Ex-Navy chief confirms French kickbacks–> The News

Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=26619

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.

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Yvonne Riddley Story

This is an interesting story of  Yvonne Riddley converted to Islam after being captured and released by Talibans. It is a lesson for so called civilized nations like USA who treat women prisoners like animals and rape them in custody. Even uncivilized Talibans were more noble in their treatment with the women.

Now just compare it what civilized people did with an educated woman , a mother of three children.

Its a shame for so called civilized world:

Support Appeal For Aafia Siddiqi

Dr. Aafia Case–> Don’t Blame The Victim

Zardari terms Murree accord a political statement–>PPP Turning into another PML-Q

Last night in an interview with Dr. Shahid Masood Zardari showed his reservation and finally his clear and true instance on the Judiciary issue.

As it was expected from Mr. 10% that sooner or later his greed , lust of power

and nature to betray his people will over come his newly emerginga image as a

so called leader.

We appeal to the whole nation to keep their spirits high and keep their war against

injustice and dictatorship continue because we can not leave our beloved country

in the hands of opportunists like PPP,PML,JUI etc who are now joining hands

with the BUSH’s pet dictator against whom they got vote.

SO GET READY FOR A CRUICIAL ROUND OF FIGHT FOR THE CAUSE OF JUSTICE!

LAWYERS,STUDENTS,PROFESSIONALS,JOURNALISTS,BLOGGERS,TEACHERS,SINCERE POLITICAL WORKERS,

LABOUR UNIONS,FARMERS OR ANY OTHER PAKISTANI WHO IS SINCERE WITH PAKISTAN

GET READY FOR A FIGHT FOR OUR NATIONAL SURVIVAL.

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Zardari terms Murree accord a political statement (The News)

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Monday went back on his word about judges’ restoration in 30 days, agreed in the Murree Declaration.

Talking to Dr Shahid Masood in a Geo News programme “Meray Mutabiq”, he said what he along with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif announced in Murree was just a political statement and it could be interpreted in different ways.

He said, “What he said was not a Hadith and the Murree Declaration was just a political agreement.” He said the countdown for judges’ return was being carried out only by Geo that was off the air and his party restored it. When reminded that the ban on Geo was lifted before the elections, he said the channel was restored without its main actors. He told Dr Shahid Masood that you yourself were among those who were removed from the scene.

He said his government would never ban private TV channels for airing dissenting views. He said, in clear terms, that a resolution and an executive order for judges’ restoration would be accompanied by a constitutional package and these would be debated by parliament thoroughly.

When asked how many more days this process could take, he said at least two weeks. However, he did not commit to this deadline either. He said no existing judge of the Supreme Court would be shown the door.

When pointed out that in this case the number of judges would swell to unprecedented level, he said the population of the country has increased so there was a need for a larger Supreme Court.

He said the deposed judges return was not his mission, though he wanted to solve this problem because he thought that an injustice had been committed. He said the restoration of the judges is a complex issue and experts need time to sort it out. He said the question arises if an executive order is issued for the return of the judges and the court issues a stay order, then what would be the recourse.

He frequently referred to the excesses he faced during his eight-year confinement. He said he and his friends remained victim of the judiciary. He said the Supreme Court reverted a case against him to the accountability court despite the fact that he had already undergone the sentence. The accountability court judge, he remarked, told him that when a superior court could not give him justice, he would take the case afresh.

He said though it was not mentioned in the Murree Declaration, the judges were released by a single statement of the PPP premier. He disagreed with the view that the winds of change in the country started blowing following the historic no of the deposed chief justice to President Musharraf and the subsequent movement by lawyers.

He said the people did not vote for a lawyer whose both legs were broken and another PPP lawyer Zamurad Khan whose hand was broken during the lawyers’ movement. He said people have given them vote for ‘Roti, Kapra Aur Makan’ and not for judges’ restoration.

He said neither he wanted nor he thought that Nawaz Sharif would part ways with him after April 30, the original deadline for the restoration of the judges. He said his main agenda is reconciliation and the restoration of the judges was only a part of it. He said he visited the graves of erstwhile rivals in the spirit of reconciliation.

He said not a single megawatt was added to the electricity in the country during the last eight years. He said he wanted to take stock of the economic situation of the country. He said he had applied for tickets to the party and may contest polls from Larkana and a few seats from the Punjab. However, he said the final decision in this regard would be taken later.

Zardari said he wanted to see Aitzaz in parliament, though the latter boycotted the elections. The decision about awarding ticket to Aitzaz, he said, would be taken by the party board. He said he did not want to become prime minister even if he decided to contest the polls and became a member of parliament.

He categorically said that Yousuf Raza Gilani would remain premier for five years. If he wanted to get this slot, he would have got it in the beginning as a matter of his right, Zardari said. He said a sort of post-mortem of late Benazir Bhutto was undertaken at the Rawalpindi Hospital and the establishment kept the report secret. He said the concerned doctors would be asked about this in due course of time. He said he did not want Musharraf to continue as president for five years.

Sher Afgan’s Beating and Implications: The Story not told by Media—>Some points to look into.

Dear All

Television Channels are going berserk with unsubstantiated information. There is no evidence to conclude for sure that the people who beat Dr. Afgan up are lawyers. Yet many TV channels, in particular GEO, has gone a step ahead in irresponsible reporting and have already started blaming the lawyers movement for this act. We strongly believe that the ones involved were not members of the lawyers movement and all those issuing unsubstantiated libelous statements will have appropriate legal action against them. Please forward this email to all TV channels, especially GEO.

As required of all responsible journalists, we ask you to help us in an inquiry so that specifics may be found out.Please share with you any information that they have about today’s incident. We are trying to compile as much evidence as possible in order to determine who exactly was behind this and for what motive. First hand information is always the best. However you are welcome to submit second hand information that you may have obtained through hearing other people or credible reliable reports.

In particular if you have any information that could help answer the following questions:

1) Motive of Sher Afgan:

What was sher afghan doing there? Who was he meeting and why?

2) Responsibility of identification:

How did people find out about him? Who started informing people of his presence?

3) The attack:

When did the gathering start? Did anyone call people to assemble? What did they do?

4) People involved:
How many of them were recognized as lawyers? How many of them were other people?

5) Intervention:
Who all was trying to prevent them and did they get injured in the process as well?

6) Action by Law enforcement agencies:
When was the police contacted? When did they arrive? How many people were there? How long did the ambulance take?

The questions are not exhaustive: they merely suggest a list of items we need in order to submit a final, researched report.

Please forward this to as many people as possible so that we can get to the truth in this matter. Emergency Times Team has already condemned the incident in the strongest possible words.

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Sher Afgan’s Beating and Implications: The Story not told by Media

By Sameer Shaharyar

Just when the lawyers movement had become sacred and had broke all the
records of nobility and had earned the respect and esteem of the
nation, things turned ugly in Lahore. Dr. Sher Afghun Niazi, a close
aide of President Musharraf and an inactive leader of PML-Q went to
the chamber of his lawyer Malik Noor Mohammad Awan, when a lawyer who
was present opposite to the Malik Noor’s chamber called to the Lahore
high court and few hundred lawyers gathered outside the hotel, where
Sher Afgun was present.

Now things start turning interestingly mysterious from here. Dr. Sher
Afghun telephoned D.I.G operations Lahore in the afternoon, but he
never materialized. Then Dr. Sher Afgun  telephoned some highups in
the caretaker ministry of Punjab, but no one answered. When thousands
of people gathered (and most of them were not lawyers) then D.I.G
Operations Lahore came and showed his haplessness.

President of Supreme Court Association Aitzaz Ahsan reached to the
scene and tried to rescue the former minister. He pleaded with Police
to make a passage from the hotel door to the Edhi ambulance, but there
was huge and alarming security lapse. And due to that laps people
managed to reach the Dr. Sher Afgun and slapped him and treated him
with shoes.

This incident has put a question mark on the lawyer movement. The more
you look into it, the more it feels that this is yet another effort to
derail the lawyers movement. The way Dr. Sher Afgun has been treated
is extremely sad and condemnable. But the leaders of this movement
needs to identify the black sheep in their rows. Some lawyers were
surely there beating Sher Afgun, but many people who were on the front
were in plain clothes and were not recognizable.

But all in all, this incident and the incident with Dr. Arbab Ghulam
Rahim are condemnable and against all the civilized and democratic
values. Lawyers are the guardians of the law and constitution and they
need to excuse from the whole nation for the conduct of some of their
laws, but they also need to recognize those invisible hands which are
hard at work against them and the deposed judiciary.

This incident will give another breather to the forces of status quo
to stick to the rule more by defaming the lawyers movement and the
democratic forces.

From Pakistan Spectator: http://www.pakspectator.com/sher-afgans-beating-and-implications/