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Archive for September, 2014




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Sachal Studio: All that jazz!






Sachal Studio: All that jazz!

Published: February 24, 2014

Louis Armstrong once said, “If you have to ask what Jazz is, then you will never know.” Sachal Studios was born to produce the music of melody, acoustic harmony and rhythms that rock the heart.

LAHORE: It’s been three years, since Sachal Studio launched its Jazz ensemble with its cover of Dave Brubeck’s Take Five. The moment is etched into the studio’s glory. Each wall has a framed copy of the letter of the late composer Dave Brubeck, who passed away in 2012. Since the first album Sachal Jazz, and its follow-up album Jazz and All That, the ensemble has been paving the way for another phase – that of their highly-anticipated live performances.

Composer and businessman Izzat Majeed is uncompromising, and feels at home in the studio. He has very few words to say, but his search for melody and creating a creative work place, allows one to delve into unimaginable possibilities of music and art. The ensemble, which includes several veteran musicians, primarily from the ‘old film industry’, have pointed out that there has never been a platform for jazz such as this one in Pakistan. In fact, the orchestras which had been connected to the studios, whether EMI or leading film composers such as Robin Ghosh and others, never provided these musicians the opportunity to perform live. The band that debuted at the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall, London in 2012, is now becoming a staple for some of the biggest jazz festivals across the globe; recently they performed at the Lincoln Center, alongside Wynton Marsalis and the JALC Orchestra.



Take Five was something that became global and after the albums we were invited to some of the pre-eminent festivals in jazz,” says Majeed. “So our year is full, and I think the important thing is that it keeps our great musicians very happy and innovative. They get to learn a lot, meanwhile we get to continue what we enjoy doing.”

This weekend they prepared for one of the few local concerts that they have performed at; Al-Hamra Arts Complex saw their performance as part of the Lahore Literary Festival. Majeed ensures that the band does not compromise on the sound and venue. The live performance rehearsals are intense and when the team gets together, it is pure magic.

A major component of the studio, composer and arranger Riaz Hussain passed away and has been succeeded by his son Najaf Ali, who leads the performances as a conductor and maintains a sense of energy amongst the ageing veterans.

“I think right now wherever Jazz is being heard, Sachal Jazz ensemble is there. We have been really successful. I mean, Jazz at Lincoln Center is considered a mecca for this music and we had the opportunity to perform with one of the top musicians in the Jazz world. We plan on moving forward, you will have to watch out for us,” says Ali.

The Jazz ensemble is an extension of the studio’s other folk and classical projects, but the success and exclusivity is something that has given many of the musicians an honour they have not experienced before. Ali explains that the studio’s Take Five track provided it with a sort of accessibility and credibility. Its albums and performances have been readily talked about through the jazz world.



Ustad Ijaz Hussain, or Baloo Khan as he is known by, is their well-known tabla player. He says the success of the jazz ensemble has been connected to the fact that they have not compromised on their preparation and the musicians involved were the best in Pakistan at the peak of their abilities. This is about the drive to get them together and create something exciting. “Wynton Marsalis said we have a magical house, because we are doing what we have learnt over the years. It’s not about jazz, it’s about what we have learnt,” says Hussain. While the documentaries about the studio show these musicians struggling to make ends meet, Hussain points out that during his first concert in the 70s, Noor Jehan was his announcer and he had worked relentlessly with the likes of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan since then. “We have been waiting for the time to perform and teach, because that’s the duty of an ustad. He should play in such a way that the world enjoys, but also learns about the music at the same time,” Hussain concluded.

With these live performances, the musicians are back to what they do best – bringing down a house.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2014.

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The Ugly Faces of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari Exposed By Hamid Mir


Please Click the URL Below 





www.pakway.blogspot.com (27)












Ugly Faces of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari & Poverty in Pakistan

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First Post Date: Sat, Feb 8, 2014 at 1:27 AM
Senator Ishaq Dar’s son Ali Dar takes the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 for the inaugural run.









The uniqueness of the car rental company lies in its array of niche car manufacturers and models of cars unavailable to the market. HDS Rent a Car owns the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, Mercedes Benz SLS 63 AMG Gullwing, apart from the more economy cars such as Peugeots and Renaults. Some of the many exotic, luxury and SUVs in the lineup are the the Ferrari Berlinetta F12 and the McLaren F1, and you can do the numbers yourself!The owners from a ‘poor and starving’ country Pakistan, where the average monthly income for an individual is $41, are offering such exotic services in Dubai, which even the local Emiratis fail to afford.











Madhu Bhindari, the Indian Billionaire who invested money in Dubai with Pakistani politicians.







* HDS Tower in Cluster of Jumeirah Lakes Tower, Dubai, is only one of
the 34 storey buildings that belongs to the mighty HDS Group. The News
Tribe learnt that several other buildings in Jumeirah Lake Towers, Business
Bay and International City, like the HDS Sunstar Towers, are also owned by
the millionaire brothers, surprisingly Pakistanis.*














* The owners of HDS Group, Ali Dar and Hasnain Dar, are none other than
the sons of finance minister of Pakistan, Senator Ishaq Dar. It’s worth
mentioning here that the elder son, Ali Dar, is also the son-in-law of
Pakistan Muslim Leagues’ leader, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif. Apart from
several real estate ventures, The HDS Group had also launched HDS Rent a
Car, in Jumeriah Lake Towers, in July 2012. Senator Ishaq Dar’s son, Ali
Dar, takes the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 for the inaugural run. The
uniqueness of the car rental company lies in its array of niche car
manufacturers and models of cars unavailable to the market. HDS Rent a Car
owns the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, Mercedes Benz SLS 63 AMG
Gullwing, apart from the more economy cars such as Peugeot and Renault.
Some of the many exotic, luxury and SUVs in the line up are the the
Ferrari Berlinetta F12 and the McLaren F1, and you can do the numbers
yourself! *

*The owners from a ‘poor and starving’ country Pakistan, where the** average
monthly income for an individual is $41, *
*are offering such** exotic services in Dubai, which even the local
**rich **Emiratis
fail to afford.*

* Madhu Bhindari, the Indian Billionaire who invested money in Dubai with
Pakistani politicians. Sources further told The News Tribe that the story
does not end here; another Finance Minister from the Nawaz Sharif
Government, made hundreds of real estate transactions with Madhu Bhindari,
an Indian billionaire entrepreneur, who is on a run-away from Dubai, after
losing 150 million dirhams in the 2008 crisis. However, the finance
minister’s buildings and investments are still there, earning a
hefty income. A Pakistani real estate agent, who claimed to carry out
transactions for a serving government officer in Sindh Government, told The
News Tribe that a lot of Pakistani bureaucrats and politicians have
properties worth millions in Dubai. “The son of a serving government
officer from Sindh government invested a huge amount of money in real
estate here in 2008, and I carried out transactions for him,” the agent
claimed. “Where are these politicians getting the money from?” asked a
frustrated Pakistani in Dubai, who came to know that the building he lived
in is owned by Ali and Hasnain Dar’s HDS Group. “If they have billions of
dollars and so much money, why is it not in Pakistan? These politicians
talk about the welfare of Pakistani people, but all they can think about
is themselves!”*
* Previously, Directors of Swiss Bank had stated that Pakistan has
around 97 billion dollars only in Swiss Banks. But, it seems that
Pakistani politicians and businessmen have more than 97 billion dollars
outside the Swiss Banks, invested in various countries and financial hubs
like Dubai.*
* According to the Swiss Bank directors, if the money is utilized for the
welfare of Pakistan and its people, then Pakistan can make tax free budget
for next 30 years, can create 60 million jobs, can carpet four lanes road
from any village to Islamabad, provide endless power supply, every citizen
can earn Rs. 20,000 salary for the next 60 years and there is no need to
take loans from IMF or World Bank. *

Sharifs may land in thick soup due to Ishaq Dar
Dar says this is all trash, matter in high court; NAB to revive all corruption cases
Amir Mir
Tuesday, May 01, 2012

From Print Edition


LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided in principle to revive all the corruption references pending against Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and other members of their family which had been adjourned indefinitely in December 2000 after the Sharifs signed an exile deal with the Musharraf regime and left Pakistan for Saudi Arabia.


According to well-informed NAB officials, of the three corruption references currently pending against Nawaz Sharif and his family members, NAB would first take up the case titled ‘State Vs Hudabiya Paper Mills (Pvt) Ltd’ in which nine members of the Sharif family are accused of committing money laundering to the tune of Rs642.743 million.


According to the NAB findings, the Sharif family members allegedly deposited ill-gotten money in fake accounts which were opened in other persons’ names and used the money from these accounts to pay off loans of the defaulting Sharif companies. Mian Muhammad Sharif, Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Mian Abbas Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz, Mrs Shamim Akhtar (mother of Nawaz Sharif), Mrs Sabiha Abbas, Mrs Maryam Safdar (daughter of Nawaz Sharif) and the former finance minister of the Sharif cabinet, Ishaq Dar, are the main accused in the Hudabiya Paper Mills reference.


As per law, the NAB will have to file an application before the accountability court for reopening of the corruption references, which is set to open a Pandora’s box for the Sharif brothers, in view of a 43-page hand-written statement recorded by Senator Ishaq Dar and accusing the Sharifs of involvement in money laundering.


As per the statement which Ishaq Dar had recorded before a Lahore district magistrate on April 25, 2000, the Sharif brothers used the Hudaibya Paper Mills as cover for money laundering during the late 1990s. Dar’s statement was recorded as part of the Musharraf regime’s plans to file a money laundering reference against Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif. However, the reference was shelved after the Sharif family opted for self exile in 2000, once they came to know that their trusted Ishaq Dar has turned approver against them.


Ishaq Dar’s confessional statement against the Sharif brothers was reportedly recorded before a district magistrate in Lahore, after he was brought to the court from a jail by Basharat Shahzad, then serving as assistant director in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).


NAB circles say Ishaq Dar’s deposition is an irrevocable statement because it had been recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Ishaq Dar now happens to be high-profile PML-N leader who has always been considered close to the Sharif brothers. Senator Ishaq Dar’s son, Ali Dar, is married to Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Asma Nawaz.


Dar had confessed in his 43-page statement: “I opened two foreign currency accounts in the name of Sikandara Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi with the foreign currency funds provided by the Sharif family in the Bank of America by signing as Sikandara Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi. All instructions to the bank in the name of these two persons were signed by me under the orders of original depositors, namely Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif. The foreign currency accounts of Nuzhat Gohar and Kashif Masood Qazi were opened in Bank of America by Naeem Mehmood under my instructions (based on the directives of the Sharifs) by signing the same as Nuzhat Gohar and Kashif Masood Qazi”.


According to Dar’s confessional statement, besides these foreign currency accounts, a previously opened foreign currency account of Saeed Ahmed, a former director of First Hajvari Modaraba Company and close friend of Dar, and of Mussa Ghani, the nephew of Dar’s wife, were also used to deposit huge foreign currency funds provided by the Sharif family to offer them as collateral to obtain different direct and indirect credit lines. Dar had further conceded that the Bank of America, Citibank, Atlas Investment Bank, Al Barka Bank and Al Towfeek Investment Bank were used under the directives of the Sharif family. Interestingly enough, Dar also implicated himself by confessing before the district magistrate that he – along with his friends Kamal Qureshi and Naeem Mehmood – had opened fake foreign currency accounts in different international banks.


The News made frantic efforts to approach Ishaq Dar and after making several phone calls the brief response received from Mr Dar stated: “This is all rubbish. The Hudabiya Paper Mills case is nothing but trash. The matter is sub judice in the High Court and facts would be known to public in due course. All transactions were duly reported to the State Bank of Pakistan as per law of the land”.


However, a senior PML-N leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the credibility of a confessional statement recorded under pressure and coercion, and that too by the officials of a military regime, will always be doubtful and remain questionable.


Interior Minister Rehman Malik has already taken up the same money laundering case at a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday. Giving details about the scam, he said the Hudabiya Paper Mills Limited, owned by the Sharif family, entered into a leasing contract with M/s Al Towfeek Company for investment funds under the laws of the Cayman Islands on February 15, 1995 for lease of paper manufacturing machinery. The leasing price was $12.046 million. Rehman Malik said Shahbaz Sharif and Abbas Sharif and another, provided guarantee in writing to pay jointly and severally to the leasing company, all sums due against the Hudabiya Paper Mills under any agreement up to a maximum of $10 million with all profits and charges. On February 15, 1995, Shahbaz Sharif provided a further guarantee to pay on demand to the leasing company any such due against the Hudabiya Paper Mills up to a maximum of $12.046 million together with all profits and charges.


As the Hudabiya Paper Mills Limited failed to pay back the amount, M/s Al Towfeek Company served a demand on the Sharif family members on July 31, 1998 to repay the sum. However, all the three guarantors failed to honour their guarantees and to make payment on behalf of their company. Subsequently, on March 18, 1999, the High Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division (London) ordered the Sharifs to jointly pay a sum of $32.5 million (around Rs1.7 billion) to Al-Towfeek Company for Funds Ltd, the investment company from which they had taken a loan for Hudabiya Paper Mills Ltd. The London High Court passed the ex-parte order as the defendants – Hudabiya Paper Mills Ltd, Mian Mohammad Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, and Abbas Sharif – had not defended themselves in the court.



Reference Readings

Ref 1

Ref 2

Ref 3


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Pakistan: Democracy, Corruption and Poor Governance : by Sajjad Shaukat

Pakistan: Democracy, Corruption and Poor Governanc

By Sajjad Shaukat

how can the government end corruption


No doubt, favorite system of governance in the Western countries is democracy. By using their legitimate right of vote, people participate in political process, and elect their own representatives to govern them. Thus, they give mandate by authorizing the elected members to hold public offices and make legitimate decisions to run the affairs of state. And, the elected representatives remain accountable for their actions, while, the system of electoral democracy also empowers the voters to take away the powers of the elected members, if they fall short of popular aspirations—good governance, solution of public problems and so on.


In case of Pakistan’s version of democracy, it has the same system of representatives according to the constitution, but the elected representatives grossly violate the public mandate for obtaining their selfish and materialistic gains. Regrettably, voters, after having elected their representatives, virtually become subjects of powerful elite who tend to shatter all hopes of voters by neglecting their social problems, financial difficulties and psychological distress. Promises made during election campaign are quickly forgotten, while perks of public offices are fully enjoyed. Irony of the fate is that same elite group gets elected over and over again and election campaigns are held as rituals. Unfortunately, voters, due to their extreme poverty and poignant standing lack social influence and political power, becoming trading pawns in the hands of politicians who regard elections as windows of business opening to plunder national wealth through all possible means of corruption whose result is poor governance.


Most of the elected representatives in National Assembly and Senate hardly make any worthwhile contribution, as they remain absent during active sessions of the parliament. Therefore, sessions of the lower and upper houses are adjourned due to lack of quorum, and the process of essentially required legislation remains blank and weary. Resultantly, the voters’ aspirations turn into hopeless ordeal, dejection and despondency.


It is notable that various mal-practices such as horse-trading, nepotism, bribery, illegal obligations and other forms of corruption are very common among our politicians. In fact, the elite group of elected members uses powers of their public offices to advance their personal interests including engagement in politics of THANA and KUCHHERY (Police and Court), earnestly seeking allotment of development and discretion funds and timely steps of sycophancy to please the top party leaders. Poor educational background makes them inactive and soundless during debate sessions to approve or reject key issues, requiring parliamentary endorsement. They also remain oblivious of world politics and philosophical aspirations of great leaders like Nelson Mandela. Thus, they promote their personal interests, and show total callousness towards torment of their voters.


Undoubtedly, in Pakistan, corruption is a significant obstacle for good governance, supremacy of law, and rational use of authority to run the affairs of state and to maintain public cohesion and national harmony. Unfortunately, corrupt practices and misuse of public office lead to general frustration, opening windows of protest with sense of dissent, disapproval and conflict against the governing authority. The environment of agitation and demonstrations carry seeds of large scale disturbances, creating law and order situation, social disorder and political chaos, culminating in poor governance. In a real democratic system, hence, wise rulers undertake tangible measures to fight corruption with a view to improve governance and maintain order.       


It is our misfortune that rampant corruption in the country has infected the entire edifice of national institutions, while the rule of law appears to have been totally disregarded. Consequently few parasites devouringly consume best of resources, while the poor majority remains repressed and victimized under hard economic conditions.


The elite leadership despite having been empowered by the masses through a democratic process has developed vicious aversion, disgusting dislike, malicious vindictiveness and insensitivity against general public, they actually represent.


Political leadership is busy in power grabbing process, while the poor suffer under hard environment where healthy food, clean drinking water, respectable shelter, justice, education and health care facilities are totally non-existent.


In this regard, the ordeal of poor in Pakistan can well be anticipated by prevailing un-employment, poor living and health conditions, price hike, social injustice, contempt for merit, promoting cronyism, and poor law and order situation in the country.


Regrettably, the concerned ministers remain busy in settling scores against their political rivals, using floor of parliament and media channels. Most of their time and effort is spent on preparing fierce speeches to level fresh tirades of accusations and counter allegations.


The poor voters remain bewildered as protesting groups, PAT and PTI make noises in sit-ins, at Islamabad, pointing out corruption of subsequent rulers of the PPP and the present ones of the PML (N), as to what they have done under the cover of democracy. While ruling elite and their associates in opposition benches of the parliament have termed the protests as unlawful, unconstitutional and undemocratic.


Besides, political leaders enraged outbursts, filled with allegations and counter accusations. Some of them, especially of the PPP and PML (N) have shamefully tried their best to drag the Armed Forces into political turmoil. They have brazenly accused Pak Army and country’s prime intelligence agency, ISI (without any evidence) for orchestrating the prevailing political impasse which was created by the politicians themselves.


On the other side, through various statements, DG of ISPR Maj-Gen. Asim Bajwa repeatedly said, “Pakistan Army supports democracy and constitution.” He elaborated, “The army chief in his address on Youm-i-Shuhuda (Martyrs’ Day) clearly said that the army believes in continuation and democracy.”


However, these parliamentarians and leaders have disregarded the commitment and sacrifices, being offered by the Armed Forces in the operation Zarb-e-Azb and flood relief operation. All the patriot citizens of Pakistan know that for the last few months, Pakistan’s Armed Forces are successfully obtaining their objectives in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) through this military operation against the terrorists who had challenged the writ of the state, and had frightened the entire nation by their terror-acts. The Armed Forces are also engaged in rescue-operations in the flood-affected areas. Besides, Pak Army has also been coping with subversive activities in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and other parts of the country including tribal areas in wake of India’s war-like diplomacy and cross-border infiltration from Afghanistan’s side.


In fact, under the cover of democracy and constitution, some politicians of the government and the opposition parties who want to protect their nefarious designs are targeting the Armed Forces. Thus, they are diverting the attention of the general masses from those articles of the constitution, which are mentioned in the ‘Principles of Policy.’ These articles clearly mention that people would provide with justice, gap between the rich and the poor would be reduced, and poverty would be eradicated in the country. However, our politicians and the subsequent governments of the industrialists and feudlords failed in delivering good governance to the people in accordance with the constitution. They have only deceived the public mandate in the pretext of democracy which has been named as a ‘corrupt democracy’ in Pakistan.


No doubt, Pak Army is supportive of democracy and is committed to protect the constitution of Pakistan. But, leveling derogatory allegations against Army is a serious crime, and it must not be allowed to recur under any circumstances. Army as an institution cannot be made a punching bag—subjected to public debate.


Now, the right hour has come that the political leadership must conduct introspective analysis of their style of governance, and must develop a desire to fight the menace of corruption through accountability and transparency. The aim should be to put the house in order.


As already mentioned that rule of law seems non-existent, while merit is totally disregarded. Cronyism and nepotism are fast-spreading, setting unethical precedence and bringing bad name to governance. The public perceptions are getting stronger that poor governance is due to corrupt practices and misuse of public office. The same needs to be addressed on priority. So, leadership must prepare a strategy to address the problems of general masses and stop fighting for acquiring more power, and practicing corruption. 


Particularly, our own media must project corruption as a threat to good governance which must be fought through transparent and accountable practices. 


Nonetheless, rampant corruption in Pakistan is posing a very serious threat to the state as well the true democracy. It has become a significant obstacle towards development, and adversely impacting the good governance and rule of law, culminating in poor governance.



Email: [email protected]


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