Sunday, May 15, 2011

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's murder case & Candid Ardeshir Cowasjee.

ISLAMABAD: A judge of the Supreme Court said on Monday he wondered what was the need of seeking opinion of the court on the controversial execution of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto when even a bigger verdict had already been given by the entire nation, the country and history. “In this case the country, the nation and history may have given a verdict which is a bigger verdict then why they are seeking opinion from the court when the verdict has already been given,” Justice Mohammad Sair Ali observed. But Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who heads an 11-judge bench hearing a presidential reference sent to the court for revisiting the murder case of the PPP founder, observed that by referring the reference President Asif Ali Zardari as well as Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had shown faith in the Supreme Court. But he hastened to add that in such situations the court could not do more than adopting certain procedures and asked why the prime minister did not rise to the occasion by introducing a bill to highlight the injustice done to Mr Bhutto. REFERENCE: `Bigger verdict` given by nation, history in Bhutto case: judge By Nasir Iqbal | From the Newspaper May 10, 2011 (5 days ago) 

Ardeshir Cowasjee is a renowned newspaper columnist from Karachi, Sindh in Pakistan. His columns regularly appear in the country’s oldest English language daily newspaper Dawn and are translated to appear in Urdu press. Ardeshir Cowasjee was born in 1926 at Karachi and hails from the well-known Cowasjee Parsi (Zoroastrian ) family. His father Rustom Fakirjee Cowasjee was a businessman in merchant shipping. Ardeshir attended the Bai Virbaiji Soparivala Parsi High School (BVS) and graduated from DJ Science College, Karachi. Later, he joined his father’s business, the Cowasjee Group, and married Nancy Dinshaw in 1953. He has two children, Ava (daughter) and Rustom (son). Ardeshir Cowasjee is affectionately known as AC. He is also very active in various social and philanthropic activities in Pakistan and is regarded as an old ‘guardian’ of the city of Karachi where he regularly battles (with the pen and in court) land grabbers and illegal building projects. Ardeshir was appointed by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as Managing Director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) in 1973 but was jailed for 72 days in 1976 by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for which no explanation has been given to date; it is said that Prime Minister Bhutto did that to rein Cowasjee because the latter was becoming increasingly vocal about Bhutto’s authoritarian ways. Ardeshir subsequently started writing letters to the editor of Dawn Newspaper, which led him to become a permanent columnist. Since then, his hard-hitting and well-researched columns in Dawn have continuously exposed corruption, nepotism and incompetence in different local, provincial and national governments for the last twenty years. REFERENCE: The Pioneering Parsis of Karachi

The Unbearable Truthfulness of Ardeshir Cowasjee

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto made a career out of being anti-American. He even wrote a book titled The Myth of Independence after leaving the Ayub government to score the point that whilst others compromised sovereignty, he would not. But let`s look at the text of Department of State Telegram from American Embassy Islamabad to Secretary of State, Secret Cable No 861 dated 22 December 1971. ( Also included in Roedad Khan`s book, The American Papers Secret and Confidential, India-Pakistan-Bangladesh Documents 1965-1973) . It talks of Bhutto`s visit to the US ambassador two days after he took over. “Surprisingly and quite independently, I received a phone call late afternoon of Wednesday, Dec 22, from the president`s office asking if I would receive the president at my residence in the evening. President Bhutto arrived at 2130 hours local and conversed with me for 35 minutes. He was accompanied by Mustafa Khar, recently announced governor and martial law administrator of Punjab. Khar took virtually no part in the conversation which ensued. “After exchange of social amenities, and after noting that his call upon me was most unusual from the standpoint of protocol, Bhutto said that he was so acting to signal strongly his reaffirmation of a whole new period of close and effective relations with the United States. He said whatever criticism the United States may have had regarding his past posture, he now hoped that it would be forgotten as our two countries `with mutual interests` came closer together in common cause. He said that he again wished to express his appreciation for the assistance which the United States had extended to Pakistan during its greatest crisis, and added that it would not be forgotten.” There is much more but space is short. REFERENCE: Hypocrites to the coreArdeshir Cowasjee December 19, 2010

Ardeshir Cowasjee with Sajid Hasan (ARY)

Then came Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who in 1975 created within the ISI a political cell which, as the ISI supposedly reports directly to the prime minister (or president in the absence of a prime minister) he used extensively. Some have it that ZAB`s (fatal as it turned out to be) promotion of Ziaul Haq as his army chief was done on the active prompting of the agency. The political cell let down its creator in the 1977 elections by over-rigging where no rigging was necessary. This led to ZAB`s downfall which then led to his `judicial murder`. REFERENCE: Forgetting history Ardeshir Cowasjee (18 hours ago) Today

Moral figurehead: Aredeshir Cowasjee.
Jinnah was a family friend. Cowasjee's father, Rustamjee Fakirjee Cowasjee, owned what was then Karachi's biggest shipping company and was enlisted by Jinnah in Pakistan's service. The company was later nationalised by the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto government in the mid-1970s. Cowasjee briefly headed Pakistan's state tourism corporation in Bhutto's government but for reasons that remain unclear, Bhutto had him jailed for 72 days in 1976. Critics say he carries an animus against the Bhutto family for this reason. He has also been criticised for his ambivalence towards military rulers. He held an official position in General Zia's regime for a short time, and welcomed the Musharraf coup as a life-saver for the country, but was also an unstinted critic of all that he did wrong. REFERENCE: Old man by the sea January 17, 2010

TalkBack w/ Wajahat Khan & Ardeshir Cowasjee Ep7 Pt1


Not even his worst enemy could say of Yahya that he robbed his country or its people. The 'Yahya Papers' left by the general will not fill a book. But now he allowed himself to be manipulated by mediocre megalomaniacs and our 'brilliant' self-serving politicians has been written about but not correctly or exhaustively. The last time I spoke to Yahya was in the mid-summer of 1976. Bhutto was in the throes of messing up what was left of our country. Yahya was then imprisoned in his own home at 61 Harley Street in Rawalpindi. He was standing on a raised plank (his shopping street, as he called it), leaning over his compound wall buying vegetables from a barrow-man. He waved me down and shouted, "Hey, Cowasjee, you got out of Bhutto's jail, now help get me out." "Difficult," I told him, "but hang on, it won' be long before he falls. If he starts jailing men such as me, he has to be weak." We exchanged pleasantries, wished each other well, and I drove on. When Bhutto took over power, Yahya was held in captivity, firstly incommunicado in a forest bungalow in Banni and then later in his own house. Throughout this period there were many who urged him to write, including his son Ali and his nephew Ahmed Ali (who as a captain and then a major had been his ADC from April 1966 to December 1969). A note from Ahmed Ali's diary in May 1974 records; "Are you writing a book these days, Sir?" "No, my son, books are written when the chapter is closed. This chapter is still very much open."

Two years later, Yahya started making notes. The originals, written in his own hand, are safe in a vault. A photocopy was sent to me by Ali:

"May 27 1976, 'Yahya Speaks':

"For the last 10 years, I have been urged by many friends to write my life history and about important events that have occurred because these are so important that future generations were bound to benefit by it.

"I, of course, never believed in writing a book, so time passed. It was only last night, May 26, that while looking at a television programme, 'Azadi ke Mujrim', wherein the last Mughal King's 'trial' by a British Military Court was shown. In this TV show, Bahadur Shah Zafar who was being tried for 'Gaddari' and how the real facts were distorted by lie, fraud, deceit and propaganda and how an imaginary young man of the 20th century advocated Bahadur Shah Zafar's case, proved that history does not always speak the truth but could be distorted by unscrupulous rulers. This made me think, because we were passing through a similar period of lies, fraud, deceit and propaganda and the distortion of facts and history.

"Am I, who is in a position to inform the nation and the world, going to let history be distorted and innocent persons maligned by a mean and unscrupulous person?

"So today, I have decided to speak. I have so much to say, right from my childhood and throughout my army service, right up to the end of 1971 that it would all need many volumes. I have no intention of doing this. I will start noting some important events. "Hitler's propaganda Minister, Dr Josef Goebbels had said - 'tell so many lies so many times that people start believing them as truth' (or words to that effect). Nobody has been a more faithful student of Dr Goebbels than Shora." 'Shora' Who, what, I asked Ali. It was Yahya's nickname for Bhutto. In Persian slang it means 'a drooping lower lip', like that of a camel. REFERENCE: General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan By Ardeshir Cowasjee 27 August 2000 Sunday 26 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1421

TalkBack w/ Wajahat Khan & Ardeshir Cowasjee Ep7 Pt2


Then there was Jimmy Midwood of Burmah Oil, Yahya's good friend and the boss of Ali, his son. Quite in character, as soon as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took over from Yahya, Midwood, much to his regret and against his conscience, was prevailed upon by the revengeful president of the Republic and the world's first civilian martial law administrator to sack Ali Yahya. Now to the continuation and ending of General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan's journal, written in 1976, the first part of which was included in my column last Sunday: "....Nobody has been a more faithful student of Dr. Goebbels than Shora. REFERENCE: Gen Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan - 2 By Ardeshir Cowasjee 03 September 2000 Sunday 04 Jamadi-us-Saani 1421

Many swansongs have been written and read. Worthy of reproduction are certain excerpts from the book, 'Bhutto - a political biography' by Salman Taseer, an intelligent pro-Bhutto Pipian. According to Taseer, his book was banned by Zia. On the Hamoodur Rahman report: "After the conflict was over, bhutto commissioned a report on the entire Bangladesh episode from Mr Justice Hamoodur Rahman, Chief Justice of Pakistan, and himself a Bengali. Bhutto testified before the commission whose sessions were held in camera throughout, but he never published the final report, arguing some parts of it could embarrass Pakistan in its conduct of foreign that some parts of it could embarrass Pakistan in the conduct of foreign relations. His detractors preferred to suggest that Bhutto never dated issue the report because he was so heavily implicated in the political chicanery and blundering that preceded the country's break-up. That may be so. But it is equally likely that the Hamoodur Rahman commission report was by no means the final word on political responsibility for the catastrophe that overcame Pakistan. Considering the circumstances in which the commission worked, its final report may even have erred in Bhutto's favour.

"Blame can never be satisfactorily or finally apportioned to the major players in this grisly drama, but that Bhutto, Mujibur Rahman and Yahya Khan share responsibility there can be no doubt. Many, indeed, are inclined to the view that Bhutto, as the most sure-footed politician of the three and thus the best equipped to assess the consequences of his actions, must accept the lion's share of the blame. Argument on this point will remain one of the central themes of Pakistani politics, perhaps for decades."

Comments on Bhutto's political nature:

"After the election the situation changed drastically. Bhutto now saw that Mujibur Rahman with his majority of seats could form a government even without support from West Pakistan. And yet he was not the man to play second fiddle. With control of only two provincial governments out of five, he saw his position as far from assured." [As for playing second fiddle, I myself have heard him say: 'I'd rather be the top dog of half of Pakistan than an underdog of the whole of Pakistan.']

"Perhaps another politician with more moral scruple and with greater respect for democracy would have bowed before the will of the majority and quietly entered the Constituent Assembly to debate the future of Pakistan. Bhutto, however, possessed none of these gentle characteristics. He never had much faith in the parliamentary process."

"There was another danger in convening the Assembly. It was quite possible that a number of elected members from West Pakistan would give way to the Awami League's dominant position and compromise with them, enabling Mujibur Rahman to get the two-thirds majority needed to pass the constitution. Bhutto could not trust his own party, which consisted of a motley group of individuals, some of whom he barely knew and who had been swept into power on a wave of pro-Bhutto feeling."

On Bhutto's speech made on February 28, 1971, at public meeting at Lahore, where he offered Mujibur Rahman a carrot in the form of three alternatives - agreement on three of the Six Points, or postponement of the National Assembly meeting, or a waiving of the Legislative Framework Order.

"After the carrot, he them threatened the stick. The latter part of his speech was possibly the most belligerent he had ever made. He threatened a strike from the Khyber Pass to Karachi - 'not a single shope would be allowed to remain open.' He promised that the people of Pakistan would take full revenge from anybody who attended the Assembly session when they returned from Dacca, or, as he expressed himself, he 'would break their legs'. In spite of Bhutto's three alternative conditions, Sheikh mujibur Rahman refused to budge."

On Bhutto's role in the break-up:

"In such a central and traumatic event in Pakistan's existence, Bhutto has long been under suspicion over his role. he proved a voluble defendant and some would certainly argue that he protested rather too much. From the time of the army crackdown he compulsively sought to justify himself, reiterating Mujib's secessionist stance, the blunders of previous politicians and his own record in arguing East Pakistan's economic exploitation." REFERENCE: Gen Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan - 3 By Ardeshir Cowasjee 10 September 2000 Sunday 11 Jamadi-us-Saani 1421

TalkBack w/ Wajahat Khan & Ardeshir Cowasjee Ep7 Pt3


THIS newspaper of record did us a great service by publishing the full text of the 1974 Supplementary Report of the Hamoodur Rahman Commission the day after it was released in the Indian press. We subsequently read that our government intended to publish the 1972 Main Report of the HR Commission, but this was swiftly denied. End of story. There were three men principally responsible for the loss, at the end of 1971, of half of Jinnah's Pakistan. Firstly, Yahya Khan, head of state, head of government, chief martial law administrator, C-in-C of the army and supreme commander of the armed forces, who was held in captivity by his successor, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, denied an open trial, freed by Zia-ul-Haq, and died a sick and lonely man. Secondly, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who commissioned and then suppressed the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report, and was deposed, tried, and hanged by his successor, Zia-ul-Haq. Thirdly, Mujibur Rahman, first prime minister of Bangladesh, assassinated by some rebel troops of his own army.

This month's issue of 'Newsline' has devoted pages to the HR Report and to the loss of East Pakistan. One article, 'A nation's shame', quotes from the statement made by that fine officer and gentleman, Admiral Syed Mohammed Ahsan. The general who surrendered to the Indians, A.A.K. Niazi, has been interviewed. And Brigadier F.B. Ali in his article, 'Conduct unbecoming' has written on the subsequent revolt during the Bhutto regime by a number of army officers, of which he was one.

From 'A nation's shame':

"But who was responsible for creating this hostile atmosphere and hatred among the people? The situation deteriorated further after General Yahya Khan postponed the first session of the newly elected constituent assembly. It became very clear immediately after the election results that the generals were not prepared to transfer power to the Awami League. First the delay in summoning the National Assembly session and later its postponement confirmed the Bengalis' worst fears, that the election results were not acceptable both to the generals and to the majority of West Pakistani politicians. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto publicly called for a boycott of the assembly session. Such a transgression was bound to further fuel public resentment.

"The anti-Bengali bias of the military leadership was very obvious. There was no representation from East Pakistan in the decision-making forums. In his statement before the Commission, Admiral Ahsan, the former governor of East Pakistan, aptly described the hostile mood of the military leadership when they decided to postpone the assembly session and launch a military operation in the eastern province. 'On arrival in Rawalpindi I was alarmed to notice the high tide of militarism flowing turbulently.... There was open talk of a military solution according to plan ', maintained Admiral Ahsan. 'I was caught quite unaware in this atmosphere for I know of no military solution which could possibly solve whatever crisis was supposed to be impending in the minds of the authorities.'

"It was evident from the statement that the decision to launch a military operation was taken without consulting the governor of East Pakistan who was the only sane voice in the government. Ahsan went on to describe the atmosphere at a crucial high-level meeting in Rawalpindi on February 22 1971.

" 'The president presided over the meeting of the governors and martial law administrators attended as usual by the military and the civilian officers of the intelligence agencies. It is relevant to record that among the tribe of governors and MLAs I was the only non-army governor and the only retired officer in the midst of active service men. I was the only person, though a non-Bengali, who had to represent the sentiments of seventy million Bengalis to a completely West Pakistani generalship,' said Admiral Ahsan. 'During the past 17 months, in meetings and conferences, my brief ran counter to the cut-and-dried solutions of West Pakistan representatives and civil servants. The president invariably gave decisions which accommodated East Pakistan's viewpoint, at least partially. This made me unpopular with my colleagues who probably thought I was 'difficult' at best and 'sold' to the Bengalis at worst.'

From the Niazi interview:

"Q. The Hamood Commission recommended that a coterie of generals - General Yahya Khan, General Abdul Hamid Khan, Lt General S.G.M.M. Pirzada, Lt General Gul Hasan, Major General Umar and Major General Mitha - be publicly tried for the 1971 debacle. However, General Tikka, Sahibzada Yakub Ali Khan and Rao Farman Ali have simply been exonerated. How would you respond? Do you think they were innocent?

"A. I don't agree with the Commission's exoneration of these three. It is surprising that no responsibility for the break-up of Pakistan has been apportioned on Tikka, Yaqub and Farman. In fact, Yaqub's inaction as Commander of the Eastern Command aggravated the situation in East Pakistan. Having messed up everything, Yaqub deemed it fit to desert his post and resign, while taking cover behind his conscience. I think he should have been sent to the gallows for betraying the nation. Yahya demoted him. However, Bhutto restored his rank and sent him as ambassador to the USA. What a prize for desertion! The Hamood Commission exculpated him, thus paving the ground for officers to resign instead of fighting the enemy whenever a difficult situation develops. Similarly, Tikka has not been mentioned in the Hamood report, although his barbaric action of March 25 earned him the name of the 'Butcher of Bengal'. The Commission has overlooked his heinous crimes. For his failure to disarm the East Pakistan Rifles and arrest the military brainpower, Tikka was removed from the command of Eastern Command. His expulsion of journalists from East Pakistan was a naive step that turned the international press against Pakistan. Tikka's biggest fault was his inability to launch a counter-offensive from the Western Theatre, which ultimately cost us the war.

"As far as Rao Farman is concerned, he was in charge of the Dhaka operations. According to authentic press reports, tanks, mortars and artillery were ruthlessly employed against the Dhaka University inmates, killing scores of them. Rao remained military adviser to five governors and had his finger in every pie."

From 'Conduct unbecoming':

"Matters had not gone beyond the serious discussion stage when a traitor in our midst, Lt Colonel Tariq Rafi, betrayed us to the generals. Early in 1973, a large number of army and air force officers were arrested in a particularly brutal fashion, confined under very harsh conditions, and tried by court martials in Attock and Badaber. Bhutto saw this as an excellent opportunity to teach a lasting lesson to anyone else in the armed forces who might think of acting against him.

"In spite of a superb defence led by Mr Manzur Qadir, the outcome was a foregone conclusion: all the accused were convicted and many of them were given long prison sentences, including life imprisonment for Aleem Afridi and me. Manzur Qadir was ill but continued to defend us, even though we could barely pay enough to cover his expenses (his normal fees were totally beyond our means), and lived for long periods in primitive conditions in the Attock rest house, as did his colleagues, Ijaz Hussain Batalvi, Aitzaz Ahsan and Wasim Sajjad.

"The emotions that drove these young officers to contemplate such a drastic step, involving grave risks, and then to stoically suffer such harsh consequences, were poignantly expressed by Major Saeed Akhtar Malik in his address to the Attock court martial trying him for his life. He said: 'When the war became imminent, I took leave from the PMA and joined my unit, ... thanks to the CO who requisitioned my services. The next day the war started. But instead of glory I found only disillusionment. The truth was that we were a defeated army even before a shot was fired. This was a very bitter truth. With each corpse that I saw, my revulsion increased for the men who had signed the death warrants of so many very fine men. Yes, fine men, but poor soldiers, who were never given the chance to fight back, because they were not trained to fight back. When they should have been training for war, they were performing the role of labourers, farmers or herdsmen, anything but the role of soldiers. This was not 'shahadat'. This was cold-blooded murder. Who was responsible for this? I was responsible ! But more than me were responsible. What were some of these men, these callous, inhuman degenerates, doing when their only job was to prepare the army for war? Were these men not grabbing lands and building houses? Did it not appear in foreign magazines that some of them were pimping for their bloated grandmaster? Yes, generals, wearing that uniform (he pointed at the court's president) pimping and whoremongering!' "

Having lost what we had, today we are trying to acquire territory we never had. Our sole ally is the destroyed and dying Talebanized Afghanistan. The weapons with which we threaten the world are the nuclear bombs combined with obscurantism. End of story? (Concluded). REFERENCE: Gen Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan - 4 By Ardeshir Cowasjee 17 September 2000 Sunday 18 Jamadi-us-Saani 1421

TalkBack w/ Wajahat Khan & Ardeshir Cowasjee Ep7 Pt4


In this world of information technology the crimes of Benazir and her husband are widely known. For those interested in the topic, I suggest they switch on their computers, get on to the Internet, click on and open, retrieve and read a US Senate document headed "Minority Staff Report for Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Hearing on Private Banking and Money Laundering: A Case Study of Opportunities and Vulnerabilities" dated November 9, 1999. I particularly recommend that our judges, our NAB men, and our official prosecutors download and study this document. The 50-page Report details the grimy monetary dealings of seven notorious wheeler-dealers. The Republic of Pakistan has the proud privilege of having one of their own on this august list. The list: Raoul Salinas, former Mexican government official, brother of former president of Mexico; Asif Ali Zardari, former Pakistani government official and legislator, husband of former prime minister of Pakistan; El Hadj Omar Bongo, president of Gabon; Abacha Sons: Mohammad, Ibrahim and Abba Abbacha, sons of General Sani Abacha, former military leader of Nigeria.

Note: Not in Mr. Ardeshir Cowasjee's Column, I have inserted the report.




Under the sub-title "The Facts", it is written of Asif Zardari: "The second case history involves Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan. Ms Bhutto was elected prime minister in 1988, dismissed by the President of Pakistan in August 1990 for alleged corruption and inability to maintain law and order, elected prime minister once again in October 1993, and dismissed by the President again in November 1996. At various times, Mr Zardari served as senator, environment minister and minister for investments in the Bhutto government. In between the two Bhutto administrations, he was incarcerated in 1990 and 1991 on charges of corruption; the charges were eventually dropped. During Ms Bhutto's second term there were increasing allegations of corruption in her government and a major target of those allegations was Mr Zardari. It has been reported that the government of Pakistan claims that Ms Bhutto and Mr Zardari stole over $ 1 billion from the country." Listed are details of Zardari's relationship with Citibank which began in October 1994 "through the services of Kamran Amouzegar, a private banker at Citibank private bank in Switzerland, and Jens Schlegelmilch, a Swiss lawyer who was the Bhutto family's attorney in Europe and close personal friend for more than twenty years." Schlegelmilch was invited and came to Karachi for Benazir and Asif's wedding in 1987 and has paid several visits since then.

The relationships between the account holders, banks, depositors, kickbackers and cover cocerns is highly complicated and can only be sorted out by a careful reading of the Report. Hereunder a few excerpts:

"The staff invited Ms. Bhutto to provide additional information on the M.S. Capricorn Trading accounts, but she has not yet done so."

"During the period 1994 to 1997, Citibank opened and maintained three private bank accounts in Switzerland and a consumer account in Dubai for three corporations under Mr. Zardari's control. There are allegations that some of these accounts were used to disguise $10 million in kickbacks for a gold importing contract to Pakistan ......."

"Citibank told the Subcommittee staff that, once opened, only three deposits were made into the M.S. Capricorn Trading account in Dubai. Two deposits, totaling $10 million were made into the account almost immediately after it was opened. Citibank records show that one $5 million deposit was made on October 5, 1994, and another was made on October 6, 1994. The source of both deposits was A.R.Y. International Exchange, a company owned by Abdul Razzak Yaqub, a Pakistani gold bullion trader living in Dubai ......."

"The Zardari case history raises issues involving due diligence, secrecy and public figure accounts. The Zardari case history begins with the Citibank Dubai branch's failure to identify the true beneficial owner of the M.S. Capricorn Trading account. As a result, the account officer in Dubai performed due diligence on an individual who had no relationship to the account being opened. In Switzerland, Citibank officials opened three private bank accounts despite evidence of impropriety on the part of Mr. Zardari. In an interview with Subcommittee staff, Citigroup Co- Chair John Reed informed the Subcommittee staff that he had been advised by Citibank officials in preparation for a trip to Pakistan in February 1994, that there were troubling accusations concerning corruption surrounding Mr. Zardari, that he should stay away from him, and that he was not a man with whom the bank wanted to be associated. Yet one year later, the private bank opened three accounts for Mr. Zardari in Switzerland. Mr. Reed told the Subcommittee staff that when he learned of the Zardari accounts he thought the account officer must have been 'an idiot'." If this government does not do whatever needs to be done, however correctly or obliquely, to disqualify and debar every man and woman who held elected office from 1988 to 1999 - all collectively responsible for the present state of the nation - from henceforth holding any elected office ever again, history will hold it responsible for the accelerated disintegration of what is left of this country. REFERENCE: Is hammam main sab nangay By Ardeshir Cowasjee 11 February 2001 Sunday 16 Ziqa'ad 1421 

For the new-born it is necessary to elaborate on our mangled unintelligible Constitution and its amendments. The 1973 Constitution was passed by consensus by the many members who believed that as it guaranteed fundamental rights it was better than no Constitution at all and certainly better than martial law. None dissented. The few who were not happy with it abstained. Before the ink was dry, within four hours of its promulgation, the people of Pakistan were deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights through a gazette notification issued by the maker of the Constitution, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Fundamental rights having been rendered non-justiciable, he then had all his political opponents arrested. They were held in various jails until released by Zia-ul-Haq four years later.

Not satisfied with the notification, Bhutto had his Constitution amended seven times between its promulgation on August 14, 1973 and July 5, 1977, the date of his fall from grace.

An amendment of a Constitution is an extraordinary measure necessitating a great deal of deliberation on the part of the ruling party, consultation with the Opposition, and a careful objective study of public opinion on the subject. Its passage through the legislature must be deliberately regulated to ensure full discussion, to provide ample opportunity for criticism.

According to the rules of procedure which govern parliamentary procedure under the 1973 Constitution, a bill, other than a finance bill, upon its introduction in the House must be referred to the relevant standing committee, unless the requirements of the rules have been dispensed with by the House through a motion of the relevant member. The standing committee is asked to present its report within 30 days. When this is received, copies of the bill (and any changes recommended by the committee) are to be supplied to each member within seven days. Two clear days must then elapse before the bill can be sent down for motion. These rules were suspended by Bhutto for the passage of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Amendment bills. The First Amendment bill was introduced in the House on April 15, 1974. The standing committee presented its report the next day and within a week it was passed leaving no time for debate. The Third Amendment bill was introduced on February 11, 1975, the required report was presented and the bill passed the next day. REFERENCE: Our politicians By Ardeshir Cowasjee 29 April 2001 Sunday 04 Safar 1422 

On July 15, The Nation printed a column written by the air marshal on 'The anatomy of politics', the first of a series he intends to write on the subject. He recounted how in the era of Field Marshal Ayub Khan he spearheaded a movement with the intent to have Zulfikar Ali Bhutto released from jail. When he was released, Bhutto suggested that Asghar join him in his campaign to destroy Ayub Khan. What would be Zulfikar's programme and policy once Ayub was removed, Asghar asked. Zulfikar, unabashed and completely frank, answered 'My programme is to fool the people. They are fools, and I know how to make a fool of them. Join me and we will rule for twenty years. No one will be able to remove us.' Not being familiar with politics and politicians in those early years, a naive Asghar was genuinely shocked and his response was that he would oppose Bhutto and his politics as best as he could. REFERENCE: We never learn from history By Ardeshir Cowasjee 21 July 2002 Sunday 10 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1423

TalkBack w/ Wajahat Khan & Ardeshir Cowasjee Ep7 Pt5


A GENTLE reminder is necessary to all those now bemoaning the fact that the country of Pakistan now finds itself once again under a state of emergency imposed by a military man. Indeed, this is not the first emergency we have suffered in our existence – and that is apart from the periods of martial law with military rulers from 1958 to 1971, and from 1977 to 1988. All those also, of the civil and uncivil societies, agitating in indignation about the suspension of the constitution, this 1973 constitution which is regarded as if it is a divinely inspired (or dictated) pristine pure document — almost sacred — need to cast their minds back to the birth of this document that is meant to regulate our lives and the policies of the leadership of this lacklustre land.

This constitution, the constitution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, father of Benazir, was drafted and redrafted during 1972-73 and finally promulgated on Aug 14, 1973.

During the promulgation ceremony, the maker of the constitution, already declared prime minister of Pakistan, had in his pocket a presidential order. Four hours after the constitution was promulgated and came into force, he produced the order, put in front of the already declared tame and acquiescing president, Fazal Elahi Chaudhary, and asked him to sign it, which of course he did without demur and probably without bothering to read and digest it.

The order is hereby reproduced. Why was it necessary? Well, then as now there was an undeclared need. The constitutional teeth had to be drawn. Bhutto had already jailed his friends of the Awami National Party, Wali Khan & Co., and various other political nuisances, and to keep them safely behind bars and out of his hair he needed to prolong the state of emergency and to suspend certain of our guaranteed fundamental rights (they remained imprisoned until President General Ziaul Haq freed them after throwing out Bhutto).

Now, was this an act of moral honesty? Was this constitution not made and promulgated with intentions mala fide?

It has, throughout its life, been amended and tailored to suit the leaders of the day, and it has been an unlucky document that has brought the country no good, no stability, and has never ushered in progress or tolerance or peace. Here is the first bit of historical constitutional hanky-panky:

“The Gazette of Pakistan, Extra, Aug 15, 1973, Islamabad: No.F24 (1)/73-Pub.-The following order made by the president on Aug 14, 1973 is hereby published for general information:

“Whereas Article 280 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan provides that the proclamation of emergency issued on Nov 23, 1971 shall be deemed to be a proclamation of emergency issued under Article 232 thereof;

“And Whereas clause (2) of Article 233 of the said Constitution provides that while a proclamation of emergency is in force the president may, by order, declare that the right to move any court for the enforcement of such of the fundamental rights conferred by Chapter I of Part II of the Constitution as may be specified in the order, and any proceeding in any court which is for the enforcement, or involves the determination of any question as to the infringement, of the rights so specified shall remain suspended for the period during which the proclamation is in force ;

“And Whereas the aforesaid proclamation of emergency is in force;

“Now, Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by the said clause (2) of Article 233, the president is pleased to declare that the right to move any court, including the right to move the Supreme Court, vide clause (3) of Article 184, for the enforcement of the fundamental rights provided for in Articles 10 [Safeguards as to arrest and detention], 15 [Freedom of movement], 16 [Freedom of assembly], 17 [Freedom of association], 18 [Freedom of trade, business or profession], 19 [Freedom of speech], 23 [Provision as to property], 24 [Protection of property rights], 25 [Equality of citizens], and 27 [Safeguard against discrimination in services] of the Constitution, and all proceedings pending in any court which are for the enforcement, or involve the determination of any question as to the enforcement, of any of the said Rights shall remain suspended for the period during which the said Proclamation is in force. Signed: Fazal Elahi Chaudhary, President. Counter-signed under Article 48(3) of the Constitution: Shah Nawaz Khan, Joint Secretary; Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, prime minister.” REFERENCE: States of emergency By Ardeshir Cowasjee November 18, 2007 Sunday Ziqa’ad 07, 1428 

ON Jan 4 in our national press, on a front page, there appeared a most startling news item under the heading ‘Shujaat says ISI’s political cell should continue working’. The news item quoted his rationale as so tortuously expressed on one of the independent television channels: this undesirable, suspect and sinister body “keeps a watch on political parties and reports their anti-government and anti-state activities”. In the same breath he stated that his party would accept the results of the upcoming general elections. Well, naturally it will, because the chattering Chaudhry obviously intends to make use of the Inter-Services Intelligence organisation’s experienced ‘political cell’ to ensure that the elections are rigged to his party’s satisfaction. So that the question of ‘acceptance’ does not even arise. The next day, front-paged also, was a not-so-startling news item under the heading ‘PPP for end to ISI role in electoral process’. Quite naturally, the PPP has accused the ISI, inter alia, of indulging in “pre-poll rigging”. How was this political cell formed and why? In 1975 Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, that man of great perspicacity, ruling under an ‘emergency’ and exercising his finite wisdom, issued an executive order creating this political cell within the ISI for purposes that do not have to be spelt out. It eventually was one of the factors that led to his downfall and execution. He used it as the almost incomprehensible Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of the fiefdom of Gujrat intends to now use it again. But Zulfikar overused it to unnecessarily rig his general elections of March 1977 which subsequently caused an uprising of the opposition, trouble and turmoil in the land, and the inevitable military takeover. After his use of this political cell, it was all downhill for him. The Gujrat Chaudhry should be warned. Over-rigging does not pay. REFERENCE: One Bhutto legacy By Ardeshir Cowasjee January 06, 2008 Sunday Zilhaj 26, 1428

As expected the landed gentry divided its time and manpower between collaborating with and opposing authoritarian rulers. Z.A. Bhutto is a case in point. He entered politics as a protigi of Pakistan's first military ruler: for years served as Ayub Khan's Commerce, then Foreign Minister: broke and became opposition leader; allied again with General Yahya Khan's regime during its military operations in East Pakistan; succeeded Yahya as Martial Law Administrator after the secession of Bangladesh: then became prime minister of a constitutional government over which he presided in a manner befitting a military dictator. Following a wave of public protest over alleged vote rigging. Mr Bhutto was ousted in 1977 by his hand-picked army chief, Mohammed Ziaul Haq. He imprisoned, then executed his benefactor, and ruled until he died in 1988. REFERENCE: Bhutto's tragedy, Sharif's challenge Eqbal Ahmad DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 13 February 1997 Issue : 03/07 

Benazir Bhutto, twice prime minister of Pakistan , twice dismissed charged with corruption and by the machinations of her political and military adversaries, was living in comfortable exile away from the turbulence of Pakistan . This lasted until she was made a victim of the wisdom of the Americans and their British allies, who decided that as far as they were concerned her return to Pakistan, with the guarantee that she would be made prime minister, would suit their global and national purposes. So, back she came amidst much fanfare, joy, dancing and festivity. She came to Karachi and her journey into the city from the airport was scheduled to take 12 long hours. She was warned, her party people refused to listen, the bombers struck and over 150 happy citizens lost their lives and hundreds more were maimed and wounded.

Not heeding the winds of fate or of destiny, she continued her campaigning and at a rally in Rawalpindi, not too far from General Headquarters, she was killed, the third child of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his wife Nusrat to meet a violent, senseless death. We must ask over and over again, did those who encouraged her to return to the violent homeland ever bother to anticipate her possible fate?

Naturally, since the event of December 27, much interest has been evoked about the Bhutto family and its extraordinary unravelling. Much has been written about the father and the two sons, there has been much reminiscing, and objectivity on the home front has been hard to come by. The foreign press has at times been unkind, and at times maudlin.

The main concern at the moment of the family’s well-wishers and friends — but of course not of the political factor which will heed nothing but its own agenda — is the welfare and wellbeing of Benazir Bhutto’s young son, Bilawal. Adulation and sycophancy are deadly propensities and it is hard for a youth to be exposed, with no defences, to both. We must hope that sense prevails and that his young life is not thrown to the mercies of political agendas.

Mulling over the Bhutto era of late, I picked up a book I had not read for years as I recalled a particularly poignant and perceptive passage which has borne the brunt of time.

Perhaps the finest summation of the character and attributes of Zufikar Ali Bhutto came not from one of his fellow countrymen, but from a foreigner, who could stand back and objectively observe and comment. Morrice James of the British foreign office spent a total of nine years in Pakistan in various diplomatic posts. During the first half of the 1960s, he was Britain’s high commissioner in Islamabad and had ample time to observe, interact with and analyse the country’s most compelling and charismatic politician.

In his Pakistan Chronicle, published posthumously in 1993, Sir Morrice James, Lord St Brides, has this to say about Bhutto:

“Bhutto certainly had the right qualities for reaching the heights — drive, charm, imagination, a quick and penetrating mind, zest for life, eloquence, energy, a strong constitution, a sense of humour and a thick skin. Such a blend is rare anywhere, and Bhutto deserved his swift rise to power. From the end of 1962 onwards, I worked closely with him and it was a pleasure to deal with someone so quick-witted and articulate. We got on remarkably well…

“But there was — how shall I put it? — the rank odour of hellfire about him. It was a case of corruptio optimi pessima. He was a Lucifer, a fallen angel. I believe that at heart he lacked a sense of the dignity and value of other people; his own self was what counted. I sensed in him a ruthlessness and a capacity for ill-doing which went far beyond what is natural. Except at university abroad, he was mostly surrounded by mediocrities, and all his life, for want of competition, his triumphs came to him too easily for his own good. Lacking humility, he thus came to believe himself infallible, even when yawning gaps in his own experience (e.g. of military matters) laid him — as over the 1965 war — wide open to disastrous error. “Despite his gifts, I judged that one day Bhutto would destroy himself — when and how I could not tell. In 1965, I so reported in one my last dispatches from Pakistan as British high commissioner. I wrote by way of clinching that point that Bhutto was born to be hanged. I did not intend this comment as a precise prophecy of what was going to happen to him, but 14 years later that was what it turned out to be.” REFERENCE: The sowing & reaping of destiny By Ardeshir Cowasjee January 20, 2008 Sunday Muharram 10, 1429

A PROMINENT headline in this newspaper on June 25, 2009 informed us that our powerless prime minister, appointed by our power-charged president, “vows to revive the spirit of `73 constitution”. His vehicle is the potentially everlasting committee formed to frame further amendments to restore the original Zulfikar Ali Bhutto constitution. Now, where was young Yousuf Raza Gilani in 1973? He was not sitting in parliament when the `spirit` of the constitution in question was well aired at its unveiling on Aug 14 of that year. Does he recollect that the constitution was promulgated by a man who has the distinction of having been the first civilian martial law administrator; does he know that it was accepted by consensus, not unanimously as is often claimed? The majority of the members of that particular National Assembly were anxious to come up with a constitution, and any old constitution would do as it would be better than no constitution. So, it was grandly promulgated at noon on Independence Day, with much joy and jollity. How many of our present constitutionalists and contortionists remember that the life of the original document was of four hours duration? At 1600 hours that same day, Prime Minister Bhutto ordered the president he had appointed the meek and gentlemanly Fazal Elahi Chaudhry to sign an order which was notified in the Gazette of Pakistan, Extra, on Aug 15, 1973, No.F.24(1)/73-Pub.

By this order the proclamation of emergency issued on Nov 23, 1971 was declared to be still in force, the reason being that while in force the president was empowered to order that the right to move any court for the enforcement of the fundamental rights conferred in the constitution was suspended and would remain suspended for the period the proclamation was in force. No court could be moved for the enforcement of the rights of the people — they were rendered non-justiciable. Thus were the people deprived, within the space of four hours, of 10 of the major fundamental rights guaranteed to them at noon on Aug 14, 1973. It was all a matter of premeditated fraud. The reason for this chicanery and short-lived constitution was Bhutto`s desire to `deal with` (or to use one of his favorite terms, `fix`) his political opponents, men such as Khair Bakhsh Marri, Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, Ataullah Mengal and Wali Khan, by having them arrested and imprisoned. Such was the birth of the constitution and the spirit in which it was raised. Then came Bhutto`s own amendments to his constitution, seven of them. The first, in 1974, redefined territories, covering the loss of East Pakistan in 1971. The second, also in 1974, stripped an entire community (the Ahmadis), once part of the majority, of its rights and declared it a minority.

The Third Amendment of 1975 allowed the government to detain a person without trial for three months instead of one month as originally provided. The fourth, also 1975, enlarged the scope of preventative laws. In 1976 came the Fifth Amendment which extended the period of separation of the judiciary from the executive from three to five years, fixed the tenure of the chief justices of the supreme and high courts, and prohibited high courts in cases of preventative detention from granting bails before arrest or ordering the release of a person on bail. This was followed in 1977 by the Sixth Amendment by which chief justices of the supreme and high courts were to hold office for tenures of respectively five and four years irrespective of the specified retirement ages. These two amendments were made solely to favour judges of ZAB`s liking and to extend the term of the chief justice of Pakistan even though he had reached the age of retirement. The Seventh Amendment of May 1977 provided inter alia that high courts have no jurisdiction over persons and property in areas where the armed forces were brought in to aid the civil authorities. ZAB set the tone for further amendments to come. The rules of procedure were suspended for the passages of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Amendments, there was no debate, deliberation or consultation. They were all bulldozed through the same day they were introduced. The First Amendment took a week of bickering over the territorial limits and the Third Amendment was passed the day after its introduction. That was all ZAB had time for. June 1977 was a fraught month for him and the country and he was deposed by his own chosen anointed army chief, the wily Ziaul Haq, early in July. REFERENCE: Spirit of the 1973 constitution By Ardeshir Cowasjee June 28, 2009


suhail khalili said...

U r wrong to say that judgement of public overides the court verdict.

Verdicts of courts are based on evidences and not on public sentiments.

suhail khalili said...


suhail khalili said...