According to media reports, Sind High Court (SHC) has instructed the government to remove the name of former dictator General (R) Pervez Musharraf from the exit control list (ECL).
So, all the mess Musharraf gang created is finally paying off. Pakistan is still in ruins from his policies and will plunge into more chaos but then who cares?
Finally, PMLN surrendered as expected and didn’t prosecute the cases seriously with full intent. This is NRO2 and nothing else which was expected from political parties like PPP and PMLN who made deals with Occupied Armed Forces and their foreign masters to come into power.
The disappointment is more from PTI and Imran Khan who danced to the tune of establishment and helped them create a distraction in the form of Geo.
Now, forget any kind of justice for missing persons too and they will be left for facing baton charges on the streets. No one will blame army as it is a grave sin and blasphemy to criticize an army which is at war (self-imported).
Some interesting things to note from recent events:
Military establishment especially Musharraf gang is doing everything they can to create the right kind of chaos to make grounds for his safe exit. I have been saying that they will burn the whole country, even if they have to, to protect dictator and his team, to continue his war policies and to get away from cases like missing persons case.
So far they are able to get the desired outcome from most of the things :
a) By doing Hamid Mir episode they were able to get the angry response from Geo which resulted in its shut down.
b) They used the distraction from Geo issue to do aerial strikes which triggered revenge attacks in Karachi and other places so now dialogues option is pretty much gone. It means TTP reacted as the establishment expected them to do so.
c) They were even able to marginalize anti-war parties by distracting them using issues like #Geo and that stupid issue of Shaista Lodhi show. Even PTI and Imran Khan fell for that.
d) Nawaz Sharif has no chance of stopping the establishment as he has also made deals with them to grab power. rigging in 2013 Elections of Pakistan was not possible without establishment support.
The only player which dodged the bullet is MQM and despite serious hatred for their politics and tactics, I must say they played well for their own sake.
There was a serious plan to replace Altaf Hussain and install a new leader like Ishrat ul Ibad or bring back Mustafa Kamal or even #Musharraf as Altaf was not allowing even Musharraf to share political base of Karachi which establishment needs for Musharraf.
They tried to use the recent Altaf Hussain arrest situation but the show of ground mafia power by MQM made them to change their minds as they want to replace Altaf but not at the cost of losing ground support of MQM for this war and other policies.
MQM is still with Musharraf but not at the cost of Altaf and its Musharraf who will be looking at MQM for support not the other way around as attempted by the establishment.
I hate bhair bakri (sheeple) attitude of many Muhajirs in Karachi when it comes to following Altaf or surrendering their freedom in front of him by force but it seems these are the only things which helped MQM survived the hijacking attempt by establishment and now establishment still needs MQM for this war, Musharraf and other issues.
For last 6-7 decades army is exploiting ethnic, sectarian and social class prejudices to rule either directly through martial laws or indirectly during puppet or so called civilian governments. Nationalism is another card along with Shaheed card which they use very often to recover their image when their big blunders bring them under some criticism.
Even in this fake war on terror, they used sectarian, ethnic and social class prejudices to forward war agenda in Pakistan and if we are seeing the results in the form of Shia-Sunni or Sufi-Salafi wars or similar other conflicts then we shouldn’t feel shocked. Its the similar outcome they wanted but perhaps a bit more under control where they have command over resulting situations so that they can use these situations for their advantage. They were fools if they were expecting any good out of these evil, corrupt and stupid policies. This mess can only be cleaned if we start valuing our freedom and develop some sense of justice instead of worshiping false gods like troops, mullahs, feudal rulers, sufis, mafia lords or others.
War defeats and loss of half country should tell us that this current colonial legacy based army structure is bogus and not designed for defense but 4 martial laws show it is designed for proxy rule of foreign powers. It was army which gave bases to Americans and invited drones and gave NRO with the help of Americans/British so that this war can go on. its army which made Pakistan a front line american ally in this war against afghans or Pakistanis.
Geo definitely played a doubtful role in 2013 elections but using that issue to promote troop worship is something really disappointing from PTI. Geo is a private TV with business interests so one can expect these things from them and the solution is to change the channel. Focus should have been on the rigging which couldn’t have happened without the support of military and civil security establishments, who were supposed to secure the electoral booths and we saw how it went.
If PTI and Imran Khan are thinking that they will get something good out for the country or for the party by supporting the troops on wrong things then they should learn from their friends in KPK government i.e. Jamaat-e-Islami which supported the troops on many occasions especially in 1971 and we can see how establishment treats them. JI gave lots of sacrifices for establishment blunders in 71 and ended up facing most of the fall out. Even the recent 10 party alliance or new IJI didn’t give them anything.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto launched his career as Gen (Retarded) Ayub’s puppet, became CMLA with the help of army, supported military’s policies towards bengalis and we saw what these troops did to him.
Nawaz Sharif, another product of establishment, was forced into exile. Even in 2013 elections he came to power through more deals and we will see how hard it will be for him to keep up the promises especially on issues like peace with India or on Musharraf case or on missing persons case (We already saw what happened with them in Islamabad).
Benazir Bhutto made NRO deal and we can see how it ended.
I mean, what the heck is wrong with politicians and even their supporters? Why can’t they see the real root causes of the problem which are related to the British legacy proxy ruling structure in the form of occupied mercenary armed forces? How will they be able to solve fundamental issues if they try to please the real devil?
The troop pleasing attitude is expected from feudal-corporatist politicians like Nawaz or Zardari, mafias like MQM etc but a party which promotes justice and human rights and ends up surrendering in front of troop worship mindset is really disappointing.
PTI is up against two products of establishment: NRO gang and IJI-2 or 10 Parties Alliance: Its time for Change and Naya Pakistan
It seems establishment is afraid of seeing a mindset of change in many people of Pakistan especially educated youth. They have now resurrected their old products to fight against any possible change in status-quo.
PTI is against two products of establishment :
1- NRO gang : PPP,MQM,ANP,PMLQ,APML
2-10 Party alliance or IJI-2:http: PML-F, PML-N, Jamat e Islami, Jamiat Ulema e Islam-Fazal (JUI-F), Jamiat Ulema e Pakistan (JUP) and others.
Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) was formed by ISI in 1988 to counter PPP under Benazir Bhutto and now it seems they have again formed it to counter the rising power of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf. Leaders of JI and PML-N call it an alliance against PPP and MQM but we know PPP and MQM are already part of establishment’s other gang i.e. NRO gang launched by former dictator General (R) Musharraf.
Lets see if people can call this bluff from IJI-2 parties who are trying to hijack the momentum of change like Tahir al Qadri tried or Musharraf tried in his second failed coming. Establishment always find it easy to deal with old status-quo parties and groups like NRO gang, MMAs or IJIs but they cannot see a genuine force of change like PTI to come in power because someone like Imran Khan can neither be bought nor he can be cornered or pressurized as he doesn’t have a record full of political and financial corruption.
PML-F-led meeting of 10-party alliance not yet held
KARACHI: The meeting of Pakistan Mulsim League-F-led ten-party alliance has still not been held, Geo News reported Wed.
According to details, the parties were to reach finalize matters relating to seat adjustments for National and Provincial assemblies’ constituencies of Karachi after holding consultations.
The meeting of 10-party alliance called by PML-F was to be attended by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamat e Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema e Islam-Fazal (JUI-F), Jamiat Ulema e Pakistan (JUP) and others.
According to sources, the provincial meeting of 10-party alliance suffered a delay due to internal conflicts in PML-N.
The leader of PML-N Shahbaz Sharif is in Karachi and trying to fix conflicts between the party’s Karachi and provincial chapters in connection with distribution of tickets.
President of PML-N Karachi Nehal Hashmi had submitted his nomination papers for NA-251, while the party’s provincial leadership has made a seat adjustment for the same with JI.
For a reminder about NRO, here are few links including names of those individuals and parties who benefited from it:
In a historic and remarkable decision today, Supreme Court of Pakistan declared PM Gilani as guilty in Contempt of Court case against him for disobeying court orders in NRO case.
A seven-member bench, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk announced the conviction violating article 63 (1) (g) of the Constitution and for ridiculing the court. Gilani is punished for the duration of the court sitting time for the case today. “For reasons to be recorded later, the prime minister is found guilty of contempt for wilfully flouting the direction of the Supreme Court,” said Justice Nasirul Mulk (according to Express Tribune).
Punishment to Gillani seems to be minor but it will be enough to disqualify him and it has also limited his chances of becoming a political martyr or jail hero. I would say with a bit reservation that its not a bad decision but a bit wise one.
Hopefully, things will improve in the country and Rule of Law based on equality and justice will find its way in the country.
My take on recent events between govt and army especially after the sacking of defence secretary.
The whole game seems to be to send Judiciary home and give a face saving exit to PPP govt. Army fully seems to be an important part of this drama
Real cases are NRO, missing persons and 3rd november. whenever judiciary starts to move against any of these issues govt.,establishment and freindly opposition start playing their drama for TAWAJJA HATAO MUHIM.
Kiyani, Rao Qamar and Pasha should have been sacked after Osama bin laden failure.
Lets see what future brings to us. But one thing establishment and government should know. People with their brains in function will support constitution/judiciary
ISLAMABAD: A five member bench of the Supreme Court has decided to refer the six options relating to the NRO implementation case to the Chief Justice for constitution of a larger bench for hearing of these options.
Announcing the verdict on NRO implementation case‚ the bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said the six options are being handed over to the Attorney General.
01: To initiate the contempt of court proceedings against the Chief Executive and the Secretary Law for not implementing the NRO verdict.
02: To declare the chief executive ineligible from the membership of the Parliament.
03: The court may form a commission to get the verdict implemented.
04: The people themselves decide on the issue and the court exhibit patience.
05: Contempt proceedings against Chairman Nab may be initiated.
06: The action may be taken against President for violating the Constitution.
The Supreme Court said in its order in NRO implementation case that the government has failed to implement the verdict.’The government is not taking interest to observe the order for the last two years. We knew that the actions we are about to take they may be unpleasant.’
‘The court has taken oath to defend the Constitution. The prime minister respected the party over the Constitution.’
‘The president in an interview to Geo News said his government would not implement one part of NRO verdict.’
As per Article 189 and 190 all institutions are bound to help the apex court, the order said.
‘Prima Facie the prime minister is not an honest man and violated his oath.’
The court recommended the case to the chief justice to form a larger bench to hear the case on January 16.
A Five-member bench of Supreme Court (SC) headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa resumed the hearing of the case pertaining to the implementation of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) verdict today.
Official Pakistani documents detailing how the country’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, benefited from massive, secret payments connected to the sale of French submarines to Pakistan have been seized as evidence by a Paris magistrate investigating a suspected widespread scam surrounding the deal.
The documents, revealed for the first time by Mediapart, show that the payments to Zardari and others took place on the fringes of the sale of three Agosta-class submarines by the French defence contractor the DCN) to Pakistan in the 1990s. The French sale succeeded against rival offers by Swedish and German contractors.
The sale, and the payment of bribes associated with it - officially termed as commissions – are at the core of what has become known as the ‘Karachi affair’, currently the subject of two French judicial investigations and which has rocked the French political establishment with its potential far-reaching ramifications within France.
A key allegation in the developing affair is that the cancellation of commissions paid out in the submarine deal was the motive behind a suicide bomb attack in Karachi on May 8th, 2002, that left 11 French engineers dead. They were in Pakistan to help build one of the Agosta submarines.
Increasing evidence suggests that cancellation of the commissions, ordered by former French president Jacques Chirac, was decided after it was discovered they were in part re-routed back to France to fund political activities of Chirac’s principal political rival, Edouard Balladur. For the full background to the story please click here.
The documents now in possession of Paris-based judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke were found during a French police search in June 2010 of the home of Amir Lodhi , one of the intermediaries involved in securing the Agosta contract. Lodhi held a copy of a report by a Pakistani anti-corruption service, the Ehtesab Cell.
Lodhi, 61, the brother of a former Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations, is a close friend of Zardari, who became president of Pakistan in 2008 one year after the assassination of his wife, Benazir Bhutto.
The raid on Lodhi’s home in the French capital was carried out by detectives from the French police national financial investigation division, the DNIF, (Division nationale des investigations financiers). The Ehtesab Cell documents were the object of a formal report by the DNIF, established on June 17th, 2010, and reveals that Zardari received backhanders worth 6,934,296 euros between October and December 1994.
That report is now among the evidence collected by Van Ruymbeke in his investigations launched last autumn into the financial aspect of the Agosta submarine sale, and in particular whether commissions paid abroad were re-routed to fund political activities within France.
Originally written in English, the Pakistani document was translated by the DNIF investigators and now provides the first clear details about the scale of the payments made to Zardari, amounting to several million euros, as well as the channels used, including offshore companies, bank accounts and a British tax haven.
Bank transfers to the Virgin Islands
The Agosta submarine contract was signed between the two countries on September 21st, 1994, just weeks before the first payments began.
At the time, Zardari was a minister in the Pakistani government then led by his wife, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Importantly, Zardari was the key figure for all public contracts signed with foreign countries. That position earned Zardari the unflattering nickname in his own country of “Mister 10%”.
The main document seized by French investigators is a photocopy of an original dated November 9th, 1997, concerning a request by Pakistan to Switzerland for co-operation in a judicial investigation.
The request by the Pakistani authorities to Switzerland aimed, according to the officer, “to obtain all the necessary information to pursue a criminal investigation and to try the former prime minister of Pakistan, Madame Bhutto, her husband, Monsieur Asif Ali Zardari, her mother, Begum Nusrat Bhutto and the other members of the Bhutto government, public servants and civilians implicated in the conspiracy of Madame Bhutto and/or her husband to misappropriate public funds for their own profit.”
The French police report said the document explicitly referred to the Agosta contract: “This request concerns several cases of malpractice including that of the purchase of French submarines.” According to the DNIF investigators “the chronology and the currency [of the sums paid] suggest that these payments are secret commissions paid by the DCN-I [the commercial arm of the submarine builders DCN] to Monsieur Zardari and Monsieur Lodhi for their considerable service in assuring that DCN-I got the contract”.
Huge sums are recorded at the end of 1994 alone, when a company called Marleton Business Inc. was set up through a lawyer in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands for use by Zardari. A first payment of some of 5.5 million francs (about 838,000 euros) took place in October 1994 “of which 70% goes to Monsieur Zardari (AAZ) and 30% to Monsieur Lodhi (AL),” noted the French police report.
Sarkozy’s ministry ‘approved’ bribe sums
A second transfer took place two months later, in December, for an altogether larger sum of 59.48 million francs, (about 9.06 million euros) “divided into 41.636 million [francs] for Monsieur Zardari and 17.844 million for Monsieur Lodhi”. That represented 6,934,296 euros for the current president of Pakistan, and 2,971,841 euros for his partner.
According to the French investigators, the official Pakistani documents seized in Lohdi’s Paris home also explain that “Messieurs Lodhi and Zardari received their bribes in the bank accounts of a series of offshore companies”.
The report says they are all based in the Virgin Islands and they are identified by the DNIF as: Marvil Associated Inc., Penbury Finance, Oxton Trading, Crimities Holding and Dustan Trading.
The banks involved in the payments were also recorded in the Pakistani documents, as well as the bank accounts used. “The commissions paid into the accounts, notably opened by these companies at the Pasche bank and the bank of Piguet et Cie, in Switzerland, were probably supplied by transfer from the Banque française du Commerce extérieur [French bank of Foreign Trade], account number 2700 0008358 or IV10000083580.”
Several high-profile witnesses questioned in November and December 2010 by judge Van Ruymbeke have insisted that the bribes paid in 1994 were perfectly legal and were approved by France’s then-defence minister, François Leotard, and its budget minister, now France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
In a statement he gave to Van Ruymbeke on November 9th, 2010, former DCN-I finance director, Gérard-Philippe Menayas, said “the total volume of the commissions was validated, contract by contract, by the ministers of the budget and defence.”
In a statement given to judge Van Ruymbeke on December 7th, 2010, Jacques Dewatre, who in 1994 was head of the French foreign intelligence service, now called the DGSE, testified that “The approval for commissions is the responsibility of services which depend upon the Minister of Defence and the Minister of the Budget.”
Mediapart has learnt Van Ruymbeke’s investigation has already established that, in order to convince the Pakistani authorities to choose the French submarines, a very structured network of corruption was established by a French state company dedicated to such activities. This was the Société française de matériels d’armement, the SOFMA, which partnered the designers and builders of the submarines, the DCN.
Van Ruymbeke has evidence that the SOFMA set aside the equivalent in francs of 51.6 million euros for bribes to be paid out in the Pakistan deal.
Influential agents working with the SOFMA used the money to gain the favours of numerous Pakistani dignitaries, in both military and political spheres. While the practice of commission payments was then legal for France, the reception of bribes was illegal in Pakistan.
Asif Ali Zardari was one of the main benefactors of the paid bribes, according to a former SOFMA managing director, Henri Guittet. He evaluated the sum paid to Zardari as being 4% of the total value of the sales contract, which amounts to a value of 33 million euros.”I believe there was one per cent paid upon the signature of the sales contract, which means at the moment when everything can get underway and when notably the deposit and [partial] down payment has been paid, and one per cent later,” he said in a formal statement. “The remaining two per cent was pro rata with the payment of the clients.”
But French judicial investigators are investigating whether the Agosta contract also involved illegal payments in France. It was in the summer of 1994, despite the fact that negotiations with Pakistan over the sale were already successfully concluded, that the government of then-prime minister Edouard Balladour imposed two Lebanese intermediaries in the contract, Ziad Takieddine and Abdulrahman El-Assir.
They were promised supplemantary commission payments worth more than 30 million euros. Both judge Van Ruymbeke and judge Marc Trévedic, who is heading investigations into the murders of the French engineers, have collected evidence suggesting that part of the supplementary commissions was destined for Balladur’s 1995 presidential election campaign.
Trévedic’s investigation has discarded the theory touted by the Pakistani authorities that the engineers were targeted by al-Qaida. He is now centring on suspicions that the bomb attack was directly or indirectly linked to the secret financial arrangements surrounding the Agosta deal. More precisely, that it was in retaliation for the non-payment of commissions promised to Pakistanis after they were all blocked by Balladur’s rival Jacques Chirac, after he won the 1995 elections.(Mediapart)
Comment : This case is a true example of corrupt alliance between feudal-corporatist politicians and corrupt people in military establishment.
$260 billion gold mines going for a song, behind closed doors–>Special Report By Shaheen Sehbai, The News
Special Report By Shaheen Sehbai
WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: Quietly, and below the media radar, some 20 top corporate bosses and lobbyists of two of the world’s largest gold mining groups have been meeting President Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Governor State Bank and others in Islamabad throughout last week, pressing them to quickly hand over one of the world’s biggest gold and copper treasures found in Balochistan at Reko Diq, worth over $260 billion, to their companies, and for peanuts.
Before these highly enticing visits of the mining tycoons to clinch the deals, which followed intense behind-the-scene negotiations and bargaining through middle men, some highly bizarre developments have been taking place, leaving experts and the rest of the mining world stunned, amazed and confused.
These companies want that the mining licences should be issued by Pakistan immediately after their exploration licences expire soon. But there are legal hitches and pressure is now being put through the backdoor to get the target.
In recent years, so many games have been played to keep Pakistan’s share in the enormous treasure to a bare minimum, thanks to some greedy politicians and bureaucrats who sold their country’s natural wealth.
A deep study of numerous documents, statements of major players, stakeholders and competitors, interviews with key Pakistani officials, including Chief Minister of Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani, the picture that emerges is so murky and mind boggling that any ordinary soul just cannot fathom what is going on. Only a thorough and detailed judicial probe can untangle this mystery.
There is a plethora of documents, which prove that almost everybody involved is trying to deceive everybody else, the real picture is never presented, misleading statements and even contradictory claims have been made in the media, the issue has been kept confused as the real mega deal is maturing fast behind closed doors.
“Because there is no effective investigating agency like NAB operating in the country, it is just the right case for the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to pick up the issue, put a hold on whatever is going on before any binding contracts and deals are signed, which may cause losses of billions of dollars, yes billions of dollars to Pakistan,” according to a corporate executive involved in the mining industry, based in New York. His company chairman is a reputed former three-term Congressman.
“The Reko Diq scandal is equal to 260 steel mills valued at one billion dollar each or 570 steel mills at $350 million each, the price at which PSM was being sold by PM Shaukat Aziz before it was stopped by the Supreme Court,” shows a calculation.
And according to one Washington mining industry expert, if Pakistan gets its fair share from the gold and copper mines, Balochistan and Pakistan would become richer than any of the present oil producing Gulf countries, many times over. “They have the goods, they need the will,” he said.
The massive mine deposits at Reko Diq in Chagai Balochistan are part of the same geological belt discovered in Afghanistan, which the Pentagon recently claimed was worth one trillion dollars, though President Hamid Karzai claimed it was worth more than 3 trillion dollars.
According to a report in the New York Times on June 13, 2010 by James Risen: “The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe. An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the Saudi Arabia of lithium, a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and Black Berrys.”
Pakistan, it is estimated in mining circles, has more deposits than Afghanistan, so the enormity of the riches and the cost of the backdoor deals can easily be guessed. “It would be the mother of all the deals and grandfather of all the corruption cases in Pakistan, put together,” according to one expert.
Reading the piles of documents, statements, interviews and legal papers available with The News, the picture that emerges is one of a grand deception, loot and plunder that never happened before on such a scale and the facts, untruths, half-truths, attempts to sabotage, frauds and backdoor bribes, are all documented.
It all started in the Musharraf era but once the massive scale of the stakes involved became apparent to the PPP government, the Raisani/Zardari camp quickly jumped into the fray to renegotiate the deal, behind closed doors.
An Australian mineral exploration firm originally started the exploration and invested some $30 million but in 2006 sold the company to a Canadian and Chilean joint venture for $230 million. The old company was an Australian public company Tethyan Copper Prosperity Limited and the new company was named Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) of Pakistan. A trick game is being played in these cosmetic changes. The Canadians and Chileans, according to publicly declared information to their shareholders and regulators, took 37.5 per cent share each, while Pakistan only had the remaining 25 per cent.
Seeing the vast potential, the TCC soon raised its investment to half a billion dollars. The Pakistani shares belong to the Government of Balochistan and the federal government has no share. Due monies have not been paid to Pakistan or Balochistan treasuries.
Two licences (EL-6 and EL-8) for exploration were also given on a 100 per cent ownership basis to these foreign firms, with Pakistan (or Balochistan) having no share at all.
All this was done during the Musharraf regime and bureaucrats played havoc with Pakistani interests. They were trying to emulate President Hamid Karzai’s mining minister, who was caught with $30 million in his Dubai bank and later removed. According to a Washington Post report on Nov 18, 2009: “The Afghan minister of mines accepted a roughly $30 million bribe to award the country’s largest development project to a Chinese mining firm.”
Quoting a US official, the Washington Post said: “The alleged payment to Mohammad Ibrahim Adel was made in Dubai within a month of December 2007, when a big Chinese metallurgical group received the contract for a $2.9 billion project to extract copper from the Aynak deposit in Logar province. Aynak is considered one of the largest unexploited copper deposits in the world.”
The Pakistanis were never told the exact size of the gold and copper deposits that were found by these foreigners. Even until July this year, when a top level delegation of the Canadian company led by Aaron Regent met Prime Minister Gilani in Islamabad, the PM was told that development of this mega project shall generate a revenue of only about $3.5 billion for Government of Pakistan and $4.5 billion for Government of Balochistan over 40 years.
But the Canadian company has to report the real value to its own Canadian government agencies every year and on December 31, 2008 it informed these agencies, and its shareholders, that its 37.5 per cent share in Reko Diq would yield 17 million ounces of gold and 20 billion pounds of copper in measured, indicated and inferred resources. And these deposits have to be mined in 25 years, not as PM of Pakistan was told in 40 years.
At current prices of these two minerals, the total asset of the Canadian, Chilean and Pakistan government would be over $260 billion and according to former Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, as the prices of gold and copper go up, the total yield could be even $500 billion or may be a trillion.
In 2008 the PPP leaders entered the equation and on Dec 25, 2009 the Government of Balochistan announced the cancellation of the Reko Diq agreement. The decision was taken unanimously by the provincial cabinet, which also means the entire Balochistan Assembly. The cabinet also decided not to extend exploration licence of Reko Diq to the Canadian company and not to issue any mining licence for further work. Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani said on the occasion: “Cancellation of the Reko Diq copper and gold project agreement is a step towards getting control over provincial resources in accordance with the wishes of the people.”
The key statement he made was that he had held consultations with the coalition partners (read PPP and President Zardari) on the matter.
Before Raisani’s decisions in 2008 and 2009, the former chief minister during the Musharraf regime, Jam Yusuf had visited Canada and Chile in early 2007, why no one knows as it can only be guessed what a CM could do in the corporate HQ of a company.
Early this year, Raisani handed over affairs of the project to the Department of Mines and Mineral Development of Balochistan and acquired the services of eminent nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand, who was made head of its Board of Governors.
After the July 2010 visit of the Canadian company head to Islamabad, Chief Minister Raisani and Federal Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources started pressurising the federal and provincial government officials to make an early decision about Reko Diq. Lots of officials were transferred from their posts. In October, in an unprecedented letter, the CM asked President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to convene a high-level meeting to take the final decision. It seems double games were already underway.
But in Dubai, before the Canadians visited Islamabad to see President Zardari, the CEO of the company announced on October 25, 2010 that Reko Diq project would go ahead as planned despite plans by the provincial government to cancel it. “The project is going ahead and will not be cancelled, we are now in talks with the government and we expect production to start by the end of 2015,” Gerhard Von Borries, Chief Executive of TCC, said on the sidelines of an industry event in Dubai.
One month before the October visit to Islamabad, the company submitted a 100,000 pages feasibility study and gave the cost as $3.3 billion. Experts say this $3.3 billion will be the construction cost to build the mining infrastructure to extract the gold and copper. It took three years to write this report and the Samar Mubarakmand Board was expected to study and give its finding, quickly, may be in just a few days.
But before the Board of Governors headed by Dr Samar could open the report, a new committee was formed on October 1, 2010, excluding most of the board members and perhaps the new committee would now decide everything, in undue haste shortly.
The Canadian company, Barrick Gold, with 29 mines all over the world, is already being accused on the web of some strange activities. These include spills of cyanide, mercury and other heavy metals, police and legalistic repression of critics, threats to water resources on four continents and even food poisoning, as well as rape.
In 2008, under oath in the Balochistan High Court, Barrick Gold stated it had nothing to do with building an airport in the heart of Balochistan for its mining operations. It turned out the airport was actually built but on someone else’s property, a neighbouring exploration company from the US.
However, in its quarterly filings of March 2007, Barrick reported to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington DC that they had spent $30 million to build the airport in Pakistan and other activities. It was the same strip built on the neighbour’s property. The company made a false statement, to either the Balochistan High Court or the SEC. It was potential perjury any way. The US company, Benway Corporation, which is also exploring in the same area, has gone to Balochistan High Court against the intrusion on its land besides reporting the case to the SEC, which is looking whether violations of the US laws on corrupt practices have been violated.
While these confusing details may not make any sense for an ordinary reader, some 1,050 documents filed in the Balochistan High Court show that the TCC has been given unlawfully 508 sq km land on 30-year leases, a fact which CM Raisani has no clue about.
On Oct 28, when TCC executives were meeting the top PPP bosses in Islamabad, Chief Minister Balochistan was also around and he told Ahmad Noorani of The News: “This is impossible. As so far issues have not been finalised, so in no way TCC could be leased such a big land and that too for 30 years”.
He was asked: “Do you know that Reko Diq Exploration Licence No 5 gives TCC 240,000 acres of land and it expires in 2011. That TCC has had this licence from the Department of Mineral and Mining Development and on December 24 2009 you declared by a unanimous cabinet decision not to renew EL 5. But actually TCC had carefully bought and leased all that land from Board of Revenue of Balochistan in 2008 for 10 million dollars for 30 years. Your December 24 decision really had no teeth. TCC owns the land for 30 years. What has changed since December 24, 2009 that you are ready to sign a new agreement within a week or by November 24, 2010?”
The chief minister, who had no idea that a 30-year lease had been granted, responded: “It is not possible that such a big chunk of land is leased to TCC for a period of 30 years.” He asked his personal secretary to recheck and confirm the exact situation of the land lease to the TCC.
He was then asked about the cheques of millions of rupees he had received from the Canadian company. “How many total cheques you received from TCC or their related companies since you were sworn in as the CM. Why he thought they were giving him checks when their case was in the process of a major decision.”
Raisani admitted that a total of two cheques were given to him for Rs 10 million and Rs 8.5 million. “Both cheques were for the chief minister’s relief fund and were deposited in the Government of Balochistan account,” he maintained.
A spokesman of the TCC in Islamabad told The News that a cheque of Rs 8.5 million was given to Chief Minister Balochistan on Aug 25, 2010 for CM’s flood relief fund only and this cheque was for chief minister. But Press Secretary to the Chief Minister, Kamran, claimed that the cheque of Rs8.5 million was given by the TCC in the name of the Government of Balochistan and was deposited in the CM’s account for flood relief. He said this cheque had nothing to do with the files of the TCC in CM’s office.
CM Raisani told The News after the Dec 24, 2009 decision that the TCC had submitted a fresh feasibility study, which was being analysed and so far no final decision had been taken. Despite the statement of his press secretary, the CM asserted that no date could be given when the decision to award this project would be taken.
Asked about the licences, which were totally foreign owned without any share of Pakistan, the CM answered that for exploration licences there was no question of any share of Government of Balochistan. “For exploration, Balochistan will have to pay the TCC,” he argued.
In answer to the most pertinent question asked about the size of the deposits and what Pakistan would get out of the deal, CM Raisani was evasive.
He was asked: “Do you know that the value of Reko Diq is $260 billion as per records of the Canadian company (at today’s gold/copper international market rates), the government and former Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said its value was $500 billion but in July the President of Barrick Gold came to PM Gilani and said the value was only $50 billion. Why is the government in such a hurry to decide this matter in favour of TCC on the fast track?”
In a surprising statement, Raisani just said the total cost was Rs 8.9 billion, not dollars. He ignored the rest of the question. Asked whether any international consultant was being hired to study the 100,000 pages feasibility studies as this was the first project of its kind in Pakistan, the CM said: “No, we don’t. We don’t need any. We have so many experts in different fields.”
“Is it correct that CM Balochistan is being pressurised by President Zardari to sign a deal with TCC,” he was asked.
His response: “I met President Zardari on this issue on Wednesday (last week).” Asked what the president told him to do, he said it was between President Zardari and him and he would not disclose what Zardari asked him on awarding of the project to the TCC.
But then, as an after thought, he added: “The federal government is not pressurising me on this issue. We are dealing with this ourselves.”
The bottomline is that Pakistan now has to issue mining licences to extract gold and cooper, which is worth billions of dollars and the current mood in Islamabad is to give the foreign companies a huge share. In fact, Pakistan should retain 70 to 80 per cent of these treasures.
In many countries, where agreements had already been signed giving a much bigger share to foreigners, these agreements were revised in the interest of the host country. Ireland, South Africa, Venezuela renegotiated their mining and oil exploration contracts to their benefit.
Anyone interested in making a few million dollars, like the Afghan minister of the Karzai government, which could cost the country billions, must not be allowed to do so. This is the role the Supreme Court, parliament and the media have to play at this crucial time.
Note: The Islamabad portion of this Special Report including CM Raisani’s interview was filed by Ahmad Noorani.
Comments : Thanks to the journalist for this great service to the nation. This is another joint venture of Mush/Zardari governments like NRO. This plunder started in Mushi time and still on in Zardari time and going for final phase. Even the parties involved in Rental Power Projects also invested on both Mushi and Zardari gangs.
Transparency International has issued a report on Corruption and ranked Pakistan on 34 for the year 2010. In 2009 Pakistan was at 42nd position. I think corruption is probably the only area in which our government is proudly goin up. Its another jewel in the crown of Pakistan Feudal Party (aka PPP) government, allies in politics and the designers of NRO.
Congrats Zardari, Gillani and Team.
Pakistan ranks 34 in most corrupt countries–>AAJ TV
The Transparency International has released annual Corruption Perceptions Index on Tuesday.
Nearly three-quarters of the 178 countries in TI’s annual survey scored worse than average on the scale, which ranges from zero (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 10 (perceived to have low levels of corruption).
According to the Index, Pakistan ranked 34 in most corrupted countries. Pakistan had scored 2.4 in year 2009 and 2.5 in 2008.
Pakistan was at number 42 in 2009 but in recent year Pakistan ranked 34 with score 2.3 in corrupt countries.
Afghanistan and Myanmar share second to last place with a score of 1.4, with Somalia coming in last with a score of 1.1.
The world’s most peaceful countries score the best. In the 2010 CPI, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore tie for first place with scores of 9.3.
They were followed by Finland, Sweden, Canada and the Netherlands.
The United States was 22nd on the list, while Greece and Italy came in at 78th and 67th respectively. China was level with Greece.