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Archive for category Morosi Siyasat & Political Crooks

CORRUPTION BAZAAR: NAWAZ SHARIF AND CRONIES HIJACK PIA

 

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True Face of Nawaz Sharif & Ahsan Iqbal Exposed by Talat


 

 

Living like a king — Sharif’s litany of abuses

News Intelligence Unit
By Kamran Khan

  

While constantly pleading with expatriate Pakistanis to send their hard-earned dollars to their motherland, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif caused a dent of at least Rs 110 crore to the national exchequer through the 28 foreign trips he undertook after assuming power on February 17, 1997.

Official documents seen by the News Intelligence Unit (NIU) disclosed that about Rs 15 crore were spent from the tax-payers money for Nawaz Sharif’s six Umra trips. For almost each of his foreign visits, Nawaz Sharif used his special Boeing plane that he had promised to return to PIA for commercial use in his famous national agenda speech in June last year.

Almost unbelievably, instead of keeping his promise to return this special aircraft to PIA, Sharif ordered an extravagant US$1.8 million renovation of his aircraft that turned the Boeing into an airborne palace. While reading sermons on austerity to the nation on almost every domestic tour, on this aircraft — on which all the seats were in a first class configuration — Nawaz Sharif and his entourage would always be served a specially-cooked, seven-course meal. PIA’s former chairman Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had, in fact, hired a cook who was familiar with Sharif’s craze for a special type of ‘Gajrela’ (carrot dessert).

While aboard his special plane, Sharif was always served ‘Lassi’ or Badami milk in a Mughal style silver glass by a crew of his choice. Even on domestic flights, Sharif and his men would be served with Perrier water, not available even to first class domestic passengers. The towels he would use on board, had golden embroidery.

Not for a moment, after making his historic promise to the nation in June last year for leaving the palatial prime minister house for a modest residence in Islamabad, did Nawaz Sharif show any intention to leave the prime minister’s palace. On the contrary, soon after that speech, the Prime Minister House received fresh supplies of imported crockery and groceries.

Some of the permanent in-house residents were Sharif’s personal friends, including one Sajjad Shah who used to crack jokes and play songs for him. Sharif’s little-known political mentor Hasan Pirzada, who died last month, always lived at the Prime Minister House. Sources estimate that Pirzada’s daily guest-list to the PM House numbered around 100 people who were always served with meals or snacks.

In the first year of Nawaz Sharif’s second term in power, Hamid Asghar Kidwai of Mehran bank fame, lived and operated from the Prime Minister House until he was appointed Pakistan’s ambassador to Kenya.

While making unending promises of instituting merit in all appointments and selections, Sharif played havoc with the system while issuing personal directives by ordering 30 direct appointments of officers in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). While Sharif was ordering these unprecedented direct appointments, his crony Saifur Rahman was seeking strict punishment and disqualification of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto for making direct appointments in Pakistan International Airlines.

Out of these 30 people who were directly appointed on posts ranging from deputy director to inspector in the FIA — without interviews, examination or training — 28 were from Lahore and were all close to the Sharif family or his government. One of the lucky inductees was a nephew of President Rafiq Tarar.

Nawaz Sharif had such an incredible liking for his friends from Lahore or Central Punjab, that not a single non-Central Punjabi was included in his close circle, both at the political or administrative levels in the Prime Minister’s Office. At one point, during his tenure, there was not a single Sindhi-speaking active federal secretary in Islamabad.

For about the first 18 months of Sharif’s second term in office, 41 of the most important appointments in Pakistan were in the hands of individuals who were either from Lahore or Central Punjab, despite the total lack of representation of smaller provinces in State affairs. Sharif stunned even his cabinet by choosing Rafiq Tarar for the post of President.

Unknown-7His activities were almost totally Lahore or Punjab focussed, reflected by the fact that in the first 16 months of power, he had only one overnight stay in Karachi. Conversely, he held an open Kutchery on every Sunday in Lahore, a gesture he never showed in any of the smaller provinces.

Nawaz Sharif, who had always promised a ‘small government’ ended up with no less than 48 people with the status of a federal minister in his cabinet. Ironically, less than fifteen per cent of the people in 49-member cabinet came from the three smaller provinces.

While anti-corruption rhetoric always topped his public speeches, Nawaz Sharif demonstrated tremendous tolerance for corruption as he completely ignored strong evidence laden corruption reports against Liaquat Ali Jatoi and his aides in Karachi.

Sources said that volumes of documents on the corruption of Liaquat Ali Jatoi, his brother Senator Sadaqat Ali Jatoi, the then Sindh health secretary and several of Liaquat’s personal staff members were placed before Nawaz Sharif, but he never ordered any action. These sources said that Nawaz Sharif also ignored evidence that showed Liaquat’s newly discovered business interests in Dubai and London.

Informed official sources said that Nawaz Sharif also ignored reports, even those produced by Shahbaz Sharif, about rampant corruption in the Ehtesab Cell (EC). Shahbaz Sharif and several other cabinet ministers had informed Sharif that Khalid Aziz and Wasim Afzal, Saifur Rahman’s right-hand men in the EC were involved in institutionalised corruption through extortion from Ehtesab victims and manipulation of the Intelligence Bureau’s secret funds.

Sources said that the Ehtesab Cell had issued official departmental cards to one Sarfraz Merchant, involved in several cases of bootlegging and another to Mumtaz Burney, a multi-billionaire former police official who had earlier been sacked from the service for being hand in glove with a notorious drug baron. Sharif was told that these two notorious individuals were serving as middle men between Khalid Aziz, Wasim Afzal and those sought by the EC both here and abroad.

Fully aware that Khawer Zaman and Major General Enayet Niazi were amongst the most honest and upright director generals of the FIA, he booted them out only to be replaced by handpicked cronies such as Major (Retd) Mohammad Mushtaq.

Sources said that while posting Rana Maqbool Ahmed as the Inspector General Police, Sindh, Nawaz Sharif was reminded by his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif about his reputation as one of the most corrupt Punjab police officers and also about his shady past. But Nawaz Sharif not only installed Rana as the IGP, but also acted on his advice to remove Gen. Moinuddin Haider as the Governor Sindh.

In a startling paradox, right at the time when the government media campaign was at its peak about the properties of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari in Britain, particularly Rockwood estate in Surrey, disclosures came to light about the Sharif family’s multi-million pound apartments in London’s posh district of Mayfair.

The apartment No: 16, 16a, 17 and 17a that form the third floor of the Avonfield House in Mayfair is the residential base for Sharif family in London. Records show that all those four apartments were in the name Nescoll Ltd and Nielson Ltd Ansbacher (BVI) Ltd, the two off-shore companies managed by Hans Rudolf Wegmuller of Banque Paribas en Suisse and Urs Specker — the two Swiss nationals alleged to be linked with Sharif’s offshore fortune.

In a knee-jerk reaction last year, Sharif first denied the ownership of those flats. Later, his younger son Hasan Nawaz Sharif said the family had leased only two of the flats, while their spokesmen, including former law minister Khalid Anwer, said that Sharif had actually rented those flats.

But what will count with legal experts is the fact that in their tax returns, none of the Sharif family members had ever showed any foreign ownership of any properties, nor had their tax returns listed payments for any rented apartments abroad.

“With the sale of these Mayfair apartments, you can buy three Rockwood-size properties of Asif Zardari,” commented a source, who added that Sharif’s third party owned properties in Britain may land them in a crisis comparable only with Benazir and Zardari’s cases abroad.

In another example of hypocrisy, while Sharif geared up his government’s campaign against loan defaulters in Pakistan, a High Court in London declared his family a defaulter and ordered them to pay US$ 18.8 million to Al-Towfeek Company and its subsidiary Al-Baraka Islamic Bank as payment for interest and loan they had borrowed for Hudabiya Papers Limited.

The court papers said that the Sharifs refused to make payments on the principle amount and instead directed official action against the Arab company’s business interests in Pakistan. Informed sources said that a few days before the fall of the Nawaz Sharif government on October 12, lawyers representing the Sharif family were busy in hectic behind-the-scenes negotiations with Al-Towfeek executives in London for an out-of-court settlement. These sources said that negotiations in London broke down soon after the army action in Islamabad.

While Nawaz Sharif deployed the entire state machinery and spent millions of dollars from the IB’s secret fund to prove money-laundering charges against Benazir Bhutto and her husband abroad, his government crushed any attempt by the FIA to move the Supreme Court of Pakistan against a decision handed down by the Lahore High Court absolving the Sharif family from money-laundering charges instituted against them by the last PPP government.

FIA officials who had investigated the money-laundering charges against the Sharifs faced termination from service, while the agency was told that even a decision to probe money-laundering was a crime. This particular case is likely to now go to the Supreme Court in the next few weeks.

SEVERAL INQUIRIES AGAINST SHARIFS PENDING WITH NAB  

ISLAMABAD – Some three corruption references and almost half a dozen inquiries were pending with National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Accountability Courts against former Premier and PML-N President Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his other family members, but the same could not be reopened as the Division Bench of Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench had barred the NAB to proceed against Sharif family.

Officials in the National Accountability Bureau informed The Nation that the Division Bench of Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench consisting of Justice Ijazul Hasan and Justice Wahid Khan, an appellate forum of Accountability Courts, had barred the Accountability Courts to proceed against Mian Nawaz Sharif and other family members in these three cases in October last year. The preemptive move was made in the Division Bench of LHC Rawalpindi after the incumbent Chairman NAB Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bokhari was appointed despite the objection on his appointment was made through a letter written to President Asif Ali Zardari by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Ch. Nisar Ali Khan.

Sources in the PML-N informed that they had secured stay order against reopening of these cases from the Appellate Court only to prevent the PPP-led coalition government to use these cases for arm twisting of the PML-N leadership though NAB.

So an application for early hearing of their petition, pending with the court for past several months, was initiated and the very next day of moving of the application by AkramSheikh Advocate stay against the opening of these cases was secured from the Division Bench of LHC Rawalpindi.

All the three cases-Hudaybia Paper Mills,Ittefaq Foundries and Assets reference—were framed against Mian Nawaz Sharif and his family members after dislodging of his elected government in 1999 and during year 2000 and initially all the three cases had been fixed for trial at Accountability Court Attock where Mian Nawaz Sharif and his brother MianShahbaz Sharif were kept after the dislodging of their government. All these cases were adjourned sine die under some clandestine deal when Mian Nawaz Sharif and his family was exiled to Saudi Arabia.

These cases were reopened in year 2007 when the Supreme Court allowed Mian Nawaz Sharif to return back to Pakistan but once again he was sent back to Saudi Arabia moments after he landed here at Islamabad Airport.

The request for the reopening of these cases was again made in year 2010 when the then Prosecutor General NAB Dr Danishwar Malik had moved an application seeking reopening of these cases on the plea that as the accused in these cases had returned back to the country so the cases against them should be reopened. But the matter once again went into limbo when the Accountability Court Rawalpindi No. 1 judge directed the Prosecutor General to furnish the request for reopening of these cased duly signed by Chairman NAB but as the slot of Chairman NAB was vacant and once again the court had adjourned these cases sine die. In State vs Hudaybia Paper Mills (Pvt) Ltd-nine members of the Sharif family were accused of committing a corruption of Rs 642.743 million.

As per NAB allegations the accused had secured loan against the Hudaybia Paper Mills and later used this money to pay off the loans of other companies owned by the Sharif family. Mian Muhammad Sharif, Mian Nawaz Sharif, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Mian Abbas Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Mrs Shamim Akhtar (Mother to NawazSharif), Mrs Sabiha Abbas, Mrs Maryam Safdar and former Federal Minister Ishaq Dar were the accused in this reference.

In State Vs Ittefaq Foundries etc, Mian Nawaz Sharif, his brother Mian Abbas Sharif and Kamal Qureshi were charged with the willful default of Rs 1.06 billion.

The main allegation against the accused in this case was that M/s Ittefaq Foundries Ltd obtained cash finance from National Bank. As per NAB allegations, the company willfully defaulted to pay back the amount in 1994. In State vs Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif etc is about the Raiwind assets.

Main allegation in this reference is that the accused had acquired vast tracts of land on which a number of palatial houses and mansions were constructed with less resources, which appeared to be grossly disproportionate to their known sources of income. As per NAB allegations, there involved an amount Rs 247.352 million that is under question. Apart from Mian Nawaz Sharif, his mother was also an accused in this case.

There are six investigations against Sharif pending before the NAB following Chairman NAB’s order. These pending investigations included; case of illegal appointments in theFIA against Mian Nawaz Sharif; misuse of authority by Nawaz Sharif as ex-Chief Minister Punjab in the construction of road from Raiwind to Sharif family house causing loss of Rs125 million; Sharif Trust case against Nawaz Sharif/Sharif Trust involving allegation of money laundering, misappropriation of trust funds and acquisition of benami assets in the name of Sharif Trust; London properties case against Nawaz Sharif and others regarding owning of Aven Field properties in London; Illegal appointments in PIA allegedly byMian Nawaz Sharif, and corruption in the allotment of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) plots involving ex-CM Nawaz Sharif, ex-DG LDA Brig (Retd) Manzoor Malik, ex-Director Estate and Shahid Rafi.

Two pending inquiries against Sharifs in the NAB included a complaint of allotment of LDA plots and another complaint about alleged misappropriation of government property by allotting 12 plots to Mian Attaullah instead of one in Gulshan Ravi Scheme ,thereby, causing loss of Rs 20 million to the State.

It is pertinent to mention here that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and other accused in plane hijacking and helicopter case were acquitted

 
 

 

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MERITOCRACY IN NAWAZ SHARIF GOVT: Mussadaq Malik: A Carpetbagger US Citizen/Boston Pharmacist Becomes Minister of Water & Energy in Pakistan

 

Mussadak Malik-Mufaad Parast Carpetbagger

 

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Nawaz Sharif is a bungler and has no knack for recognizing talent. Instead, he uses his relationship with Jagirdars, Zamindars,Waderahs, and Bureaucrats to select their kith and kin for plump appointments.

He gives two hoots about the people of Pakistan.

His efforts are geared towards consolidating his power for the next term. Nawaz Sharif is like a malignancy, which spreads its malevolence through connections.

Mussadak Malik is a classic example of Nawaz Sharif’s Nepotism and Cronyism.

It could happen only in Pakistan. Mussadaq Malik (Special Assistant to the PM and Minister of Water and Power) is a square peg in a round hole.

Mussadaq Malik has a B.Pharmacy from the University of Punjab.

His doctorate is in Pharmacy Administration.

Unknown-4He is a US Citizen, who to date as far as we know,he has not given up his US citizenship.

He spent most of his time in Boston, Massachusetts, where he was unemployed most of the time.

His wife is from one of the most influential families in Pakistan, so Mussadak is riding her coattails.

Mussadak knows as much about Power, as Malala Yousufzai knows about the mathematical formulation of a general theory of relativity,including the gravitation as a determiner of the curvature of a space-time continuum.Mussadaq has a gift of gab or rather as we say in the US, “He is a B.S. Artist.”.

He can make killer powerpoints presentations, but when it comes for execution, he is tremendously lacking.

How sad for 180 million Pakistanis that their biggest problem of Energy is being tackled by a person least qualified to solve it.

May be he will develop High Energy Capsule for Pakistanis, so they can get rid of the Anxiety created by Energy shortfall in Pakistan.

 

Nawaz Sharif is a bungler and has no knack for recognizing talent. Instead, he uses his relationship with Jagirdars, Zamindars,Waderahs, and Bureaucrats to select their kith and kin for plump appointments.

He gives two hoots about the people of Pakistan.

His efforts are geared towards consolidating his power for the next term. Nawaz Sharif is like a malignancy, which spreads its malevolence through connections.

Mussadak Malik is a classic example of Nawaz Sharif’s Nepotism and Cronyism.

It could happen only in Pakistan. Mussadaq Malik (Special Assistant to the PM and Minister of Water and Power) is a square peg in a round hole.

Mussadaq Malik has a B.Pharmacy from the University of Punjab.

His doctorate is in Pharmacy Administration.

He is a US Citizen, who to date as far as we know,he has not given up his US citizenship.

He spent most of his time in Boston, Massachusetts, where he was unemployed most of the time.

His wife is from one of the most influential families in Pakistan, so Mussadak is riding her coattails.

Mussadak knows as much about Power, as Malala Yousufzai knows about the mathematical formulation of a general theory of relativity,including the gravitation as a determiner of the curvature of a space-time continuum.Mussadaq has a gift of gab or rather as we say in the US, “He is a B.S. Artist.”.

He can make killer powerpoints presentations, but when it comes for execution, he is tremendously lacking.

How sad for 180 million Pakistanis that their biggest problem of Energy is being tackled by a person least qualified to solve it.

May be he will develop High Energy Capsule for Pakistanis, so they can get rid of the Anxiety created by Energy shortfall in Pakistan.

 

 

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FIVE RULERS OF PAKISTAN: FAISAL BUTT, NAWAZ SHARIF, ASIF ZARDARI,TAJI KHOKHAR, & MALIK RIAZ

THREE RULERS OF PAKISTAN: ASIF ZARDARI,TAJI KHOKHAR, & MALIK RIAZ

 

FARUKH IS TAJI KHOKHAR ‘S SON: OBSERVE THEIR LAVISH LIFE STYLES

Who rules Pakistan? Malik Riaz of Bahria Foundation

 

WHO STILL RULES PAKISTAN ?

cheaters

Taji Khokhar owned/ owns a guest house in Islamabad where Mr. Asif Zardari used to visit in the

 evenings while in so called detention. He supplies Russian girls to

 Asif Zardari .

MALIK RIAZ 

Malik Riaz of Bahria Town…. …and his crooks!

Malik Riaz was the conduit for bringing the PML Q wing led by Chaudhry

 Shujaat/Chaudhry Pervez Illahi into Asif Zardari’s fold.

Pres. Zardari was so pleased/Jubilant with NICL scandal!

 He said that NICL delivered three people/groups to him who covered to his

 feet. 

1. Yusuf Raza Gilani, as his son/sons were involved

2 Benazir’s nominee for PM…. Makhdoom Amin Fahim

3. Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Chaudhry Pervez Illahi

How the corruption of some, benefits the other corrupt elements. The threat by MQM was thwarted by NICL as Chaudhries came into the fold, by out smarting the murderous MQM.

Who is Taji Khokhar?

Brother of Nawaz Khokhar formerly, Deputy speaker of National Assembly.

He works on behalf of Malik Riaz for acquisition/ land grabbing in

 Islamabad/ Rawalpindi area on behalf of Malik Riaz, the Don….

 Taji ( Imtiaz Khokhar) lives on the main road connecting Rawalpindi to Islamabad and has his own Zoo, where inter alia he has kept two live lions. The whole menagerie daily expenditure runs over several lakh rupees. He is responsible for killing of at least 100 people in pursuit of land grabbing.

At one point after killing more than four persons at a land site, he came home and shot his long time guard and registered FIR against those killed by him and using as a cause for retaliatory firing. Of course he compensated the family adequately.

 

Who is Faisal Butt? 

He owned/ owns a guesthouse in Islamabad where Asif Zardari used to visit in the evenings while in so-called detention. He supplies Russian girls and provide Asif Zardari’s favorite alcoholics drinks. Asif Zardari asked Faisal Butt of his Choice. He asked for CDA. Asif Zardari, who is known for never forgetting anyone who even offered him a glass of water, when in difficulty (unlike Nawaz & Shahbaz Sharif). Asif Zardari asked his choice for Chairman CDA. Butt suggested Kamran Lashari…. Asif Zardari agreed and

appointed him. He told Lashari to follow orders from Mr Faisal Butt. This continues after Kamran Lashari, former Secretary Defence’s brother amassed Millions of Dollars with full patronage of his powerful brother.

Also it is learnt that real brother of COAS, Ali Kayani has amassed billions through Mr Malik Riaz?

 

Malik Riaz also has Shahbaz Sharif in his pocket and has been successful in causing a breach in PML N. Chaudhry Nisar was the victim. All PML N MNA’s and MPAs from PML N from the area around Pindi/ Islamabad are in the pocket of Malik Riaz.

 

TAJI KHOKHAR IS STILL FREE,WHILE KAMRAN FAISAL’S KILLERS ARE FORGOTTEN 

 

Islamabad Murder and Taji Khokhar

FOUR MURDER ACC– — USED ARRESTED AFTER BAIL PLEA REJECTION

By: Israr Ahmad | October 03, 2012 .

RAWALPINDI – Police arrested four men, allegedly involved in the murder of a woman over property dispute, outside the courtroom after an additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Tuesday rejected their pre-arrest bail here on Tuesday. According to details, ADSJ Yar Muhammad Gondal rejected the bail applications of Khalid Khokhar, Muhammad Rafique, Kamran Khan and Tilawat Khan and police arrested them outside the courtroom.

The four men are the bodyguards of Imtiaz Khokhar alias Taji Khokhar, brother of former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Haji Nawaz Khokhar. The four accused along with several other armed men murdered one Sabira Bibi, 45,at Dhoke Gangal, the area of Police Station (PS) Airport, over land dispute on August 17, 2012 when a local commission on the direction of a civil judge was present to prepare its report on the disputed land.

Earlier on Saturday another accused person already in Adyala Jail namely Irfan alias Niko confessed to have shot dead Sabira Bibi, who had a dispute over the ownership of piece of land with Taji Khokhar, uncle of Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar advisor to Prime Minister on Human Rights.

Two other men Muhammad Waheed and Anwar-ul-Haq besides Niko are also in police custody for killing a woman and firing at her lawyer Ghufran Khursheed Imtiazi and the commission also a lawyer Raja Saim-ul-Haq Satti. It is pertinent to mention here that the main accused Imtiaz Khokhar, commonly know as Taji Khokhar, is on transit bail for the 20 days that he had obtained from the Peshawar High Court (PHC).

Meanwhile, Taxila police arrested four robbers after an encounter and recovered weapons, a vehicle and stolen gold from their possession. However, two robbers managed to escape during the encounter, informed DSP Taxila Circle Raja Taifoor here on Tuesday.

The robbers, held by police, identified as Kamran hails from DI Khan, Shabir Khan of Chontra, Muhammad Hanif resident of Lahore and Abdul Rasheed of Rawalakot, he added. According to him, a gang of six robbers had entered Javed Jewelers at Taxila and fled away in a Corolla car with 7 tolas of gold. He said that police cordoned off the area after receiving information. However, the robbers succeeded in fleeing towards Haripur. Taking action, police started chasing the robbers stopped them in a forest near TIP Colony. But, the robbers shot at the police, which also retaliated.

US Reporter Says Nawaz Sharif Propositioned Her

 

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Kim Barker, an American reporter who covered Afghanistan and Pakistan for Chicago Tribune starting in 2003, claims that she was propositioned by Pakistan Muslim League leader Nawaz Sharif when she met him for interviews for her newspaper. 

In an interview with KERA radio, Barker said she followed her bosses advice to try and blend with the local population. However, being a young white female journalist with blue eyes who stands at 5 ft 10 in tall, she says she received unusual attention from the men she met to do her job in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In her recently released book “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan”, Barker recounts how Nawaz Sharif gave her an Apple iphone as a gift and asked her to be his “special friend”. When she declined Nawaz Sharif’s sexual advance, Foreign Policy Magazine reports that he offered to set her up with President Asif Ali Zardari. 

This latest report adds Sharif’s name to the “illustrious” list of senior Pakistani political leaders who have made news for their dalliances with women. 

A 2007 Youtube video showing Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani groping Sherry Rehman attracted a lot of attention. Then, President Asif Ali Zardari was shown gushing about US Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and asking to “hug” her during a meeting in New York.

Here’s a video clip of Barker’s interview:

 

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Escaping Pakistan’s poverty trap

Escaping Pakistan’s poverty trap

Millions are working their way out of poverty in Pakistan thanks to one man’s vision

Shoaib Sultan Khan, who set up the Rural Support Programme 30 years ago

Shoaib Sultan Khan, who set up the Rural Support Programme 30 years ago Photo: Eduardo Diaz
 

7:00AM GMT 04 Mar 2013

 

We were on the road from Gilgit to Sost, in the far north of Pakistan, a journey that follows the Silk Route taken for millennia by merchants on the road to China.

We passed the site of the battle of Nilt, where three Victoria Crosses were awarded after a desperate fight in 1891 between British forces and local tribes.

We reached a great gorge where, according to geologists, the subcontinent of India crashed into Asia, the catastrophic event that threw up the Karakoram mountain range through which we were travelling. Around us were glaciers and great snow-packed mountains of 25,000ft or more.

The Karakoram mountains have still not settled. Three hours’ drive north of Gilgit, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan province, we reached the spot where in 2010 a mountain had collapsed into the Hunza river, destroying the road and creating an enormous lake.


Lake Attabad, between Gilgit and Sost (EDUARDO DIAZ)

My travelling companion, 79-year-old Shoaib Sultan Khan, was taking me back to where the final stage of his awesome life story had begun.

Exactly 30 years ago, when General Zia-ul-Haq was in power in Pakistan, Khan was commissioned by the Aga Khan to combat the endemic poverty and backwardness of Pakistan’s northern areas. Khan, who was working in a Sri Lankan forest village when he was hired, had spent his life in development work. He was already convinced that democratic village institutions held the key to releasing the rural masses from poverty. He set up the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme to put his insights into practice.

Khan stayed for 12 years in Gilgit and Chitral, a town 100 miles to the west, moving from village to village and living among the people. The only money he had at his disposal came at first from a $400,000 annual grant from the Aga Khan – a pinprick in such a vast area. Though other donors (including Britain’s Department for International Development) followed, the small sums involved meant the only way he could bring about change was by persuading local people to do it themselves.

Yet during this period living standards improved more than twofold, according to World Bank figures. Literacy rates soared from a negligible three per cent in 1982 to 70 per cent or more today. Women – hidden from view across much of the rest of Pakistan – have obtained a fuller and more confident economic and social role.

Today Gilgit and Chitral are two fragile islands of stability in a part of the world given over to terrorism and war, in the surrounding tribal areas of Pakistan and in neighbouring Afghanistan. They alone have largely escaped the contagion. One of the most important reasons for this is Shoaib Sultan Khan. In the areas where he has worked there are jobs, means of livelihood, reasons for hope. So in the course of our journey, I asked him to explain how he set about transforming the lives of the people in these tough but incredibly beautiful areas.


Commuters cross Lake Attabad (EDUARDO DIAZ)

‘In every village I went to,’ he replied, ‘I was very blunt and would tell them that I have not come to listen to your problems nor your needs because I don’t have the resources to do anything about these. But I have come with the conviction that you have potential and we would like to unleash that. So I offered them a development partnership, which entailed their having to do something first before the programme can do anything. I told them that individually I would not be able to help and could only help if they got organised. And that organisation has to be in the common interest of the group.

‘My second condition to them was: you have to identify one of your own men or women as the activist who will lead the organisation. No outsider can do that. My third condition was saving. Since capital is power, you must generate your own capital through savings. However poor, you must save something – even one rupee a week.’

This model subverted the conventional model of social development, which assumed that either central government or outside agencies would lift people out of poverty. Years of experience had taught Khan that this method never worked, and that only the villagers themselves understood what they needed. Central to his vision were the community activists.

‘The basis of our system is to identify leaders,’ he told me. ‘I had no more than 200 of these at most at the start. Now we have 10,000. These were the ones who developed this area. I used to say these community activists are our diamonds. They gave the shine, glitter and permanence to our organisation. The qualities we looked for were twofold. First, they needed to be honest, because they had to do the work themselves and, second, they should be prepared to act for others besides themselves.’

It was the activists in Sost who came to Khan and told him that they wanted to build an irrigation channel deep into the mountain to reach the glacier.

‘Our engineers had a look and said that it was not possible,’ he said. ‘But when we came back three months later we found that they had started work by themselves and dug 200m without our help.’

Incredibly, no machinery of any kind was used. The villagers had hacked into the mountainside with the aid of nothing more than rudimentary equipment: shovels, pickaxes, digging bars and hammers of various sizes. ‘We thought, if they can dig 200m then they can dig for a kilometre and a half,’ Khan said. ‘So we gave them assistance.’


A worker in an irrigation tunnel dug through the mountain at Sost (EDUARDO DIAZ)

The initial grant amounted to only 55,000 rupees (about £700). Later the villagers were given materials worth a further £2,000. That was all it cost to turn thousands of acres of barren and desolate land into orchards, plantations and fields.

Khan himself comes from a thoroughly conventional background. Born in Uttar Pradesh, India, he was educated at Lucknow University and Cambridge, and then worked in the Pakistan civil service for two decades. But in Gilgit he found himself taking part in what amounted to a revolution. For centuries the Hunza Valley had been controlled by the Mirs, feudal rulers who denied rights to their people and demanded free labour from the villagers. It is no coincidence that many of his early activists had been involved in a revolutionary struggle against the Mirs in the three decades that followed Pakistan’s independence in 1947.

In the village of Karinabad I found Syed Yahya Shah, who told me how he had been incarcerated in Gilgit’s notoriously harsh Chilas prison for two years at the height of the struggle in the 1960s, before being released on the orders of President Ali Bhutto, who put an end to the power of the Mirs.

Now an old man with a white beard, Yahya Shah told me that ‘I was a hero to the people when I returned home.’ He said that when Shoaib Sultan Khan arrived, his method of ‘mobilising people at grass roots was something I had already done and that appealed to me. The first thing I did,’ he continued, ‘was to learn exactly what Shoaib Sultan Khan’s organisation, the Rural Support Programme, was saying. Then I went to all the villages and became part of the team. Our first achievement was to inculcate the sense of self-reliance.’


Yahya Shah (EDUARDO DIAZ)

Yahya Shah said the most difficult task was to encourage farmers to act collectively. Thirty years ago one member of every household was brought up as a hunter, expected to journey into the mountains and kill wildlife. As a result the local snow leopard, ibex, Marco Polo sheep and markhor mountain goats were near extinction. The villagers also ruthlessly cut down trees for firewood in the higher parts of the valley, opening the way to soil erosion and floods.

But Khan’s Rural Support Programme taught the villagers a new way of doing things. Once they had formed village organisations, and started to cooperate instead of pursuing their separate interests, everything changed. They planted trees in the areas opened up for cultivation on the mountainside. Meanwhile, hunting was banned. The village hunters were hired instead as waged staff (initially paid by the project) to survey the wildlife and deter poachers, thus turning them into guardians rather than destroyers of the environment.

Every year a handful of international trophy hunters are now invited to bid on the internet for the privilege of killing a mountain goat, the proceeds being paid back to local people (and now covering the wages of the former hunters). The villagers opened up new irrigation channels and pioneered agricultural techniques. As a result the upper Hunza Valley is today an idyllic spot. Dominated by massive mountain peaks, it is full of poplar plantations, apple orchards and flourishing small businesses.

Women’s groups emerged. I visited one in Chinar, a suburb of Chitral, which started with only half a dozen members 15 years ago; more than 100 households have joined since. It has saved some four million rupees (£26,000), a colossal sum that dwarfs the 1.6 million (£10,000) raised by local men. Sitting cross-legged on a classroom floor, one member, Musarat, told me, ‘We used to be economically dependent on the men. Today they depend on us. They come to us to borrow money.’


Women trainees in a wood workshop in the Hunza Valley (EDUARDO DIAZ)

These women have never been allowed to attend the local bazaar, so they have set up a trading zone of their own higher up the hill. Each one I spoke to had started a business. Musarat, who runs a garment shop, told me how she had been sent by the Rural Support Programme on a course in management and enterprise. She in turn trained up Nazia, who now has a shop selling local vegetable produce, and Johanara, who sells ribbons and buttons.

These women have made use of their savings to set up an internal banking operation, with 1,131,000 rupees (£7,500) given out in loans this year alone. Musarat told me that they made a 200,000 rupee (£1,300) profit last year, and there has never been a default. She showed me three immaculately kept ledgers recording loans, savings, and the names of those present at their regular meetings, along with the minutes of their discussions. Since the arrival of the Rural Support Programme the lives of these women have become purposeful and confident. They have been given new lives.

Up in Sost the manager of the women’s organisation is Mehr Kamil, a very impressive 38-year-old mother of three who works as a teacher. Her organisation has 170 members and has amassed savings of three million rupees (£20,000). It operates an active loan portfolio, and has never had a bad debt.

I challenged Shoaib Sultan Khan with the claim that his concept of social development, which involves a rejection of the state, was essentially capitalist, and he pondered for a while. ‘No,’ he said. ‘Capitalism is about big ownership. We support small ownership and people in cooperation, the 100-hectare farmers.’

Khan’s teaching is highly sceptical of the state because of its remorseless insistence that villagers stand on their own feet and take care of their own lives. But Khan also recognises that just as the state can rarely produce sustainable change, people can achieve little unless they work as a community. His funding from the Department for International Development was ended two years ago, he said, with no reason given.

Gilgit and Chitral are oases of relative prosperity, but these two jewels in the far north nevertheless remain vulnerable to the terrorism that has become commonplace through the rest of this anguished part of Pakistan. As I left the country, the prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, warned of the ‘wave of deadly sectarian violence that has gripped the tourism haven’. He was referring to the massacre a few weeks earlier of 24 bus passengers by Sunni terrorists near Gilgit.


Members of the women’s organisation in Sost (EDUARDO DIAZ)

I travelled along the road where this atrocity occurred on my journey between Gilgit and Chitral, a 14-hour marathon across the Shandour Pass, which at 12,000ft hosts the highest polo ground in the world. The villages we passed through looked peaceful, as farmers gathered in their harvest ahead of the coming winter. There was no disguising, however, the underlying nervousness and fear. At one of the security checkpoints a soldier asked us for a lift. The police had held him back for three days, he said, because they feared that as a Shia he would be killed if he continued on his own.

Such is the scale of the sectarian hatred that at another checkpoint my guides were asked to declare whether they were Shia, Sunni or Ismaili. I was later told that four hours after we had completed the journey the road had been closed. No reason was given but I was told that suspected terrorists had been captured on the road. In the town of Gilgit itself, life is now lived on sectarian lines. One local man told me that ‘there is one hospital for Sunni, one for Shia, one for Ismailis’, and claimed that such is the tension that the rival sects even choose different routes to work.

Much of the trouble comes from outside. Gilgit and Chitral have always been of importance because they are on the road that links India and Asia. That is why, ever since the days of British rule, there have been incursions into the area. With the war against the Taliban still raging, today is no different. But there is more to it than that. As one elder, Subiday Qlaudar Khan, from Paidendas, a village south of Gilgit, told me, ‘These people don’t descend from the sky. They rely on local leaders for support. The people in the villages have been asleep. The violence is our fault.’

The only way that Chitral and Gilgit can retain their immunity from the tragic violence that has disfigured neighbouring territories is by cooperating to block the outsiders who arrive in the area intent on bringing terror, and creating the jobs and prosperity that give people reasons for hope. Shoaib Sultan Khan may be 79 years old, but his work is more important than ever before. The guardians of his legacy are the village activists of Chitral, Gilgit and the Hunza Valley. But his influence stretches far wider. Khan’s social model is today being copied in India, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka and – most recently – across the border in Afghan­istan. It has already lifted some 30 million people out of poverty, and his unique insights have urgent lessons for the world.

 

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PAKISTAN SECURITY ALARM: PAKISTAN AIR FORCE DEVELOPMENT SUSPENDED: OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS & MEDIA MUST SPEAK-OUT

Published 30th May, 2013, 10:09 PM

 
 
 

ISLAMABAD: Due to financial constraints and non release of funds by the federal government, the Pakistan Air force (PAF) has suspended its up gradation and development plan called “Air Force Development Plan 2025,” says a report of the Senate’s standing committee on defence Thursday.

The committee quoted Air Chief marshal Tahir Rafique in its report, who, it said, told the committee members during its recent visit to the air headquarters that the AFDP 2025 programme was launched in 2003/04 by former president Pervez Musharraf aimed at making it at par with modern air forces of the world.


Unknown-50He said under the plan, the PAF received money by the federal government till 2007.

“After 2007 PAF did not get a penny from federal government and had to shelve the plan,” the air chief was quoted as saying in the report by its Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed.

The report further said that due to suspension of the development plan, PAF had to close number of projects which have affected the overall up gradation in the country including air bases, jets and other facilities.

The report also quoted air chief as saying that the PAF was also not given full share in the defence budget and it received only 60 per cent of the whole budget allocated for PAF.

 
 
 
 

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