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Archive for category NAWAZ SHARIF FAMILY TURPITUDE

Pakistan’s Money Launderers & Killers Receive a Red Carpet Treatment

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Prosecutor Pushes for Indictment of South Korean President in Samsung Scandal

S.Korea Prosecutor Ready to Indict Impeached President Ms.Park:

Pakistan Supreme Court Sits on Nawaz Sharif Panama Case Judgement 

Prosecutor Pushes for Indictment of South Korean President in Samsung Scandal

FEB. 28, 2017

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Ms. Park’s presidential powers have been suspended since the impeachment vote in December. The Constitutional Court is expected to rule in the coming weeks on whether she should be reinstated or formally removed from office. Even if she resumes the presidency, her five-year term ends in February, after which she can face criminal charges.

On Monday, Ms. Park’s lawyer, Yu Young-ha, rejected the special prosecutor’s findings, saying his investigation was “politically biased” and “lacking in fairness.” He called the bribery allegation “an absurd fiction.”

But on Monday, Mr. Park, the special prosecutor, who is not related to Ms. Park, said his team found enough evidence that Ms. Park and her confidante, Choi Soon-sil, conspired to collect bribes from Samsung.

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On Feb. 28, he indicted Lee Jae-yong, the third-generation scion of the family that runs Samsung, on charges of giving or promising $38 million in bribes to Ms. Park and Ms. Choi. He also added a bribery charge to the case against Ms. Choi, who is already on trial.

Mr. Lee offered the bribes in return for political favors from Ms. Park, most notably government support for a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that helped him inherit corporate control of the Samsung conglomerate from his incapacitated father, Lee Kun-hee, the prosecutor said.

Acting on Ms. Park’s order, her aides forced the government-controlled National Pension Service, a major shareholder at the two Samsung companies, to vote for the merger, though it was opposed by many minority shareholders and devalued the pension fund’s own stocks there, the prosecutor said.

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A protest against President Park in Seoul on Saturday. The special prosecutor also said that Ms. Park should face a criminal charge of abusing official power over a blacklist of artists. CreditJung Ui-Chel/European Pressphoto Agency

On Monday, Samsung denied the special prosecutor’s findings.

“Samsung has not paid bribes nor made improper requests seeking favors,” it said in a statement. “Future court proceedings will reveal the truth.”

On Monday, Mr. Park, the special prosecutor, said that the president should also face a criminal charge of abusing official power, saying she conspired with aides to blacklist thousands of artists, writers, and movie directors deemed unfriendly to her government and exclude them from government-funded support programs.

Ms. Park also fired three senior Culture Ministry officials who had been reluctant to discriminate against some of the 9,473 names on the list, the prosecutor said. She demoted and later fired another senior ministry official who had angered Ms. Choi, her friend, by investigating allegations of corruption involving her family, the prosecutor said.

While blackballing unfriendly artists, Ms. Park’s office ensured that pro-government civic groups received special favors, he said.

It asked the Federation of Korean Industries, which lobbies on behalf of Samsung and other big businesses, to provide $5.9 million for those groups between 2014 and 2016, the special prosecutor said. Some of those groups, like the right-wing Korea Parent Federation, have held noisy protests in downtown Seoul calling the critics of Ms. Park “commies.”

Besides Samsung, scores of other South Korean companies were found to have made payments to two foundations controlled by Ms. Choi. But on Monday, the special prosecutor did not recommend further actions against them, and state prosecutors had earlier said that those companies were coerced to donate and were not engaged in bribery.

Ms. Park has repeatedly denied any legal wrongdoing, insisting that she was framed by hostile political forces and that she was not aware of any criminal conspiracy by Ms. Choi. She said she only let Ms. Choi edit some of her speeches and run her personal errands.

On Monday, the special prosecutor said Ms. Park and Ms. Choi had 573 phone conversations between April and October last year using cell phones issued under borrowed names. Of these calls, 127 took place between September, when Ms. Choi left for Germany, and October when she returned home to be arrested.

The prosecutor accused Ms. Park of impeding his investigation. She refused to be questioned by his investigators and also did not allow them to search her office. As a result, he said his team could not fully determine what she was doing at her residence for seven hours in April 2014, when a ferry loaded with hundreds of schoolchildren sank, killing more than 300.

Ms. Park said she was working at the time, getting reports on the disaster. But she has been haunted by lurid rumors, some of them claiming that she was having a romantic encounter or undergoing plastic surgery.

On Monday, the prosecutor said a cosmetic surgeon gave Ms. Park at least five simple face-lifting operations at her residence between 2013 and 2016. Even unlicensed people visited her there to give her nutritional shots and help her with kinesiotherapy and reiki, a form of traditional healing. But investigators could not find evidence that such things took place on the day of the ferry disaster.

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TO ROOT OUT TERRORISM, UPROOT ITS NETWORK CONTROLLED BY FOREIGN AGENCIES By Commodore Tariq Majeed PN (Retd)

Note by Commodore Tariq Majeed PN (Retd):

This Awareness Brief was sent in printed form to concerned Civil, Military, and Police
Authorities 2 years ago, on 14 February 2015. Please give it serious attention. The
step It emphasizes has to be taken now to uproot the ongoing entrenched terrorism.

TO ROOT OUT TERRORISM, UPROOT ITS NETWORK CONTROLLED BY FOREIGN AGENCIES

By

Commodore Tariq Majeed PN (Retd)

Why the Anti-Terror Measures have Failed
1.      After the savage attack by the terrorist brutes on the Army Public School in Peshawar on 16 December 2014, the nation as a whole cried out for protection against Terrorism. The civil and military authorities rushed to proclaim that they would take the most stringent measures to wipe out terrorism and that security would be tightened and made foolproof. Their repeated assertions to wipe out Terrorism seemed solemn. But would they succeed?
2.      People are very worried and fearful. They have been victims of dreadful terrorism for fourteen years now, and have seen all the measures taken by the civil and military authorities fail in wiping out Terrorism. The new measures designated as the National Action Plan (NAP) cannot succeed either. The reason is of a fundamental nature and is central to the ongoing Terrorism.
Terror Network of Foreign Agencies
3.      There exists in Pakistan an extensive network of foreign spy agencies which is creating, sustaining and directing all Terrorism. This Network has to be uprooted in order to root out Terrorism. There is no other way. But, this measure is missing from the NAP, as it was missing from the previous set of measures.
The Purpose of this Submission
4.     To identify this Network and to emphasize why it is absolutely essential to rid our Country of this rogue Network is the purpose of this submission, which is addressed mainly to the Country’s top defenders and policymakers.
The 9/11 Attacks and the Ongoing Terrorism
5.      Pakistan did experience incidents of terrorism in the 1980s during the Soviet-Afghan War.  But the current wave of Terrorism
originated with the 9/11 Air Attacks in the US. Those Attacks, now confirmed that they originated from within the US, were planned and executed with military precision and had political aims. The same features can be seen in the acts of Terrorism since 9/11.
Terrorists’ Obvious Capabilities
6.      The authorities evidently know much more than the public does about the characteristics and capabilities of the Terrorists. What thoughtful Pakistanis know from the news and the actual terror attacks reveals many of their characteristics.
7.      The terrorists are highly organized and trained in their destructive skills. For their ceaseless acts of terrorism and sabotage, they have vast supplies of resources: bombs, arms and ammunition, grenades, IEDs, rockets, electronic gadgets, satellite communication access, transportation facility, abundant money and manpower including female suicide bombers, intelligence and inside information on selected targets, help from local sources, safe houses to hide, and supporting publicity in Media.
False Image given to Terrorists
8.      These features are proof enough that there is a command organization behind the Terrorists. Yet the official quarters and the Media have created a false impression that the Terrorists are operating independently. This has misled and confused many people including politicians and officials, and analysts, dealing with Terrorism. On the other hand, this false impression has benefited the Terrorists and boosted their deceitful jihadist guise.
Top Authorities know about the Network
9.      The top civil and military authorities know about the rogue Network and the powers behind it. It is kept concealed from the public, except that ‘once in a blue moon’ it is said, “India is behind unrest in Pakistan,” (first headline in the Nation, 24 August 2013).
10.    In a rare case of disclosure of classified material, the Nation, 12 February 2010, carried a report about the threat to Pakistan by a joint axis of United States, India, and Israel. The lengthy report, “Secret Document Reveals Indian Subversion in Pakistan,” spoke more about the Indian “spy network and subversive operations” but also specifically identified the trio of spy agencies. Leaving aside some details, the essential message of the report, which quotes “well-placed sources”— most likely the ISI— is as follows: 
“Indian RAW’s Team CIT-X had been assigned to conduct subversive operations targeting Pakistan. The CIT-X was working relentlessly to destabilize Pakistan while New Delhi stepped up interaction with Islamabad on the diplomatic channels.
          “These plans came to light once a copy of the classified document detailing these activities was accidentally lost and became available for public scrutiny. The document lays out the extensive espionage network dovetailed into the diplomatic missions in Central Asia, Afghanistan, and the Middle East, which the Indian undercover intelligence operatives utilize to rake trouble not only in FATA but in Pakistani hinterland as well.
“Mossad’s tactics of infiltrating Palestinian resistance acted as a model
and provided the modus operandi for CIT-X to stir insurgency on Pakistan’s Western border. Targeting interior regions of Sindh province, Seraiki-belt and the Northern Areas of Pakistan forms pivots of the Indian plan.

The document of  RAW  revealed CIT-X operations which spells out the Mossad/RAW/CIA plot against Pakistan.

“Sources believed that UAE is being used as a launching pad for terrorist activities in Pakistan. Agents are getting hold of young, disgruntled elements and after carrying out their proper brainwashing, they are dispatched to Dubai. Indian Consulate in Dubai is issuing temporary passports to these activists for getting training. After completion of their formal training, they are launched into Pakistan to carry out terrorist activities. RAW and MOSSAD had conceived the ‘offensive’ a year ago. Modus operandi has been successful.
“CIT-X is effectively training agents for covert operations in Pakistan. Under the Vajpayee government, the CIT-X and other sensitive organizations were authorized to strengthen contacts with sleeping agents and recruit new front men to carry out covert operations in Pakistan.

 “This intelligence model is an improvement on the practices of Mossad which has infiltrated several Jewish agents into the occupied territory of Palestine as Muslims. These agents practice Islam like any normal Muslim. They mingle into local Muslim population just to wait for the appropriate time to strike.

      “The hostile intelligence operatives are making concerted attempts to achieve their aim of destabilizing Pakistan through a well-conceived plan. It needs to be countered utilizing all means available at our disposal. “Analysts say that Pakistan should think twice before initiating dialogue with India due to New Delhi‘s dangerous track record.”
  
Trilateral Terror Network and its Aim
11.    Does this report not throw ample light on the Organized  Terrorism, that is devastating our Country?  It does. It directly points to the Terrorism’s Organizers—the Trilateral Network of CIA, Mossad, and RAW. It asserts that their Aim is “destabilizing Pakistan through a well-conceived plan.”
12.    ‘Destabilisation’ means: weakening, disruption, subversion, undermining, dislocation.”  It is carried out by many methods, machinations, and instruments. Among the multitude of methods being used against Pakistan, ruthless Terrorism of multifarious forms stands out as the most destabilizing method.   Planned, persistent, unchecked destabilization of a country is bound to result in its collapse. There should be no doubt in the minds of Pakistan’s patriotic defenders and policymakers that this is the goal of the rogue Trilateral Axis of powers regarding Pakistan.
Root Cause of Terrorism—Not Addressed in NAP
13.    Yet, there is no mention in the NAP of eradicating or checking this Root Cause of Terrorism! How could the architects of the National Action Plan, who advised the Parliament Committees and the Government, have missed it?
CIA’s Terror Network
14.    The other authoritative source that points to the terror network in Pakistan is the Abbottabad Commission, which was set up to investigate the US commando raid in Abbottabad on 2 May 2011. Its composition indicates its high status.
 
President:    
   Justice Javed Iqbal, Senior Most Judge of the Supreme Court  
Members:
   1. Abbas Mohammad Khan, Retired Inspector General Police
   2. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Retired Ambassador, Director
       General, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad
   3. Lieutenant General (Retd) Nadeem Ahmad
15.The Commission’s report was published by the Aljazeera Channel at www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/binladenfiles on 8 July 2013. Its important points appeared in Dawn 10 July 2013.    The report’s flaws aside, it contains many facts and comments which are of vital importance to Pakistan’s security. However, what is reproduced here is about CIA’s Network in Pakistan:
 
a.  Dismantling the Terror Networks.    “The dismantling of CIA, other foreign intelligence, and militant  networks must be treated as an urgent national priority if the country is to regain sovereignty over its own territory.”
                                                                                      (page  332,  paragraph 786)
b.  CIA’s Undercover Presence in Pakistan. “The Defence Secretary told the Commission that the CIA’s undercover officials had been operating in Pakistan since a long time…The CIA operated in diverse ways including cultivation of human resources, using Contractors, NGOs, Multinational Companies, USAID programs, intelligence personnel in the guise of Diplomats, etc. CIA’s Human  Resources were supplemented by Technical Intelligence.”                                                      (page 221, paragraph 531)
 
c.  Safe Houses.   “The Commission noted that the Americans had reportedly rented 389 houses in Islamabad and asked if there was any policy in place with regard to such matters including the entry and exit of aliens. The Interior Secretary said the visa policy was liberalized for trade and investment in 2000 and was again reviewed and updated in 2006 with the approval of the Prime Minister.”                       (page 237, paragraph 572)
      “With regard to the US Embassy hiring hundreds of houses in Islamabad and the suspicious activities of their US residents, the Foreign Minister said this was a matter of serious concern and that a comprehensive approach was required involving all relevant agencies and departments to address it and other such like issues. The problem was that the previous administration had been flexible with the sovereignty of the country vis-à-vis the US and once such flexibility was displayed, the ability of succeeding governments to reverse the situation is compromised.”                     (page 234, paragraph 564)
 
d.    Unchecked Grant of Visas by Ambassador Haqqani. “It was widely reported that Ambassador Haqqani had abused his authority in order to issue a large number of visas to US officials without proper security clearance.This enabled the CIA to develop a major spy network inside Pakistan  comprising US personnel, US personnel of Pakistani origin and Pakistani nationals.”                                          (page 214, paragraph 516)
   [Unbridled grant of visas]…“ resulted in an alarming increase in the presence of CIA agents in Pakistan, who established foreign spy networks… (page 217, paragraph 520)
“Mr. Haqqani is answerable for his role, but the primary responsibility for aiding and abetting the establishment of a nationwide CIA network in Pakistan whose purpose was to subvert the sovereign independence of the country…lay with Mr. Haqqani’s principals.  Mr. Haqqani directly reported to them, bypassing his proper reporting channel which was Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The political leadership was grossly irresponsible to deliberately sideline its own Foreign Office and Foreign Minister on such a delicate security issue. (page 217, paragraph 522) 
Alarming Situation
16.    The evidence of CIA’s nationwide subversive Network in Pakistan brings us face to face with a very alarming situation. The Commission rightly warned that it be dismantled urgently. There is no evidence of any efforts toward this end. Terrorists continue to operate with impunity. The rogue Network remains strong and is advancing toward its political goal.
People Suffering under Intensely Traumatic Conditions
17.    Pakistani People, although endowed by nature with courage and toughness, have been forced to live, for many years now, in a state of fear and acute anxiety. Thousands have lost their near and dear ones. Many are suffering from severe mental and physical stress, and a sense of helplessness.
18.    Terrorism’s dreadful effects and fears and Government’s ill-advised and thoughtless measures in the name of “security” have drastically disrupted the daily life of the people. This situation is crippling the performance of the people and the work of the government at every level. The Civil and Military Authorities ought to be well aware of the dangerous consequences of this crippling state of affairs. It has to be halted as a matter of urgency.
Dismantling the Terror Network—Essential for Country’s Survival
19.    Dismantling the CIA/Mossad/Raw Network, that is using devastating Terrorism with the aim of breaking up this Country, will be a difficult task, with a heavy cost. But it has to be undertaken and accomplished, no matter what the cost. Strong Will and Wisdom in the Country’s top Defenders and Policymakers shall, Insha-Allah, ensure success.
             

“Then, when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah,

 for Allah loves those who put  their trust  (in Him).”         (3:159)

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WHAT A JOKE — RECORD OF PROPERTY BOUGHT IN 2006 WAS LOST DURING 1999 MARTIAL LAW!

Panamagate: No record for Sharifs’ past business dealings, counsel tells Supreme Court

HASEEB BHATTI 

in DAWN, Pakistan

As the Supreme Court resumed hearing the Panamagate case on Wednesday, Advocate Salman Akram Raja picked up his arguments where he had left them off.

After welcoming Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed — whose sudden illness had forced a suspension in the case’s daily hearings — Raja reminded the court that “this is neither a trial nor the defendant a witness.”

“I will only argue this case based on the evidence present,” Raja, who represents Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, continued.

The record for the Sharif family’s business dealings for the last 40 to 45 years cannot be reproduced, the counsel said, as “it was lost during the 1999 martial law.”

The matter can be sent to relevant departments for inquiry as the Arsalan Iftikhar case determined that trials for cases can be held at corresponding forums, Salman Akram Raja told the court.

“A court has never conducted an independent inquiry in any criminal case,” Raja argued, adding that Article 10 of the Constitution says that every citizen of this country deserves a fair trial and that departments formed under the law should be allowed to do their job.

“There is no charge against the Prime Minister, so there is no charge against his children either,” he continued.

“If we suppose that the PM’s children are his employees, according to the National Accountability Bureau’s laws, then the burden of proof does not fall on the defendants,” Raja argued in court.

“This is not a criminal court, so even if Hassan and Hussain Nawaz are suspected, there is no proof against them,” he added.

There were eight questions that the court posed to the defendants, including the relationship between Mian Mohammad Sharif and the Al Sani family, the shares in Nielsen and Nescoll, and the profits the family gained from them, the counsel recalled.

Lawyer Salman Akbar said that Sharif family has ties with more than one Qatari royal family but he cannot disclose the name of other royal families before the court due to certain reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There were questions about the trust deed as well, and in this hearing, I will answer all these questions,” he told the court.

Justice Khosa advised Raja that he should first finish his arguments before answering the court’s questions.

Moving on to the matter of the London flats, Hussain Nawaz’s counsel argued that the flats were bought by the Al Thani family between 1993 and 1996.

“The Sharif family did not own the flats in 1999, as Hussain Nawaz was given the bearer certificate to the flats by the Al Thani family,” Raja argued. He added that the shares for the flats were given to Minerva Financial Services in 2006.

Upon hearing this argument, Justice Azmat Saeed asked the counsel to provide a paper trail for these transactions, and said, “You have been moving from one point to the other since the beginning, but have failed to provide any evidence in this regard.”

The allegation is that Maryam Nawaz contacted Minerva Holdings, Raja retorted, upon this, the bench asked that evidence should be proved that Hussain Nawaz is the beneficial owner of the offshore companies.

PTI’s new evidence

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) had announced on Tuesday that it would submit three more documents to disprove the stance adopted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, but the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is not convinced.

“We are submitting three more documents — one from PTI chairman Imran Khan that authenticates all previous documents presented by the party, the expert opinion of UK-based lawyers and a document that proves that Maryam Nawaz is the owner of UK-based firms Minerva, Nielson and Nescoll,” PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told a press conference.

He said that Imran Khan would submit an affidavit stating that all documents previously submitted by the party were credible and authentic.

PML-N MNA Daniyal Aziz told Dawn that PTI’s lawyers had already completed their arguments and submitted all the evidence they had to the apex court. “Once they have completed their arguments, how can they file more documents?”

 

From The Guardian. London Archival Report

Search for the millions Sharif ‘stole’

The investigator Pakistan’s PM could not stop


They tortured Rehman Malik by placing his hands and feet on ice for up to an hour at a time at a ‘safe house’ in Islamabad. Three years on, he still has trouble feeling sensations in his palms and soles from the punishment, meted out in black masks, by Nawaz Sharif’s heavies.His neck, too, bears the painful crick from a year spent in solitary confinement in a tiny cell at Rawalpindi’s Adila jail with a brick wrapped in newspapers for a pillow. Malik, in mortal fear of convicted terrorists and official hatchet men, found his monthly half-hour visit from his seven-year-old son his single comfort.

Three times following his arrest in November 1996 the courts ordered Malik’s release. Each time he was re-arrested on trumped up charges until, after 12 months of humiliation, the Pakistani Supreme Court itself ruled his detention illegal.

Malik’s crime? To have been the deputy head of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan’s equivalent of the FBI, investigating allegations of massive corruption by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his family, and cronies.

At 46, he was the youngest officer to reach such a senior rank, the equivalent of an army major-general. In a 20-year career, Malik had gained an impressive reputation in the West for anti-terrorist expertise, including investigation of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing in New York and of Saudi fundamentalist Osama bin Laden. And, after Malik’s inquiries were publicized by The Observer last year, he started a ball rolling which culminated in the coup against Sharif. ‘I have suffered enormously from doing my duty as a civil servant. My friends, family, and colleagues have been harassed. My life has been at risk,’ Malik told The Observer in his first UK interview since fleeing Pakistan for London after an attempt on his life 15 months ago. ‘I am not a politician, but I welcome the army’s action. They have saved Pakistan from someone who was ruining the country. As a career officer, I would like to return to fulfill my official obligations as soon as possible.’

He is also promising further explosive revelations, which will implicate Sharif and senior Muslim League politicians in allegedly creaming off more of the country’s wealth overseas.

Malik’s report last year was painful enough for the deposed Prime Minister, as were the cat-and-mouse tactics by which Malik has been a thorn in his side since. The 200-page report, smuggled into the country on Sharif’s official Jumbo jet, set out a secret web of fake bank accounts and firms in offshore tax havens through which Sharif’s family allegedly siphoned off more than $70 million (£40m) into London property, Swiss investments and banks in New York.

The family, whose empire grew hugely while Sharif was in office, was also accused of defaulting on $120m of state bank loans, a favourite way of milking the public purse.

According to further documents seen by The Observer, however, the revelations appear to be the tip of an iceberg. Following inquiries over the past year, Malik says he has established further channels by which the Sharif family channelled money illegally offshore.

They include $2.74m allegedly deposited in the account of an Essex-based Pakistani family at the Atlas BOT (Bank of Tokyo) Investment Bank in Lahore as security for loans to four Sharif family members. They also include $4.6m deposited at the Al Faysal Investment Bank in Islamabad as security for a loan to Hamza Board Mills, a paper, and forestry firm in the Sharif family’s Ittefaq group.

Among all his amassed wealth, Sharif also appears to have concealed ownership of a Russian-made Ulan helicopter, which he used during election campaigns. The aircraft, worth more than $1m, was bought from an Arab prince, Sheikh Abdul Rehman Bin Nasir Al Thani of Qatar, in November 1996 and registered in Sharif’s name at the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority, according to official documents obtained by Malik. It was, however, not declared on Sharif’s statutory filing of assets and liabilities to the country’s Election Commission. ‘This was a man who once told me he could not afford a second-hand Mercedes. How then could he buy a helicopter?’ Malik asks.

Most explosive of all, however, is likely to be Malik’s new investigation, which is almost concluded and alleges laundering of more than $100m offshore via a network of UK trusts, Swiss accounts and offshore havens including Liechtenstein.

An Observer investigation has revealed other instances of alleged corruption during Sharif’s last administration:

• In an emergency budget after Pakistan’s nuclear tests last year, import duties on luxury cars were cut from 325 per cent to 125 per cent. A week later they were restored. In between a friend of Sharif imported 80 cars.

• In 1996 senior figures at Bankers Equity Limited, a finance house granted a huge loan, believed to be more than £10m, to close associates of Sharif. Last summer the bank collapsed and several senior managers, including a friend of Sharif’s, were arrested. The loan is outstanding.

• After the 1997 elections the Sharif family and their business concerns were able to reschedule and renegotiate loans worth nearly £100m from eight banks. When ordered by courts to pay some back they surrendered 33 factories. Only one factory was fully operational, the rest closed, out of order, or both.

Sharif, his family, and former Ministers have consistently dismissed the allegations as politically inspired.

Sharif himself is still in ‘preventative custody’, as the army calls it, in a government guesthouse on the outskirts of Islamabad. General Pervez Musharraf, the self-appointed Chief Executive of Pakistan, has not revealed his plans for the man ousted in a coup 10 days ago. Military sources say the evidence is being gathered to put Sharif on trial for corruption and possibly treason.

Sharif’s former residence, the 100-acre Raiwind estate, near the city of Lahore in eastern Pakistan, is widely seen as a symbol of the opulent lifestyle the Sharifs have led since their pursuit of power and wealth began to pay off 15 years ago. Last week The Observer was the first Western newspaper to visit it since Sharif’s fall.

Brand new roads lead out of Lahore, where the Sharifs have two other houses, to the walled 100-acre estate. A turning leads to a helicopter pad and a set of steel gates. Beyond is an open, grassy compound where five houses, all in white-washed villa style, lie in a rough circle around a man-made pond. Each has a huge colonnaded porch sheltering a £20,000 four-wheel drive Jeep. Two of the buildings are partially constructed as is a pool, though a lake stocked with fish is completed. There is a small zoo.

All the houses are similar, with deep red carpets and velvet curtains throughout. Sharif’s own house is distinguished by the number of televisions – the Prime Minister was gadget crazy. Now army machine gunners have replaced the bodyguards who previously watched the compound’s perimeter. And the muzzles of their weapons point in as much as out.

Raiwind is, to the ousted Prime Minister’s critics at least, a symbol of how his administration manipulated government to benefit itself.

According to opposition spokesmen, Sharif has ‘used public office for personal economic gain’. It is corruption, they say, even if it is within the letter of the law.

Soon after coming to power for a second time in February 1997 Sharif declared the Raiwind site to be the ‘Prime Minister’s Camp Office’ – his home away from the capital. The local municipal authority took on the estate’s maintenance at an estimated annual cost of 40 million Pakistani rupees (£500,000) and built a new road for it, while the state has also supplied gas, electricity and a 200-line telephone exchange.

Near Raiwind last week feelings were mixed about Sharif’s fall. Many remain loyal to a man they see as a local boy made good. ‘He has done a lot around here,’ said Ahmadullah Ali, a farmer. ‘He is a good man.’ In the rough and tumble world of Pakistani politics, Sharif may be down, but he still isn’t out.

 Reference Courtesy

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The confessions of St Isaac aka Ishaq Dar By Ayaz Amir in The News International

The confessions of St Isaac

By Ayaz Amir

Islamabad diary

 

 

 

 

 

 

He has remitted around Rs20m to the country and his other assets and cash are worth Rs45m. Ishaq Dar, the Leader of Opposition in the Senate, has 15,779 dirhams in banks, owns a house worth Rs45m in Gulberg, Lahore, and six acres of land valued at Rs14.5m in Punjab.Mar 29, 2013

 

Oh, that moment of weakness if only it could be forgotten when Isaac called for pen and paper and in his own hand and at considerable length penned down the saga of money-laundering allegedly associated with the house whose top accountant he had been for so many years.

The tell-all tale was spread over 43 pages, no detail spared, everything about how fake bank accounts in international banks were opened in the names of the Qazi family, long known to Dar. Money from mysterious sources then came into these accounts before being transferred to the Hudaybia Paper Mills.          

The Sharifs are a religious family and the choice of this name testifies to their religious zeal. That this did not prevent the things being done under the rubric of this near-sacred name is, of course, a different matter.

We are more secular than we care to acknowledge, rendering unto Caesar and Mammon what is theirs, and to Allah what is His. Prayers, fasting and other religious obligations we keep for the uses of the Hereafter. For the here and now we tend to be more pragmatic.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But returning to the confessions, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had to extract no forced signatures from Isaac’s hands. He wrote the entire account himself and put his signature to it. And also, again in his own hand, he asked for leniency. Since he had out-performed any canary in singing, his name was removed from the list of the accused and he was made an approver…in other words, the prime witness for the prosecution.   

The money-laundering charge was but one case against the Sharifs. There were several others. But all of them were put on hold when through the intercession of their Saudi benefactors the Sharifs were taken from their prison cells and flown to the Holy Land. When in the twilight of the Musharraf era the so-called National Reconciliation Order was promulgated and Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan, followed by Nawaz Sharif’s own return – this too being the result of Saudi pressure – the national landscape changed.

Bhutto’s assassination rocked the Musharraf regime and in the elections which followed his King’s Party, the Q – League fared poorly. The PPP took power at the centre and Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N, with no small help from Asif Ali Zardari, formed the government in Punjab, the nerve-centre of Pakistani politics. The PPP and the PML-N having come close to each other, no one was interested in pursuing the old cases, including the Hudaybia case based on Ishaq Dar’s confession.

Both the Sharifs and Asif Ali Zardari were quick to approach the courts to quash these cases. Dar did the same and his confession was quashed, it being declared as of no ‘evidentiary value’. Because all of this was being played on a friendly wicket, NAB did not go into appeal against this friendly decision.

We can imagine Isaac’s sense of relief. Incarceration under the Musharraf regime was not so much a nightmare as the statement he had given. Now seemingly the nightmare was over, the albatross around the neck of the former approver finally cut loose.

Remember also that Musharraf being a coup-making general, the charges brought by his regime against the Sharifs – quite apart from whether they were true or false – never elicited any great moral outrage on the part of the intelligentsia, the political class or so-called civil society, all of whom were more obsessed with denouncing dictatorship and celebrating the restoration of democracy, these being the flavours of that time. Corruption and accountability constituted a forgotten agenda.    

Zardari was clever but the Sharifs outplayed him, successfully pulling a veil of obfuscation over their own financial exploits and keeping the spotlight on the PPP, an endeavour in which they received powerful assistance from the restored chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, who could only see the mote in the PPP’s eyes, never the glint in the eyes of the PML-N.

Small wonder, the PPP was branded as an irredeemably corrupt enterprise while the Sharifs were seen as exemplars of good governance and champions of development, a perception paying them handsome dividends in the 2013 elections.

True, Gen Raheel Sharif’s ascendancy became a problem for them because no one likes to walk in someone else’s shadow; and the 2014 dharnas came near to toppling their government. But the general in his winter no longer the commanding figure he was and the dharnas a receding memory, this was a time to savor their triumphs and think calmly about the future.

But everything has been upended by that bolt from the blue, the Panama papers and the hearings in the Supreme Court triggered by them. Uncomfortable questions are being asked for which there are no ready answers and demons long thought to have been laid to rest, like the confessions of St Isaac, are once again on the march, leading to fresh nightmares. When Dar’s lawyer said before the Supreme Court that Dar’s statement could not be used against him, it was suggested to him that could it not be used against the prime minister?      

We don’t know what becomes of it or what value is put on it. But the Sharifs have reason to be worried because the money trail leading to their offshore accounts and rich London properties is right there in this statement, backed by evidence in black-and-white: dates, bank accounts, deposits, and transfers, etc.       

The defence the PML-N is mounting rests on one word, duress – the contention that Isaac’s confessions were extracted through coercion, the word gunpoint also being used. Significantly, however, no one is saying that what is in the confessional statement, the details of money-laundering, are false. Shouldn’t that be the real burden of the PML-N’s argument?

It should really be a simple matter. The accounts opened in the names of the Qazi family may be fraudulent but the Qazis are real, living people. Why don’t they come up and say that what is being said about them is baseless, with no truth to these charges?

Why go on about duress when what Dar and his defenders should be saying is that the contents of the confessional statement are false – that there never were any Qazi accounts and so the question of mysterious funds being deposited in them simply does not arise?     

If they were to do this nothing would be left in the Panama case except sound and fury. And Dar’s nightmare would be finally over. But saying not a word about content they are giving the entire nation a sob story of extraction under pressure. If they debunk the contents of the confession the duress charge is automatically proved. But if they go on about duress while not touching the substance of the story who is to believe Isaac’s protestations?         

People retract confessions all the time, not only claiming coercion but roundly denying what they are accused of. Here the funny thing is that in a case which could well have a bearing on the country’s future a person indirectly involved is beating about the bush while saying nothing of the charge against him…and by extension, of the damning charge against the Sharifs.

 

Email: bhagwal63@gmail.com

 

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