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The Other Miracle. by Saeed Akhtar Malik

The Other Miracle.

by

Saeed Akhtar Malik

Towards the end of Zardari’s tenure unimpeded plunder and misrule, PML-N, under the criminal guidance of its grand master, was sharpening its claws to have another dig at a Pakistan, which, as a result of Zardari’s remorseless depredations, was already becoming a carcass.
Nawaz Sharif, the top contender for the title of the greatest crook of a benighted and unfortunate land, in a keen tussle with Zardari, was running for PM a third time. The infamous “Charter of Democracy” signed between these two mega crooks, brought them on the same side, as they planned and executed the rape of their country.
The constitution was suitably amended to facilitate their hold on power, to give them immunity from accountability, and to reduce Pakistan to a confederation. The mutual give and take between Zardari and Nawaz Sharif which led to the mangling of the constitution, also allowed Nawaz Sharif to have a third crack at the fortunes of Pakistan.
 
Pakistan was used to being robbed in multifarious ways. The most usual of these was skimming off huge “commissions” and crafting of SROs, some of which had a life of no more than a day–opening the customs duty door for a single caper in the morning and closing it before nightfall. To this Zardari added his own innovations, like plain highway robbery and putting a huge premium on meetings with him, sought by rich businessmen wanting to become even richer, where time was allotted on a “per minute basis”, where each minute cost the supplicant, quite literally, lakhs of rupees.
But by the time a salivating Nawaz Sharif was due for his third stint at the helm, the conventional theft had lost its charm and thrill. To get one up on Zardari he wanted to do something spectacular. He wanted to pull off a caper which was not a simple spot job, but a linear caper which would keep on giving for at least a decade and a half.
For this, plans for an LNG deal with Qatar were ironed out. First, his own man was to be posted as ambassador to Qatar. Then Saif ur Rehman was made ambassador extraordinaire to bring his business expertise to craft the deal. Then a Pakistani businessman, who could be totally trusted, was brought in. And then, after he won the elections and became P.M for the third time, he appointed a minister in his cabinet to coordinate the massive theft, which was to be his first gift to his country kicking off his third innings of plunder.
The highlights of this deal were:
-LNG would be bought from Qatar at highly inflated prices at a time when gas prices were falling.
-This agreement would tie Pakistan to keep buying gas from Qatar at these inflated prices for the next 15 years.
-A terminal was to be built at Karachi for this LNG. The price of this terminal was U.S.D 30 million, but which was enhanced to between 120-130 million dollars.
-A clause was later added to the agreement, which stipulated that for each day that this terminal was not in use, Pakistan would pay charges of US $272,000—I am informed that for the last 45 days the terminal has not been in use. The readers may calculate what Pakistan has had to pay out!
But the most brilliant clause of this agreement with Qatar is that this agreement will remain “secret”. The reason given for this secrecy is that if the stipulations of the agreement became known, these would be a cause of embarrassment to a “brotherly Muslim country!”
So how was money to be made in this deal? This should be obvious. The difference between the real gas price and the inflated one will go to a Swiss bank account. The ninety or so million dollars “saved” in the cost of the terminal will go to the same account. And lastly, the “earning” of

$272,000 per day when this terminal was idle, would also go to the same account. And the first and last of these expenses to go to this account will keep doing so for the next FIFTEEN YEARS….burn your heart out Mr. Asif Ali Zardari because you’ve been had!
The man who coordinated, crafted, and executed this deal, is none other than Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Prime Minister we have just sworn in to sit on the seat vacated by ex Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has just been kicked out for corruption!

Could there really be a greater miracle than this?

But the attendant question is, how does a poor country like ours pay for a deal like this? The answer is very simple. We get loans from IMF. These loans pay for scams like this one. So this is a “circular ” debt. Our leaders do the thieving; to pay for such thefts loans are taken from IMF; and the people of Pakistan are then to pay off such debts to IMF for the next hundred years, while Pakistan loses its sovereignty. Simple.
It is my contention that if the total volume of theft our politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, and generals have committed, can be computed, it will very nearly equal what we owe to the international lending agencies.
What we owe is known. What we earn is also known. This is simple maths. What we owe is more than we earn. We have to begin repaying what we owe by 2018. This we don’t have the resources to do. When we default on our international debt, sanctions is the first thing we should fear among many other arm twisting measures that will be taken against us. The cumulative effect of all these will be our loss of sovereignty. Those who have put up the money will demand their pound of flesh. It is my conviction that they will demand a surrender of our nuclear assets, an end to CPEC, and free play in Baluchistan.
Pakistan will be brought down to its very knees without an external enemy having had to fire a single shot. The shots that had to be fired have already been fired by our corrupt elite. While we were looking out towards our borders our rulers were busy hollowing out Pakistan. Mega corruption was always the single most lethal threat to our national security and survival and should have been laid down as a national security imperative. 
I have repeatedly tried to impress this on the minds of the powers that be. I have it on very good authority that what I was writing, was being read by Raheel Sharif. I appealed to him repeatedly to see the writing on the wall, and as the de facto guarantor of the security of the state, knock the doors of the Supreme Court to ask for in camera hearing on how Nawaz Sharif and company were impeding the efforts of Zarf e Azab, and how their plunder of the country was tantamount to the single greatest threat to the security of the state. But sadly, becoming Field Marshal, or getting a three-year extension seems to have grabbed the whole of his little mind, leaving little space for weightier matters.
Be that as it may, we are now in need of our third miracle, and this is to take the first miracle, the ouster of Nawaz Sharif, to its logical conclusion. 
Though Nawaz Sharif has been shown the door, he has left behind his pile of “loyal” refuse…. loyal because they were equally involved with the rape of their mother[land] in partnership with him. And they are determined to make Pakistan bleed and drag it to the very edge from where our Supreme Court has tried valiantly to drag it back.
This must immediately be stopped. Pakistan is a bleeding and very weak patient. It cannot bear any more cuts. If it has to survive, the cuts must immediately cease and the bleeding stopped.

The President, the Chief Justice, and the Army Chief should get together to do this. Because the de facto charge of national security lies with the Army Chief, it is he who should bring about this meeting.

And this meeting should decide to do the following 3 things;
1    –   At the moment there are no more than 20 people who need to be put away to ensure that no more instability is allowed to be visited upon Pakistan. About fifteen of them, though ministers today, can be cited for contempt of court. The evidence to do this exists in miles of TV footage. Take these fifteen out and the rest will run for cover.
2  –  The Supreme Court should take suo moto notice of literally hundreds of cases of corruption exposed by our media, and as a first step, put these people on ECL. These people are the only national treasure we have left. We need them to be here so that we can squeeze them and get back the gold they have stolen.
3 –  The President should be strengthened against forced resignation.
Just these three things need to be done, and thereafter the Army Chief need just send around a Subedar and he will be enough to do the mopping up.
In all this, the only thing the army should not be tempted to do is to come in to rule the country.

 

It should though, in partnership with the SC help clear the decks, and follow up with ensuring a clean election. And after the elections, it should throw its considerable heft behind ensuring that reforms be so made that the bureaucracy and the police be so restructured that their postings transfers and promotions are not hostages to the executive. Without subverting the police and the bureaucracy to their ends, political leaders cannot commit theft, and if they still manage to do so, they cannot be immune from the consequences.

The state should be seen as the supreme value. A constitution subverted to barter away the state can only be an inimical document, and must be brought back into a shape which guarantees the security of the state and the welfare of the people for whom it is the supreme law. A mangled constitution like ours is present, which ensures immunity to a corrupt and mercenary elite at the cost of the state and the people, can have no sanctity.
This time is crucial for the destiny of Pakistan. A beginning has been made so that a corrupt few do not make this destiny hostage. But if this beginning does not have a felicitous conclusion, the beginning will have no meaning. This is what the C.J and the Army Chief must be very clear about.
We’ve had the miracle of the ouster of Nawaz Sharif. We’ve then had the miracle of seeing Shahid Khaqaan Abassi elevated to Prime Minister. This second miracle nullifies the first. 
We now need a third miracle. We want the refuse of Nawaz and company swept out not just from our lives, but also from our memory. And we need to see being brought to the book Zardari and his footmen, along with camp followers like Fazl ur Rehman, Asfandyar Wali, Achakzai, the shit that Altaf Hussain has left behind, and the many who are hiding under their beds.
p.s

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I end with urging Gen Bajwa to study and see the threat of mega corruption for what it really is; to redefine national security imperatives and give to this cancer the “honoured” place it deserves in these imperatives; and to openly work with the Chief Justice towards crushing the head of this poisonous snake, so that Pakistan gets a new lease of life. And for these measures to have any credibility, let him begin SIMULTANEOUSLY with the generals who’ve received just a tepid slap on their wrists for bringing dishonor to every man in uniform, and a taint which no amount of dry cleaning can restore to purity.

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Deplorable role of our politicians by Asif Haroon Raja

 

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Deplorable role of our politicians

Asif Haroon Raja

Irresponsible behavior of our political leaders is causing irreparable damage to the nation. Their myopia has caused deep anguish to the people. Their selfishness broke the country into two. When Mujibur Rahman and 22 co-accused were arrested on charges of treason and secession in 1968, the politicians bailed them out. When Ayub Khan who had uplifted the fortunes of Pakistan sky high, agreed to all the demands of the opposition and called the Round Table Conference to find a political way out, power hungry ZA Bhutto failed the conference. While Gen Yahya gave all the political concessions and allocated heaviest development outlays for the eastern wing to appease the Bengalis, Mujibur Rahman chose to play the Indian game to become PM of Bangladesh and not of united Pakistan. ZA Bhutto added fuel to fire since he wanted half of the cake of power at all cost. Their obduracy and India’s disgusting role led to the break of Pakistan. Bangladesh broke away to become independent but has become a satellite of India.

Egotism and greed of nationalist politicians from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Sindh, later joined by Baluchistan nationalists blocked the construction of Kalabagh Dam (KBD), vital for the survival of Pakistan. Who doesn’t know that India was behind the ones opposing KBD and had doled out large amounts to achieve her sinister design? Today when India has built well over 60 dams on the three rivers flowing into Pakistan from occupied Kashmir and is hell bent to make Pakistan a water scarce country and a barren land, no one is holding the opponents accountable. India is now in a position to flood our rivers during flood season each year and control water during seeds sowing season. This strategy has been devised to bend nuclear Pakistan and force it to give up Kashmir and accept Indian hegemony if it wants to survive. But for the avaricious politicians who have sold their souls to the devil, India could never have succeeded in her designs. Thanks to Ayub Khan who constructed Tarbela and Mangla Dams and laid a network of irrigation canals, otherwise Pakistan by now would have been a drought stricken country and couldn’t have possibly pursued its nuclear program or maintained strong armed forces.

We know the architects of NRO and what price the beneficiaries had agreed to pay to get cleansed from criminal and corruption charges and secure power. We know the dream team of PPP-MQM-ANP-JUI-F formed by the US in March 2008 and how this chosen team went about giving Pakistan on contract to the adversaries of Pakistan. While all the PPP leading lights involved in mega scandals were given a clean chit, 8000 MQM leaders involved in heinous crimes were let off. This team played havoc with Pakistan in its 5-year rule. Besides minting money and reducing Pakistan into a carcass, the MQM in its bid to gain total control over Karachi and other urban centres of Sindh let loose a reign of terror in Karachi with the help of its target killers, extortionists, kidnappers. Railway was almost grounded by ANP minister. While all the economic indicators had gone into negative, all profit earning state corporations ran on oxygen, economy almost collapsed and debts doubled. Country was run by taking loans from IMF, World Bank, local banks and printing notes. PML-N tied to charter of democracy looked the other way.

Pakistan was seen as a breeding ground of terrorism, the most dangerous country in the world and a failing state. An impression had been built that Pakistan’s nukes were unsafe and likely to be snatched by militants and hence must be taken in safe custody. Pak Army and ISI were ridiculed by propagating that they were either in league with terrorists or were inefficient and were repeatedly asked to do more. Every Tom, Dick and Harry could whip Pakistan and our leaders took the insults and whips without a whimper. No country was prepared to invest even $ 100 in Pakistan and foreign investment had dried up. Pakistan suffered worst energy crisis and people had to endure 18-20 hours load shedding. There was acute shortage of gas, fuel and commodities. Corruption scaled new heights and was institutionalized. Nepotism was adopted and merit discarded. Cheats and crooks were preferred over honest people. Accountability was in name only since no one was held accountable under the name of national reconciliation. Even those sentenced to death were not hanged because of moratorium. Over 4000 terrorists arrested by the Army soldiers in combat zones were freed by the law courts. No criminal in Karachi involved in hundreds of murders was convicted and punished.

We remember how merrily our leaders accepted the Kerry Lugar Bill which in the garb of aid was designed to control Pakistan’s premier institutions and strategic assets. We also remember the Memo scandal and the devious role of our ambassador in Washington who had authored it at the behest of the top leaders in Pakistan. Hussain Haqqani had pushed in 7000 CIA and Blackwater operatives without seeking clearance from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ISI. Rahman Malik as Interior Minister served the vested interests of his local and foreign masters submissively and enabled Blackwater to establish itself in major urban centres. It has now been established that while MQM is closely linked with RAW, PPP leadership is involved in financial terrorism in Karachi and ANP connection with the Indian Congress is no secret. BLA, BRA, BLF are creations of MI-6, CIA, RAW and are serving their agenda to detach Baluchistan from Pakistan. Their absconding leaders are leading a luxurious life in London, Geneva and Washington. TTP is also a creation of foreign agencies and its top leaders are hosted by Afghan intelligence in Kunar, Nuristan, Nangarhar and used by RAW against Pakistan.  

Instead of building institutions and focusing on alleviating the sufferings of the poor, the politicians got involved in filling their coffers. While the PPP wasted all their energies in glorifying ZA Bhutto and Benazir and in demeaning Gen Ziaul Haq, the MQM and ANP lionized Altaf Hussain and Bacha Khan respectively. PPP and MQM kept fighting in Sindh but slept in one bed. Their insatiable greed and lust for big money and power, and their uncaring habit of displaying their wealth sowed the seeds of materialism and immorality. Their dishonesty stimulated culture of corruption. Their arrogant behavior and their lackadaisical approach and insensitivity towards the have-nots bred intolerance, resentment and further fueled religious extremism and terrorism. Their inefficiency crumbled the economy and accentuated joblessness and poverty. Lacking in vision and patriotism, and preferring self-interests over national interests, they remained engrossed in transferring wealth to Swiss banks and procuring property abroad and took little interest in education and in integrating the society as one whole, which is prone to divisive tendencies due to factors of regionalism, ethnicity, sectarianism, secular-Islamic divide and religious divides. Their corrupt practices became a key factor in disillusioning the youth and in going astray and in fanning provincialism.

These glaring anomalies can be attributed to a robber baron but certainly not to a Guardian. One can expect the callous feudal lord to commit such thoughtless acts but cannot be expected from a true leader and a well-wisher. The have-nots have been groaning under the weight of unbearable poverty and crying in pain for the last 69 years, but the ones sitting in the corridors of power and taking turns to loot the national wealth and resources are so smug in their high lifestyle that they either turn a deaf ear to their cries or pretend that they are doing a lot for them. Each time they stand for elections, they reach up to the have-nots and promise them moon, but no sooner they get elected through their votes they get disconnected from them. Having spent millions during election campaign, they consider it their right to plunder the national wealth. They forget the sacrifices rendered by the workers, tillers, farmers, laborers, artisans who keep the economic wheels of the country running irrespective of the odds.

Even under such insalubrious circumstances, the Army and ISI remained focused on battling with the foreign agencies supported terrorist groups in FATA and parts of KP and managed to recapture 17 administrative units from their hold in 2009 and retained them since the civil administration expressed its inability to takeover. Over 3000 security personnel embraced martyrdom in Swat and South Waziristan operations while the list of injured was much longer.

It is indeed ironic that well knowing that Pakistan has been cleverly trapped into a web of international conspiracy and the security forces are fighting an existential war since 2004, the politicians have brought no change in their behavior pattern and conduct. While the Army is at war and is shedding blood to safeguard the territorial integrity and sovereignty of motherland, and has demolished the last stronghold of TTP in North Waziristan, there is no change in the way of life of politicians. They are still making money, squabbling and indulging in intrigues. MQM followed by the PPP are trying to discredit the Rangers and fail the operation in Karachi since both want the axe to fall on smaller fish only and to spare the big fish. Sindh government is dragging its feet to grant extension to Rangers. They are doing so against the wishes of people of Karachi.

Disgruntled politicians in Sindh never hesitate from using Sindh or Muhajir card. There are some envious of progress achieved by Shahbaz, blaming Punjab for lack of development in smaller provinces. Punjab cannot be blamed for plunging the city of lights Karachi into darkness and soaking the streets with human blood. It is PPP which is creating hurdles in the implementation of National Action Plan and is now seeking judicial inquiry of Bacha Khan University terror attack. PPP is building pressure on the government to wind up Rangers operation in Karachi.

Look at how some political parties assisted by segment of media are opposing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a win-win project for both Pakistan and China since it helps Pakistan in getting out of the woods and China in developing its western provinces and in getting connected with South Asia, Middle East, Africa and beyond. The ones in the vanguard are Tehreek-e-Insaaf, ANP, PPP, JUI-F supported by Baloch nationalists. They are speaking the language of India which is hell-bent to scuttle CPEC.

While the $46 billion project is being viewed by the analysts all over the globe as a game changer for Pakistan as well as for South Asia, India is creating hurdles and has declared that it is unacceptable. Reason is that this project will bolster Pakistan’s economy and enhance its significance in the world and above all decisively demolish India’s plan to encircle Pakistan and her grandiose plans to become a regional and global power. India knows that politically stable, economically sound and militarily strong Pakistan will quicken the pace for liberation of occupied Kashmir from her clutches and then unravel Indian Union. Like India, the US is equally upset about CPEC since it will jeopardise its ambition to shift its strategic pivot from West Asia to Asia-Pacific, disrupt its plans to encircle its chief rival China and will thwart its plans to harness the mineral resources of Central Asia.

Since the CPEC has become a nightmare for India as well as USA because Central Asian Republics and some Gulf Countries have already got attracted towards it, the BJP regime has established a special desk of RAW at Delhi and allocated $300 million to scuttle CPEC at all cost. In addition, ex Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been given $30 million to keep Afghan base active for cross border terrorism in Pakistan. Indian National Adviser Ajit Dowal is the director of the operation and he is using multiple methods to achieve India’s ends. Heating up of LoC/Working boundary, false flag operations, threatening posture, and acceleration in acts of terror in restive zones of Pakistan through which western route passes, establishing a link between TTP runaway leaders and Daesh and straining Afghan-Pakistan relations were part of the gory plan. Having failed to disrupt the progress of CPEC and getting flabbergasted with the outstanding successes achieved by Operation Zarb-e-Azb in northwest, FC operation in Baluchistan and Rangers led operation in Karachi, India seems to have acquired the services of some political parties and anchors/journalists in Pakistan to do what she couldn’t do.

Their possible linkage with foreign agenda can be discerned from the fact that the first attempt to scare away the Chinese from undertaking this project was made through Dharna politics. People were led astray under the slogan of ‘change’. Negative politics delayed the signing of the CPEC deal by six months. Another trick employed was to spoil civil-military relations. After the failure of dharna to achieve its objective, complexion of Pakistan began to improve, and the CPEC project took off. Guided by outsiders, the detractors tried to make it controversial by raising the issue of ‘route’ under the pretext that Baluchistan and KP provinces would derive least benefits from it. They tried to mislead the people by asserting that original plan had been changed to benefit Punjab whereas the only route in the original plan was western. They insisted upon giving priority to western route over central and eastern routes. And when to their great disappointment this issue was amicably resolved by the PM in the All Parties’ Conference held in May 2015 that development of western route will be given top priority, they were left gaping and had to shut up for next six months.

They then waited for their patrons for the new theme to play up. To pick faults, they stated that the western route which is being constructed by FWO under the supervision and protection of Army is just a road. When they were explained that it was a four-lane Highway in continuation to KKH, they are now saying that a six-lane motorway along with all the allied facilities are required at the outset. KP CM is using threatening language; similar to the language used by ANP leaders about KBD. They fail to realise that CPEC is a 15-year long term project which has been entirely funded by China, and the one investing $46 billion has its own interests and security concerns and would like the venture to be profitable and not a liability. No one has ever invested this kind of money in Pakistan. As far as energy parks are concerned, which would consume $35 billion of the total amount, those would be decided in consultation with provinces and the latter will have to earmark places and acquire land. The opponents in their frenetic hatred for the ruling party to gain political mileage have started to sing the old song of “Punjab’, which was sung by the Bengalis and it is not difficult to ascertain as to who is the composer of the song.

The frustrated politicians know well that operationalization of CPEC and resolution of energy crisis by 2018 will sink their political ambitions to capture power in 2018 elections. To remain relevant and garner support of the public, they are ringing false alarm bells about CPEC and employing all sorts of dirty tricks to make it controversial and to dishearten the Chinese and oblige them to abandon the project. Their bleating impelled China to express its concern. In their mad frenzy, they do not understand that this opportunity that has come our way is a fate changer and if it slips away Pakistan will never be able to get rid of its external and internal debts and to remove socio-economic deprivations of smaller provinces and will continue to lurch from one crisis to another and remain vulnerable to conspiracies and foreign adventures.

While I agree that PML-N is not a party of angels and there are quite many feudal lords and crooks in it, the fact is that its performance is far better than the previous regime. It must be allowed to work and complete its tenure. If PPP led regime could be tolerated why not this one which is delivering. Let the people decide its fate in May 2018. Any turmoil in the political setup at this delicate stage when economy is yet to stabilize, energy crisis are yet to be overcome, and our adversaries are getting impatient to denuclearize and fragment Pakistan, will be suicidal. Talk of presidential form of government, national government, or the Army taking over power are unproductive suggestions at this stage. Meaningless tug of war will help our adversaries and not Pakistan. The critics must rationally analyse whether the present government has retrogressed or progressed after it took over.

Nawaz’s softness towards India, although highly unpalatable, may be tolerated. After all, Pakistan cannot afford tension on its eastern and western fronts. It is the duty of the government in power to keep the neighbors placated, particularly when our adversaries are provoking Pakistan intentionally. Pakistan’s chief focus should be towards improvement of economy. Economic prosperity alone will deter our adversaries. At the same time, ongoing operations in FATA, Baluchistan and Karachi must continue relentlessly and National Action Plan implemented in letter and spirit to achieve conclusive results. Besides the cancer of terrorism, the bigger cancer of corruption must also be cured. All this is possible only if civil-military relations remain harmonious, all institutions to perform at their optimum levels and provincial governments to concentrate on improving the socio-economic conditions of their respective provinces rather than blaming the federal government.

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors Pakistan Thinkers Forum, takes part in TV talk shows. asifharoonraja@gmail.com          

 

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SAY “NO” TO NAWAZ SHARIF

 SAY “NO” TO NAWAZ SHARIF

Apr
28
2012

Documents Point To Sharifs $32 Million Corruption Scandal

Following documents have been placed before the Supreme Court and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) alleging Nawaz Sharif involvement in $32 millions corruption scandal.

 

Feb
22
2012

NAB may open more cases against Sharifs

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is preparing to take up cases against PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

According to sources, the cases relate to default of Rs4.9 billion loans obtained from nine banks in 1994-95.

“Cases against Sharif brothers were to be approved in a recent NAB board meeting but were deferred on the directives of the Chairman, Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari,” an official of the bureau said on Monday.

The chairman is reported to have said that all pending cases about politicians would be taken up soon.

The NAB spokesman was not available for comment.

The bureau had earlier frozen some assets of the Sharif family against which the loans had been taken.

The Supreme Court upheld in January a judgment of the Lahore High Court asking NAB to release the assets of the Sharif family. It dismissed an appeal by NAB Prosecutor General K.K. Agha against LHC’s Oct 4, 2011, directive to the bureau to return Rs115 million and property of Hudabiya Paper Mills lying with the National Bank, Islamabad.

The sources said the assets had not been released so far.

The prosecutor general had told the Supreme Court that before heading to Saudi Arabia in December 2002, Nawaz Sharif had consented to return money to NAB under an agreement.

When contacted, PML-N spokesman Mushahidullah said the party’s chief and his family were not defaulters of any bank loan. “That was the reason Nawaz Sharif demanded of the government to make public details of all bank loans not repaid by politicians,” he said.

Replying to a question, he said the value of the frozen assets was far higher than the amount of loans obtained. “Once their assets are released, they will pay the loans,” he said.

The loans were taken from the NBP, Habib Bank, United Bank, Muslim Commercial Bank, Punjab Mudaraba, Bank of Punjab, Agriculture Development Bank, Pakistan Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation and ICP Bank.

During the proceedings in the Supreme Court, the NAB prosecutor general submitted an agreement signed by Nawaz Sharif and the Musharraf government.

The LHC had declared the taking over of property of the petitioners as unconstitutional, ultra vires under NAO, 1999, and without lawful authority. It had also ordered payment of compensatory cost of Rs150,000 per petition to Hudabiya mills, Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Mian Mohammad Abbas Sharif.

 

Jan
31
2012

Expensive govt land on Murree Road allotted illegally

ISLAMABAD: Government land costing billions of rupees on the Murree Road has allegedly been allotted.

While widening the Murree Road in 1998-99, the then Punjab chief minister, who also holds the post now [Shahbaz Sharif], had decided to allot alternate land instead of financial compensation to some of the affected persons.

Working swiftly, the Highways Department first got transferred six acres of land on the main Murree Road owned by the Agriculture Department in their own names and then transferred it illegally to fake victims.

The Revenue department had also declared the allotment illegal six years back. After probe, it was learnt that land was provided to Raja Abdul Latif without any legal justification ignoring the legal claimant Zia Rashid.

Likewise, Raja Shafqat, son of Raja Mohammad Siddiq, was also allotted land while the actual claimant, Mohammad Hashim Khan, son of Haji Manzoor Hussain, was ignored. Two other real claimants Mohammad Usman and Jamila Akhtar were also not included in the list.

A six-member committee consisting of officials of the Revenue and Highways departments in the light of a detailed report of tehsildar Rawalpindi had ruled that all bogus allotments may be cancelled and the land illegally allotted maybe got vacated. The committee had also ruled that the genuine affected persons may be given alternate lands elsewhere.

source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=12142&Cat=13

 

Nov
14
2011

The Punjabi Taliban

Rana Sanullah and Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi of Sipah-e-Sabah

Punjab, with Lahore as its bustling capital, contains half of Pakistan’s population. The provincial government is in the hands of the conservative, mildly Islamist party of a former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. In a speech in March his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, who is chief minister, pleaded with the Taliban to leave Punjab alone as his administration shared their ideology of keeping out “foreign dictation” (ie, Americans). Officials bristle at comparisons between Punjab, which is moderately well run, and the lawless tribal areas.

It is correct to say that there has been no territorial takeover by extremists in any part of the province, nor any enforcement of Islamic law. However, Punjab functions as an ideological nursery and recruiting ground for militants throughout the country. Distinctions between the Taliban in the north-west and older jihadi groups in Punjab have broken down. The federal government says Punjabi groups have been responsible for most of the big terrorist attacks in the province.

Punjab’s minister of law, Rana Sanaullah, went on the campaign trail in February with the reputed head of Sipah-e-Sahaba, for a by-election in the southern town of Jhang. The two rode through the streets in an open-top vehicle. The minister says that he was just trying to bring the group into the mainstream. Jhang is Sipah-e-Sahaba’s headquarters; the group makes little effort to hide its presence there.

Another outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed, is based in Bahawalpur, also in southern Punjab, where it has a huge seminary. Former members of both organisations are integral parts of the Pakistani Taliban. Another group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, blamed for the devastating attack on Mumbai in 2008, also has Punjab as its home. “The Punjab government is not only complacent, there is a certain ambivalence in their attitude” towards extremists, says Arif Nizami, a political analyst based in Lahore. “They compete for the religious vote bank.”

Source: http://www.economist.com/node/16281220

 

Oct
27
2011

Will Nawaz Answer Why PML-N Lawyer Garlanded a Confessed Murderer?

 

Mr Falur Rehman Niazi sahib, who is president of PML-N lawyers wing federal capital Islamabad and is a lawyer himself and has been president for many years, he garlanded a self confessed murderer. Please answer Nawaz Sharif

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Oct
24
2011

Students Protest Corruption of Sharifs

Students protest corruption of Sharifs

Recent agitation against the Punjab government on the intermediate result fiasco, underscores the growing wedge between the youth and a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) desperate to woe the younger generation. The protests could not have come at a worse time for the Sharif’s, who are trying to mobilise the public against the federal government. Following the cancellation of the intermediate exams at four Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) centres in Punjab, students and the youth have raised fingers at the credentials of the Punjab Chief Minister (CM) to mount an anti-corruption campaign against the federal government. The failure of the online examination system across Punjab has sparked anger that now risks the 28 October rally by the Sharif brothers against the federal government, Pakistan Today learnt on Sunday.

Students have asked on what grounds are the Sharif brothers taking out a rally against corruption when the education boards in their own province had become the hub of corruption. While the Punjab CM was visiting education institutes to garner support, the cancellation of Inter-1 result at four BISE boards, including Lahore, Gujranwala, Multan and Faisalabad, sparked rage amongst students who chanted slogans against Shahbaz and Nawaz Sharif and set Punjab government advertisements on fire. After his Inter result was cancelled, student Wasif Ali said,

“Everytime I find the Punjab CM criticising corruption by the federal government, I want to ask him: what happened at the four BISE boards, Mr CM?”
– Wasif Ali

“Is it because of his love for education that no permanent education minister has been appointed in Punjab,” he said, “the education ministry has failed due to its incompetence and the CM should not expect the youth to turn up at his rally.”

“The parents of female students are sitting on roads and chanting slogans against the Punjab government but his government has ordered police to beat up students protesting for their rights. Why should we join him in the rally?” Kashif asked. Another intermediate student, Adeel Ahmad said it was ironic the PML-N was holding a rally against corruption when the CM himself was supervising corruption in Punjab. “While Shahbaz has rightly suspended the BISE Chairman and Controller, no action has been initiated against the man behind the fiasco, BISE It Consultant Dr Majid Naeem, who is related to a PML-leader,” Adeel said.

He said it was common knowledge that Dr Majid had corruptions cases registered against Majid, who had been terminated from Punjab University on corruption charges. He said the fact that the PML-N was turning a blind eye to Majid’s corruption, showed their hypocrisy.
http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/10/%E2%80%98clean-up-your-own-house-first%E2%80%99/

 

Oct
24
2011

PML-N polluting the Mall with banners

PML-N PTI banners polluting mall

As Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) battle through banners, Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) is unable to regulate the display of banners which has officially been banned on the Mall and other major roads of the city, Pakistan Today has learnt. The Mall is heavily polluted by an array of banners that have been put up to advertise the PML-N rally on October 28, from Nasir Bagh to Bhatti Chowk, and the PTI rally on October 30 in Minar-e-Pakistan, following a lack of implementation of the ban. A senior official of PHA said it appeared as if political parties were questing to achieve political glory by attracting people to join their causes but neither did they consider the ban nor did they consider how adversely it polluted the road. He said some of the banners hanged through electric poles and traffic signals after last night’s windstorm. Some had fallen on the road, dirtying it while most poles displayed three to four banners which looked unsightly, he added.

In front of the Punjab Assembly, PML-N banners with pictures of Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz bearing political slogans were seen. On the other stretch of the road, PTI banners could be sighted in the proximity of the Governor House.

Javed Jabbar, a resident of lower Mall, told Pakistan Today that the unsightly banners were a cause of concern for citizens. He also noted that the government’s promise to keep the Mall free from banners had not been fulfilled.

Source: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/10/pha-helpless-against-pti-pml-n-%E2%80%98war-of-banners%E2%80%99/

 

Oct
14
2011

Nawaz’s secret dash to Dubai

PML-N President, Mian Nawaz Sharif, made an unannounced dash to Dubai Thursday afternoon and returned to Pakistan the same evening. The visit was kept completely under wraps and even the senior most party leaders had no idea that their leader had gone missing from the country for a few hours.

According to a source, Mr. Sharif also held an “important meeting lasting a couple of hours” with some undisclosed individuals; however no further details were available on this count and could not be confirmed by another independent source.

According to details, Nawaz Sharif landed in Dubai late afternoon and drove straight to the residence of Senator Ishaq Dar, whose son is married to Nawaz Sharif’s daughter. When contacted, Senator Pervez Rashid (PML-N) insisted that there was nothing unusual or “mysterious” about the visit and that Mr. Sharif had gone to Dubai to meet his daughter and to deal with some family matters.

Responding to another query he said, “Mian sahib had planned this private visit for a while but we (party leadership) had asked him to postpone it because of the evolving political situation here at home. Now he felt that he could afford to take out a few hours for this visit,” adding, “Please do not read anything into a simple private family visit”. When asked about the need to keep the visit a secret, Senator Rashid shrugged off the assertion by saying, “It was a private visit, that’s why”.

It may be recalled that in the past however, every time Mr. Sharif went on a ‘private’ visit either to the UK or the UAE, maximum media coverage was always ensured by his political aides and respectable sized reception parties were assembled at the destination airports. Why this past tradition was suddenly abandoned and a blanket of secrecy thrown over the visit, only time will tell.

SOURCE: http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=9538&Cat=13

 

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PARLIAMENTARY CROOKS: How Crooks Rule Pakistan-Nearly 70 percent of Pakistani lawmakers don’t file taxes

 

“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.”

 Plato quotes (Ancient Greek Philosopher He was the world’s most influential philosopher. 428 BC-348 BC)

 

 

Nearly 70 percent of Pakistani lawmakers don’t file taxes – group

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Almost 70 percent of Pakistani lawmakers did not file income taxes last year, an investigative journalism group said on Wednesday, highlighting deep flaws in a taxation system that has drawn repeated criticism from Western aid donors.

The Center for Investigative Journalism in Pakistan released a report based on leaked tax returns, marking the first time that the records of 446 lawmakers and ministers have been published and focusing scrutiny on individuals ahead of polls next year.

Pakistan’s inability to raise revenue has constrained government spending, depriving schools and hospitals of funds and exacerbating a power crisis, causing widespread hardship in the nuclear-armed country of 180 million people.

Western allies have poured billions of dollars in aid into Pakistan, worried that growing public anger may boost recruitment to Islamist militant groups threatening to destabilise Pakistan and beyond.

But the aid has not been nearly enough to plug the huge gap between members of the elite, who often pay little tax, and the poor who desperately need the public services taxes should fund.

“This is what the people of Pakistan are upset about,” said Jehangir Tareen, a trim, silver-haired businessman who paid the most tax in the National Assembly last year. He tried to set a precedent by making his returns public but no one followed suit.

“Taxes are the beginning and end of reform in Pakistan,” said Tareen, who gave up his seat in parliament in frustration over his inability to push changes. “Right now the rich are colluding to live off the poor.”

Umar Cheema, an award-winning journalist heading the Center for Investigative Journalism, said he hoped the report would make members of parliament more accountable to voters.

Cheema took legislators’ identity card numbers from their public election nomination papers, then convinced employees at the Federal Board of Revenue to leak the tax returns related to the identity numbers. It took him nine months to collect the data.

POOR ENFORCEMENT

The report highlights why Pakistan has failed to improve its tax collection rates: politicians benefit from a lax regime. No one has been convicted of income tax evasion in 25 years and few Pakistanis see a failure to pay tax as shameful.

Although lawmakers have about $25 (15.48 pounds) a month deducted from their basic pay in tax, almost all have second incomes.

“They built this system for their own benefit,” said tax expert Ikramul Haq. Poor laws and loopholes meant lawmakers often have their income exempt from tax, he said.

Huge swathes of the economy, like agriculture, are virtually exempt. Specially designated products also benefit from “zero-ratings” and are not subject to any tax.

“We want to cut down on zero ratings and loopholes,” said Ali Arshad Hakeem, the head of the Federal Board of Revenue. He has vowed to crack down on tax cheats.

“Parliamentarians are just a subsection of the population we want to become compliant,” he said.

Enforcement is so poor that paying tax is almost voluntary, another revenue official said. About one percent of Pakistanis file tax returns.

The investigative group said it had not been able to find tax returns for 35 out of 55 government ministers, including Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Finance Minister Hafiz Sheikh was among those who did file, paying $1,700 in tax on his ministerial salary. His money from private equity funds would be exempt, a tax official said. He spent more on his electricity bill than his taxes, according to a federal tax record seen by Reuters.

The interior and finance ministries did not return calls or emails inquiring about tax obligations for ministers. Visits by a Reuters reporter also did not yield any comments.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar paid $670, the investigative center said. Her spokesman said she paid $1,700, more than most. Her agricultural income and a small dividend from up-market restaurants she co-owns were exempt, he said.

Among the ordinary members of parliament whose tax returns the investigative group was unable to find is Mehboob Ullah Jan, a former secretary for religious affairs.

He is often pictured wearing a traditional flat cap, handing out aid to poor families fleeing fighting in his native northwestern Pakistan.

Jan has assets of more than $30 million, making him the country’s richest legislator, according to an analysis of asset declarations by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency, an Islamabad-based think-tank.

Jan did not return calls seeking comment.

The average Pakistani legislator has assets of $800,000, the investigative center’s study of their declarations found. Yet of those who paid tax, most paid less than $1,000, it said.

Former minister and Georgetown University graduate Mushahid Hussain Syed paid less than a dollar in tax, the center said. The senator was attending a conference in Bali but sent an email disputing the report and saying he had paid $6.

“I was not a Senator then, my source of support was from my family’s agricultural income and lecture honoraria,” he told Reuters.

According to his tax record, Syed paid $6 but had $5 due as a refund.

“RIDDLED WITH HOLES”

The report makes troubling reading for Pakistan’s donors. Much of their aid supports services normally funded by state revenues.

Britain has begun a five-year, billion dollar project to improve education in Pakistan. The United States has given Pakistan more than $3 billion over the past two years.

Pakistan also owes the International Monetary Fund (IMF) $7 billion. The IMF has repeatedly demanded Pakistan widen its tax base as a precondition of possibly rescheduling loan repayments.

“The tax net is riddled with holes,” said Jeffrey Franks, a regional advisor to the IMF.

Most countries collect between 20 to 40 percent of their economic output in tax. In Pakistan, less than 10 percent is collected, Franks said.

Pakistan revenue authorities say 0.57 percent of adults pay income tax and the number is steadily declining.

“People know that the elites, the government, are corrupt but they don’t understand how the corruption works,” said report author Cheema.

“If our rulers are not paying for themselves, why should taxpayers in other countries pay for them?”

Part of the problem with going after tax evaders is the poor state of records at the Federal Board of Revenue. It’s hard to distinguish ineptitude from corruption, officials said.

About three quarters of the time, people’s declarations of what they paid did not match the actual payments, the officials said. An official said authorities never really tried to match up the records: “Oh dear God, no!” he laughed.

(Editing by Michael Georgy and Robert Birsel)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

This video has been hacked by cyberterrorists of MQM and defaced. This was done at the direction of Pakistan’s No.1 Terrorist, Altaf Hussain

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