Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pati, Patni, Benazir Bhutto and article 62/63.

2012: Islamabad—The Naib Khateeb of Lal Masjid Maulana Aamir Siddique has confessed that he has no degree from any Wafaq Ul Madaris which is necessary for government job and a business tycoon of the country has given him a car as gift. While addressing a press conference along with Dr. Abid Rauf Oragzai and Mufti Ameer Zaib here at National Press Club on Saturday, he said that the apex court should implement its orders with regard to Lal Masjid, adding that no General or Judge has exception to criticism. He said that he is making efforts from the platform of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) and he is also member of Milli Yakjehti Council. He demanded that a commission comprising Aitzaz Ahsan, Asma Jehangir, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Justice Tariq Mehmood should be constituted for investigations of the case against Malik Riaz Hussain and hearing of the Arsalan Iftikhar case should be conducted on the daily basis. He said that there are differences among his family members on filing the petition against the Chief Justice. It is likely that he should resign in next few days from the designation of Khateeb Lal Masjid, he said.—SANA REFERENCE: Amir Siddiq confesses receiving car from Malik Riaz Monday, October 15, 2012, Zeqad 27, 1433 Thursday, February 07, 2013, Rabi-Al-Awwal 25, 1434 A.H.

Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. - No one shall be held guilty of any penal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offense, under national or international law, at the time it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offense was committed. --- PLAIN LANGUAGE VERSION: - You should be considered innocent until it can be proved that you are guilty. If you are accused of a crime, you should always have the right to defend yourself. Nobody has the right to condemn you and punish you for something you have not done. - Audi alteram partem. Hear the other side (i.e., Do not condemn a man unheard REFERENCES: Right to be Considered Innocent until Proven Guilty A COLLECTION OF LATIN MAXIMS and PHRASES THIRD EDITION JOHN N,COTTERELL

Najam Sethi is a riddle wrapped up in an enigma never ceases to amaze. He is liberal anti-establishment, pro-establishment and pro-PPP, all at the same time. Kinda similar game is played by Altaf Hussain. - Najam's inclusion in Laghar Cabinet in 1996 (as pronounced by Zardari) after Tummandar dismissed his own (PPP second government) - What we have here that Alleged Awami Government is awarding Tamghas (Medals) to the likes of Najam Sethi - In good book of Zardari or not but he is absolutely in the good books of State Department and Rawalpindi. --- The president awarded renowned journalists Najam Sethi REFERENCE: President confers civil, military awards on outstanding individuals * Over 217 individuals given awards on Pakistan Day Thursday, March 24, 2011 1996 Dawn Prime Ministers Adviser on Political Affairs and Accountability, Najam Sethi DAWN 26 December 1996 Cabinet split over recovery from defaulters The officials have said that Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Zardari took pains to avoid creating a documentary record of their role in hundreds of deals. How this was done was explained by Najam Sethi, a former Bhutto loyalist who became the editor of Pakistan's most popular political weekly, Friday Times, then was drafted to help oversee a corruption inquiry undertaken by the caretaker Government that ruled for three months after Ms. Bhutto's dismissal in 1996. Mr. Sethi said Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Zardari adopted a system under which they assigned favors by writing orders on yellow Post-It notes and attaching them to official files. After the deals were completed, Mr. Sethi said, the notes were removed, destroying all trace of involvement. REFERENCE: HOUSE OF GRAFT: Tracing the Bhutto Millions -- A special report.; Bhutto Clan Leaves Trail of Corruption By JOHN F. BURNS Published: January 09, 1998

Princess and the Playboy BBC 1996

Princess and the Playboy BBC 1996 by f1499110548

1996: Ladies and Gentlemen, The President! Posted on Thursday, October 3, 1996 in The Friday Times (Editorial)  - Those who used to say that the President, Farooq Leghari, is, and will always remain, a PPP “jiyala” who doesn’t have the guts to put the national interest above blind loyalty to Benazir Bhutto must get ready to eat humble pie. Mr Leghari has now publicly demonstrated that he means business and will not allow Ms Bhutto, or anyone else for that matter, to trample over the constitution and get away with the pre-meditated murder of state institutions and the public interest. Some background information is, however, necessary to put Mr Leghari’s recent “interventions” in perspective. Like many of her friends who have drifted away from her in disillusionment, Mr Leghari is known to have long urged Ms Bhutto to run a clean and efficient ship. He has publicly drawn attention to the menace of corruption and asked the government to make its economic and financial decision-making apparatus more transparent. The President has been worried about the state of the economy and he has continuously communicated his concerns to Ms Bhutto and her advisors. And, in a move applauded everywhere except perhaps in certain government circles last December, he used his discretionary powers to appoint General Jehangir Karamat, a soldier of impeccable credentials, as chief of army staff. In March this year, however, Mr Leghari found himself in an awkward position when Ms Bhutto took umbrage against the Supreme Court’s judgement ordering her government to fire 20 judges appointed by her earlier because they didn’t fulfill the court’s criteria for appointment. The President is thought to have advised the PM, in her own interests, to accept the decision instead of raging against the CJ unwisely. When Ms Bhutto spurned this advice, relations between Justice Shah and premier Bhutto deteriorated to such an extent that she flew into a rage and demanded that the President fire the CJ. Stunned by Ms Bhutto’s recklessness and troubled by the potentially far reaching consequences of such a move, President Leghari urged Ms Bhutto to cool down, meet with the CJ and sort out things amicably. In due course, he paved the way for a couple of meetings between Ms Bhutto and Justice Shah. But Ms Bhutto was still in no mood to relent. Soon thereafter, she filed a Presidential Reference before the SC challenging its judgment and followed this up by lodging a Review Petition as well. The Reference, which was rudely drafted, was duly returned by the SC because it hadn’t been shown to Mr Leghari or been signed by him. Appalled, Mr Leghari was at his wits end when Ms Bhutto decided upon another tack to undermine the judgment. Prodded by the government, justice Shafi Mohammadi (one of the 20 judges affected by the judgment) of the Federal Shariat Court, which lies exclusively in the President’s domain, launched an attack on the SC and the CJ. When the President’s attention was drawn by the CJ to this provocative act, he thought fit to privately advise the government to remove Justice Shafi from the FSC. When Ms Bhutto still refused to heed his advice, he was constrained to warn that he would take action under his discretionary powers and fire Justice Shafi from the FSC. An open conflict was averted only when Ms Bhutto saw the writing on the wall, removed Justice Shafi from the FSC and persuaded him to submit his resignation from the Sindh High Court.
 Ms Bhutto has consistently refused to implement the SC’s judgment. Instead of firing (“de-notifying”) all the affected judges as demanded by the SC, she has evaded the issue by nudging some of them to submit their resignations to her government. Until some time ago, the President was wont to accept these resignations as “advised” by the prime minister. However, problems arose when the CJ formally wrote to the President objecting to this modus operandi on Ms Bhutto’s part and asked him to “intervene” and compel the government to abide by the SC’s decision in letter and in spirit. Instead of acting unilaterally, which might have fueled controversy, President Leghari passed on the CJ’s letter to the PM for information and comment. Similarly, the PM’s comments on the CJ’s letter were passed on to the CJ, including her extraordinary claim that “the judiciary was part of the government”. The President also wrote back to the CJ, with a copy to the PM, asking him to explain how and under what presidential powers the SC wanted the president to “intervene” in order to enforce its judgment. On the 21st of September, when it was clear that Ms Bhutto remained unmoved, the President finally sought to resolve the deadlock between the PM and the CJ by filing a formal Reference with the SC asking it to inform him of the scope of his constitutional powers to appoint or denotify judges. Having done so, he refused to entertain any further requests from the government to accept the resignations of any more judges until the matter was legally and constitutionally sorted out. President Leghari has also incurred the wrath of Ms Bhutto on the issue of corruption and how to combat it. For two years, the President has privately urged the PM to take concrete steps to make her government more transparent. But Ms Bhutto has, if anything, connived in making the problem more intractable and her government less defensible. Last year Imran Khan put corruption on the top of his agenda for reform. When the crowds roared their disapproval of corruption, opposition leader Nawaz Sharif was quick to co-opt the slogan and stand up in parliament to demand a judicial commission on accountability. Despite ringing denouncements of Surreygate, however, Ms Bhutto refused to accept the demand, forcing Mr Sharif to address his complaint to President Leghari. The President passed on Mr Sharif’s demand for an accountability commission to the PM. When she replied in an evasive manner, he duly passed on her views to Mr Sharif. When Mr Sharif persisted with his demand for a judicial commission, and the press supported this demand, the President thought fit to write a letter to both houses of parliament endorsing the demand and proposing enlargements in it. Ms Bhutto’s majordomo, Naseerullah Babar, then sought to belittle the President’s proposal by punching holes in it. President Farooq Leghari’s recent meeting with Mr Nawaz Sharif has come in the wake of these developments, even though the President has long said that the doors of Aiwan i Sadr are always open to the leader of the opposition. There is a background to this meeting also. Last year, channels of communication were opened between the camp of the opposition leader and the Aiwan i Sadr, mainly through the good offices of a Muslim League leader in Lahore who has worked closely with Mr Leghari in the past. The purpose of this contact was to affect a meeting between Mr Sharif and President Leghari so that the acrimony of the past, when Mr Leghari was in the PPP and Mr Sharif was prime minister, could be buried and a normal working relationship established between them in the larger national interest. The President was also keen to act as a bridge between Mr Sharif and Ms Bhutto so that the two leaders could reduce their mutual hostilities in the interests of democracy. However, the meeting did not materialise earlier because Mr Sharif was not sufficiently persuaded of the President’s independence and neutrality even though he had long given up attacking the President in public. Following President Leghari’s public assertion of independence and authority recently, however, Mr Sharif had a change of heart and authorised a couple of lieutenants to arrange a meeting with the President. When Mr Leghari welcomed this opportunity to exchange views with Mr Sharif, a meeting was duly organised. In this meeting, Mr Sharif and Mr Leghari recapitulated their own perceptions of events since 1993 and their own roles therein. The President assured Mr Sharif of his neutrality and reiterated his commitment to democracy, rule of law and constitution. He explained that he had written to both houses of parliament asking them to find ways and means to combat corruption because it was bringing the political system into disrepute. When Mr Sharif presented a detailed critique of government and urged the President to exercise his powers under 58-2-B of the constitution to dismiss Ms Bhutto and order fresh elections, Mr Leghari noted the opposition leader’s concerns and told him that if and when he felt that such a course had become absolutely necessary in the national interest, he would not hesitate to exercise his constitutional duties. He also assured Mr Sharif that when the next elections are held he would guarantee an impartial caretaker administration as well as an independent election commission. President Leghari met with PM Bhutto two days later. The two leaders exchanged their respective points of view. Ms Bhutto wanted to know if Mr Leghari was interested in “sharing power” with her. No, said Mr Leghari, that was not the issue at all. He had taken certain steps in the larger interests of the country and these had been based on his given constitutional powers. Where there was some doubt about the scope of his powers, he had referred the matter to the SC for clarification. He told the PM to implement the SC’s decision as quickly as possible because it was unconstitutional to undermine it. He urged her to join hands with the opposition and set up a credible accountability commission against corruption. He drew her attention to the deteriorating law and order situation across the country and insisted that the government do something about it quickly. When Ms Bhutto wondered why he had not waited some time before sending his Reference to the SC the day after her brother Murtaza was murdered, he explained that matters of state could not be kept pending on account of personal predicaments. At any rate, he said, he had done so because he wanted to give her time to voluntarily implement the SC’s decision before the SC opened for its winter session in October and found to its anger and dismay that the PM was still dragging her feet on the issue. Following this meeting, the PPP has spread the word that all differences between the President and the PM have been sorted out and the government is stable once again. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many areas of conflict and tension abound. President Leghari has certainly nudged Ms Bhutto to implement the SC’s decision on 30th September because it was his constitutional duty to do so. Now comes the question of appointing new judges to the various High Courts of the country. If the SC says he has a particular role to play in this area, he will certainly play such a role, even if Ms Bhutto is opposed to it. the President sees corruption as a major threat to the working of the constitution and wants the government and opposition to agree to the establishment of a judicial commission to uproot the menace from the corridors of power. If this is not forthcoming, he may be expected to exercise his powers in the public interest and push this issue to its logical conclusion even if it upsets Ms Bhutto. He wants a perceptible and quick improvement in the law and order situation, especially in Punjab, and if Ms Bhutto cannot do something about it, he may be encouraged to take certain constitutional steps to do the needful. And so on. There is no doubt about it. President Farooq Leghari is determined to assert his constitutional authority to stop the erosion of state institutions at the hands of reckless, corrupt, squabbling politicians and bureaucrats who have brought parliamentary democracy into such disrepute. If Ms Bhutto continues to flout the law and the constitution, as she has done so provocatively in the last two years, she cannot expect any measure of sympathy from Mr Leghari. REFERENCE: Ladies and Gentlemen, The President! Posted on Thursday, October 3, 1996 in The Friday Times (Editorial)

2013: Not so long ago Imran enraged many liberals by calling them "fascists" and "scum" for labeling him "Taliban Khan" because he was not ready to criticize the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, let alone support military action against them. His position on the TTP is unchanged. But he now realizes he cannot afford to alienate the liberal constituency that needs to be nurtured in realizing his dream to reconstruct a democratic Pakistan with civil liberties and freedoms. Imran acknowledges the misuse of Islam for political purposes by generals and politicians alike. Therefore he doesn't support those sections of Constitutional Articles 62 and 63 that stipulate certain Islamic provisions for electoral qualification, like having to be a good, sagacious and practicing Muslim knowledgeable about Islamic teachings and precepts. He thinks that, apart from weighing corrupt practices, the election commission must not get involved in scrutinizing a candidate's personal life. This is as "liberal" and "realistic" a viewpoint as any to avoid arbitrariness or victimization. Most significantly, Imran's strong support for "democracy" ("our biggest fault lies in waylaying democracy from the day Pakistan was created") and opposition to conspiratorial schemes for delaying elections and setting up a technocratic caretaker set-up for a few years is timely. That is why, he says, despite his impulse to yield to popular pressure, he did not jump into the fray with Dr Tahir ul Qadri, and that is why he will not plan "long marches" that could destabilize the government and play into the hands of conspirators. REFERENCE: IK: work in Progress Editorial By Najam Sethi February 01-07, 2013 - Vol. XXIV, No. 51

 Aapas Ki Baat (Gup-Shap with Imran Khan January 2013)

 Imran Khan fathered illegitimate child, rules California court : A Los Angeles court ruled that cricket hero-turned-politician Imran Khan was the legal father of a four-year-old illegitimate southern California girl. "Imran Khan is the father of the child," superior court commissioner Anthony Jones said on August 13, after a brief hearing. Khan, who had refused to co-operate by taking a blood test for the genetic determination of paternity, did not show up for the proceedings. His attorneys also failed to appear, so a default judgement was entered. Khan led Pakistan to a World Cup triumph in 1992. Earlier this year, he failed in his bid to become prime minister of Pakistan. "We believe the complaint, as originally filed, was ill-motivated," said Khan's New York attorney, Bernard Clair. "We believe the mother may have been the unwitting tool of my client's opponents." Sita White, who lives in Beverly Hills, had a relationship with Khan in 1987-88 and, when they met again in Los Angeles on October 2, 1991, she told him she wanted to have his baby, her attorney Gloria Allred said. "We did not request child support," Allred said. "We hope that, one day, he will open his heart to his little daughter and give her the love, respect and support every little girl deserves. "White got pregnant and Khan told her he hoped it was a boy. When he learnt the baby would be a girl, Khan expressed disappointment and said the child would not be able to play cricket. He urged White to have an abortion, but she refused," Allred said. Tyrian Jade was born on June 15, 1992, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Since her birth, Khan has neither seen nor spoken to the child although he and White have spoken periodically during that period," said Allred. "He never paid any child support." During his quest to become prime minister, Khan denied having fathered an illegitimate child, which could have made him ineligible to become prime minister. "He categorically denies the paternity of this child," Clair said. "We think to use the child as a pawn in such a publicity circus demonstrates, to us at least, that the mother has other reasons for pursuing paternity." Khan, 42, said he dated and frequented night clubs during his days as a cricketer and, before that, as a student at Oxford University. But, since retiring from sports in 1992, he said he has transformed himself into a devout Muslim.He even vowed to marry a woman who observed purdah (life behind the veil). But, in 1995, he married British heiress Jemima Goldsmith. His political opponents have attacked Jemima, the daughter of the late English billionaire, Sir James Goldsmith, for her Jewish heritage. Khan says, though his wife's ancestors were Jewish, she was Protestant and had converted to Islam to marry him. REFERENCE: Imran Khan fathered illegitimate child, rules California court

apas - 28th jan 2013 by Malik_Jee
imran khan in najam sethi show - 30th January 2013 by shozib

1997  Main Claim: Mother of an alleged child. Stop Press: Election trail, alleged love child, court case and virgin father: a juicier pre-election package could hardly be spin-doctored. Sita White, 35, has filed a paternity suit against cricketer, prime minister wannabe, and definitely-not-playboy Imran Khan. Sita, daughter of late billionaire Lord White of Hull, says blood tests will prove that Khan is the father of her four-year-old daughter Tyrian. Brunette Tyrian looks rather like ... Imran Khan if he were four and female. Ms White's court deposition has been quoted as saying: "She further alleges that Mr Khan's response, upon learning it was a girl, was of regret and distress ... allegedly asserting that the child would 'not be able to play cricket'." Imran's main opponent in the Pakistani elections has called for Khan's nomination to be thrown out. "I have never been involved in any affair of any sort with the lady," observes Imran. What a to-do. Family Values: Imran galloped back to the hustings shortly after the birth of his real child, Sulaiman. Luckily for all concerned, Sulaiman is a boy. Sulaiman was born to Imran's wife, Jemima Goldsmith, coincidentally also an heiress, who was prettily pregnant in flowing Eastern-style garments, and is now a glowing mother. "I would be less than truthful if I said there aren't sacrifices that need to be made," she says of living with such a busy man. "He could just manage to spend two days with his first child." Mother Love: Mothers of alleged love children often speak out - for the sake of the child, of course. Thus the alleged offspring of wayward priests, politicians and bestselling novelists litter our press. Little Tyrian is good company (even Mitterrand had a love daughter, Mazarine). Past Perfect: The Koran doesn't look too kindly on sex outside marriage. Fathering infants out of wedlock comes in for special condemnation. Sita White once described Imran as a "tiger roaming the jungle for tigresses". However, the cricketing hero is now campaigning to be president of Pakistan. Hence, he didn't have affairs with: German MTV presenter Kristiane Backer; artist Emma Sergeant; Lord Linley's ex, Susannah Constantine, or Lady Liza Campbell. Some of his good friends have been pictured in the London Evening Standard under the caption: "The girls Imran Khan did not sleep with." Fame Prospects: Sita, married to actor and model Alan Marshall, 31, may pop up from time to time in the society pages or law courts. Her alleged ex, Imran Khan, will be famous forever (it's in the eyes: dark, focused, impenetrable.) Sita is neither a great beauty nor a socialite, she will not hire Max Clifford, not ski with Prince Charles, so 1997 will probably see her 15 minutes. Next! REFERENCE: WHY ARE THEY FAMOUS? NO 22: SITA WHITE SUNDAY 12 JANUARY 1997

Najam Sethi, editor of The Friday Times, was freed from captivity on 2nd June, more than three weeks after he was brutally abducted from his home at about 2.45 am on Saturday 8th May by a civilian agency of the government. The trials and tribulations of TFT’s editor, its publisher Jugnu Mohsin, their colleagues and the paper itself, bear noting, if only for the record. TFT readers and friends should also know that the ordeal of the paper and its editor and publisher is by no means over. The Attorney General has formally told the Supreme Court that the government retains the right to proceed with “fresh cases” against Mr Sethi. Official efforts have therefore been swiftly launched to cripple TFT financially. Mr Sethi has also been put on the Exit Control List which bars him from traveling abroad. Most alarmingly, senior officials sympathetic to Mr Sethi have advised him to severely restrict his movements even in his hometown of Lahore. This is how it all began. It is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Relations between Nawaz Sharif and Najam Sethi were severely strained in late 1992 when TFT became critical of Mr Sharif’s policies, carried articles alleging wrongdoing by the Sharif family and launched the satirical column titled “Ittefaqnama” on the back page. The then DG-IB Brig Imtiaz Billa and DIG Police Rana Maqbool in Punjab were accordingly deputed to “teach Sethi a lesson”. While both gentlemen went about their assignment assiduously, Mr Sethi and Ms Mohsin survived the threats and income tax notices because Mr Sharif fell from grace in early 1993. In due course, Rana Maqbool apologised to Mr Sethi (“I had no choice”….”I was only doing a job”…) while Mr Sharif unexpectedly arrived at Mr Sethi’s front door one day in 1994 saying “I have come to apologise….I had no idea of what my people did to you”. In due course, with everything forgiven and forgotten, Mr Sharif began to cultivate Mr Sethi through the good offices of a mutual friend-associate. REFERENCE: Truth will out Posted on Friday, June 11, 1999 in The Friday Times (Editorial)

Jugnu Mohsin in Bayad e Benazir Bhutto (GEO TV 24th Jan 2013)
Jugnu Mohsin in Bayad e Benazir Bhutto (GEO TV... by SalimJanMazari

 In November 1996, Benazir Bhutto was eased out of office by President Farooq Leghari, and Mr Sethi was inducted into the caretaker cabinet entrusted with the job of initiating accountability and holding elections. Mr Sethi, however, ran afoul of Mr Sharif when he proposed disqualification laws relating to bank loan defaulters which would have hurt the Muslim League more than the PPP and especially diminished the prospects of many top PML leaders from contesting the elections. Mr Sharif formally protested to Mr Leghari and the law was amended. Mr Sethi was among two or three members of the cabinet who vigourously opposed the amendment but were overruled. Mr Sharif therefore had occasion to record a minor “personal grudge” against Mr Sethi. Fortunately, however, this incident was soon forgotten in the flush of Mr Sharif’s stunning victory at the polls soon thereafter. Mr Sharif and Mr Sethi retained a measure of mutual warmth after the former became prime minister in February 1997. Indeed, on at least two occasions, once over a one-on-one breakfast meeting in March and again over another one-on-one lunch in April 1997 at the PM House in Islamabad, Mr Sharif asked Mr Sethi to give up journalism and join his team at the “highest level”. But Mr Sethi politely declined, arguing that he could better demonstrate his “friendship” for Mr Sharif by remaining out of the political fray and commenting on Mr Sharif’s policies and conduct objectively from the sidelines of independent journalism. This was exactly what Mr Sethi had said to Ms Bhutto in 1994 when she too had hinted at “rewarding” Mr Sethi for his “outstanding services to the cause to democracy” (read: “cause of the opposition”). But Mr Sethi’s budding personal relationship with Mr Sharif was fated to flounder on the rock of intellectual and moral incompatibility in much the same manner in which his warm relationship with Ms Bhutto had come to be severed in 1995. The Friday Times had been a crusading voice against corruption and stood for good governance since it was founded in 1989. It did not spare Ms Bhutto or Mr Sharif in their first misguided tenures but gave them both the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of their second terms. Then, when each began to go seriously astray, TFT lashed out at them, in the process derailing the personal relations between Mr Sethi and the two prime ministers respectively. At no stage, incidentally, from 1989 to 1999, were any favours asked of the two PMs, although both offered state largesse and were visibly surprised when it was promptly refused. Mr Sethi’s relationship with Mr Sharif began to sour in May 1997 when TFT wrote editorials against Mr Sharif’s attempt to undermine the judiciary, in particular the March 1996 decisions in the famous Judges Case. TFT then went on to support Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah’s endeavours to strengthen the supreme court against the executive. And when the battle royale between Justice Shah/President Leghari and Mr Sharif erupted with full force in October 1997, TFT made no bones about opposing Mr Sharif’s attempts to become all powerful. Indeed, TFT was so outspoken that Mr Sharif was led by conspiracy-minded advisers into believing that Mr Sethi might have actually “conspired” with President Leghari into trying to overthrow his regime. Nothing was further from the truth. But Mr Sharif believed otherwise and was stung into vengeful spite by Mr Sethi’s alleged “betrayal”. Later in 1998, when Sethi and Sharif were totally estranged, Shahbaz Sharif was to comment that Nawaz Sharif could not bring himself to “forgive” Najam Sethi because he had expected Sethi to side with him instead of Leghari, whereupon Mr Sethi had remarked that the choice for him had never been between Leghari and Benazir or Leghari and Sharif but between right and wrong, between the rule of law and the law of the jungle, between good and bad governance and between accountability and corruption. Relations between TFT and the Sharif government went from bad to worse in 1998. TFT was appalled by the choice of Mr Rafiq Tarar as president of Pakistan. TFT was opposed to the misguided economic policies of the finance ministry presided over by Mr Sartaj Aziz. TFT was aghast at the one-sided “accountability” of the PPP and IPPs orchestrated by Senator Saif ur Rehman. TFT was alarmed at the nationalist backlash engineered by the unilateral announcement of the Kalabagh Dam by Mr Sharif. TFT was terrified of the proposed 15th amendment bill aimed at making Mr Sharif all-powerful. And TFT didn’t mince its words and opinions when it lambasted the Nawaz Sharif government for abject failure on the most important issues of the day. Matters came to a head in April 1999 when TFT commented on the conviction of Benazir Bhutto for corruption in an editorial titled: “Set a thief to catch a thief”. The editorial argued that Ms Bhutto had been rightly adjudged guilty of corruption but ended with the hope that “if one-sided accountability had been rejected by some today, even-handed accountability would be demanded by many tomorrow”. This was correctly interpreted in Islamabad as a fervent hope for the accountability of Mr Sharif one day. Therefore it did not endear Mr Sethi to either Mr Sharif or Senator Saif ur Rehman. This editorial was followed by one titled “Personal Vs public interest” in which it was argued that the Sharifs and Senator Saif ur Rehman were setting ruinous legal and financial precedents for the country by refusing to pay back their accumulated defaults on the plea that “interest was un-Islamic”, or that their defaults had been “engineered”, or that foreign courts had no jurisdictions over loans contracted abroad. The same issue of TFT carried a story on the inside pages titled “Saif in the soup” describing the Senator’s attempt in the Lahore High Court to avoid payments of Rs 930 million demanded by United Bank Ltd. It is understood that both Mr Sharif and Mr Rehman were outraged at this “personal” affront by TFT. REFERENCE: Truth will out Posted on Friday, June 11, 1999 in The Friday Times (Editorial)

 Then came the proverbial straw which broke the camel’s back. A BBC team investigating allegations of money laundering by members of the Sharif family arrived in Pakistan and set about interviewing people. Among those interviewed was TFT’s editor Najam Sethi and Mr Sharif’s estranged cousin Yusuf Aziz. The IB reported the BBC team’s movements and contacts to the authorities in Islamabad and concluded that Mr Sethi had probably arranged for the BBC to contact Mr Aziz via a local journalist named MAK Lodhi. Alarmed, the government picked up Mr Lodhi and shook him up. Lodhi is said by officials to have pointed the finger at Sethi in order to save his skin. The dye was cast. Islamabad is favourably inclined towards conspiracy theories. The one at hand suggested a “dark plot by Najam Sethi, in cahoots with the BBC, to discredit and undermine the Sharif family and government”. Or so alleged Senator Saif ur Rahman on April 30th to Jugnu Mohsin on the phone while Mr Sethi was away in New Delhi delivering a lecture on “Indo-Pak relations in the new millennium”. It was time to teach Sethi a lesson as well as send a strong message to the small independent press that its days were also numbered, like that of Jang and the big groups earlier. The rest, as they say, is history. Mr Sethi’s speech in New Delhi was painted as “anti-Pakistan” by paid hacks and lackeys of the government and provided the perfect excuse to punish Mr Sethi for his anti-government views. The bad news is that Mr Sethi’s fundamental rights were trampled upon with unmitigated glee by an authoritarian regime in full flow. He could have choked to death on the night he was abducted and beaten up. Certain sections of the press took great pleasure from Mr Sethi’s acute discomfort, partly out of personal jealously and partly due to government pressure or vested financial interests. The Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi behaved abominably in pursuit of an appointment to Washington. And many unsuspecting but well intentioned patriotic Pakistanis were led into believing the government-sponsored falsehood in the government-controlled press that Mr Sethi had committed sedition and deserved to be punished. The good news is that the Pakistani army, ISI and Supreme Court were not prepared to lend their shoulders to such outlandish allegations against Mr Sethi. Many sections of the domestic press discerned the truth and sided with Mr Sethi. To a man, the political opposition supported the cause of Mr Sethi. The international community woke up to the demand for press freedom and human rights and castigated the government of Pakistan for detaining Mr Sethi. In the end, most Pakistanis cast their lot with Mr Sethi instead of his detractors.

The best news is that by making Najam Sethi an international cause celebre the government has unwittingly strengthened the cause of press freedom and human rights in Pakistan. But the saga of Najam Sethi, TFT, press freedom and democracy may not yet be over. The first trumped-up income tax notices were issued to Jugnu Mohsin, Najam Sethi, TFT and Vanguard Books Pvt Ltd on 19th May, over a week after Mr Sethi was detained. The second lot was slapped on 3rd June, a day after Mr Sethi was set free before the Supreme Court. The third installment was delivered on 8th June. Jugnu Mohsin’s bank accounts have been frozen and all monies illegally transferred to the income tax department. The settled income tax accounts of Najam Sethi and Jugnu Mohsin from 1994-95 to 1995-96 have been reopened for scrutiny and additional demands. The properties of both Jugnu Mohsin and Najam Sethi were “attached” for auction by the tax department on 7th June without giving them a chance to file their rejoinders. The accounts of Vanguard Books Pvt Ltd for 1994-95 have been reopened also. Exorbitant, illegal and false claims are being made by the IT department under pressure from Islamabad. The idea is clearly to cripple TFT financially and force it to close down. All this is totally unnecessary and counter-productive. It gives Mr Sharif a bad name. And it paints Pakistan in unflattering colours before its friends abroad. The repression of TFT’s editor must stop. Wiser council must prevail. The personal hostility of Mr Sharif or Senator Saif against Najam Sethi should not be taken to such absurd limits where it begins to encroach upon the interests of the government and country at a time when both need all the friends and assistance they can muster at home and abroad. REFERENCE: Truth will out Posted on Friday, June 11, 1999 in The Friday Times (Editorial)

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