$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.
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: Former Naval chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Mirza gives credence to the recent French investigative report that talked of almost $49 million kickbacks in the Agosta-submarine deal allegedly received by President Asif Ali Zardari and others, including Naval officers, disclosing that the then Benazir government had urged the Pakistan Navy to go for the French subs.
Mirza, while quoting the then Naval chief Admiral Saeed Khan, also revealed that Benazir Bhutto’s defence minister Aftab Shaban Mirani had clearly indicated to the Pakistan Navy’s high command the government’s preference for the induction of the French submarines.
Despite these clear indications by the defence minister, the top naval command again met and deliberated on the subject and decided to recommend two options to the government — the British Upholder and the French Agosta. The government later approved the induction of the Agosta.
Mirza, who led the Pakistan Navy from Oct 1999 to Oct 2002, said the Navy first formally came to know about the kickbacks in the Agosta deal in 1998 following which it proceeded against three officials of the rank of captain and commodore for getting bribe. They were eventually removed from service. “My hunch is that besides the politicians, some top ranking naval officers, even above the rank of commodore, might also have received kickbacks as reflected in the recent French media reports. They, however, (the top Naval officials) remained undetected for want of proof or witnesses,” Mirza said.
He claimed that even the condemned formal Naval chief, Masoorul Haq, was not convicted of the Agosta kickbacks but for the bribes that he had pocketed in other defence deals. According to a recent report in a leading French newspaper, investigations have revealed that Zardari received $4.3 million in kickbacks from the sale of three Agosta 90 submarines for Eu825 million. These reports also suggest that Naval officials might have received kickbacks out of this $49 million.
This deal was struck during Benazir Bhutto’s second tenure in 1994. According to former DG Naval Intelligence Commodore Shahid Ashraf, he had informed in early 1995 the then Naval chief Mansoorul Haq and his vice chief vice admiral AU Khan of the cash pay off to Capt ZU Alvi and Col (retd) Ejaz as bribe for further distribution amongst Naval officers.
Ashraf, who was dismissed from service, claimed in his statement in 1998 that he had informed the Naval chief and the vice chief in early 1995 of the Agosta kickbacks issue but was asked by them to keep quiet. Ashraf insisted that he was innocent and victimised by the Pakistan Navy in 1998 to save the skin of several other allegedly corrupt Naval officers, who had received kickbacks in the Agosta deal.
Admiral Mirza admitted the facts that Ashraf did make the same claim in his statement in 1998 and that retired vice admiral AU Khan too had confirmed the same fact when questioned in 1998 by the fact-finding inquiry.
But Admiral Mirza still insisted the ex-DG Naval Intelligence did receive kickbacks in the Agosta deal as was confirmed by the other two officers, Capt ZU Alvi and Capt Liaqat Ali Malik, who were blamed to have received bribes directly from the French. For the same reason, he said, the ex-DGNI was penalised.
He said that Capt ZU Alvi and Col (retd) Ejaz were the two main witnesses with the former having agreed to become approver on the condition of revealing all the details of kickbacks and corruption. Mirza though conceded that Ashraf was Admiral Mansurul Haq’s right-hand man, he did never carry the reputation of being corrupt before he was convicted to have received Rs 1.5 million from Alvi, who was the direct recipient of the kickbacks.
Mirza, who has also served as the country’s ambassador to Riyadh, said that one Zafar Iqbal, a middle man of the French company, was also interrogated and had admitted to have received $160,000 to be paid to four commodores. He, however, said that both Iqbal and Ejaz never paid this amount to anyone of them. The former Naval chief said that the four commodores were never charge sheeted or confronted by a board of inquiry as a fact-finding inquiry had already found them innocent, which led to their promotion as rear admiral.
Zafar Iqbal claimed during interrogation to have been assigned by the French company to bribe the Naval officials up to the rank of commodore. For top ranking Naval officers and for political bosses, Mirza quoted Zafar Iqbal to have claimed that some other middle men, including Aamir Lodhi, were responsible for the kickbacks and commissions of persons with higher status both in Navy and in the government.
Since these middle men were never caught and probed so it still remains a secret as to who amongst the senior most Naval officers of that time received how much money, he said. But he believed that there were some top men, who must have received the kickbacks but remained free.
Referring to the latest French media reports about the Agosta kickbacks, he said he gives such reports due credence also for the reason that the French, Germans, Italians and other manufacturers of defence equipment do have a recognised provision of allocating about 10 pc of the contract value as kickbacks, entertainment, gifts etc as a matter of policy.
When asked whether the kickbacks and commissions in defence deals in Pakistan could be curbed, he stated that with a little bit of sincere effort the kickbacks in defence procurements could be considerably reduced if not altogether eliminated.
By Rauf Klasra
ISLAMABAD: If you thought that only civilian and politicians got billions of rupees worth of loans written off from state-owned banks, you thought wrong.
Records now show that many top military officers got their loans written off. This lucky lot included five lieutenant generals, two major generals and a battalion of other senior uniformed beneficiaries, with some Army (mis)managed institutions to boot.
The Army controlled institutions also got their share from the national plunder with the Army Welfare Trust (AWT) got a massive loan written off worth Rs 14.49 million from a state-owned financial entity, which is now defunct (hardly a surprising fate).
Some of the cases were, however, genuine as their loans were written off in accordance with rules.
According to the official list of loan write-off beneficiaries tabled in the National Assembly, Lt General (retd) Ali Kuli Khan and his father Lt General Habibullah Khan had their loans written off. General Kuli had shot to prominence when he was ignored by the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in favour of Gen Musharraf in a bid to succeed General Jehangir Karamat as the next COAS.
The list shows that General Kuli Khan got two loans written off from the Allied Bank of Pakistan while he was still serving in the Army in the mid 90s. The first loan was of Rs1.8 million and second was Rs1.6 million outstanding against Janana De Malucho Textile Mills Limited, Kohat owned by his father General (retd) Habibullah Khan. General Kuli was then one of the directors of the textile mills. After the death of General Habib, he became the chief executive of this textile unit. General Habib, too, was a beneficiary of this loan write off.
It’s a little known fact that Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had once served as the staff officer to General Ali Kuli Khan during his stint as Chairman Joint Chiefs of staff in 1998 when Jahangir Karamat was the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). General Kuli shot to prominence within the ruling political circles when he was heard opposing the forced resignation of General Kamarat and had indicated to make Nawaz Sharif ‘fall in line’ if he became the next COAS. Later, Gen Kuli Khan had denied this charge in an interview with this correspondent. But, Ch Nisar Ali Khan had also confirmed to this correspondent in an interview that Ali Kuli was not elevated to the post of the Army chief precisely for this reason after some of his quotes were conveyed to Nawaz Sharif.
Talking to The News from Peshawar, General (retd) Ali Kuli Khan said that he “did not remember” getting any loan written off by him during his military service. General Kuli said, “There might be some rescheduling of the loans by the banks outstanding against the mills.” He said only the politicians get loans written off by using their clout. Of course, general can dare anyone argue with that logic.
Lt General (retd) K M Azhar, who later became active in politics, of Rex Breen Batteries got Rs16 million written off by the Agriculture Development Bank. His business partners were Misbah Azhar, Sward Azhar, Ahmed Jamal Siddiqui, Syed Ijaz Ahmed Hashmi, Mauro Dr Bashir Ahmed.
Lt General (retd) SA Burkey and Lt General (retd) Safdar Butt also figure amongst the happy generals benefiting from the state institutions generosity.
Another prominent name on the list is that of Air Marshal (retd) A Rahim Khan.
Air Marshal (retd) Viqar Azeem also got Rs15 million written off from Pakistani Kuwait Investment Co. Lt General (retd) SA Burkey, Major General Zahid Ali Akbar, Brig MM Mahmood, Begum Omar Mahmood, Saeed Ahmed also got loans written off.
Gohar Ayub Khan, brother of General Kuli Khan—Raza Kuli Khan also got a loan of Rs7.2 million written off against Rehana Woolen Mills. Tariq Ayub Khan, Zahid Ahsan, Ahsan Khan were the directors of the mills whose loan was written off by the financial institution SAPICO.
Major General (retd) M Mumtaz from Abbottabad, Lt Colonel (retd) Shaukat and Major (retd) Tajuddin Rs1.2 million, Major General (retd) Ghaziuddn are also in the list. Major General (retd) G Umar also got Rs8.5 million written off from the Agriculture Development Bank.
Lt General (retd) Safdar Butt, Major General (retd) Abdullah Malik, Brig (retd) M M Mahmood, Col (retd) M Zafar Khan, Mohammad Afzal Khan, Mrs Hamida Farhat also got benefits from the UBL. General (retd) Abdullah had resigned after the military coup of General Zia and had opposed the military take over of July 1977.
Talking to The News, Brig (retd) Mahmood denied that his industrial unit EFF, EFF Industries had got the loan written off. He clarified that he had entered into an agreement with the bank but this package was never implemented until recently.
The list also names Brig (retd) M A Baig and Qamar Ahmad, BA Siddiqi, Zubair Rashid, Mohammad Sadiq Baig, Riazur Rehman, Mrs Mamomnna Khatoon, Mrs Mehr Riaz, Mr Taufiq Ahmed Rs 1.09 million (UBL). Lt-Col (retd) Ch M Anis Ahmed, Col Atta ullah, Shahid Atta, Mst Qamar un Nisa Rs 2.6 million, Irfan Rice Mills of Col (retd) Nazar Hussain Rs 1.6 million, Mehr Textile Mills, Chakwal, Col Mohammad Ayub Khan, Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Ch Asad Ali Khan, Mrs Sultana Zakia, Mohammad Nawaz, Ch Ghulam Ali Khan. Major General (retd) Khadim H Raja, Air Marshal (retd) A Rahim Khan, Mrs Sattar Azim Khan also got loan written off.
Mohammad Textile Mills Limited of Air Commodore (retd) Amanullah got a loan of Rs95 million written off from the UBL. His other business partners were Khurshid Alam, Mohamamd Rafiq, Mrs Bilquis Begum, Tanveer Ahmed, Naseer Ahmed, Begum Sultana Fammay Khan, Sobia Fammy Khan.
Air Vice Marshal (retd) Ata Elahi Sheikh of the National Fructose Limited also got Rs43 million written off. His business partners were Shakirullah Durrani, Mohammad Aslam, Qamaruzaman, Syed Safiullah, Dr Mohammad Yousuf, Khan Akbar Majeed and TR Sariq.
Sairani Cotton Ginning Factory owners Capt (retd) Shahraz Latif and his business partners Shahnaz Latif, Ch Mohammad Ashraf also got loan written off. Air Marshal (retd) A Rashid Sheikh, Air Vice Marshal (retd) S Moinur Rab, Group Captain (retd) Mohammad Ismal Khan, Salman Rashid of Sky Rooms Limited got Rs 8.4 million loan written off. Brig (retd) SM Bakar Naqvi, Mian Ahmed Rabbani, Pervez Iftikar Khan, Abdul Aziz, NM Khanzada and Major (retd) Afzalul Haq also among the beneficiaries.
Col (retd) M Yaqoob of Aswan Tentage and Canvas got a huge loan of Rs276 million written off from Bankers Equity. His other business partners were Col (retd) M Yaqoob, Mohamamd Afzal Chugtai, Mohammad Siddiqi, Haji Ghulam Sabir and Idris Ahmed Butt. Farook Pulp of Mjaor Nasim A Farooqi, Naeem A Farooqi, Pervez Farooqi, Munir Ahmed Khan and Saleem Farooqi got 2.1 million loan written off.
Captain (retd) Shaukat of Locus Enterprises got Rs8.8 million written off. His business partners were Wiqar Abbas, Khalid Khan, Col (retd) M Sadiq Khan, Nabil Hasan, Masoud Abbasi and Abdul Razak. Raja Iftikar Kiani of Ms Alliance Textile Mills, Jhelum got a wavier of Rs16 million from the MCB.
A Lt-Col, who owned the Meditex Intl got Rs6.322 million written off from the HBL. His business partner was Col (retd) Bashir Ahmed. Commander Abdul Latif also got Rs 10 million written off. Shangrila Macropole Inn, Lahore got Rs4.3 million loan written off. Brig (retd) Mohammad Aslam Khan and Co got Rs4.3 million written off. Feroz Sons Textile Mills Mirpur owners Col (retd) Munir Hussain, Nasim Farms’s and Major General (retd) Qazi Nasim Majeed are also among the beneficiaries.
Col (retd) Saleem of Special Iron and Steel Mills Limited, Lt General (retd) Habibullah Khan, Brig (retd) M Jan Hahang M Khandawala, Raza Kuli Khan, Col (retd) M Sharif Khan, Begum Tehmina Habibullah, M I Khurram, M Nazir Khan and IA Khurram are also among the beneficiaries.
Major (retd) Mohamamd Anwar, S Aijaz Ali Shah, S Amjad Ali Shah, S Ghulam Qadir, S Aftab Ali Shah, S Ali Gohar Shah, S Amin Shah also on the list. Lt-Col (retd) M Jaffar, JH Dinshaw Rs 7.2 million, Chemphar Pakistan Limited of Brig (retd) Shareef Rahat, Captain (retd) AM Murad and Major (retd) Tariq Baig are also among the beneficiaries.
Imran says he got positive response from Taliban–>We support this initiative from Imran Khan and demand the government and urge the people to honestly support it.
At last someone from politicians finally volunteered for the cause of peace in Pakistan. We cannot expect any good from parliamentarians, government, army or agencies to work for the cause of peace because it will not serve their greed and lust for power.
People like Imran Khan , other leaders from PTI and Jamat e Islami,Ulemas who are trusted by tribesmen and other religious and political figures need to make a joint effort for this cause and this should be backed by the trust of Pakistani people and government.
Army and agencies shouldn’t try to deceive the people this time as they have already created a huge mess just for dollars and to serve their imperialist masters.
We support this initiative from Imran Khan and demand the government and urge the people to honestly support it.
We need to get out of this war against humanity and peace, we are already too late and cannot afford more damage.
We oppose the killings of innocent people in army actions, suicide bombings or in any other way.
Imran says he got positive response from Taliban
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan, who on Wednesday offered his services and even showed the willingness to go to the tribal areas to get the mounting terrorism issue resolved through political dialogue, got encouraging response from the Taliban side. His appeal, however, seems to have fallen on the governmentís deaf ears.
The cricket hero-turned-social worker, Imran Khan, told The News on Thursday that after his Wednesday’s press conference, he was contacted by some important Taliban groups, who posed their full confidence in him for political solution of the problem. Khan said that no one from the government side contacted him though.
Imran Khan on Wednesday volunteered to mediate between the government and the Taliban leadership to bring peace, claiming that the menace of terrorism was bound to grow because of the military operation in South Waziristan and in the absence of a political solution.
In his press conference, he had said that if the government gave him the mandate, he was willing to travel to the tribal areas and elsewhere to negotiate peace. His only pre-condition to mediation between the two sides was that the government would not let the US-pressure to ruin his peace efforts like the past.
While some people believe the government has no political strategy to address the issue and is entirely dependent on the military operation that has allegedly aggravated the problem, Imran has taken a bold step amidst great chances that he would be dubbed pro-Taliban by confused Pakistanis and arrogant foreigners.
Imran Khan got an encouraging reaction from some Taliban leaders. Khan said that he was now even considering convening an all parties conference (APC) on the issue. Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman Group) are also opposed to the military operation and seek a political solution to the problem by revisiting Pakistanís policy on the US war on terror, formulating an independent foreign policy and bringing an immediate halt to the military operation in the tribal areas, particularly South Waziristan.
Although, Maulana Fazlur Rehman is not appearing in the media these days, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Professor Munawar Hasan has become vocal in his opposition to the military operation. Interestingly, the PML-N is also not supportive of the present military operation but it lacks the guts to public its demand a political solution to terrorism. However, the party is not making its views public amid reports that it does not want to irritate Washington that is today quite pleased with the party and its top leadership.
In this situation, Imran Khanís daring initiative to do what others are shy to do, is expected to bring pressure on all other pro-dialogue parties, including the PML-N, the JI and the JUI(F) to sit together and chalk out a strategy where the government could be pressurised to save its innocents, whether in the tribal areas or in settled areas of Pakistan from being killed.
Dr. Shaid Masood’s Meray Mutabiq Banned From Dubai–>Pakistan Feudal Party (also known as PPP) government in full swing to confront independent media
It seems that Pakistan Feudal Party (also known as PPP) government in full swing
to confront independent media using all their internal resources and their external
links to put curbs on genuine journalism and news analysis.
It reminds us of Musharraf’s emergency days when similar was done to stop the voices against their mistakes and crimes.
Recent victim of this PPP government’s feudal martial law is “Meray Mutabiq” of Dr. Shahid Masood which has been banned by the Dubai government to go on air from Dubai.
Recently government, agencies, government sponsored media and journalists have started a massive campaign against independent media and the elements and methods used were pretty much same as of Musharraf times even the allegations are similar like being paid by opposition or serving the foreign agenda (We all know our governments have been serving the foreign agenda not the independent media).
We condemn this action of Pakistan and UAE governments and show our full solidarity with independent media.
We expect the genuine journalists and analysts to continue their role which they have played against dictatorship, against emergency,against innocent killings and illegal abductions, against imperialist takeover of our country ,against NRO and corruption and the role to restore the independent judiciary of Pakistan.
Geo’s program ‘Meray Mutabiq’ banned from Dubai
KARACHI: A ban has been imposed on airing of Geo News’ program ‘Meray Mutabiq’ from Dubai.
According to sources, the high government officials of Pakistan exerting pressure on the Dubai government had the airing of the program stopped.
Geo’s administration has said that this step of the government is tantamount to targeting the freedom of expression.
It may be mentioned here that the senior analyst Dr. Shahid Masood was the anchor of ‘Meray Mutabiq’.
Jang group finally surrendered in front of the US ambassador and removed Shireen Mazari from its team but its good to see Majid Nizami a well know senior journalist of Pakistan giving the position of editor to the great patriotic journalist in his news paper “The Nation” and Channel “WAQT”.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Shireen M Mazari
While US diplomats target their critics in Pakistan with a new ferocity, the US media and politicians target the Pakistan’s nuclear and military capability. Taking the latter first, Dr Khan had barely gained his “freedom” when that murderous former Vice-President Dick Cheney, in a pre-taped interview to Fox News (Aug 30), declared that the Obama Administration should use the CIA to find out what Dr Khan was up to. Cheney also expressed pride in the Bush administration’s aggressive use of drones in FATA. So should we assume that the increased presence of Blackwater and other unidentified US personnel in Islamabad may also have Dr Khan as a possible target?
Nor was it just Cheney firing off on one of America’s obsessions – Dr Khan – while quite unconcerned about the massive proliferation that the US continues to Israel (this is all now part of the published and publicly available data). More irritating than disturbing, has been the story in The New York Times (NYT), citing unnamed senior administration and congressional officials (of course when we cite similar sources, US officialdom is not amused), accusing Pakistan of modifying Harpoon missiles given to the Pakistan navy so as to be able to hit land-based targets.
Had the NYT bothered to do some basic research they would have realised that Pakistan has no need to modify the old Harpoon missiles when they already have far better land-based missile systems already battle-tested and in their arsenal. As it is, the Harpoon does not have the range that would be required to hit land-based targets.
The question that arises then is why plant this story now – apart from the continuing US effort to undermine the Pakistan’s military capability and keep the military institution under pressure (or so they assume)? One reason may have to do with putting pressure on the Pakistan Navy to give its go-ahead to a US request, forwarded by Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence to the naval chief, to allow them to build a landing strip near Gwadar (their own miniport facility) which US marines can use ostensibly as part of their anti-narcotic activities. So far there has been no response from the Pakistani side. Why they can’t do that at the existing facilities in the area is the question some Pakistanis are asking?
Interestingly, in relation to the Pakistan Navy and the Harpoon issue, there are also unconfirmed (but reliable) reports that the Special Services Group Navy (SSGN) is constructing operational facilities in Gharo, Sindh (close to the Indus delta, south of Thatta) which are purpose-built to serve as a base for an army unit – comprising halls, residential units and storage facilities. Some years back the Navy had decided to shift the SSGN headquarter (PNS Iqbal) from the dockyard to a coastal area, but Gharo was not the likely site at the time. Because there has been a sudden increase in assistance to the SSGN from the US, questions are being raised whether this shifting of the SSGN to Gharo is actually a ruse to allow US Marine ‘trainers’ to arrive there in large numbers on the pretext of training SSGN commandos in newly-acquired weapons and tactics? So, the old carrot and stick approach – assistance and then the ridiculous Harpoon story – continues to be at work. What is disturbing here is that perhaps this whole Gharo “deal” is being done at a micro-tactical level with the overall military high command not totally in the know. Certainly it merits a closer examination by the military leadership and more transparency.
Clearly, the Americans do not understand the ordinary Pakistani. Their interaction with the ruling elites has led them to assume that this elite, with its tendency towards subservience and a constant gaze towards Washington (with a few exceptions) is reflective of the Pakistani nation at large. Again, subtlety having never been a strong American trait, they are responding to negative responses of ordinary Pakistanis in the usual ham-fisted manner in an effort to silence the critics.
This writer has had the honour of being one of their targets especially since 2008 when stories regarding General Hood and the 11 conditions relating to unfettered access in Pakistan for US personnel with no legal restraints surfaced in the media. But even earlier, when Riaz Khokhar was Foreign Secretary, the US embassy had sought to have me either silenced or removed from the Institute of Strategic Studies — or else the embassy would assume that I was reflecting (heavens forbid) the official views of the government of Pakistan. That is why some readers may recall for a while at the bottom of my column there was a one-liner stating that the views expressed were my own. Full credit to Mr Khokhar for standing his ground, but I knew it was simply a matter of time when I would be liberated from all official strangleholds.
Now, once again, this scribe as well as some electronic media hosts – all of whom have been exposing the increasing muscle flexing by the growing number of non-diplomatic Americans now in Pakistan (especially Blackwater – now re-christened Xe Worldwide) are being targeted. Just for the record, whatever has appeared in these columns regarding this group and the dubious Creative Associates International Inc (CAII) has been gleaned from Western media sources including the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), but then verified from reliable local sources.
Especially with the Blackwater issue refusing to die down in the media despite a strange silence in Parliament and in spite of threats of multiple types from the yet-to-be-expanded US embassy in Islamabad; new revelations are made on a daily basis about US shenanigans in Pakistan. Here in Pakistan it has got to the stage where one is not sure who is an “official” American and who is not. After all, the guard who abused Pakistan and an SHO in the diplomatic enclave was a member of the US government; but who were the three Americans who beat up a Pakistani citizen, Mohsin Bokhari, in Islamabad’s Aabpara last week? After using violence against this citizen they did eventually apologise, but the police refused to register a case because they felt that if the case registered by the SHO of the diplomatic enclave had no impact in terms of justice – thanks to the pusillanimity of the present MFA set up – it would simply be a waste of their energy in the month of fasting to register yet another case of violence by Americans against a Pakistani citizen.
Further, as the growing disaffection hits the more conscientious Pakistanis in officialdom, what should one make of the information (from frustrated police officials) regarding four Americans initially arrested on Aug 25 at FIA headquarters, Peshawar Morrh, Islamabad with unlicenced automatic weapons (seven MI-6) and no identification – although the arresting officials say they were “kala pani” (Blackwater) personnel around 14:45. When they were brought to the Margallah police station, SP Nasir Aftab, who had previously been serving in the diplomatic enclave, also arrived, followed by US embassy’s security officer, a retired Pakistan army officer, Captain Ijaz. The latter abused and threatened the policemen and in front of SP Aftab had the four Americans, with no diplomatic identity, released from custody. When the SHO protested, SP Aftab also adopted Captain Ijaz’s tone and later confessed he was helpless as he had orders from “above” for the release of the men. (This was reported in at least one major newspaper the following day.)
So how much pressure will we all be able to endure and when will we all be silenced one way or another? If the Americans understood us they would realize that the Pakistani nation cannot be silenced into submission despite its leadership.
The writer is a defence analyst. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It was Goebbels who came up with the brilliant theory that if the government wanted people to follow its policy, it must first instill fear in them and then slap all dissenters with the unpatriotic card. Anyone like me, who disagrees with the current indiscriminate military operation is accused of being a Taliban apologist.
Let me state categorically that I have been against the military operations since the disaster of what was formerly the East Pakistan. From East Pakistan to the present Swat operation, the political mantra has always been “no option but the military”. Successive military operations in Balochistan have only added to the sufferings of the Baloch people, which nurtured the seeds of their disillusionment with the Pakistani state.
When Bush decided to attack Afghanistan in less than a month after 9/11, I opposed this US policy at every forum, including through the print and electronic media. Later, when he ordered the invasion of Iraq, I joined the nearly 2 million marchers in London opposing the Iraq war. It is noteworthy that at the time, over 90 per cent of Americans supported Bush’s Iraq invasion. Today, the overwhelming opinion in the US is that Iraq was a disaster. Moreover, the so-called “good war” in Afghanistan is being lost and its support dwindling.
It is not surprising to see the findings of a Rand Corporation study of the last 40 years of terrorist or asymmetric conflicts, which reveal that only 7 per cent of these conflicts were resolved through military means.
When Musharraf buckled under the US pressure and sent the Pakistan Army into Waziristan, I opposed it in parliament and through the media. Speaking to the editors, Musharraf called me a “terrorist without a beard” – as if terrorism is the sole domain of bearded folk. When the Pakistan Army was sent into Waziristan, there were no militant Taliban in Pakistan. As a result of the Army operation, the tribal social and political structure was destroyed throughout Fata and Malakand, and the vacuum has been filled by nine major militant Taliban groups.
Again, at the time Musharraf commenced military action in Balochistan I opposed it and was accused of backing the “anti-state” elements. Today, what was a movement for Baloch rights and autonomy within Pakistan has morphed into a Baloch independence movement. On opposing the Lal Masjid operation, some of the self-appointed “liberals” accused me of backing the Islamic fundamentalists. But soon most of the indefatigable crusaders for human rights joined the critics of the Lal Masjid operation. More sobering is the fact that there were 60 suicide attacks in the aftermath of the slaughter of the Lal Masjid inmates and a steep rise in extremism. The Swat flare-up is a direct consequence of the Lal Masjid operation.
While discussing my opposition to the current military operation, I must state where I stand politically and ideologically. My political inspiration is derived solely from Quaid-i-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the constitutionalist and democrat who believed in the rule of law above all else. My ideological moorings are firmly rooted in the political and spiritual dimensions of Allama Iqbal’s exposition of Islam, which not only liberates society from bondage but also the human soul from material desires – releasing the enormous God-given human potential.
Above all, I am an ardent follower of our Prophet’s (PBUH) example of inspiring the heart and the intellect rather than forcing ideas through the sword – a far cry from what has been happening in Swat in the name of Islam. So on no count can I possibly either support the un-Islamic acts such as beheadings, flogging of women, or forcing a way of life on others, nor am I an apologist for such people – I am only answerable on this count to my conscience and to my God.
As for my opposition to the Malakand military operation, first and foremost I believe that the military option, if it has to be used should always be a last resort. Yet in Swat, the military operation was started barely two weeks after the presidential signing of the accord without alternative political strategies being given a chance. In my opinion, a national conference of all stakeholders, including religious and political parties and groups, particularly those representing Swat, should have been called prior to the operation. A delegation from such a conference should have been mandated to visit Swat and talk reason to the militants and report back to parliament. In other words, every effort should have been made to make the militants abide by the peace deal. All along the political effort, a concerted effort should have been made to gain time to revive civil administration, police, and the paramilitary presence in Swat.
The diehard militants who consistently refused to adhere to peace agreement could have been isolated over time – a key counter-insurgency tactic followed by precise military action to decapacitate the leadership.
Assuming, there was no alternative to the military option, then while it was being planned, arrangements should have been made for the people who were going to be displaced. Sadly, and shamefully, the military operation began suddenly under increased US pressure, timed with Zardari’s US visit and with the least concern for the people of the area.
The unfolding tragedy that is taking place in Swat is mindboggling. To flush out a few thousand militant Taliban, more than two million people have been forced to live in misery in camps not fit for animals in civilised societies. Even more disturbing is the use of heavy artillery shelling and bombing from the air alongside helicopter gunships in areas with significant civilian population. Despite a heavy blackout, the news coming from the war zone tell tales of dozens if not hundreds of innocent civilian casualties.
Given the collapse of governance in the country, can we adequately look after so many displaced people – especially as summer temperatures soar? And for how long? The wheat crop has already been lost. If the IDPs cannot return within two months, the fruit cash crops will be at risk. Hence how will they sustain themselves for the coming year? Perhaps most dangerous is the possibility of IDPs’ anger and frustration that besides resulting in riots may also swell the ranks of the militants.
In such a situation, according to the Army briefing given to the parliamentarians, there is every possibility of the Taliban resurfacing not just in Malakand Division but elsewhere in the country – possibly the urban centres. Can we afford further spread of terrorism in our cities given the precarious security and fragile economic situation? Military action breeds more militancy.
An Army action which has already led to almost 2.5 million displaced countrymen cannot simply be accepted without questions. And, as if we do not already have a crisis, Zardari has declared that the war in Swat is merely the beginning of a wider war, which is likely to engulf other parts of the country. It is time to take stock and stop ourselves from committing collective suicide. What needs to be done is the following:
* The military action unfortunately is already underway but there is no political, particularly governance, strategy which is guiding this operation. That should be the first priority so that the military action does not continue in a political vacuum.
* A clear governance and political strategy that allows the IDPs to return following a swift end to military operation is needed. This strategy should be focused on a system of speedy justice through the Nizam-e-Adl and effective civil administration. The writ of the state and the rule of law go together and this has to be ensured if violent challenges to state and government are to be avoided in the future.
* The military action, if at all, should have been extremely limited in scale and targeted with precision to minimise civilian casualties. Tragically, this did not happen and my fear is that widespread use of aerial weapons would only result in greater civilian casualties, swelling the ranks of the militants. So the military action needs to be revised to focus more on specific targeting and commando action.
Will any of this happen? Unfortunately in the present mood of the ruling elite, this does not seem likely. Instead, we will see increasing military action in the tribal areas as long as the US is in occupation of Afghanistan.
In other words, as long as US troops in Afghanistan are perceived to be an occupying force that is anti-Pushtun and anti-Islam, there will be no peace in this region. We are heading in a fatal direction unless we change our strategy and pull out of this insane war that is sinking us into chaos. The longer this persists, the deeper we will find ourselves in this quagmire and we will confront a deeply divided society.
Finally, my heart bleeds for the poor soldier confronting his own people turned into misguided and brutalised militants and giving his life for a war wrought on him by a corrupt and decadent ruling elite that cannot see beyond the lure of American dollars that have become as much of a curse for this hapless nation as the criminal extremists in our very midst.
Shame on you Abdul Hameed Dogar (The so called CJ of Pakistan) and congras to Ansar Abbasi for exposing the truth.
Keep it up!
CJ was in the know The untold story of a quiet talk with Dogar(Ansar Abbasi, The News)
ISLAMABAD: The story of how the head of the country’s judicial pyramid, the chief justice of Pakistan, using the services of a key officer working for the prime minister, tried to influence and stop the embarrassing story of his daughter’s FSc marks from being published, needs to be told.
One quiet night, four days before this newspaper headlined the grave misuse of powers by the Federal Board of Islamabad, this correspondent was taken by the press secretary to the prime minister to meet the Chief Justice, Abdul Hameed Dogar, to his Islamabad residence, after I refused to oblige the press secretary and stop the story.
The PS argued for the CJ and I offered not to file the story if his facts were found correct. I said that I am even willing to talk to the chief justice on the issue. After I made this offer, he asked me to rush to the Prime Minister House immediately but later called me that we both would be meeting the chief justice at 9:15pm at the CJ House on Friday Nov 21. We met him and stayed with him for over two hours.
There was no understanding, no mention at all that our discussion will be off the record or would not be published. As a journalist, I have to follow the rule that if anything is declared off the record it cannot be repeated. The meeting was never described as such otherwise I would not have agreed.
During the meeting the chief justice once stated that his statement about a brother judge should not be printed. The press secretary to the PM also requested twice or thrice that his narrations about the PM’s office were off the record. I would honour their wishes.
But for quite some time the top judge of the country pathetically pleaded that the story be not published. He did so in many ways, sometimes offering hands of friendship, sometimes describing the emotional state of mind of the innocent daughter who had been caught in the middle of this episode, at times asking me not to use the story because it would malign him, at others saying it was a question of just 20 marks, which according to him were of no consequence, at times saying that it was not a question of increasing 200 or 300 marks.
The press secretary to the PM even at times appeared threatening, as if warning me of consequences if I went ahead with the story. But to be fair to him most of the time he offered goodies, sort of professional bribes like ‘better’ stories and scoops, if I agreed to cooperate. But he too made it clear that if the story is filed, he would stop respecting me.
Press Secretary Zahid Bashir also categorically said that in case the story is filed neither the government would take action against the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) nor would the Supreme Court take suo moto notice of this case.
I remember very sharply that the chief justice was very worried about his reputation and his image. “Will the story not mention my name or that of my daughter,” he repeatedly asked. At the time of this meeting with The News Farah Hameed Dogar had already secured her admission in Islamic Medical College against a one-seat quota for judges and employees of all courts of Pakistan. However, the top judge of the country told this correspondent that his daughter was looking for admission in BBA.
The chief justice also insisted that what the chairman FBISE did in case of his daughter was allowed under the rules and that there was no violation of rules involved in the case. The chief justice insisted that the re-assessment of papers is allowed though the FBISE rules categorically say: “The answer book of a candidate in any examination shall not be re-assessed under any circumstances.”
The chief justice denied that he had used his influence on the Board in case of his daughter, but admitted that he knew two persons, also with the last name of Dogar, serving in the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education. One of them Acting Director of the Federal Board Javed Iqbal Dogar is alleged to have played an important role of a facilitator.
The chief justice admitted that Javed Dogar has been visiting him. He also admitted that his staff in the Supreme Court was also involved in processing his daughter’s case. “My daughter is intelligent with the grace of Almighty Allah,” he said, adding that she had complained that she was deliberately given less marks following which the application was filed with the FBISE, which increased 20 marks thus taking her total from 640 to 661.”
When asked that re-assessment is not allowed but was done in case of his daughter, he said, “I have seen the rules, which gives the chairman Board the authority to re-assess the answer sheets. They (FBISE) have done this perfectly according to the rules,” the chief justice maintained, adding: “What benefit have we got with these 20 marks?”
He said if there had been an increase of 200 to 300 marks then you would have been in a position to say that we had benefited from such an increase. He said after his daughter applied for the re-checking, the Board proceeded in line with the valid laid down procedures.
When asked what his daughter was doing then, he responded: “We are just sitting. She would be pursuing degrees like BBA.”When told that the additional 20 marks had improved her grade from C to B thus enabling her to qualify for a medical college entry test, he said that by improving the grade his daughter could only sit in the entry exam but would not come on the merit.
But when told that the rules categorically say that there “shall” be no re-assessment under any circumstances and that it was the Board which had violated these rules to favour his daughter, he said: “But it would malign my name.”
Later the CJ again said that the re-assessment is allowed but added, at the same time, that we (the courts) also issue orders for re-assessment. The press secretary said the Supreme Court of Pakistan can do anything and that there is no challenge to the Supreme Court.
Zahid Bashir also said that pursuing the Farah Dogar’s story would be like character assassination of an innocent daughter. He advised this correspondent to do stories of national importance.
When the chief justice was asked to explain as to why the Board only did the re-assessment of his daughter’s answer sheets while there were more than 1,000 students who had applied for re-checking with the FBISE. The CJ said that there are several judgments of the Supreme Court that had ordered for re-assessment.
While this correspondent was trying to explain the difference between the validly allowed “re-checking” and the barred “re-assessment”, the press secretary suggested to the chief justice to do one more favour: “Get a petition filed and pass an order in favour of re-assessment if the applications are found on merit.”
When the chief justice was briefed in detail as to how did the Board extraordinarily dealt with his daughter’s application for re-checking but ended up re-assessing her answer sheets in violation of the Board rules, he said: “Did they write any reason for this.”
He was told: “No reason was mentioned.” Later when the chief justice was told that Javed Dogar, who serves in the Board, is said to have played important role in the out of the way facilitation of his daughter’s case, he admitted that he knew Javed Dogar.
The CJ also revealed that besides Javed Dogar, he also knows one Ibrahim Dogar, who too serves in the FBISE as a driver. He, however, said that Javed Dogar never brought the then chairman FBISE to his house. He said he knows almost all Dogars but denied to have ever interacted with the then chairman FBISE.
When told that there are reports that the chairman favoured his daughter only to secure further extension for himself, he said: “I never met him. The allegation of favour had been justified if the man had been given an extension.”
Zahid Bashir also endorsed the CJ’s statement and wondered how difficult it is for the CJ to get such an extension. He said the government would have done it within no time had the CJ been interested. “I would have asked Saeen,” the CJ said while pointing at Zahid Bashir.
After extended discussion when I told the chief justice that the story would be filed against the Board, it was Zahid Bashir, who first reacted and asked: “Tell me if you are filing the story.” The CJ followed by saying, “Just leave it. We are friends now.”
Zahid Bashir said in case the story goes for print he would never call me but the CJ said, “Listen, if the story is published it would carry my name.”When I said let me chew on it, the CJ said no, leave it now. Zahid Bashir said that I should respond positively to the CJ offer and get some other stories from the Supreme Court otherwise I would get nothing.
When told that the story is against the Board, the press secretary said that who would take action against the Board. “We (government) have to take the action but would never proceed against the Board let me tell you right now.”
When I told him that the Supreme Court might take action into this case, he again said that the Supreme Court too would not take any action. Zahid Bashir asked me not to be so harsh and rigid.
At one stage the CJ told me to extend hand of friendship to him as he is not a hidden man while Zahid Bashir offered, “If you want to write, I will give you the stories.” Referring to Farah Dogar story, he said, it has no substance, it is of no value, it will not change the history of Pakistan rather be seen as blackmailing as it involves an innocent person’s daughter.
He said people would not have good feeling about this and added that the chief justice is doing a job and is offering me to visit his office and will give me constructive things to write.“Look he is Chief Justice of Pakistan, why would he call you,” the press secretary said, reminding me that without CJ’s consent I would not be allowed to enter the premises of the Supreme Court.At this point, the CJ again invited me to visit his office while Bashir remarked: “He is inviting you. It is an honour for you.”