal Sindh By M A Siddiqui WASHINGTON DC, October 31, 2004 ISSN: 1684-2057 www.satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/oct04/P1_mas.htm
KARACHI, October 31: After rummaging through, and occupying the fertile lands of Punjab, the Pakistan Army is now imperiously conquering the coastal areas of Sindh, depriving even the poor fishermen of their daily catch of fish, their lifeline. And despite the din of noise and protest in the Sindhi Press and some sections of the mainstream Pakistani media, the treatment being given to the squealing and screaming locals is nothing short of a humiliating gesture using the middle finger. The pattern is exactly the same as used in Punjab where thousands of hectares of the most productive land was grabbed, in the name of protecting the frontiers from the enemy, declared commercial and sold at market rates, bringing millions upon millions for the higher and middle ranking officers.
The Rangers in Sindh were allowed to involve in fishing business by late General Zia only on 7 lakes and Sindh waters known as Zero Point at Badin. The Sindh government under Ali Mohammad Maher, a puppet Chief Minister who was then booted out because of reports that he was incompetent and gay, signed an agreement with the Rangers to take over possession of 29 lakes and Zero Point. The clause of the agreement that Rangers would vacate these areas after a certain time was ignored. Rangers are now involved in fishing, in water tanker business, illegal checking of traffic and making money from petty offenders and have grabbed possession of most of the hostels and big buildings in Karachi and other cities of Sindh. It is purely an illegal occupation.
In interior of Sindh the force being used is the Thar Rangers, the specialized units of the Pakistan Army deployed in the interior. “The impoverished fishermen of Badin and Thatta are trapped in a no-win situation. The rangers are meanwhile raking in the bucks, for doing nothing whatsoever,” said an early report in the Monthly Herald of Karachi. The report was largely ignored but its content raised chilling questions. The Army has just added a new line of business to its Military Incorporated: Seafood Unlimited. In one reported case of brutality, fisherman Mitthan Mallah was “caught and arrested” carrying just two kilograms of the over 80 kg fish he had caught in the day. The 80 kilos of saltwater fish had already been snatched away from him by contractors appointed by Rangers at rates abysmally lower than the market.
On his way home, Mitthan had to pass through one of the 11 checkpoints set up by the Rangers in the Badin coastal area. When the secret 2 kg cache of fish was discovered amongst his belongings, a rangers official smashed his face with a rifle butt, leaving a permanent scar. “I’m a fisherman but no one in my house has eaten seafood for six months,” Mitthan, a poor man who has no choice but to accept his sorry fate, told The Herald. The marauding men with the guns in uniform, obviously don’t care.
It was almost 20 years ago in 1982 when the Thar Rangers had asked the Sindh government for exclusive fishing rights over a few outlets of the right bank outfall drain (RBOD). The catch from Badin’s coastal areas, they argued, would help ensure the welfare of the Rangers personnel posted in the area. During the Zia dictatorship, in 1980, Rangers were sent to guard the borders of Badin. In 1982, they wrote to the Department of Fisheries for lease of fish ponds in the area to generate some revenue. However, they did not pay the leasing amount after obtaining the leases from the provincial government. Once they got to know the business, The Rangers began controlling the fishing market by forcibly stopping the fisherman from selling their catch in the open market. The fishermen were forced to sell to the contractors appointed by the Rangers.
The initial contract extended by the Zia regime to the Rangers had erupted into their full control of the coastal fishing areas, as well as inland areas during present times. This led to a revolt by the fishing community with civil groups and political parties supporting the fishermen. Activists among the fishermen formed a Resistance Group called the Fisher Folk Forum (FFF). The usual repression and harassment followed with the threat of using the gun lurking in the background. The situation worsened when the Thar Rangers resorted to raids, torture and filing of false FIRs against the fishermen similar to the treatment meted out to the tenants at Okara Military Farms by the Punjab Rangers.
According to PPP leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, almost 15,000 fishermen have been forced to internally migrate following persecution by law enforcement agencies. They could no longer earn a livelihood or feed their children once they were stopped from catching fish. Benazir said in particular the allegations that individuals belonging to the Rangers subjected women and children to torture in Kandri village needed a high level judicial probe. She hoped that human rights agencies would raise this issue. She has raised a strong voice for these fishermen but the Rangers, encouraged by the success of their colleagues in Punjab, just don’t care. And General Musharraf and his junta do not mind because they are themselves involved in land grabbing and extending the corporate interests of the Army all over the country. There was speculation of kickbacks being involved in the handing of contracts to outsiders. The price differential between catching the fish from the coastal areas and selling it in Karachi went from Rs 15 in the coastal areas to Rs 500 in Karachi with fishermen getting a pittance.
Moreover, over farming meant that the fish catch, which had been 200 tons per vessel in 1992 had dropped to 75 tons per vessel since 1998. There were complaints that the fishermen of the Sindh coast were physically forced to anchor their boats offshore by Rangers to ensure monopoly for the outside contractors. As the issue got more attention and big political voices like that of Benazir Bhutto took up the case, the Rangers tried to explain their position which basically took cover behind the excuse that they were guarding the country’s borders. A press release issued by the Pakistan Rangers Sindh Headquarters, said that statements being issued in this regard by the leaders of Fisher Folk Forum were devoid of facts and motivated. It said the area being mentioned by the press in district Badin is not a routine international sea, in fact, it is a coastline being shared with India. The coastal area under the control of the Rangers for security reasons is common international border with India where, at many places, no defined demarcation exists, it added.
In fact, some of the water pockets locally called ‘Dhands’ are shared by India and Pakistan. The area mentioned is a restricted area against the general impression being created of a very large area. It said this particular area is under the jurisdiction of Rangers being an international border for checking any possible incursion of illegal immigrants, terrorists and smugglers into Pakistan area from Indian side. Rights of the fishermen and rules of the fishing in the area are in the knowledge of the Sindh government, the Rangers statement said, dismissing all protests.
It said: “It is pertinent to mention that rates for the fishermen for their catch have already been fixed. These rates are open to revision for each renewed annual contract. It said that contractor was not authorized to stop any fisherman from catching fish. Locals of the area are much satisfied with the dealing of the Rangers and welfare projects already initiated. It added Fisher Folk forum is unnecessarily exploiting the situation and trying to use the names of the innocent poor community." “The locals of the area are very much alive to the situation and currently not participating in a false, fabricated and incorrect campaign against uniform personnel dedicated for ensuring peace and harmony within their area of responsibility,” it added.
But the clarification by the Rangers has raised many more questions and no one is buying this flimsy pretext to take over the livelihood of fishermen in the name of security. Analysts say the statement has in fact corroborated the fishermen’s complaints that Rangers control the lakes, ponds and other waters in the ‘border areas’. Rangers’ stance is that yes, they control the waters but their action was legal and duly authorized by competent authorities. In this regards they point out to two agreements that they had signed with Sindh government in years 2002 and 2003.
The fishermen say that it was not Rangers’ job to control fishing in the coastal areas or to award/sub-lease contracts to their favored people to deprive the local fishermen from their only source of livelihood. The fishermen are demanding that government agreements with Rangers should be voided to end the exploitation of the poor fishermen. The simple fact is that because they have power, the Rangers have become middlemen, touts and traders of the fish caught by the locals, buying it at dirt cheap rates and selling in the market at 20 times the purchase price. It is simple extortion and exploitation. Fishermen cite the example that what they are forced to sell for Rs 15 or Rs 20 a kg to the Rangers who sell the same fish for Rs 300 in the Karachi wholesale market.
The FFF is desperate and fighting a much bigger and ruthless business adversary, supported by the Generals in Islamabad. But their campaign is picking up steam, international human rights organizations and think tanks have become involved and another chapter is now being documented in the history of the black deeds of the men in uniform of the Pakistan Army.
The Land Scams in the Name of the Sacred Soldiers By M Afzal Khan WASHINGTON DC, Aug 24, 2004 ISSN: 1684-2057 www.satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/august04/P1_ak.htm
ISLAMABAD, August 24: Land scams that are proliferating across the country, specially in the name of our Armed Forces, have come into sharp focus, sadly because of murder of two guards of a high profile housing society in the federal capital. First it was the National Assembly last night and next morning the Senate, where members from both sides of the isle voiced their outrage over the blatant manner in which this housing society used the name of Pakistan Navy to generate massive public interest and money in its highly publicized schemes. Lawmakers of the area said the developer purchased the land from poor villagers around Islamabad cheaply and sold plots at hugely inflated price. The violence reported in the press was attributed to allegation by some of these sellers that they have been cheated. In the end two innocent guards were caught in the fray and killed.
The developer has shown ingenuity and innovation both in designs and marketing. These have made his various offerings one of the most attractive in the country, after the defence housing schemes. Few, perhaps, would grudge that, had it all been a fair and clean affair. But many lawmakers pointed accusing fingers at top political, civil and military figures whose patronage has gone along with it. Former law minister Sen. Dr. Khalid Ranjha pointed out that it was a criminal offence to use for any private commercial venture, the name of an official organization, more so an arm of the military. “Bahria Town“ was originally purported to be a project of the Pakistan Navy. But a former navy chief allegedly allowed the present developer for unknown reasons and consideration. On a number of occasions the developer has been running into trouble with the top government functionaries, including the NAB. He was even jailed. But in the end he escaped unscathed and expanded his business to incredible proportions. In private sector, he is, perhaps, the top-most real estate tycoon in the country.
The lawmakers particularly took note of the latest offer in what was called Bahria Town-Phase 9. The publicity preceding the offering had set about a week for the people to file prescribed forms. The forms were available in some selected banks. But on the first day it was announced that within first six hours, 40,000 forms were distributed by banks to the applicants exhausting all supplies. Many bank branches witnessed virtual riots and damage to buildings caused by dejected prospective buyers who were unable to get any form.
To top it all, the developer announced that all the 40,000 applicants would be given plots if they deposited the down payment within the due date. Apparently, it was inconceivable that the developer actually owned 40,000 plots. The two announcements sent the market in a tail spin. The frenzy that ensued led to black market sale and resale of forms at exorbitant prices ranging from Rs15,000 to Rs60,000. The lawmakers were intrigued by the way the forms were distributed. Influential people were given scores of these forms before sending them to the banks. This writer overheard two people in an escalator talking about the forms two days after the event. “Sir, you had promised to get me some forms,” one gentleman said. “Don’t you worry. An FIA director has been given 20 and has promised to share five with me.”
Many lawmakers were perturbed that the real estate craze has overtaken the society and widened the gap between the haves and the have-nots to a vulgar level. You go to any office – private, public, civil, military - the most favorite topic is the housing schemes. The prices in all major cities, including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi have skyrocketed. While the lucky ones with money and connections have made windfall profits in buying and selling, the less fortunate have nothing but to curse their luck. For most of the middle and lower class strata of the society, the price of land to build houses has gone out of their reach. A reasonably employed and paid person cannot even think of buying a servant quarter sized plot of land in Islamabad for his entire lifelong savings. Building a house has become a fantasy. In other major cities, things are no different.
The most coveted societies, of course, are the defence housing societies in major cities. The President last week felt peeved by the fact that “pseudo intellectuals” feel jealous about these societies. According to him these are best developed and managed. If some army officer sells a plot for hundred times the cost at which he was allotted, so argued the President, why should people grudge or feel jealous about it. The President says only the retired military officers are looking after these societies which also provide employment and generate development activity. He conveniently ignores the fact of the involvement of officer corps in allotment, sale and resale of plots. Untold stories about higher echelons overseeing these schemes have tainted the image of the institution. Moreover the defence housing societies have become an obscene feature of our elite culture that is far removed from the rest of the populace. It generates, not just the” jealousy” which the President has referred to, but irrepressible rage and revulsion among the less privileged.
There are reports of a new town being planned in Bedian between Lahore and Wagah, where only eight-acre plots for mansions and estates would be developed. For the country, investment in real estate from within and abroad, has replaced capital formation for productive use in the economy. Pakistan’s economy has more or less become a real estate economy. Huge capital has been invested in this unproductive sector. Little is thus available for investment in genuine economic activity. The land grab mafia has sprouted in every town and city, boosting all sorts of crimes and corruption. President Musharraf set a noble example in 1999 when he declared his assets after taking over. Eye brows were, however, raised, why he had to have seven or eight plots, including commercial plots, in different defence housing societies across the country.
Asfandyar Wali Khan was intrigued by the revelation that the President owns a plot in Gwadar as well. "Is he going to build a house and live there," he had asked. Recently when he purchased a five-acre farm in Islamabad which is worth crores, it was stated that he sold one of his commercial plots in Lahore to pay for that. It is argued that the President had done nothing illegal as the rules permit an army officer to get more than one plot. The point is, how far is this ethically correct. If he surrenders his other plots and makes the rule that only one plot can be allotted to any officer in the country for building a house, the President would radically change the entire environment of “jealousy”. Instead, he would create tremendous goodwill for himself and the institution. In this context an encounter with another military dictator is instructive. When in 1976, Gen. Zia was named COAS, this writer and another dear friend who also knew Zia since he was Lt. Colonel, invited him to a cup of tea at the Multan Press Club. This friend was building a house but had not been able to complete it.
Zia asked him:” Masood Sahib, have you been able to build your house?” Zia was told that it is as yet not even half complete. “Masood Sahib, I am sure you will be able to build it now that you have started it. Look at me. I am at the fag end of my career, and I cannot even think of building a house.” How many generals, nay even captains and majors of today can repeat those words?
Pakistan Army Captain Declared Not Guilty of Rape in Dubious DNA Test By Declan Walsh WASHINGTON DC, Feb 22, 2005 ISSN: 1684-2057 www.satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/200502/P1_dna.htm
Raped Lady Doctor Talks to The Guardian on Phone: Scared to Death
KARACHI, February 22: Visitors are not welcome at the house in Karachi where Dr. Shazia Khalid is living; not even with an invitation. A police team is posted at the gate and army rangers prowl the grounds inside. "You need the permission from the bosses at the top," says a moustached officer firmly. "The very top." Hours later Dr Shazia picks up the phone inside. Her strained voice crumbles into sobs. "We are very scared," she says, her husband at her side. "In Pakistan there is no law, no protection, nothing. Who can we trust? Nobody." She has good reason to worry. Until six weeks ago the 31-year-old was a company doctor at the Sui gas plant, at the farthest reaches of remote Baluchistan province. On January 3 she was raped in her bed.
Normally in Pakistan, where crimes against women are rife, such an act would barely raise an eyebrow. In her case, it nearly started a war. Members of the local Bugti clan saw a rape in their heartland as being a breach of their code of honor - especially when the alleged rapist was a captain in the despised national army. They attacked the gas field with rockets, mortars and thousands of AK-47 rounds. President Pervez Musharraf sent an uncompromising response: tanks, helicopters and an extra 4,500 soldiers to guard the installation. If the tribesmen failed to stop shooting, he warned on television, "they will not know what hit them".
But the guerrilla attacks have escalated, propelling a long-ignored province into the headlines and threatening civil war. Every day sees a new attack on military and government targets across the province. Insurgents have blown up railway tracks, toppled pylons and fired rockets into army camps. Sui supplies 45% of Pakistan's gas, so supplies to Karachi, Lahore and other cities have been cut. The fighting is motivated by more than the rape. For decades the Baluch tribes have demanded a greater share of profits from their resource-rich but cash-poor province. The Islamabad government ignored them, and a year ago Baluch nationalists started bombing police stations, courthouses and checkpoints.
Since the violence sparked by the rape, their demands are being taken more seriously. President Musharraf's belligerence has given way to softer political promises. Envoys have been dispatched, and there is talk of increased profit-sharing and greater autonomy. But tension remains high. Government officials accuse Iran and India of helping to arm the rebels. They say there are about 50 training camps, each with between 20 and 200 militants, in the province. The army has announced plans to establish a permanent garrison in Sui. The attacks continue.
The Bugti leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, says the question of Dr Shazia's rape comes first. "As long as the perpetrators of this heinous crime are not dealt with, there can be no talks," he said. The explosive case is a matter of extreme sensitivity for the government. Only a handful of family visitors may enter the house where Dr Shazia and her husband are living. A senior police officer said: "You have to understand that in this matter we answer to the president."
That is small consolation to the confused and frightened couple. Speaking publicly for the first time since the rape, Dr Shazia told the Guardian that officials from Pakistan Petroleum (PPL), which runs the plant, at first drugged her to cover up the case. "Before the police came to take a statement, the [company's] chief medical officer said: 'Don't give them any information.' Then they injected me with a tranquillizer that made me drowsy," she said.
At the time PPL officials said Dr Shazia was unable to file a statement because she was unconscious. Despite her injuries, Dr Shazia was offered no medical treatment by PPL and she had no contact with her family for two days. Then the company flew her to Karachi and checked her into a private psychiatric hospital. Three PPL doctors have since been arrested on charges of obstructing justice. But despite weeks of police investigation, Dr Shazia's rapist remains at large.
She said she did not know his identity. "He tied my hands with a telephone wire and blindfolded me with a dupatta [scarf]. But I could feel that he had a moustache and curly hair. And I know his voice." Early this week President Musharraf's spokesman said an army captain was "under investigation" but had not been arrested. Meanwhile Baluch police have re-interviewed Dr Shazia - this time insinuating she was engaged in prostitution.
"They asked me where I got the 25,000 rupees [£225] that was stolen and when I wore my jewellery. And they said that a cleaner had found used condoms in my room," she said. Since then the police have announced that DNA tests on the main suspect did not match that found at the scene, heightening fears of a cover-up. Weeks ago Dr Shazia's husband's grandfather said the rape had rendered her kari - a disgrace to the family honor - and so she must be divorced, and preferably killed. Such "honor killings" remain common in rural Pakistan. But her husband, a pipeline engineer, says he is standing by his wife. His grandfather, he said, "is just a bad man, and this has made my wife even more scared. She cannot sleep at night, so I sit by her bed to take care of her."
For human rights campaigners, the kari rubs salt in the wound of a case combining politics, violence and regressive traditions. "In this country a woman has no status," said Shershah Syed, of the Pakistan Medical Association. "She is an object, like a cow or a bucket." Having lost their jobs and fearing for their lives, the couple want to leave Pakistan.
"They are politicizing this issue, the whole country, everyone," Dr Shazia said through tears before hanging up. "How can I face anyone any more? We have to get out."
Book Reveals ISI was Involved in 1990 Murder of Iranian Diplomat in Lahore Special SAT Report WASHINGTON DC, Sept. 15, 2004 ISSN: 1684-2057 www.satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/sept04/P1_isi.htm
WASHINGTON, Sept 15: A former Pakistani police official has disclosed that Pakistan's infamous Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) operatives were directly involved in the 1990 murder of a senior Iranian diplomat in Lahore, an event which he claims, changed the course of Shia-Sunni confrontation in Pakistan, for the worse. In his just released book, Pakistan's Drift Into Extremism: Allah, The Army, And America's War On Terror, published by M.E. Sharpe, Hassan Abbas, currently Research Fellow at the Harvard Law School and a PhD. candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, reveals that while Iranian Consul General Sadiq Ganji was shot by notorious terrorist Riaz Basra, “the other person on the motorcycle with Basra conducting the Ganji murder operation was an ISI official named Athar, a low-level official from the Pakistan Air Force..”
This is the first time that any Establishment insider has revealed the direct involvement of the ISI in important political murders in Pakistan although Hassan Abbas has tried to dilute his disclosures by adding: “However, it is not known whether the (Ganji) assassination was an act approved by the military and the ISI command, or if some rogue element in the ISI had given a go-ahead on his own..” It is interesting to note that instead of Riaz Basra, who the book says killed Sadiq Ganji, another Sunni activist Sheikh Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, was convicted and hanged on March 1, 2001 for Sadeq Ganji’s assassination. This fact is, however, not mentioned in the book.
The book reveals deep foreign links, specially Iranian and Saudi funded operations in Pakistan to further their own sectarian supporters and gives names of officials and details of how Pakistan was turned into a battle ground between Shia and Wahabi militant wings.
It also throws light on how political governments tried to curtail the ISI role and influence in sectarian violence but all such attempts were foiled by the ISI, including even an abortive attempt to assassinate former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif because he was pushing too hard.
The following excerpts of the book deal with the Ganji murder and related sectarian issues, including the rise of Riaz Basra as an international terrorist who, the book claims, had also developed close links with Osama ben Laden and Al-Qaeda.
Basra was killed in May 2002 in an encounter with the Punjab police after years of staying successfully on the run.
Excerpts: “ While Ganji was leaving his hotel premises on Lahore’s Mall Road, two assailants riding on a motorcycle emerged on the scene and shot him dead. A twenty-three-year-old SSP activist, Riaz Basra, was the man who delivered for the SSP. After accomplishing the task, he conveniently ran away as police were nowhere near the crime scene.
This feat ensured a promising career for Basra as a terrorist. He belonged to a poor family and had studied in a Madrasa, Darul Uloom-e-Islamia based in Allama Iqbal town, (Lahore Memorizing Quran), but as it turned out, Jhangvi’s philosophy sounded more attractive to him. He had joined the SSP in 1988 as an ordinary member, but killing Ganji made him a hero among the party sympathizers, who encouraged him to repeat the performance.
There was no shortage of targets, but Iran was angry and the political leadership in Pakistan was quite embarrassed, resulting in increased pressure on the police to arrest the culprits. Basra was arrested on June 5, 1992, bringing some respite for the political government, but he had influential “friends” who wanted to see him in action rather than languishing in jail. They were powerful enough to ensure that they got what they wanted, or perhaps they owed him a favor. In either case, a successful rescue operation helped Basra escape from police custody while he was being taken from the jail to a special court hearing on April 30, 1994.
No credible information has come to light yet as to the exact identity of his “friends,” but most probably they were the same on whose behalf he had eliminated the Iranian diplomat. A former Pakistani intelligence operator reveals that Basra was operating in league with some junior ISI agents.
According to his information the other person on the motorcycle with Basra conducting the Ganji murder operation was an ISI official named Athar, a low-level official from the Pakistan Air Force serving with the agency. However, it is not known whether the assassination was an act approved by the military and the ISI command, or if some rogue element in the ISI had given a go-ahead on his own, which was possible as some disgruntled elements in the ISI had started operating independently.
However, the 1979 Iranian revolution changed the character and magnitude of sectarian politics in Pakistan. It emboldened Pakistani Shias, who in turn became politicized and started asserting their rights.
The zealous emissaries of the Iranian revolutionary regime started financing their organization Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Fiqa-i-Jaferia (TNFJ—Movement for the Implementation of Jafaria Religious Law) and providing scholarships for Pakistani students to study in Iranian religious seminaries.
For the Zia regime though, the problematic issue was Shia activism leading to a strong reaction to his attempts to impose Hanafi Islam (a branch of the Sunni sect). For this he winked to the hardliners among the Sunni religious groups in order to establish a front to squeeze the Shias.
It was in this context that Jhangvi was selected by the intelligence community to do the needful. It is also believed that the JUI recommendation played the decisive part in this choice. The adherents of the Deobandi school were worried about the Shia activism for religious reasons anyhow. State patronage came as an additional incentive. Consequently, in a well-designed effort, Shia assertiveness was projected as their disloyalty to Pakistan and its Islamic ideology.
In a few months, Saudi funds started pouring in, making the project feasible. For Saudi Arabia, the Iranian revolution was quite scary, for its ideals conflicted with that of a Wahabi monarchy. More so, with an approximately 10 percent Shia population, Saudi Arabia was concerned about the expansion of Shia activism in any Muslim country. Hence, it was more than willing to curb such trends in Pakistan by making a financial investment to bolster its Wahabi agenda.
According to Vali Raza Nasr, a leading expert on the sectarian groups of Pakistan, the flow of these funds was primarily routed through the Pakistan military and the ISI. It is not known whether American support for this scheme was readily available, but the Zia regime knew well that the United States would be glad to acquiesce, given the rising US-Iran hostility. However, some analysts believe that CIA funds were involved in the venture.
The campaign started in Jhang, Jhangvi’s hometown, in the form of a movement against the Shia feudal lords of the area - an anti-Shia program in this region was politically an attractive slogan to win public support. The SSP’s formal goals were well defined: to combat the Shias at all levels, to strive to have them declared a non-Muslim minority, and to make Sunni Islam the official religion of the state.
Though undermining Shias was the immediate target, the creation of a theocratic state was the ultimate aim. To begin with, Jhangvi in his public speeches argued that keeping religion and state apart was a conspiracy hatched by the enemies of Islam, with the outcome that the political sphere was in the hands of corrupt and ungodly politicians.
Another critical repercussion of this movement was a gradual rise of the Deobandis to prominence as against other Sunni groups, most notably at the expense of the Barelvis. This was to have long-term consequences for Pakistan because the Deobandi view of jihad is arguably narrow-minded and violence-prone compared to that of any other Sunni sect. For the SSP leadership, murdering Shias was pure jihad, but implementation of this agenda was yet some time off.
In the early days (late 1980s), the SSP confined its activities to publicly abusing Shias and producing jihadi literature declaring them Kafir (infidels) implicitly issuing their death warrants. They needed some time to motivate, groom, and train jihadis who would physically eliminate Shias, so in the meantime local criminals and thugs were hired to do the “needful.” Criminal elements soon realized that this was a mutually beneficial deal—coming under the umbrella of religious outfits provided a perfect cover for their own activities. Over time, the drug traders also developed their ties with sectarian groups, especially the SSP, reproducing in Pakistan relationships between militant groups and drug traffickers that had already evolved in Afghanistan.
While Shia activists were following these developing trends closely and making themselves ready to counter the SSP propaganda effectively, the leader of TNFJ, Arif Hussaini, was assassinated in August 1988, serving a severe blow to the Shias. Hussaini had lived in Iran for a while and had a close working relationship with the Iranian regime.
The ISI hand was suspected in the murder, as a serving army officer, Majid Raza Gillani, had participated in this “operation.” Soon it was Jhangvi’s turn - he was murdered within a year of Hussaini’s elimination, though the SSP suspected a Jhang-based Sunni political leader, Shaikh Iqbal. Iqbal was believed to be the main beneficiary of the rise in Shia-Sunni hostility, as the Sunni majority of Jhang was certain to believe that the murder was perpetrated by Shias, thus creating sympathy for Iqbal and increasing his prospects in the coming elections.
A few SSP activists who had inside information thus attacked Iqbal’s house in Jhang and brutally murdered his brother in broad daylight, though the message conveyed to the SSP cadres and sympathizers was that Shias killed Jhangvi so as to gain maximum benefit by encouraging hatred against Shias.
This was not without consequences. A few incidents of physical attacks on Shias had taken place in 1988–89, but the event that changed the course of Shia-Sunni confrontation for the worse was the murder of Sadiq Ganji, the Iranian consul general in Lahore in 1990.
While Ganji was leaving his hotel premises on Lahore’s Mall Road, two assailants riding on a motorcycle emerged on the scene and shot him dead. A twenty-three-year-old SSP activist, Riaz Basra, was the man who delivered for the SSP. After accomplishing the task, he conveniently ran away as police were nowhere near the crime scene. This feat ensured a promising career for Basra as a terrorist.
He belonged to a poor family and had studied in a Madrasa, Darul Uloom-e-Islamia based in Allama Iqbal town, (Lahore Memorizing Quran), but as it turned out, Jhangvi’s philosophy sounded more attractive to him. He had joined the SSP in 1988 as an ordinary member, but killing Ganji made him a hero among the party sympathizers, who encouraged him to repeat the performance.
There was no shortage of targets, but Iran was angry and the political leadership in Pakistan was quite embarrassed, resulting in increased pressure on the police to arrest the culprits. Basra was arrested on June 5, 1992, bringing some respite for the political government, but he had influential “friends” who wanted to see him in action rather than languishing in jail.
They were powerful enough to ensure that they got what they wanted, or perhaps they owed him a favor. In either case, a successful rescue operation helped Basra escape from police custody while he was being taken from the jail to a special court hearing on April 30, 1994.
No credible information has come to light yet as to the exact identity of his “friends,” but most probably they were the same on whose behalf he had eliminated the Iranian diplomat. A former Pakistani intelligence operator reveals that Basra was operating in league with some junior ISI agents.
According to his information the other person on the motorcycle with Basra conducting the Ganji murder operation was an ISI official named Athar, a low-level official from the Pakistan Air Force serving with the agency. However, it is not known whether the assassination was an act approved by the military and the ISI command, or if some rogue element in the ISI had given a go-ahead on his own, which was possible as some disgruntled elements in the ISI had started operating independently.
These were the times when the financial endowment of the SSP-run Madrassas increased manifold, with the repercussion that factional disputes over the control of the purse also surged.
Prospects of a financial bonanza attracted many other religious extremists to jump into this theater and vie for rewards. In the ensuing competition among such scoundrels, sectarian killings in Pakistan increased in the 1990s.
Meanwhile, Iranian funding to Shia organizations also increased, making Pakistan a battleground for Saudi Arabia and Iran to settle their scores. No effective measures were taken by the Pakistan government to halt this slide into chaos.
Realizing that sectarian outfits were untouchable entities, professional criminals hastened to join these groups and benefit from this window of opportunity. For instance, when around 500 trained gunmen belonging to MQM were abandoned by their masters, they tentatively turned to the SSP in search of a job. They found it to be a promising career. All they had to do was grow beards and learn a few anti-Shia lessons. The rest they were already accustomed to - butchering people.
During the 1990s the SSP spawned many splinter groups, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Army of Jhangvi, hereafter called Lashkar) being the most deadly and prominent one, whereas other small outfits were mainly “personal mafias of influential feudals, led by local mullahs.”
Many of the leaders of the SSP, including Israr ul Haq Qasmi and Zia ur Rahman Farooqi, were murdered by extremists belonging to Sipah-i-Mohammad (Army of Mohammad), a Shia militant outfit formed in 1994. To tackle such attacks on its leadership, the SSP in a planned move largely confined its activities to the political arena under a felon, Azam Tariq, while Lashkar, led by the notorious Riaz Basra, started operating in 1995–96 as a terrorist group.
Basra’s direct links with Arab financiers and the Taliban helped him establish his base camp in Afghanistan. Before Lashkar’s emergence, sectarian killings were mainly restricted to leaders and activists of both the Shia and Sunnis, but Basra expanded the battlefield by targeting Shia government officials, lawyers, doctors, and traders, giving a new twist to the confrontation.
Even Shia mosques came under attack, resulting in random killings of innocent people. By virtue of such terrorist operations, Lashkar distinguished itself as the most violent sectarian force in Pakistan. It also openly admitted to its acts of terror, informing newspapers through telephone calls and its publication Intiqam-i-Haq (dual meaning - Revenge of Truth, or Revenge of Jhangvi). It also started operating in Indian-controlled Kashmir but, keeping in line with its philosophy, it embarked on this journey by starting to murder Kashmiri Shia leaders before targeting the Indian forces.
By early 1997, Lashkar was ready for even bigger operations - Iranian cultural centers in Lahore and Multan were burned down, and Iranian diplomat Mohammad Ali Rahimi was killed in cold blood. Basra immediately escaped to Afghanistan after orchestrating this operation, where a HUA guest house was ready for him, but Ashraf Marth, a senior police official, apprehended the other Lashkar terrorists involved in the crime.
Marth had the competence as well as political support to carry on his investigation. In a few months he was able to track the funding sources of Lashkar and, to everyone’s amazement, evidence of foreign financing and records of funds transfers through US banks were on the table of the prime minister.
One of the men accused of the attacks was found with a credit card issued from New York. This was enough to cause the prime minister to jump in his seat. He immediately passed the information on to the Army Chief. Before any action could be taken on the information, Ashraf Marth was assassinated right in front of his official residence, and the inquiry came to an abrupt closure.
The attack was so well planned that half a dozen armed guards of Marth could not move and the attackers vanished from the scene. Pakistani intelligence agencies were thunderstruck, and police officials were scared to get involved in such investigations. It is ironic why the military intelligence agencies remained a silent witness to such developments.
Basra had now become a legend among the religious hard-liners in the country. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif finally decided to target some sectarian groups, including Lashkar, through civilian law enforcement agencies, as he was not expecting much support from military intelligence agencies.
Tariq Pervez, an accomplished counter terrorism expert in the police service, was tasked to trace out the Lashkar terrorists and bring them to justice. Tariq’s hard work and commitment paid off when his special team was able to trace Basra, though there was a problem. Basra was in Kabul, and that was beyond Tariq’s jurisdiction.
On getting the report, Nawaz Sharif personally requested the ISI chief to get hold of him, knowing that they had close links with the Taliban and HUA. He was told not to worry and that Basra would be taken care of soon. Ironically, instead of Basra being apprehended, Lashkar stepped up its activities and attempted to assassinate the prime minister on January 3, 1999. The plot failed because a remote-control bomb placed under a bridge that the prime minister had to pass over detonated an hour too early.
How the assassination plan was botched is indeed an interesting story. Gul Khan, Lashkar’s top bomb-making expert, was hiding near the location with a remote control device, waiting for the prime minister’s vehicle to approach the bridge. Due to a lack of access to sophisticated equipment, he was using an ordinary cordless telephone as a gadget to send the signal.
This telephone set was on a VHC frequency, and he was not aware that some police vehicles in the city were also using the same frequency for their wireless communications. Meanwhile, the driver of a police patrol vehicle surveying the prime minister’s travel route, by pure coincidence, parked very close to the point where the bomb was planted.
As soon as the vehicle’s wireless set received a call, the bomb detonator caught the signal too and the bomb exploded. Nawaz Sharif was lucky - Gul Khan’s planning was perfect but the technology he was using was outmoded. When he was arrested later, the interrogations led police to connect the dots. Prior to this, the police were of the view that one of the terrorist groups had only sent a warning to Nawaz Sharif, telling him that they were capable of eliminating him.
In reaction, Punjab’s chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, gave the go-ahead to the Punjab police to eliminate the Lashkar terrorists through all means possible. Around three dozen operators belonging to SSP and LEJ were gunned down in staged police encounters, but extra judicial killings, besides being obviously contrary to the due process of law, were not the solution to the simmering problem.
With no sign of abating, Lashkar activities witnessed an upsurge in 1999 when close to a hundred innocent people became victims of its horrendous campaign.
Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to curb this menace during 1998–99 had failed miserably because Lashkar activists were using Afghanistan as a sanctuary courtesy of the Taliban, who were known to be hospitable to their guests. Another means of support was HUA’s logistic backing, but the factor that really turned the scales in favor of Lashkar was that Basra had developed a close working relationship with Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
This was so lethal a combination that only an event like 9/11 could trigger events that would lead to this conglomerate’s dismemberment.
Data on Army's Golf Courses Released in Senate Special SAT Report Washington DC, July 13, 2004 ISSN: 1684-2057 www.satribune.com http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/july04/P1_land.htm
ISLAMABAD, July 13: The latest craze of Pakistan’s military Generals is to play Golf and convert State lands into Golf Courses all over the country. Data released in the Parliament proves this shocking reality.
Army authorities have converted hundreds of acres of military farm lands into golf courses for pleasure and leisure activities of senior uniformed officials since 1999. These golf courses are in addition to those made on Railway lands, especially in Lahore where the cost was an unbelievable Rs 25 billion.
The information about turning military farm lands into golf courses, housing schemes and commercial projects since 1999 was brought on public record in the Senate when Senator Rukhsana Zuberi asked pointed questions.
Information provided by the Defence Minister, Rao Sikander Iqbal, confirmed that 307 acres of military farms lands were so converted.
The minister embarrassingly did not reveal the maintenance cost of each golf course and thousands of gallons of water used daily to maintain the lush green grass for the Generals to tee off, while people die of water shortages or drinking contaminated water in various parts of the country.
Similarly Auditor General's reports have also identified similar undertakings of the army for pleasure of senior officers. Information provided by the Defence Ministry to the Senate showed that since 1999, 24.5 acres of military land was converted into golf course in Attock. In Sargodha 60 acres of military land was converted into a golf course.
The Defence Minister also informed the House that army housing schemes were launched on military farm lands on an area measuring 222 acres.
The Senate was told that 36.96 acres of military dairy farm Chaklala in Rawalpindi was converted into a housing scheme. In Lahore, 133.96 acres of land belonging to military dairy farms were converted into housing schemes since 1999. In Sialkot, the authorities converted 51.2 acres of military dairy farm land into a housing society.
Shockingly enough the shameful plunder of Pakistan's resources by the generals does not stop here. The Defence Minister in response to a question by senator Dr Nighat Agha said that the record pertaining to the terms and conditions on which the Varan Bus Service was given a terminal in the Cantonment Area of Rawalpindi on a land measuring 2.42 acres "was not available in the Military Estate Office Rawalpindi."
The Defence Minister also told the Senate that Varan Bus Service, owned by the daughter of Lt Gen (Retd) Hamid Gul, a self-proclaimed ideologue of the Right, was causing environmental pollution in the area for which no effective measures have been adopted by the owners of the terminals.
Perhaps to avoid accountability of such nature where the facts are revealed before the public, the defence forces do not allow the democratic system to flourish in Pakistan.
If democracy flourishes, how would the generals justify the expenditure of millions of rupees on golf courses to the public representatives when millions are burdened by abject poverty and hundreds committing suicides due to hopelessness.
While the government run by Gen Musharraf has spent millions on leisure and pleasure activities of the senior uniformed officials since 1999, their own Finance Minister admitted in the latest Economic Survey that 50 million people, some 32 per cent of the population, were living on just Rs848 per month or almost $14 per month.
Ironically when the poor babies in millions of households of Pakistan cry for a piece of bread or a glass of milk, the Generals play golf on the lush green lawns. The disparity is glaring and provocative.