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Archive for category CORRUPT ROGUE NAWAZ SHARIF

VIDEO: Nawaz Sharif Qarz Utaro Mulk Sanwaro Scam-Lest We Forget

 

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The roar of the paper tigers by Ayaz Amir

The roar of the paper tigers…

Ayaz Amir

Pakistan’s fearsome paper tigers are caught in two traps: Dawn leaks and the Panama Papers. Unable to get out of them they seem to have decided that attack is the best form of defence. Pursuant to this conclusion the jungle of Pakistani politics is ringing with the sound of their deafening roars.

The papers tigers have also put on special spectacles which produce the miraculous effect of making the jalsas of their opponents—principally Imran Khan—look to them like ‘jalsies’ and their own relatively modest shows of force held within shamianas look like mighty jalsas. 

The chief lion, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, has been at a loss to come up with the right answers to the Dawn leaks. He was first compelled to make a sacrificial offering of one of his favourites, former information minister Pervaiz Rashid, who remains close to the prime minister but, alas, is no more in the cabinet. Sooner or later Pakistani information ministers fall in love with their voices and for Pervaiz Rashid to be deprived of the heady pleasure of seeing himself constantly on television is no doubt a heavy loss to bear. Still, the iron law of necessity prevails over other considerations. 

My friend Tariq Fatemi was the very model of loyalty, indeed loyal above and beyond the call of duty. But because of the Dawn affair he too has been cast to the winds. He is protesting his innocence—this in his farewell letter to the Foreign Office—but what good does this do him now?

Rao Tehsin, the former Principal Information Officer, has also been made a scapegoat for no better reason than that he is easily dispensable, although most people in the news business are aware that he had nothing to do with the Dawn leak.

This is turning into something like Watergate, lesser fry like Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Dean and a host of others sacrificed but President Nixon denying all culpability. The Furies eventually caught up with him but many lives were ruined. 
Even as they roar the paper tigers are playing the same game. They want the nation to believe they are real lions and not of the circus variety but such is their moral courage that instead of taking the blame for this fiasco on their own shoulders they have put others—like the hapless Fatemi and Tehsin—in the firing line.

There is a reason for this course of action: the Princess Royal, reputedly the chosen heir to the Heavy Mandate, must be protected at all costs. Remember Memogate? It was pure fiction, a concoction which had nothing to do with national security. It was just an attempt to cut the Zardari government down to size. Dawn Leaks by contrast is all too real. At the height of the anti-Indian agitation in Occupied Kashmir it spoke India’s language and in so many words held the Pakistan army responsible for ‘jihadi’ policies and the country’s consequent ‘diplomatic isolation’. Self-incrimination and tarring the army with the brush of cross-border terrorism cannot go further than this.

At the time of Memogate Nawaz Sharif arrived at the Supreme Court in a black coat to read his indictment against the PPP government. As the Dawn leak saga unfolds what colour of coat would he like to put on now?

How did the Princess Royal get off the hook? The story going the rounds of course is that this concession, made right at the beginning when this affair exploded, came from him who reportedly wanted to be made field marshal. Someone does you a favour, in this case sparing the Princess Royal, and you return the favour by spreading stories of his field marshal ambitions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the same, Dawn Leaks and the Panama Papers are taking their toll. The more the paper tigers feel squeezed the more they roar. The chief lion calls his opponents a hundred jackals although if we look at the moral courage on display in both the Dawn leaks and the Panama Papers it becomes a bit difficult to make out who the lions are and who the jackals.

And what should we make of the Princess Royal losing her cool and attacking journalists, going so far as to imply that those associated with the outing of the leaks, like the journalist Umar Cheema, were guilty of conspiring against Pakistan. This is interesting, for it amounts to saying that the Sharifs and Pakistan are one, and that attacking the one is to attack the other. Louis Fourteenth said he was the state. Madam Maryam Safdar is saying the same thing. Iqbal and Jinnah, turn over in your graves.

But the screws are tightening. If the first action of the three-member Supreme Court constituted to supervise the Panama JIT (Joint Investigation Team) is any indication the Sharifs are in for a long, hot summer. The bench rejected the names sent for inclusion in the team by the State Bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission and asked for a list of fresh names. The beleaguered first family would not be amused.

One thing we can be sure of: the ISI and Military Intelligence representatives on the JIT will be extra vigilant. Gone are the days when the army and ISI acted as godfathers to the Sharifs and lifted them to power and prominence. In today’s different climate marked by the vast gulf of distrust and misgivings between the two sides, the Sharifs can expect no easy ride from that quarter.

But what are paper tigers up to, what does their roaring signify? From the tone of Nawaz Sharif’s recent speeches, and also from the roaring of smaller stuffed lions like Nisar Ali Khan, it almost seems as if they are trying to provoke a reaction. Not having answers to Dawn Leaks and the Panama Papers are they moved by the thought that it would be best to go down again as political martyrs?

It would be folly to lend them a helping hand in this. Zardari stewed in his juice and that is how the PPP was undone. Had his term been cut short by Memogate he too would have raised the banner of martyrdom. The Sharifs now are stewing in their juice. This is the work of no human agency. Dawn Leaks was no army conspiracy. Panama Papers was no handiwork of the ISI. In the predicament of the Sharifs we can see impersonal forces at work, the faint rustle of the wings of history as the past catches up with the present.

So let the stuffed lions roar. Let their minions roar, although personally I am not a little intrigued that the likes of the ever-amusing Talal Chaudry and Danial Aziz have mostly gone silent. Pakistan is caught in a bigger drama and when things happen on this scale and with such intensity, one misstep following another, it would be very surprising if the various events we are seeing don’t come together and roll to a resounding climax.

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PM should step down until JIT completes probe, says Imran

Thief PM Nawaz Must Go Behind Bars For Life

PM should step down until JIT completes probe, says Imran

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Thursday has said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should step down until the JIT completes its investigation. 

Speaking to reporters following the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Leaks case, Khan said Sharif no longer had any moral authority to continue as prime minister of the country.

“What respect will he have when a government officer calls the prime minister for a criminal inquiry,” he said.

Terming the verdict “a historic judgment in Pakistan’s history”, he said that all five members of the bench have rejected PM Sharif’s explanation of the money trail that led to his children’s offshore holdings.

“I demand Nawaz Sharif to resign today. Sharif should resign because he will not allow an impartial investigation,” he said.

“If Sharif is cleared in 60 days after the joint investigation team’s report, he can continue to serve as the prime minister, but at the moment he has no ethical right to serve on this position,” said the chairman of the PTI.

Imran said that only two of the institutions whose members will be part of the JIT fall under the Chief of Army Staff, while the rest come under the prime minister.

“Hence, he must resign immediately in order for an impartial investigation to be conducted,” said the PTI chairman.

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Ruin comes when… HUZAIMA BUKHARI AND DR IKRAMUL HAQ

 

 

Ruin comes when…

By
HUZAIMA BUKHARI AND DR IKRAMUL HAQ

 

 

 

Ruin comes when the trader, whose heart is lifted up by wealth, becomes ruler-Plato in Republic Since November 1990, when Muhammad Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister of Pakistan for the first time, the culture of loot, plunder, corruption, tax evasion and money laundering was legalised through obnoxious laws like Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992 and its likes giving a free hand to criminals that no question would be asked by tax officials and functionaries of Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) for acquiring and using dirty money. His three stints as Prime Minister and years as a minister and chief minister in the Punjab can safely be labeled as “rule of a trader” whose heart is infested with the insatiable greed of amassing wealth, expanding family-owned business empire at the expense of the national exchequer and other business houses. This fact was also noted by a judge of High Court in a reported case details of which are summarized below:

In Messrs Pak Ocean and Others v Government of Pakistan through Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Central Secretariat, Islamabad and others 2002 PTD 2850, the petitioners challenged the imposition of regulatory duty on re-meltable iron scrap, excluding bundled and shredded scrap and the reduction in the rate of duty on bundled and shredded scrap as unlawful, arbitrary, unreasonable and ultra vires Articles 4, 18, 24 and 25 of the Constitution. They contended that the said imposition of regulatory duty through Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) was aimed at making their imported scrap very expensive as compared to the imports by big businessmen in the form of bundled and shredded scrap. According to petitioners, the adverse SROs were issued “to solely benefit the owners of the furnaces who are largely imported of shredded scrap”. In the judgment, there is a direct indictment against the House of Sharifs, contained in Para 50 that reads as under:

Khalid Anwar has mainly placed reliance on the judgment in the case of Ittefaq Foundry v. Federation of Pakistan, PLD 1990 Lahore 121. In the cited case it was contended that the petitioner was a producer of billets and that there were other producers, producing ingots, the end-product whereof was same. In order to economically ruin the petitioner in the cited case, duty structure was changed in the year 1989 without reasonable justification and the change in the duty structure was against the rights guaranteed in Articles 4, 18 and 25 of the Constitution. The contention of the petitioner was accepted and the relief was allowed. However, with the change in fortunes, the persons were feeling the pinch of oppression in the case of Ittefaq Foundry v. Federation of Pakistan, became the rulers and thereafter, they very easily and conveniently managed to forge the treatment given to them and got the duty structure changed through notification assailed in these petitions, thereby deriving huge undue benefit at the cost of total destruction of the small importers and traders of the scrap in loose form.

The above paragraph confirms beyond any doubt how traders as rulers have been playing havoc with the national exchequer and minting billions through tax concessions secured vide SROs thus destroying their competitors. Yet in the presence of these undeniable facts and court ruling the State agencies/institutions like FBR, FIA, ECP, NAB etc plead helplessness and claiming “lack of evidence” to proceed against the tax evaders and plunderers of national wealth.

 

 

 

In two articles, ‘Trail of hidden wealth’, Business Recorder, May 6, 2016 and ‘Tough times for PM’, Business Recorder, May 13, 2016, incontrovertible evidence was produced to show abuse of Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992 to legalise ill-gotten wealth, blatant violations of tax laws by the family of the Prime Minister and wrong declarations made by him in papers submitted to the Elections Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in 2013 as well as false/misdeclarations in returns submitted to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Astonishingly, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) still claims that “no evidence” is available to initiate proceedings against the rulers of the day.

 

 

 

The House of Sharifs has a proven track record of destroying competitive business houses but appeasing traders that politically back them and pose no threat to their “empire”. They have been passing laws to protect tax avoiders and were also beneficiaries of the same. Obviously, tax compliance does not suit the huge business empire of Nawaz/Shahbaz and family. It is not surprising that Nawaz Sharif during his third term as Prime Minister has already announced three tax amnesty schemes and now another is in the offing. In 2013, 2015 and 2016, he approved tax amnesties for tax evaders, which failed to mop up untaxed money.

On the very first day of 2016, the Prime Minister took pride in announcing a tax amnesty scheme and publically revealed that he had been asking his Finance Minister to come up with something “worthwhile” that could be “acceptable” to traders who had not been filing tax returns!! Lamentably, as Prime Minister, he openly vowed to protect the accumulation of untaxed (black) money. He never minces words for announcing schemes patronizing tax evaders and encouraging plunder of national wealth. This perhaps supports the allegations of the Opposition that he and his own family are guilty of these crimes as well, so he wants amnesty and immunities for all.

Nawaz Sharif is reportedly keen to launch yet another tax amnesty scheme knowing that his 2013 tax amnesty shockingly fetched a negligible amount of Rs 88 million from about 3000 persons! Much-publicised and negotiated with consensus (sic) Voluntary Tax Amnesty for traders, the deadline for which was extended many times, could not lure them and only 3205 got registered against the agreed target of one million new filers!

Businessmen and other citizens say they pay income tax and sales tax with electricity bills and mobile use. The rulers should not insist for tax returns as they have stacked assets worth billions of dollars abroad. For electioneering, the rulers get generous donations (chanda) from business magnates and after winning pay back through tax amnesties. Together they make billions through rent-seeking, tax evasion, and remit abroad the major portion of such ill-gotten income. Traders who have been investing billions in property in Pakistan and places like Dubai never bother to pay taxes due from them to run the State. PML(N) protects them!

According to FBR’s own study, the contribution of traders in income tax is just 0.5% and in sales tax about 1%. Like powerful absentee landlords, the traders pay meager income tax. However, they successfully keep revenue authorities at bay due to the powerful political influence they wield. The history of income tax law is fraught with provisions that were amended and/or re-amended on account of the traders’ shutter-down threats or violent demonstrations, causing legislators to get cold feet and succumbing to their demands. The governments civil and military alike have been extending amnesty schemes to tax evaders to whiten their undeclared incomes and ill-gotten wealth, for example, Ayub Khan’s Tax Amnesty Scheme of 1958, 1969 Tax Amnesty of Yahya Khan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Tax Amnesty, Self-Assessment Schemes of the 1970s, Special National Fund Bonds or Simplified Self-Assessment Scheme of the 1980s, Foreign Currency Accounts or Foreign Exchange Bearer Certificates of the 1990s, Amnesty Scheme of 2008 by PPP government, three amnesties schemes of Nawaz-Dar since 2013, various other millennium immunity schemes and the perpetual scheme in the form of the infamous section 111(4) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

Irrespective of what would be the fate of any new tax amnesty scheme, the question that emanates from the prevalent bizarre state of affairs is why traders have been defiant to file tax returns and sales tax statements? There cannot be any one definitive answer because the matter goes down to innumerable factors having roots in certain motivations as well as the draconian image of FBR. The sole responsibility for trust deficit cannot be assigned to FBR. The traders pay millions as Zakat and donations but abhor paying taxes. The general argument is that government spends money callously and for the benefit of elites.

The sanctity to make unrestrained (excessive) profits (munafaa) by traders has the authority of certain clerics. The traders borrow money at exorbitant rates from private parties but avoid banks to hide from the eyes of tax people. The lenders also remain tax-free and borrowers accumulate untaxed money by fleecing masses. There are no effective controls to check unscrupulous traders from charging unreasonable prices.

The clergy in general, with a few exceptions, plead against paying taxes and ask traders to pay Zakat. Resultantly, the greed to amass wealth becomes an obsession violating all social and moral obligations. Thus, adulterating eatables, incorrect measurements, selling defective or sub-standard products, misrepresenting, providing unprofessional services, defrauding customers, refusing to honor guarantees or other duties as abiding by governmental laws regarding trade or payment of taxes, are not considered immoral or violating laws.

All is fair, as long as one is able to stuff one’s pockets with paper money and then have the audacity to squander it in an ostentatious display of wealth and power. Such behavior is visible in the length and breadth of our entire society. Apart from an ignorable number, the majority of traders from a petty fruit/vegetable vendor to the owner of large departmental stores leave no stone unturned to swindle an unassuming customer as well as the concerned government agents with whose connivance they easily manage to evade their national duties.

Non-compliance of tax obligation is a grim reality of Pakistan. The State has failed to fulfill its basic obligations-protection of life and property, health, education, housing and transport etc. In our peculiar milieu, the government needs to educate the masses through the same platform that is used by clergy. The mosques should be under state control, headed by trained teachers who are adequately paid the same model exists in a majority of Muslim countries. Primary education should start from the mosques.

The trader-mullah nexus for non-payment of taxes and huge amounts extracted for madrassahs are issues that need to be debated and handled democratically. These are critical for our existence as a democratic country lest we continuously slide towards mullocracy, extremism, and militancy that have disastrous effects for societies, and are destructive to humanity. Tax defiance and corruption in Pakistan are closely linked with rulers-cum-traders-who are unscrupulous and their greed is unbound. Plato aptly said in the Republic that ruin comes for a country when traders whose hearts are filled with greed become rulers. This is what we are witnessing in today’s Pakistan.

(The writers, lawyers, and partners in Huzaima, Ikram & Ijaz, are Adjunct Faculty at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).)

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Is the ‘fix’ in?

Is the ‘fix’ in?

 

 

 

 

By

Khawaja Daud Mazhar,

The Nation

 

 

Having endured all the barbs of the last two months or more, the PML-N ‘darbaris’ are again out in full swing daily, claiming how their erstwhile, thoroughly corrupt and in any other countries court of law who would have been declared a notorious and habitually corrupt person, is going to get a ‘clean chit’ from our highest court.

While it is almost mind boggling how they could lay claim to such a grossly asinine decision even before it has been announced, it would not be far from reality as they, the government of the day, has all the tools in their toolbox to snoop into the highest courts computers to find out what kind of decision is being penned down by the judges.

One has heard numerous talking heads on the ‘idiot box’ suddenly changing their ‘considered’ opinions and reputable columnists penning the same mantra in their recent columns in the newspapers, all this leaving those with just a little bit sanity, scratching their heads till what little hair left have fallen down in a heap next to their chairs.

What has changed so drastically within a few days? Yes, the COAS has been to Saudi Arabia and Qatar recently and Nawaz Sharif has visited Turkey for a sumptuous dinner. Were there messages delivered to the army top brass on these visits to let a mafia continue pillaging the state coffers without any hindrance? Was PM Nawaz Sharif given the ‘good’ news at that dinner in Qatar? And so relieved was he by this ‘bolt of lightening’, that he could not help but sing an Indian song in Karachi today?

For those still trying to figure out the guilt or innocence of the third time PM, one only needs to ask them to go through the final presentation of Sheikh Rashid in the Supreme Court. For any ordinary citizen of the country, the humiliation that Mr. Nawaz Sharif has suffered during this Panama gate trial would have been a ‘wall of shame’, but he goes and whistles a tune in public.

The multiple layers of lies and distortions meted out by the cabal of darbaris daily in defense of their ‘man’, would stun the wits out of those with the thickest of skins, but yet they continue again with a fervor unmatched for the last two weeks. Within this maelstrom of mendacity lies an urgent will to change the narrative, both of the judges and the establishment.

The question that begs to be answered, for if these rumblings of a ‘clean chit’ are to be believed is, what transpired in the last two weeks? Have the Honourable Judges of the Supreme Court been influenced, coerced or threatened to change their opinions contrary to their remarks in reaction to the incredulous presentations by the lawyers of the Sharif family during the hearings, or has the highest judiciary of this land, once again decided to have their reputations further tarnished?

It is also a given that the superior judges have not listened to anyone in the past, sparing the Sharif family, except for The Boots. As one retired Chief Justice told the writer almost two decades ago while watching a cricket match at Gaddafi Stadium, “When giving an important decision, our ears are pointed towards the ground for the echo of the boots”. So is one to believe that those in whose nursery this plant of the Sharif political dynasty was nurtured, have once again swiveled their baton to save him from a difficult judgment?

If those with Red Stripes have actually played a dirty game with the people of this country and their day of reckoning awaits them in the afterworld for sure. No Generals, nor the Supreme Court Judges can play with the destiny of this country any longer. That we have gained a reputation both as a banana republic and a slave of the West, is sure because our institutions have lately been shirking from their oath.

What is making our reputable armed forces the butt of jokes in the eyes of the nation and of those abroad, that they have not had the guts to catch and punish those who deliberately and shamelessly disgraced them through ‘Dawn Leaks’? Any surprise that there is evidence and a conviction all over the land that it was none other than the ‘queen’ in waiting who masterminded the whole affair? The Chief is questioned at his regular visits to the “formations” about the final results of the inquiry into this ugly and despicable affair, yet he puts forth nothing but excuses and promises of a report soon. How has it affected the morale of those young officers who take pride in the uniform that they wear as to how rubbery kneed their Chief is?

For those wearing the robes in that ‘House on the Constitution Avenue’ and who are thus referred to by mortals appearing in front of them as “My Lords”, let this be a reminder that upon your shoulders and in your pens, rests at stake the future of Pakistan. Will it continue to be ruled by corrupt and dishonest people who are to be allowed free licence to pillage its resources for their personal will, while their 20 crore subjects are walking around without any hope or future, or will this be the decision that will put our nation back on the moral footings that our leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah strived for.

The hour is near, and My Lords, you can either ‘Go gently into this great night or you can Go Boldly into this great night’. The people of Pakistan are praying that you choose to ‘Go Boldly’.

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