Sunday, January 17, 2010

Shaheen Sehbai [Jang/SAT] VS Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Here is the latest spin from Mr Shaheen Sehbai, Group Editor The News, to incite a clash between Institutions i.e. Presidency, General Headquarters whereas Mr. Shaheen Sehbai has 'conveniently' forgotten as to what Mr Shaheen Shaheen Sehbai himself used to file/edit in his own founded South Asia Tribune Magazine [based in USA] against the same Military Establishment which he is now trying to use against Presidency. First read the "Alleged News Analysis" and then read what Mr Shaheen Sehbai used to file in South Asia Tribune when he was in self-imposed exile [read escape] in USA. Please do read that Mr Shaheen Sehbai has tried to put his [Jang Group]'s words in the statement/press release of Joint Cheifs of Staff Committee. If that was not enough Shaheen Sehbai's suboridante Mr Rauf Klasra files that,

"Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani is said to have quietly asked DG ISI Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha to play a role in bringing the military establishment and the Presidency on one table and remove their widening differences, which are now even threatening the whole system, particularly after a new potential row with the judiciary, which erupted last week over the appointments of judges to the Supreme Court. The sources said PM Gilani had decided to involve the DG ISI to bring the otherwise volatile political situation under control, particularly after the government decided to move the Supreme Court to review its verdict on the NRO as President Asif Zardari gave a clear indication that he would not make the latest appointments on the recommendation of CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. But one official source claimed that all this was just a coincidence and the role of DG ISI had nothing to do with the NRO or appointments to the SC. The sources said Pasha was asked to play his role in defusing the tension in the relationship between the Presidency and the military establishment during a last week meeting at the PM House. A top-level source said that a couple of important federal ministers might also be involved in this new firefighting exercise as General Pasha, who enjoyed great respect at the PM House, would start his efforts from Monday onward. REFERENCE: General Pasha assigned to bring Presidency, GHQ closer By Rauf Klasra Monday, January 18, 2010

May the Pakistanis ask as to who are these Unnamed Sources of these so-called Senior Correspondents of Jang Group of Newspapers???


JCSC press release says much between the lines; meetings involving civilians, khakis and Americans discuss unsustainable uncertainty; will Zardari be allowed to appoint his own ISI chief in March and to announce new Army chief in June? - Some of the military meetings have even publicly admitted that the domestic situation was discussed in detail and, almost like the GHQ response to the Kerry-Lugar Bill, the press release issued after the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee meeting carried comments which were of immense importance and possible implications.

The JCSC release said: “The committee deliberated in detail complex internal security situation... It expressed satisfaction on the state of preparedness of the armed forces of Pakistan and had a deliberate discussion on various measures for effectively dealing with the assessed security challenges confronting the country.” (Italics added)

Whatever the official press releases say, no one can deny that the main underlying subject of concern in all these meetings was the political situation and the state of confrontation between institutions which a beleaguered president has created by refusing to present himself before the law, by politicising his personal corruption and by trying to divide the country on ethnic and regional lines, all to save himself from accountability. This is now being treated as a major security challenge to the country. The long sessions of military generals, some with their own boys and some with civilians present, have probably chalked out their strategy if this political fog does not clear soon. When the JCSC officially states that a “deliberate discussion on various measures” was held, it says between the lines that various scenarios have been discussed and what to do has been decided.

The complex situation, not mentioned in the military press releases but obviously referred to between the lines, can be summarised as:

- What will happen if the Supreme Court’s judgments are not implemented by the Executive branch.

- What will happen if the government continues to defy the Supreme Court on appointment of new judges and other matters.

- What will the GHQ do if the Supreme Court asks for Army help under Article 190 of the Constitution.

- Will the mobilisation of Sindhi forces by the PPP, or the so-called Sindh card, be a serious threat to the federation, if Zardari forces it upon the nation.

- What will the PML-N and other political forces do as the PPP is not serious in removing the 17th Amendment and is playing for time.

- Should this non-serious and corruption-tainted leadership of the PPP be allowed to insult the intelligence of the nation by appointing and promoting leaders accused of taking bribes.

- Should this leadership be permitted to appoint its own ISI chief in March when the current incumbent is to retire, may be a personal corrupt crony of the president.

- Should the situation be allowed to drag on, until say June, when the politically shrewd Zardari makes a premature announcement to replace the current Army chief, retiring in November, in an effort to turn him into a lame-duck and create a rift within the Army.

- What happens in Karachi if the PPP leadership tries to play games with the MQM and takes over the main power base of the party by appointing its own administrators and then delaying the local bodies elections or rigging them.

- Who looks after the security situation when top leadership has no credibility and is involved in court cases, seeking bails and providing sureties.

- Who would mobilise the nation to take a tough and independent stand against the US policy in Afghanistan, now that a surge is imminent and drone attacks have, and will, increase in ferocity and numbers.

- Is Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ready to go down with his president, should the courts and justice system catches up with him. What then?

- Is Mian Nawaz Sharif or the PML-N ready to let the country go down just to protect some corrupt politicians who have been elected by sheer stroke of luck, chance, and trickery, in the name of saving the democratic set up.

- Is there a serious threat to democracy if a political leader is caught stealing and courts convict him or try to get the looted money back.

REFERENCE: The top brass and the untenable political logjam By Shaheen Sehbai Sunday, January 17, 2010 JCSC press release says much between the lines; meetings involving civilians, khakis and Americans discuss unsustainable uncertainty; will Zardari be allowed to appoint his own ISI chief in March and to announce new Army chief in June?


Jang Group particularly Mr Mahmood Sham (Group Editor Daily Jang), Mr Shaheen Sehbai (Group Editor The News International), Mr Kamran Khan (Senior Correspondent Jang/The News and GEO TV) and Mr Rauf Klasra (Senior Correspondent Jang/The News International) played a very dirty role after the murder of US Journlaist Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002. This very same Jang Group/GEO TV is now lecturing Pakistan Army, Judiciary on how to run Pakistan [read how to sack PPP Government] and itself launched a Vilification Campaign againt PPP and raised doubts on the Patiroitsm and Loyalty of PPP and President Asif Ali Zardari when they tried to formulate a policy on ISI, Kerry Lugar Bill, No First Strike, and Dialogues wih India.

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.


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


Sagem Lowers Bid to Euro 43,500 Each Unit or a total of $47.6 million on June 30, 2005

Army's Budding Mansurul Haq Pays Extra $21m in Hush-Hush French Deal By M T Butt WASHINGTON DC, June 30, 2005 ISSN: 1684-2057

ISLAMABAD, June 30: For the first time in Pakistan Army’s history, intimate details of a multi-million dollar weapons deal have been leaked to the media by angry middle ranking officers who point to a massive scandal which has already left the Ministry of Defence and most of the senior officers in the GHQ wondering how bold and blatant some people can get. These officers have released all the details, including names, places, time and dates about the deal, raising a plethora of questions about the manner in which specialized defence equipment is being purchased in a blatantly roughshod manner, without any financial oversight. They say if no action was taken now, more details of many more scandals would also be made public including some personal scandals of Generals which many would not like.

According to an expert, who has studied Pakistan military purchases for years, such deals and over-payments are a very common occurrence in the Pakistan Army but what is new and different in this case is that the details have been leaked to the media for the first time while the deal is still in the process of being wrapped up. “These officers cannot reconcile with the fact that an extra 21 million dollars are being paid to a French company in extra-ordinary haste and that too to buy inferior quality equipment already discarded by most countries, including Pakistan Army itself,” an E-Mail received by the South Asia Tribune disclosed. The details of the deal are bizarre and the two top most Army Generals under General Musharraf are being named as the interested parties who are forcing the violation of all rules and regulations. Both are due to retire in 2007 and one of them may survive to become the Army Chief as well.

“This violation is happening in the Army Headquarter right now and can possibly be stopped if General Musharraf or the helpless politicians occupying the posts of the Defence Minister or the Prime Minister, intervene and stop these Generals from making quick money at the expense of national defence and even country’s exports,” a concerned official said. According to the details, a quick fire, Restricted Tender was floated on June 17, 2005 by the Director General of Defence Purchases seeking to buy 900 Thermal Image Sight (TIS) Fire Control System Units (Pix Above) for the main Pakistani battle tanks – Al-Khalid and Al-Zarrar, T-85 & T-80U.

Surprisingly for such a large purchase through Tender No: 1338/49/TISight/DGDP/PC-3B Dated 17th June, 2005, only four days were given for submission of bids. June 21 was set as the last date. This was ostensibly done because the Weapons and Equipment Directorate (W&ED) of the Army GHQ in Rawalpindi, had already pre-qualified and short-listed two French companies, through a long process of tests, trials and final technical evaluation by the ITD-Directorate and I&E Directorates in the first week of June, 2005. So both the companies were practically ready to bid.

These companies were Sagem and Thales, the first being Europe's third largest defence and security electronics company, while Thales is France's largest military company. Adnan, son of late Maj. Gen. Jamsheed Malik represents Sagem in Pakistan while Thales is represented by a Colonel Wazir and Mr Shibli from F.A. Enterprises. The tests and trials had included draft contract proposals, including commercial and technical offers, which were sought by the W&ED on May 24 and May 26, 2005 from these two companies. Both gave their offers and both were pre-qualified/short listed by GHQ. Then the W&ED sent the files to DGDP for final purchase contract before June 30, 2005. DGDP floated the tender asking for bids in 4 days. Both Sagem and Thales separately submitted their technical and commercial offers on June 21 in the presence of DGDP and their own representatives. First the technical offers were opened and evaluated by the technical departments, I&E and ITD Directorates of GHQ and after two hours both were declared technically qualified with 4 technical observations made on Sagem’s offer and 35 technical observations on Thales bid.

The most significant difference in the two offers was that Sagem bid for the Generation-3 (G-3) TIS Units while Thales offered the older Generation-2 (G-2). The Tender had asked for both types although G-2 is almost obsolete. Why were G-2 units put on the tender is a big mystery because Pakistan Army has already been using the G-3 which are mounted on Al-Khalid tanks being manufactured by Pakistan for which Islamabad and the GHQ have been trying hard to secure export orders from the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and other countries. The angry Army officers say G-2 units were not being mounted on Al-Khalid tanks because of integration, stabilization and target identification problems. In all the demonstrations to potential foreign buyers, the GHQ has been displaying Al-Khalid tanks with G-3 units. Side by side, the Pakistan Air Force has upgraded all the F-16, Mirage and Helicopter Gunships with G-3 units bought in 2001 or thereafter. These were purchased from Sagem in 1997. Sagem is also the main contractor in collaboration with Kamra Avionics Company. It introduced Kamra to the international export market for which General Musharraf is said to be very proud and keeps referring to.

All NATO armies and Russians are using G-3 because it is light weight, has no payload problems on air and is more reliable than G-2. In 2002 the Pakistan Army GHQ and Weapons and Equipment Directorate decided to install G-3 in all its main battle tanks. Sagem was also offering transfer of technology which is included in the quoted price along with state-of-the-art Technical Ugradation Package to upgrade all the existing tanks from G-2 to G-3. That in itself promises a huge export market. Thales, on the other hand, was not even a qualified supplier until early 2004 and only Sagem was in the run. Then came General Tariq Majeed, the Chief of General Staff with his background of Military Intelligence (MI). He ordered that Thales should also be included in trials and tests which continued until November last year. More trials were done in February/March this year until Thales was pre-qualified, although it was offering only G-2 Units.

The big envelopes of bids were opened on June 21, 2005 after the technical offers of both the companies were approved. Lo and Behold, Sagem had offered each G-3 TIS unit for 59,000 Euros or a total of 53.1 million Euros (US$64.5 million) for 900 units. The price of Thales was an unbelievable 78,000 for each G-2 unit or a total of 70.2 million Euros (US$85.3 million). On Thursday June 23, 2005, Lt. Gen. Tariq Majeed, Chief of General Staff took the decision, with the knowledge of the Vice Chief of Army Staff, General Ahsan Saleem Hayat, ruling out all technical and other objections to give the contract to Thales, the highest bidder, for its inferior G-2 equipment. His decision was given on the last day of his work as Gen Majeed proceeded the very next day on an official trip abroad. The decision stunned many who were involved with the project. There were so many angry officers who found it unpatriotic to keep quiet. Some of them believe the use of brute authority to reward a company which did not offer competitive technology has created a big problem for General Majeed who is being likened to Admiral Mansurul Haq of Pakistan Navy, the convicted former Navy Chief who made millions in submarine purchase deals and paid off a tiny percentage to get off the hook.

The Ministry of Defence has been kept totally out of the loop in the deal. All the files were kept under control of the GS Branch headed by General Majeed. But there were other Generals heading other Directorates involved, who had to agree. These Officers and Directorates included Director General Armored Corps, Maj. General Saeedullah Khan, DG Weapons & Equipment Directorate Maj. Gen. Ejaz Bakhshi who was assisted by Brig. Zawwar Shah. The Military Operations Directorate under Major General Yousuf and his Technical Director Brig. Khalid Asghar also had to approve the purchase. The ITD Directorate was also involved. The angry officers of the Army say all these Generals and Brigadiers were put under severe pressure to approve the deal. “Maj General Ejaz Bakhshi was under tons of pressure, so was Major Gen. Yousuf but Technical Director Brig. Khalid Asghar was so terrorized he was almost crying, but he had obey the orders to keep his job and secure a pension,” one officer recalled. The reason is that General Majeed is the senior most General after the current Vice Chief of Army Staff, General Ahsan Saleem Hayat, who retires in October 2007. General Majeed has the outside chance of becoming the Army Chief as he is due to retire on December 30, 2007 and could thus be a possible replacement of General Musharraf, if he is not kicked out earlier.

The Editor of the South Asia Tribune contacted the Thales company through its given Email on its web site to confirm the deal. An Email sent to '' asked Thales whether it had finally got the contract from Pakistan Army of 900 Thermal Imagers at Euro 78,000 per unit for Pakistan’s Main Battle Tanks. Thales was also requested to confirm whether the TIS Units were of Catherine-QW type, whether the imagers were Generation-2 or Generation-3 and whether Transfer of Technology (ToT) was also part of the contract. No response was immediately available from the company. The decision to buy G-2 units from Thales has many implications for the Army and Pakistan as well. Firstly Pakistan will be paying an extra US$21 million to buy inferior grade technology which is being phased out by all the armies the world over, including the Pakistan Army. Secondly by putting in these old Generation units, Pakistan is seriously going to compromise its export potential for Al-Khalid and other tanks as all buyers are looking for the latest technology when they purchase weapons at such a scale.

Thirdly after a few years Pakistan will in any case have to upgrade these tanks and install the new technology which would again cost a bundle to the Army and the country. Why all this blatant favoritism is being done by some Generals is obvious but no one is still ready to give out a guess of what will happen to the new Admiral Mansurul Haq in the making. What it, nevertheless, proves is that General Musharraf has turned a totally blind eye on whatever his key position holders in GHQ may be doing because he wants them to stay happy, healthy, wealthy and content and not challenge his authority as the Army Chief, although he has crossed his retirement age years ago.

A LUNA takes off in the field: It is a Toy, say experts
The General in a Hurry Now Buying German Spy Planes for Millions By M T Butt WASHINGTON DC, Aug 24, 2005 ISSN: 1684-2057
ISLAMABAD, August 24: After failing to push through a dubious $85 million deal for night vision equipment for tanks from a French company in late June, as the deal was exposed in time by the South Asia Tribune, the same ambitious top Pakistan Army General is now bull-dozing another $27 million deal to rush purchase German surveillance spy aircraft, bypassing all Army rules and regulations. But again, patriotic but angry, officers of the Army in the General Head Quarters in Rawalpindi are determined not to let him get his way. They have again released all the details of this new deal to the South Asia Tribune, hoping that General Pervez Musharraf will again intervene and stop this budding Admiral Mansurul Haq of the Pakistan Army, as he did in the last case. The General in a hurry to purchase anything, no matter how rotten or below standard or high priced, is the Chief of General Staff, Lt. General Tariq Majeed whose last bid to buy French night vision equipment from Thales was foiled at the last moment by a telephone call from General Musharraf, saving the Army an extra $37 million.

Now his eyes are on German UAV unmanned spy aircraft, LUNA, and he has ordered that at least 4 or 5 of these planes be purchased immediately for an amount exceeding $27 million. According to details sent to the South Asia Tribune by GHQ officers not happy with the deal, the hasty selection of the LUNA UAV system has been done by the CGS in complete isolation without inviting any competitive international bids from other prospective UAV manufacturers in the world. “This is a direct contravention and violation of the government procurement rules and regulations,” an Email received from the GHQ officers revealed. The LUNA UAV system was also hurriedly tested in Pakistan without extending any invitation to other prospective international manufacturers by the W&E Directorate. The requirement of comparative trials for such high end projects was completely by-passed to select a 'preferred' but inferior UAV system which was only dear and near to the heart of the CGS,” the Email said. There are cheaper and better Tactical Military UAV systems available worldwide. The angry officers believe the CGS, Lt. Gen Tariq Majeed, is continuing to flaunt internal procedures and processes and is acting like a civilian business owner in the way he is taking vital operational decisions. The scheduled purchase of LUNA, the UAV manufactured by EMT of Germany, is generating anger and frustration in the officers. They say LUNA UAV is a very small model plane. It is primarily used for very close area monitoring and does not even qualify to be a tactical military UAV system. However, last year and all of a sudden, CGS Gen. Tariq Majeed ordered his juniors to immediately start evaluating and eventually purchase the system for Pakistan Army.

“It is quite unprecedented and against the normal code of ethics that a serving General categorically orders to purchase a specific system without first having it go through the standard laid-down procedures of merit, selection, tests and trials,” an officer’s message said. Almost simultaneously, as if he had an intuition, the Operations Director of the seller company, Target Consultations Services, Mr. Salim Khan, who represents EMT of Germany in Pakistan, sent a brief proposal to W&E Directorate in the General Head Quarters (GHQ) on August 23, 2004 (TCS Letter No. TCS/WNE/012). The proposal was evaluated on accelerated priority under orders of the CGS and was hurriedly called in for test and trials. Not surprisingly, during these tests which were held in the last week of February 2005 at three different locations in Pakistan, the Military Intelligence Directorate raised serious concerns on the viability of the UAV as the type of equipment it had used was being manufactured commercially off-the-shelf and hence anyone with the same equipment could easily and literally 'hijack' the subject UAV system.

The MI Directorate, being the user, opined in its written report: ''It is finally concluded that incorporation of Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) products available to any customer may have serious implications on the survivability of the UAV.” The Technical Directorate of GHQ, ITD Directorate, in collaboration with IE&I also pointed out serious deficiencies in the subject UAV system compared with the official and approved General Staff Requirement (GSR) of the GHQ for Tactical UAV systems.

The ITD Directorate in its report said that the subject UAV system had no ECM capabilities, was open to enemy jamming and was unable to detect enemy objects from the required flying height. The ITD in its original report recommended that the UAV should first incorporate all the missing parameters and then it should be tested again in Pakistan to confirm the changes before any decisions are taken. Instead of following the established Army rules and regulations and to reject the system because it did not follow the official Staff Requirement, an impatient General Majeed chose otherwise. The angry officers revealed: “He ordered to have the Tactical UAV GSR changed in order to accommodate the shortcomings of the LUNA UAV system. Mysteriously, the ITD Report’s original conclusions were also changed when the report reached the office of ITD Director General, Major General Mohammed Asaad.”

Bulldozing all the technical objections and procedural elements, the CGS is now very keen to have an inferior UAV system inducted into the Army which essentially no one but the CGS wants. The CGS has also instructed the Military Operations and Military Intelligence Directorate to arrange the funds for over US$27 million to buy 4 to 5 LUNA UAV Systems in FY 2005-06 under the Army Future Development Program (AFDP) Fund - 2019. In an In-House Discussions (IHD) meeting held at the GHQ on 27 July 2005, attended by the CGS and all the concerned Director Generals, including the MI, MO and ITD, the CGS surprised everyone by announcing the decision and instructed the W&E Directorate to buy 4 LUNA UAV systems this year.

The irony is that in the same meeting the CGS also emphasized that the ultimate reliance of the Army should always remain on 'indigenously' developed UAVs. To cover up his hasty purchase, the CGS also instructed that 'after' the induction of the LUNA UAV system he had ordered, all other (and better) UAV system induction from the international market should be 'limited', perhaps to keep out the competition in future for the long term contract of his favorite system. One message received by the South Asia Tribune says: “This has caused serious concern in the ranks of the GHQ and officers who rightly think that rules are being played with in order to buy a toy which will eventually be of no use for them as Pakistani companies are developing much better UAV systems in Pakistan.” “But for the sake of their job, pay and pension they cannot defy the orders of the CGS. The most amazing part of this story is the conduct unbecoming of the CGS, Lt. Gen Tariq Majeed who is literally acting as the paid and employed agent for the German company, EMT.”

“Army procurement procedures, as have been laid down over many years of experience, are designed for a reason to provide the best equipment at the best price to Pakistan Defense forces, however, when people like the CGS come along and exploit the procedures by virtue of their position they severely damage the reputation of an otherwise high character institution,” the officers maintain. Experts say Pakistan Army has its own indigenous UAV development program for the last 8 years in which they are making three types of Tactical UAV Systems. These UAVs include, Hud-Hud and two others manufactured by Integrated Defense Services (ex-PMO). One local private company SATUMA, based in the Kahuta Triangle in Islamabad, is also manufacturing UAV systems which are being used and deployed by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). All locally made UAV's are 60-70 per cent cheaper than what is being doled out for this inferior system from Germany.

Some experts think in international systems, LUNA is not even considered to be a military system and is not used in the theater of war because of its inferior technology. The international market is full of better UAV systems that are more suited to military roles. In its on-going evaluation, however, the GHQ is also considering the French, American and a German Tactical Military UAV systems although none of which have been called for in-country trials. The French UAV system was shown to the ex-VCGS and now Corps Commander Karachi, during an all expense paid trip to France in June 2004. The essence of a good deal is ''Comparative Trials'' and competition between various suppliers. The spirit of competition and procedure dictates that in case the Army needs to select a UAV it must invite at least three suppliers and have a comparison test and trials in Pakistan. The equipment which gives the best result during trials and also the best price at the end of the day should be selected. Unfortunately, none of these aspects have been followed in the German case thereby violating the laid procedures of procurement.

Musharraf's Last Minute Phone Call on SAT Report, Saves Army $37M Loss By M T Butt WASHINGTON DC, July 3, 2005 ISSN: 1684-2057

RAWALPINDI, July 3: General Pervez Musharraf intervened just 7 minutes before the signing of the final contract between Pakistan Army and the French Company, Thales, on the night of June 30, to stop what would have been a straight loss of over 37 million dollars to the country. Within 24 hours of the South Asia Tribune report that top Generals of the Pakistan Army had decided to award a Thermal Imaging Units (TIS) contract for Al-Khalid tanks to Thales, despite the French company had offered a higher bid for low quality equipment, so much pressure built up that Musharraf had to personally call the GHQ late at night, just minutes before the signing ceremony, to stop the deal.

Sources revealed that the Tender floated on June 17, 2005 had now been cancelled and within two months a new Tender would be floated in which new bids would be invited. Angry Army officers had revealed all the details of the on-going scandal to the South Asia Tribune in a bid to stop the award of the contract for 900 Thermal Imaging Units sought by the GHQ through a restricted tender on June 17. Only two companies, both French, were pre-qualified to bid and Sagem had offered a price of 59,000 Euros per unit for latest technology units while Thales had bid 78,000 Euros for Generation-2 technology. The Chief of General Staff of the Army, General Tariq Majeed, had ordered that the contract be awarded to the highest bidder to buy obsolete technology and many GHQ officers were angry at the decision. For the first time some of them picked up the courage to leak the entire scam to the media to save the image of the Army.

General Majeed had left Pakistan after issuing the orders that the contract be signed with Thales and June 30 was the last date for signing the document. In the meantime, Sagem, the losing bidder, made another cut in its price and brought it further down by Euro 16,000 per unit from 59,000 to 43,000 or raising the difference between with the price offered by Thales to Euro 34,500. That would have meant that for 900 units Pakistan would have paid over US$37 million more. Concerned insiders kept a tab on the developments on June 30 and informed the South Asia Tribune that the final signing ceremony had been decided to be held at 22 hours or 10 pm at the GHQ. The whole day documents were being prepared for the final award. “But at exactly 9.53 pm, the telephone rang and General Musharraf was on the line. He ordered the Defence Production officials ready to ink the contract to call off the deal. Within a few minutes the entire room was empty and the Pakistan Army saved some $37 million,” one officer reported after watching the scene.

The next day on July 1, the Director General of Defence Production declared Thales as a “Defaulting Company” because some years back it had not fulfilled its contractual obligations on the submarines deal, the officers revealed on July 1. It was an amazing success for the officers who had leaked the whole scandal just in time to save the damage. But details of what happened on June 30, specially in the evening are startling. According to one version Lt. Gen. (Retd) Tariq Wasim Ghazi, who was appointed Secretary of the Ministry of Defence after he was superceded and retired by Gen. Musharraf, when he appointed Lt. General Ahsan Saleem Hayat as Vice Army Chief, moved in quickly on June 30 to intervene and declare Thales as a Defaulter. "Gen. Ghazi spoke directly to Musharraf and briefed him about the details of the case as well as the past performance of Thales and other companies which had merged into Thales, and asked him to stop the deal before it was signed," said an insider.

In the view of an expert: "Gen. Ghazi was trying to get even with the junior officer (Gen. Ahsan) who superceded him by not allowing him to make easy millions. Gen. Ghazi was the fittest candidate to become the Vice Army Chief but he was bypassed." This episode also reveals that the authority of the Vice Chief and Chief of General Staff has now been challenged by a retired General who is still close to General Musharraf. "This grouping on a matter involving corruption of 35 or 40 million dollars is a much more serious development," the defence expert said. But all eyes are now on Thales as it is a major French exporter of sophisticated war equipment to the world and disqualifying it as a Defaulter means Pakistan is asking for a lot of legal and financial trouble. Thales has already signed two earlier contracts this year and what happens to those is not clear yet. An expert on defence purchases disclosed to the South Asia Tribune that Thales was actually a new company set up in 2000 after merger of several French companies including Thomson-CSF which had been supplying Pakistan with a lot of weaponry for years.

“It is just possible that one of the many companies which merged into Thales or were acquired by it in corporate takeover had some history of not meeting its contractual obligations with Pakistan which was now being used by Pakistan not to award it the TIS units contract,” the expert said. The cancellation of the Tender has given rise to many questions now that the damage has been controlled, the expert said. “General Musharraf should now start an investigation as to how and why a Defaulter Company had been pre-qualified, why the higher bid with inferior technology had been accepted and which senior officers were involved in the scam.” But, the expert said, there is also a possibility that instead of the senior officers who pushed the deal, an inquiry may be launched to find out who leaked the details to the media and some scapegoats may be hunted to appease the Generals who apparently lost their big chance to make a few million dollars on the side. The South Asia Tribune tried to get the official version of Thales on the latest developments but Emails sent to their Press contacts remained unanswered. Thales was asked to confirm whether Pakistan Army had declared it as a “Defaulter” Company and the said contract which was due to be finalized on June 30, 2005 had been canceled.


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