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‘EC refused to move against Benazir, Zardari despite pressure’

The NAB had urged the Election Commission in 2005 to take action against the former prime minister and her spouse for allegedly providing false information about their assets.

By Iftikhar A. Khan & Khaleeq Kiani
Wednesday, 09 Dec, 2009

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) urged the Election Commission in late 2005 to take action against the-then PPP chairperson, Benazir Bhutto, and her spouse Asif Ali Zardari for allegedly providing false information about their assets, but the EC refused to become a party.

This was disclosed by former secretary of the Election Commission, Kanwar Mohammad Dilshad, while talking to Dawn on Tuesday.

Mr Dilshad said some hawks in the NAB wanted the EC to register cases against the couple for alleged corrupt practices but were told that under the relevant laws and rules only an individual could approach courts to challenge the veracity of statements of assets and liabilities which at that time were submitted with returning officers concerned by the prospective candidates.

He said the NAB provided voluminous record, spread over more than 200 pages, to show disparity between the statements of assets submitted by Ms Bhutto and Mr Zardari before 1993 and 1997 general elections, and the record available with the bureau.

He said he met the-then chairman of NAB, Lt-Gen Shahid Aziz, to explain the EC’s position and stressed that any action taken by the commission would affect its neutrality and impartiality ahead of the general elections. Lt-Gen Aziz fully agreed with the contention and helped the EC deal with pressures on it, he said.

Mr Dilshad said it was after his meeting with Lt-Gen Aziz that the NAB itself got a case registered against incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari and Ms Bhutto with a district and session judge.

He said when he took a position on the issue, he had in mind the days when the results of 1977 general elections were not accepted and the situation created in the aftermath of the protests led to imposition of martial law in the country.

The-then chief martial law administrator Gen Ziaul Haq formed a committee for inquiry into the polls with the-then EC secretary as its chairman and a team of army officers, including brigadiers and colonels, working under him, to prepare a white paper.

Late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto issued a rejoinder to the white paper from behind the bars and expressed his surprise over the fact that the secretary of the EC which supervised the polls accepted chairmanship of the committee. ‘It was a mistake and we did not want to repeat the mistake,’ Mr Dilshad remarked.

He said the EC was also told that the process of obtaining statements of assets from the candidates was meaningless, unless a procedure was evolved to probe if true value of assets had been disclosed.

He said the NAB authorities were of the view that it was a futile exercise to obtain statements of assets and dump them in boxes.

The former EC secretary said the NAB offered to act as an investigation agency for the EC. The commission, however, was of the view that the NAB should take up the issue with the government for enacting legislation and it would act accordingly in line with any act of the parliament.

The NAB, according to his information, raised the matter with the ministry of law but no progress could be made.

Answering a question, the former EC secretary said the General Headquarters (GHQ) played an important role in the local bodies’ elections of 2001. He said Gen Shahid Aziz, who was then the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) was head of the army team which monitored the polls.

He conceded that the electoral lists were prepared under the supervision of the GHQ, but stressed that the polls were free and fair.

When he was asked why the EC had amended the relevant rules to make it possible for Gen Pervez Musharraf to contest presidential polls in military uniform, Mr Dilshad said it was done to meet a legal obligation in line with a Supreme Court verdict declaring that the disqualification did not apply to presidential candidates.

The timing of the amendment which made it possible for all government servants, including military officers, convicts and mentally deranged persons, to contest the election had, however, surprised many as it was done days before the presidential polls in 2007.

What made the issue more controversial was that Justice (retd) Abdul Hameed Dogar was the Chief Election Commissioner at the time, who after the imposition of emergency in November, 2007, headed the bench of the apex court that heard petitions challenging candidature of Gen Musharraf for the office of president.

Mr Dilshad said the attention of the commission to the matter was invited by the ministry of law.

Answering a question, the former secretary said he was impressed by the electoral laws in vogue in Bangladesh. He pointed out that under one of the provisions in the electoral laws of the country, the ballot papers at the end of the list of candidates had a column of ‘no’ for those who did not wish to vote for any candidate, but did not want to stay away from the electoral process.

The rule was a source of encouragement for the silent majority as the polls in a constituency were declared void under the law, if more than 50 per cent voters affixed the ‘no’ stamp in the column, Mr Dilshad said, adding that it was his desire to see it become a law in Pakistan as well.

Spokesman rejects reports on Zardari’s assets

ISLAMABAD: Reports claiming that President Asif Ali Zardari has assets worth $1.5 billion in and outside Pakistan are no less than “regurgitation of decades-old, unproven, politically-motivated allegations”, the president’s spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said on Tuesday. Responding to news reports, the spokesman said none of the charges levelled against Benazir Bhutto and Zardari could be proved in any court of law, despite spending millions of rupees from the public exchequer and “endless witch hunting” across the world. Babar said the alleged cases had been exposed when recordings of conversations between the prosecutors and the trial judge emerged in 2001 and the conviction was set aside. staff report

Manipulated record given to SC: Babar
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Says govt will not give new shape to NRO

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Babar Awan said on Tuesday that record presented in the Supreme Court on the NRO beneficiaries was prepared by Saifur Rehman’s Ehtesab’s Cell and that it was exaggerated and manipulated.

Addressing a press conference along with Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, he said it was the commitment of the democratic government that it would never hide any record from the nation at any cost.

He said the government had not prepared this record, adding the preparation of the record had started on November 5, 1996. Babar Awan said the record was prepared under Ehtesab ordinance in 1996 when Farooq Leghari had been president of Pakistan. “In 1997 it was converted in the Ehtesab Act and a senator of the then democratic government, Saifur Rehman, was assigned the task of accountability,” he added.

He said after Oct 12 1999, the draconian laws were given the name of NAB ordinance and a few new concepts were introduced to the law for the first time. He said under the new law, a person could be arrested for 90 days for remand and cases hadbeen filed against Asif Ali Zardari under these draconian laws.

The minister said foreign cases had been triggered on the letter of former attorney general Chaudhry Farooq and manipulated record had been presented to start cases in foreign countries.

“President Asif Ali Zardari was neither a convict nor an absconder at the time of filing of nomination papers for the presidential elections,” he said, adding unfortunately tilt was given to facts.

He said the NRO was now closed, adding the government would not bring it under any new shape for the protection of any body. He said in the Sherpao’s case, the Supreme Court had given a judgement that conviction in absentia was illegal and unconstitutional.

“After being acquitted by the court in a fake drugs case, he was again arrested in the BMW case prepared on the directions of Pervez Musharraf. Maximum penalty under customs law was confiscation but instead of it Asif Ali Zardari was arrested,” Babar added.

He said despite knowing this was a fake record, the government directed the department concerned to present it before the Supreme Court. He said scrutiny of nomination papers by the Election Commission was within due course of law, adding three provinces passed unanimous resolutions in favour of Asif Ali Zardari’s candidature.

He said the government gave same statement in the Supreme Court what the premier had said on the floor of the house. He said the PPP and its leaders always believed in the supremacy of the constitution and respect of the judiciary.

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    The Judgement and After By Zahid Hussain [Monthly Newsline May 2001]

    Ms Bhutto won a major court battle when a seven-member Supreme Court bench upheld her appeal, suspending the five-year jail sentence awarded to Bhutto and Zardari, and ordered a fresh trial into the Cotecna bribery case. The couple was accused of accepting millions of dollars in kickbacks from a Swiss firm. In addition to the jail sentence, the special accountability court headed by Justice Malik Abdul Qayyum had fined them 8.6 million dollars each and disqualified them from public office for five years. The Supreme Court ruling overturning the sentence did not come as a surprise after it was established that trial by the accountability court was manipulated. Bhutto’s legal position was strengthened after the disclosure of a taped conversation between Justice Abdul Qayyum and Saifur Rehman, chief of Mr. Sharif’s accountability cell. The sensational disclosure of 32 tapes which revealed that the judge was pressured to convict the former prime minister and her husband, left the superior court with no choice but to overturn the controversial verdict. However, the retrial order makes it apparent that the bribery charge has not been quashed.

    Malik Qayyum in new row over rigging By Muhammad Ahmad Noorani AG caught on tape again; denies HRW report Saturday, February 16, 2008

    It said in February 2001, the Sunday Times published a report based on transcripts of 32 audio tapes, which revealed that Qayyum convicted Benazir Bhutto and Zardari for political reasons. The transcripts of the recordings reproduced by the newspaper showed that Qayyum asked the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s anti-corruption chief, Saifur Rehman, for advice on the sentence: “Now you tell me how much punishment do you want me to give her?”

  • Pakistan Intelligence Officer Reports Corruption

    See Sunday Times report:

    Source: (1.6MB)


    No. ARV/2001/01 Dated 29-1-2001

    The President,
    Islamic Republic of Pakistan,

    Respected Sir,

    I would like to bring it to your kind notice that I am an officer of Intelligence Bureau cadre and have been raised to the rank of Deputy Director out of my sheer hard work. I have always worked honestly, professionally and with full devotions. All my seniors will endorse the high level of my efficiency, professionalism and integrity. I have always pointed out any wrong doings irrespective of any pressure of my seniors. I have no political affiliations, whatsoever.

    I, being a conscientious officer, would like to state that an extra-ordinary situation has compelled me to address you directly as I feel that this very sensitive and important matter, which may have very deep impact on the future and present functioning of the judiciary and politics of Pakistan, needs to be dealt at your level. I am constrained to inform you that during my long service career in a very sensitive organisation I have never come across of any such occasion where I was a witness to sheer abuse of state institutions including judiciary of Pakistan by any Chief Executive of the country for the mere satisfaction of his/her personal ego and vendetta. In the instant case, some important dignitaries of the past and the present are involved who have not only violated the Constitution of Pakistan but also crossed other human and legal limits. They have also violated the provisions of their oath, which they took while taking-over their high offices. They have committed such a crime, which no nation on the earth would ever tolerate.

    The highly undesirable incident, which I am going to narrate below, in fact, relates to the trial of the Opposition Leader and former Prime Minister of Pakistan Ms. Benazir Bhutto and her spouse conducted by the Accountability Court headed by Mr. Justice Malik Abdul Qayyum of the Lahore High Court. The events which have really shook my conscious and will also shake you and the whole nation are being summarised below.

    With the start of the trial of Ms. Benazir Bhutto and her spouse in SGS Reference in the Accountability Court headed by Mr. Justice Malik Abdul Qayyum, the then Government ordered the Intelligence Sub-Bureau, Lahore for the monitoring of all the office, home and mobile telephones of Mr. Justice Malik Abdul Qayyum in order to keep him under constant observation. Accordingly, I, being the head of the section responsible for the observation/bugging of the telephones, started tapping the telephones of Mr. Justice Malik Abdul Qayyum.
    First of all Mr. Khalid Anwar called Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum and told that “Somebody is unhappy over the delay of hearing of this case. He has complained about the case to Saif that nothing has been done so far and why has it not been concluded.” He informed the judge that “the gentleman [Mian Nawas Sharif] was very unhappy” and asked the judge that “Now I am thinking if you could reach the final result within the outside limit of two weeks” and “So get it done on Monday”. In response, Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum informed the Minister that “It is being done on Monday. After this we have to give them some time for defence evidence and then the matter will be closed.”

    During his first conversation with Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum, Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman directed him that “Kindly don’t do one thing. Please don’t give any further date.” to which the judge promised that “Now we are not going to give dates. We are going to finish it by the Grace of God. You don’t worry.”. In a conversation with his wife, Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum told her that “They have said, remove him” and on a further explanation by her wife, the judge stated that Nawaz Sharif has ordered for his removal because “They [Mian Nawaz Sharif] say that he has changed his loyalty.” When on his advice the wife of Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum informed Malik Pervez (brother of Justice Malik Qayyum) of this development, he remarked that “But this is Blackmailing” and while agreeing with him, the wife of Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum concluded that “Yes you are right; this is the limit that justice should not be done and only what they want should be done”.

    In a subsequent conversation with Malik Pervez, Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum informed him that “Regarding the matter of judgement which you know, your friend the biggest boss (Nawaz Sharif) is specially sending two men, one Mehdi and other Pappu (Saif)” to the Chief Justice to ensure “that it should be done with in two days”.

    In a separate conversation with Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman asked Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum “… we need a place when our man can sit. Kindly permit our man to sit in the room next to your room” to which the judge told him that he “would tell Khawar Sahib”. Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman then told the judge that “Then I am going to depute the man Feroz shah who will contact Khawar”. When the Judge discuss this development/requirement with the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice remarked that “If we avoid it, it is better for us otherwise the noose will be around our neck if this thing is exposed”. Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum in reply told him that “Khawar says that we can place the machine in the Registrar’s room” like “when you did it, it was also like this”.

    Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman, in a separate conversation conveyed the directions of the Prime Minister to Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum and told him that “He [Mian Nawaz Sharif] has asked me to tell you for Monday” and asked him “Whatever you told me before, do exactly like that”. Mr. Justice replied that “I am trying my best. You don’t worry. You know how sincerely we are trying”.

    Besides external/political pressure, Mr. Justice Rashid Aziz, the then chief Justice of Lahore High Court was also used to pressurize Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum. In a telephonic conversation, Mr. Justice Rashid Aziz informed Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum that “Yesterday when I went there, Mr. Yasir Arafat had come. He was busy with him in a meeting. He [Mian Nawaz Sharif] said just wait for ten minutes, twenty minutes, and half an hour. We will talk after lunch” and told Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum that “He [Nawaz Sharif] is a bastard”. When Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum enquired about the conversation, Mr. Justice Rashid Aziz told him that “he [Nawaz Sharif] says it has to be tomorrow” and enquired from Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum “Is everything ready?”. When Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum asked the Chief Justice that “You should have told him that it would finish only after they finish (defence evidence)” the Chief Justice told him that “He was saying that just do it”.

    When Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum could not announce the judgement on the pre-determined day Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman called him and asked that “You were supposed to do it today”. Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum replied to him that “For your sake I had to beg her lawyer. I told him that I have to go abroad, I am not feeling well but I have to finish it first”. When Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman expressed displeasure over delay Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum asked him to “handle him [Mian Nawaz Sharif] and stated that “By the grace of God, this will be done and then both of us will go to him [Mian Nawaz Sharif] and seek forgiveness”. Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman asked the same judge to “Give me 100% confirmation that it will be done tomorrow”. In the same conversation Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum asked him about the punishment required to be awarded to which Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman told him that “whatever you have been told by him [Mian Nawaz Sharif]” i.e. “Not less than 7 years”. Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum suggested to him that the maximum punishment is not appropriate as “Seven is the maximum punishment and no body awards maximum” and requested Mr. Saif to ask him [Mian Nawaz Sharif] to which he promised to le him (Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum) know. In the same conversation Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum informed Mr. Saif that “I have already done about the fine and confiscation of the properties” and “their disqualification also”. Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman informed him that “Now more important is the state of madness in which he [Mian Nawaz Sharif] is” to which Justice Malik Qayyum requested him to “Beg forgiveness on my behalf”. Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum assured him that “Under all circumstances it will be done tomorrow. We are going to announce the judgement”.

    In a separate conversation, Mr. Rashid Aziz described the madness of the Prime Minister to Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum and told him that “You can’t understand. Do you know what he [Mian Nawaz Sharif] is going to say? He is going to issue warrants for both of us. He has specially called me and told to advice you that what are you doing?” In reply Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum informed the Chief Justice that “90% I will try my best to finish it tomorrow”. Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum went on assuring the Chief Justice in the words “OK. Tomorrow I will, even if have to push it”. The Chief Justice told the judge that he has told him [Nawaz Sharif] that”It is already written and lying with us. He can sign it for you on it and you can keep it with you”.

    In another conversation with Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum, Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman told the judge that he had asked him [Mian Nawaz Sharif] about the punishment to which he had directed to tell you that “Give them full dose”. Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman also informed the judge that “When I inquired about five or seven, he said I should ask you whey you would not like to give them full dose”. Explaining the strategy for the next day (the day of the announcement of the judgement) Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum informed Mr. Saif that “Whole day will be given. After eleven (11:00 AM) we would tell him to finish. After the interval at 11:00 AM, even if they disagree, we will not care” and “We will tell them, say whatever they want to say in their defence. It (order) is already prepared in written”. The judge went on explaining and stated that “So after half an hour, we will come back and announce it”. Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman then suggested to him that “Give the brief tomorrow but try to cover the maximum the brief the judgement”.

    When the trial of Ms. Benazir Bhutto was over, Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, the then Chief Minister of Punjab rang up the judge and told that “I made a request to you” to which the judge replied that “Sir, I did finish that”. Mr. Shahbaz Sharif then informed him that “thank you very much. The matter regarding Ch. Sarwar [MNA], my elder brother has asked me to tell you that Sarwar should be favoured [in his disqualification case]” to which Mr. Justice Malik Qayyum promised that “It’s done, as desired by Mian sahib. As per his desire the matter is finished”.

    During this process of close day to day observation of his phones, I was astonished to note that the judge was being dictated to obtain a judgement of their choice against Ms. Benazir Bhutto and Mr. Asif Ali Zardari by the then Federal Law Minister Mr. Khalid Anwar, Chairman Accountability Bureau, Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman and the then Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Mr. Justice Rashid Aziz, under the orders of from then Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, to hastily conclude the trial, announce conviction of Ms. Benazir Bhutto and her spouse with maximum punishment or seven years and forfeiture of her entire property. The Honourable Judge was pressurized to the extent that once he was called by the then Chief Justice of Lahore High Court at his residence to convey that Mr. Nawaz Sharif has asked to remove him (Mr. Justice. Malik Abdul Qayyum) as he (Mian Nawaz Sharif) has become doubtful of his loyalties. The Honourable Judge ultimately succumbed to the pressure and announced pre-written judgement against Ms. Benazir Bhutto and her husband by violating all norms of Justice, provisions of the Constitution of Pakistan and fair-play.

    The whole conversation of these important Cabinet Ministers and the judges was part of the official record of the Intelligence Sub-Bureau, Lahore. I am also enclosing my affidavit along with 60-minutes recorded tape and its transcription with the view to assist your kind honour to proceed against two sitting judges, one of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the other of Lahore High Court, respectively, former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Chairman Accountability Bureau Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman and the then Federal Law Minister Mr. Khalid Anwar.

    I would also like to state that I have taken on against the most powerful group of politicians, two corrupt and immoral judges and hence I apprehend that I along with my family members are going to be harassed and victimized besides a serious danger to my life too. I also fear that the authorities in the Intelligence Bureau may try to terminate my services on false grounds but fact remains that I am just doing my duty by exposing to you bad elements in our judiciary. I, therefore, appeal to your honour to provide me protection and security against all such dangers. The aforementioned corrupt characters have not only brought bad name to the judiciary itself but also the image of our great nation. I would also like to make it clear that I have no motives whatsoever but I just want you to know as to what kind of havoc is being played by such people who had made mockery of justice without fear of the Almighty Allah.

    In the light of the above facts, I would request: to your honour to kindly take necessary and appropriate action into the matter.

    In the end I would once again like to reiterate the fact that I have no motives whatsoever in exposing these bad elements as I, being a civil servant, was duty bound to bring the wrong-doings of such like undesirable characters to the notice of such authorities which I am confident would take necessary action. I would also request you to kindly keep this summary confidential till you have taken a final action against them.

    Thanking you In anticipation and I am confident that your kind honour, being the custodian of the Constitution of Pakistan and a former judge of the apex court of the country, would definitely proceed in the matter in accordance with the law.

    Yours obediently,


    (A. RAHIM)

    Deputy Director/IB


    1. Copy of the transcript.
    2. 65 Minutes recorded tape.
    3. Affidavit.

    1. Gen. Pervez Musharraf, The Chief Executive of Pakistan, Islamabad.
    2. Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan, Islamabad.
    3. Maj. Gen. Rafi-ullah Khan Niiazi, Director General, Intelligence Bureau, Govt. of Pakistan, Islamabad.
    4. Mr. Jehangir Mirza, Joint Director General, PPHQ-IB Lahore.
    (A. RAHIM)
    Deputy Director/IB

    [1 page. Misspellings in original.]

    [100 Rupee Certificate]

    [Stamped by Advocate Notary Public.]

    I, A. RAHIM S/o Mr. NAZIR AHMED, do hereby solemnly declare and affirm as under.

    1. That I was working in the Intelligence Bureau directorate, Lahore since 1997. Further, I worked in other positions in I.B.

    2. That according to the instructions of the Government, the residentiel, office and mobile numbers of Justice Malik Adbul Qayyum were placed under observation during the trial of former Prime Minister and Opposition Leader Ms. Benazir Bhutto.

    3. The Mr. Nawaz Sharif and his associate wanted to know Justice Malik Qayyum’s day to day engagements, and contacts. In fact, they wanted to ensure that Justice Malik Qayyum was following the advice of Accountability Bureau and teh Federal Law Minister to impliment the pre-determined conviction of Ms. Benazir Bhutto.

    4. that the Prime Minister wanted the proof that instructions given by him to Justice Malik Qayyum through Chief Justice Rashid Aziz of Lahore High Court, Mr. Saif-ur-Rehman, Chairman Accountability Bureau and the Federal Law Minister Khalid Anwar were being followed.

    5. That accordingly all incoming and outgoing calls in his office, home and mobile were monitored and regular record of day to day conversation started building. I was shocked to find that the concerned judge is being ordered to convict Mr. Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari by Saif-ur-Rehman, Chief Justice and Law Minister by hastily concluding the trial at the earliest and announcing the conviction of Ms. Benazir Bhutto with “full dose” at every cost. I found the Judge to be working as junior to the Accountability Bureau and the Federal Law Minister.

    6. My conscience felt bad learning about the gross injustice being done to the defendants through the judge trampling the provisions of the constitution of Pakistan. I, being a civil servant felt duty bound to protect the Constitution and not become party to any such violations. I, therefore, decided to make a duplicate copy of the conversation and a 65-minutes long audio recorded conversation to this effect is enclosed with this affidavit. The entire record of conversation between Premier Sharif’s cabinet Ministers, namely Saif-ur-Rehman (who had also investigated the case against Ms. Benazir Bhutto), personal friend of Nawaz Sharif, the then Federal Law Minister Khalid Anwar, and Justice Rashid Aziz, the then Chief Justice of Lahore High Court confirms that a conspiracy was hatched against Ms. Benazir Bhutto for getting her convicted through Justice Malik Qayyum.

    7. That the above facts are correct and true to the best of my knowledge and nothing has been concealed or withheld.


    A. RAHIM


    Name obscured

  • Scandal rocks Pak judiciary : “Conviction of Benazir was fixed” February 19, 2001

    The role of Pakistan judiciary has come under scrutiny after a London daily, Sunday Times, alleged that a judge of Lahore High Court, who convicted former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari for five years in a corruption case in 1999, had delivered a pre-written guilty verdict at the instance of the then Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif. Ms. Bhutto who is planning to return to the country from her self-exile in London, has now filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against her conviction on trumped up charges, which is to come for hearing on Feb. 26.

    The Sunday Times last week published taped conversations secretly recorded by a former Pakistan Intelligence officer, which established a nexus between Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum, who convicted Benazir Bhutto, and the Law Minister in the deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government. Justice Qayyum who was heading a two-member bench, allegedly handed down a pre-written guilty verdict against her and her husband apparently under pressure from the Sharif government. In addition to five years in jail, each of them were fined $8.6 million. While Zardari, who was in the country, was sent to jail, Benazir Bhutto who was in London when the sentence was announced, did not return. The Sunday Times based its report containing detailed taped telephone conversations between Justice Qayyum and the Law Minister, Khalid Anwar recorded by the then Deputy Director of Intelligence Bureau, Abdul Rahim. Rahim in a petition to President Rafiq Tarar, has informed him that he was asked to tap the telephones of Justice Qayyum by the Sharif government soon after the trial began against Bhuttos. Justice Qayyum was suitably rewarded by the Sharif government when he was issued a diplomatic passport despite strong objections from the foreign ministry.

    Reacting to the report, Ms. Bhutto said this was an indication of what she had been saying since the beginning that the charges against her were tramped up and the judge was partisan. Justice Qayum has however challenged the validity of the tapes saying that they could have been concocted or doctored. He claimed that he gave the judgment according to the dictates of his conscience. The deputy chairman of PPP, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, has demanded a full investigation into the allegations.

    The advocates all over Pakistan have decided to observe a strike on Feb 27 in support of their demand for a transparent inquiry into the charges that the Sharif government “fixed” the judgement against Ms. Bhutto by manipulating the judges. They are also demanding restoration of the 1973 Constitution.

    It is not clear as to what has prompted the lawyers to adopt a pro-active step, particularly when the mainstream politically parties are maintaining a relatively low profile after the exile of Mr. Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia. The Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD), launched with much fanfare days before Mr. Sharif entered into a deal with the military government, has just about recovered from the rude shock on account of the dramatic exit of Mr. Sharif from the domestic political scene. Sharif has been asked by Saudi authorities to surrender his passport after his nephew returned to Pakistan without prior permission. Sharif himself has been denied passport by the Saudi authorities to go to London for the medical treatment of his father.

    The ARD suffered a further setback when the MQM-the other important political party in the alliance- walked out in protest against he refusal of the leaders to endorse its demand for adoption of the 1940 Lahore Resolution that envisaged maxim autonomy to provinces. The MQM also wanted the Pakistan People’s party (PPP) to apologize for the excess committed by its government against its workers during its regime.

    In the changed context the ARD decided to move on and at a meeting in Peshwar on last Friday decided to launch a movement against the military government on Marc 23. The alliance is organising a rally in Lahore on March 23 in defiance of the ban imposed by the military government on holding of rallies and demonstrations. The decision is seen ore as a signal to Mrs. Bhutto to go ahead with her plans to return to Pakistan and take the Musharraf government head on. Ms. Bhutto, who has been weighing the pros and cons of her return to Pakistan, is believed to have directed their party workers to prepare the ground for her grand return. In an obvious effort to test the waters, in the last few days the PPP has been organising small protest demonstrations in different parts of the country.

  • “QUOTE”

    Read this paragraph from The News and reading it read the 4 years old news

    A visibly ruffled NAB chairman could not satisfy the court regarding the details of remaining $47 million dollars in the SGS case and sought time for providing the details. The chief justice asked the NAB chairman about the total expenditure so far incurred by the government on the litigation in the Swiss court’s case of Asif Ali Zardari. The NAB chairman yet again failed to give an appropriate response in this regard and sought time for presenting details. Justice Javed Iqbal, while giving his observation, said that he expects many officials would come to fore who would have made “Yatras” to Geneva and London while pursuing the case. Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday asked the NAB chairman as to why NAB officialswere sent to Geneva and London for pursuing the cases despite the fact that several missions existed in both these countries. Court unhappy with NAB Thursday, December 10, 2009 By Sohail Khan
    SC concerned over Swiss case record’s safety Enquires about Zardari’s $47m

    NAB Officials spend over Rs. 24. 7 million on foreign tours Friday February 03, 2006 (0035 PST)

    NAB Officials spend over Rs. 24. 7 million on foreign tours Friday February 03, 2006 (0035 PST)ISLAMABAD: Atleast 47 National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials including two former chairmen spent more than an estimated Rs. 24. 7 million on foreign trips, as details in this connection presented in the parliament. Online learnt Thursday through well placed sources of Senate Secretariat, according to which two former chairmen of NAB, Lt Gen (Retd) Amjad Hussain and Lt. Gen (Retd) Munir Hafiz toured about 20 countries. Gen Amjad spent estimated Rs four hundred thousand while touring UK and USA, whereas Gen Munir toured an outrageous 18 foreign destinations spending about 60,00,000 from exchequer’s kitty.

    Most of these tours have been claimed to be undertaken in connection with pending investigations about corruption charges against Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, whereas NAB officials also underwent training in foreign institutions against corruption handling. Further activities include seminars, attended by NAB officials in such diverse destinations as, Dubai, Malaysia, London, Geneva, Singapore, Hong Kong, USA, Saudi Arabia, Paris, Nairobi, Manila, Jakarta, Mexico, Korea, China, Australia, etc. According to the detailed reports provided by the Prime Minister house to the Parliament, the former deputy secretary of NAB, Maj Gen Shujaat Zamir, spent Rs 2, 49000, Deputy chairman NAB Hassan. M. Afzal spent about Rs. 2,73,000 on his Geneva trip, Attorney General Pakistan Makhdoom Ali Khan spent an estimated Rs. 2,75,000 on his Geneva trip, former prosecutor General Farooq Adam Khan spent, Rs 2,75,000, D.G NAB Talat Mahmood Ghumman spent 12,00,000 on his trip to London, Sydney, Zurich, Switzerland, D.G NAB Maj. Gen Ijaz Ahmad Bakhshi spent about Rs 1,61,000 on his USA trip, DG Rear Admiral Saeed Ahmad Sargana spent Rs 2,56,000 on his Mexican tour, COS Brig. Tayab Waheed concurred an expenditure of Rs, 400,000 on his tours to Singapore, Hong Kong, Vienna, Austria, and Kuala Lumpur. Among other more, group captain Naseer Ashraf spent 2,66,000 on his trips to Moscow, Dubai, and London, member financial crimes Najam -Ul- Hassan Saqib spent 14,00,000 on his itinerary of Zurich, Geneva, London and Australia. Ms Nadia Sheikh, who is a legal consultant, spent more than 2,00,000 on her Korean trip, and additional director Tanvir Akhtar and Farman Ullah spent more than 600,000 on their Hong Kong trip. Besides these, other officials also spent astronomical amounts from official sources, ranging from Rs. 13,000 to Rs. 300,000 on their foreign trips.REFERENCE: NAB Officials spend over Rs. 24. 7 million on foreign tours Friday February 03, 2006 (0035 PST)


  • Political Victimization.


    Malik Qayyum in new row over rigging By Muhammad Ahmad Noorani Saturday, February 16, 2008 AG caught on tape again; denies HRW report

    ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Watch, a New York-based organisation, on Friday released a highly controversial audio tape of Attorney-General of Pakistan Malik Mohammed Qayyum in which he talks about a rigging plan for Monday’s elections. The audio, released on the website of HRW, was obtained by it from secret sources and the organisation accused the attorney-general of saying “that the upcoming parliamentary elections will be massively rigged”. Malik Qayyum, while talking to The News, termed the recording fake and a conspiracy against him because he was a close aide of President Musharraf. He said the release of this fake audio was a conspiracy against him and the president.

    The Human Rights Watch claims that the conversation was recorded when a journalist was interviewing Qayyum and he took another call, putting the journalist on hold. The said journalist was recording the call and thus conversation of Qayyum with an unidentified person was recorded ultimately. In the recording, Qayyum appears to be advising an unidentified person on what political party the person should approach to become a candidate in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Human Rights Watch said that the recording was made during a phone interview with a member of the media on November 21, 2007. Qayyum, while still on the phone interview, took a call on another telephone and his side of that conversation was recorded.

    The recording was made the day after the Election Commission announced the schedule for the polls. The election was originally planned for January 8 but was postponed after the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan on November 25. An English translation of the recording, which is in Urdu and Punjabi, follows: “Leave Nawaz Sharif (pause)… I think Nawaz Sharif will not take part in the election (pause)… If he does take part, he will be in trouble. If Benazir takes part she too will be in trouble (pause)… They will massively rig to get their own people to win. If you can get a ticket from these guys, take it (pause)… If Nawaz Sharif does not return himself, then Nawaz Sharif has some advantage. If he comes himself, even if after the elections rather than before (pause). Yes.”

    The HRW press release also claimed that its repeated attempts to contact Qayyum by phone were unsuccessful. It said in February 2001, the Sunday Times published a report based on transcripts of 32 audio tapes, which revealed that Qayyum convicted Benazir Bhutto and Zardari for political reasons. The transcripts of the recordings reproduced by the newspaper showed that Qayyum asked the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s anti-corruption chief, Saifur Rehman, for advice on the sentence: “Now you tell me how much punishment do you want me to give her?”

    London-based Brad Adams, director Asia region-HRW, was asked by The News to comment on Malik Qayyum’s view that the release of the audio just two days before the elections was a conspiracy. Brad replied that his organisation had got this audio recording some three days back and as being an international NGO, it had first confirmed the voice signatures of Malik Qayyum and then tried its best to contact him for his version.

    Brad, however, refused to mention or give any hint regarding the source from which it had taken the audio. Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director of HRW, when asked by The News that whether his NGO had got this recording from some of its staff here in Pakistan or from some intelligence agency, said that he could not speak about the source. To a question that Pakistani government sees the release of the recording as a conspiracy, he said: “Its silly to talk like that, the government should feel sorry what it has planned for elections.” Malik Qayyum told The News that HRW did not take his version and that it did not know about the identification of the person to which he was talking, which automatically raised questions about the authenticity of the recording.

    The Judgement and After By Zahid Hussain [Monthly Newsline May 2001]

    Last month’s Supreme Court ruling setting aside Benazir Bhutto’s conviction has, perhaps, been the best news for the exiled leader since her ignominious ouster from power in 1996. The verdict provided a new lifeline and catapulted her back to the centrestage of Pakistan’s political chess game.

    Describing it as a vindication of her cause, a euphoric Ms Bhutto immediately declared her intention to become prime minister for the third time. “I will return to the country soon to lead the struggle for democracy,” declared the mercurial former prime minister who has seen more ups and downs in her political career than any other Pakistani politician.

    After a long time she appears to be in fighting spirits, anticipating a favourable political situation at home with a beleaguered military regime wobbling along and a political vacuum waiting to be filled. The Pakistan People’s Party’s unexpectedly good showing at the local government polls has given another boost to her political ambitions.
    Ironically, after being written off by many observers as a spent political force, Ms Bhutto appears to be in contention for yet another comeb ack. With her main political rival, Nawaz Sharif, out in the cold and other political parties lacking in leadership, the situation seems more favourable for her now than at any time since her unceremonious ouster from power five years ago.

    But can she make her dream of a return to power come true? Notwithstanding her eternal optimism, most observers believe she still has a long way to go. The military leadership appears determined to keep her out of politics. The generals have formulated their own game plan of imposing a new brand of controlled “democracy” by the October 2002 deadline. They have already made it clear that there is no place for Ms Bhutto or any other well known political personality in that structure. The recent crackdown on the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy, (ARD) and the making of a ‘King’s Party’ in the form of a new Muslim League, along with General Musharraf’s reported intent to make a bid for the presidency, betray the military’s real purpose.
    Ms Bhutto won a major court battle when a seven-member Supreme Court bench upheld her appeal, suspending the five-year jail sentence awarded to Bhutto and Zardari, and ordered a fresh trial into the Cotecna bribery case. The couple was accused of accepting millions of dollars in kickbacks from a Swiss firm. In addition to the jail sentence, the special accountability court headed by Justice Malik Abdul Qayyum had fined them 8.6 million dollars each and disqualified them from public office for five years.

    The Supreme Court ruling overturning the sentence did not come as a surprise after it was established that trial by the accountability court was manipulated. Bhutto’s legal position was strengthened after the disclosure of a taped conversation between Justice Abdul Qayyum and Saifur Rehman, chief of Mr. Sharif’s accountability cell. The sensational disclosure of 32 tapes which revealed that the judge was pressured to convict the former prime minister and her husband, left the superior court with no choice but to overturn the controversial verdict. However, the retrial order makes it apparent that the bribery charge has not been quashed.

    Bhutto, who has been living in exile in London was quick to interpret the judgement as a vindication. “The ruling has removed one big hurdle to my return to Pakistan,” she declared. But most observers agree that Bhutto has to clear many more hurdles before she can safely return to Pakistan. Not only is she facing trial on five corruption charges at present, but nine more cases against her are ready to be filed in the accountability courts.
    Bhutto’s plans for an early return to the country suffered a serious setback just a few days after her court victory when the British government finally handed over to Pakistan thousands of documents containing details of the assets and bank accounts belonging to her and her jailed husband, Asif Ali Zardari. The British authorities had withheld the information over the past eighteen months after the military takeover. The National Accountability Bureau maintains the documents will help in gathering evidence in other corruption cases against her.

    NAB chief, General Khalid Maqbool, has warned that the former prime minister will be arrested on her return, given that she faces nine fresh corruption charges involving an amount of 1.5 billion dollars. Although Ms Bhutto said the jail threat would not change her plans, some party sources concede the latest development may create serious problems for her.

    The arrest of former Pakistan navy chief Admiral Mansur-ul-Haq in the United States and his expected extradition to Pakistan may also be used against her. Admiral Mansur, who fled to the US after his dismissal on corruption charges in 1999, allegedly pocketed millions of dollars in kickbacks on the Agosta submarine deal with France. NAB investigators maintain that the case also involves Asif Zardari and some of his cronies. The court cases will proceed according to the law, said General Maqbool.

    All these factors have blocked Bhutto’s early return to Pakistan. According to senior party sources, she now plans to end her self-exile some time in September, after the completion of local government elections. “There is a strong pressure from supporters for her immediate return, but we will have to take all factors into consideration before taking a final decision,” said a senior PPP leader. “This will give the party enough time to mobilise public support.”

    Although Bhutto supporters anticipate an “Imam Khomeini” type of welcome for her back home, this is an extremely unlikely prospect. The party may have regained a support base in her home province of Sindh and in some parts of Punjab, largely because of the existing political vacuum, but there is no ground swell for her. The limited success of her party in the local elections cannot be seen as a measure of her growing popularity. There is no likelihood of any significant resistance or protest if she is arrested on arrival. Despite growing public disenchantment with the military regime, people are not prepared to come out on the streets for her.

    If the recent crackdown on the opposition Alliance for Restoration of Democracy is any indicator, it is clear that the military regime will not hesitate to use brute state power to crush any anti-government campaign. Neither the PPP nor the motley opposition alliance is in a position to mobilise public discontent and launch an effective anti-government movement.

    It is very apparent that the regime, at least for now, does not face a formidable challenge from a divided opposition, despite growing anti-military sentiments, particularly in Sindh and the other smaller provinces.

    However, the situation does not bode well for the military regime in the long run, particularly as it prepares to impose a new political dispensation. Following in the footsteps of previous military dictators, General Musharraf is trying to prop up a pro- military Pakistan Muslim League. It is evident that the new PML faction led by Mian Azhar is virtually a political wing of the military. Both the PML and military sources confirm that the split in the PML was orchestrated by the political wing of the ISI, which has become much more active in the game of political manipulation.

    Lt. General Akram, deputy director-general ISI, reportedly played a key role in the formation of the ‘loyal’ Muslim League. Senior League sources confirmed that they were directed by the ISI to elect Mian Azhar as the new president of the party. At one point even General Musharraf intervened to resolve the differences over the former Punjab governor. Considering him a political lightweight, most PML leaders opposed Azhar’s candidature, but they grudgingly accepted him at the General’s persuasion. According to some senior PML sources, the military now wants the party to elect Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro as their parliamentary party leader. “It will pave the way to nominate him as prime minister if the generals decide to restore the assembly,” said a senior PML leader.
    Apparently, the current political manipulation is a prelude to the military’s plan to create a new political set-up under its aegis. But as in the past, such a system is not likely to survive. Most observers agree that it may create its own political dynamics, deepening the political crisis. Some PPP leaders believe this will help Bhutto return to power.
    While throwing down the gauntlet, a shrewd Ms Bhutto also understands that the military cannot be forced to abdicate power voluntarily and that her comeback depends on some kind of compromise with the powerful generals. Her latest statements betray her dilemma. While indicating a “tactical withdrawal from a flawed system” a few weeks ago, she still wants the military to talk to her. There are also some indications that the PPP may accept General Musharraf as the president if the military is prepared to strike a deal with it. But the junta, at least for now, is not inclined to respond. There is no indication that the regime will ease pressure on Ms Bhutto by withdrawing other corruption charges against her and her husband.

    It is quite evident that the military would be willing to deal with Bhutto and release Zardari only if she agrees to keep out of politics for at least three years. The regime has already offered to release Zardari, provided he pays the amount which NAB believes the couple had received in kickbacks and commissions. Zardari reportedly rejected the offer, knowing fully well that it may spell the end of Bhutto’s politics. “We are not the Sharifs. The PPP workers will lynch us if we try to strike a deal with the government,” Zardari said during one of his court appearances.

    Bhutto’s return to the country may serve as a catalyst in intensifying the anti-military movement, but it cannot bring down the regime. She no longer has the charisma or the credibility to inspire hope. Her tainted past is still alive in people’s minds, and even the party cadres are not motivated enough ? at least not yet ? to fight against the military. Bhutto may still get the votes, largely because of the absence of any viable option, but the regime has made it abundantly clear that they would not allow her to participate in the elections. “They have played their innings and it was a useless innings,” General Musharraf declared recently. Ms Bhutto’s hopes of staging a comeback for the third time depends on whether she is prepared to wage a protracted struggle and maybe even suffer imprisonment. The erstwhile prime minister has a long wait ahead of her


  • Ansar Abbasi/Saleh Zaafir: Jang Group’s Contempt of Court & Media Trial.

    During the course of the proceedings, the acting AG informed the SC that despite the court’s orders, some TV channels were still conducting talk shows on the NRO. The chief justice again directed TV channels not to conduct talk shows on the NRO which is sub judice. “TV channels should not debate the matter which is sub judice: otherwise, we would issue an order in black and white in this regard,” the CJ remarked. Court unhappy with NAB By Sohail Khan Thursday, December 10, 2009 SC concerned over Swiss case record’s safety Enquires about Zardari’s $47m http://www.thenews. story_detail. asp?Id=25997


    Thursday, December 10, 2009, Zil’Hajj 22, 1430 A.H
    http://www.jang. dec2009-daily/ 10-12-2009/ main3.htm

    Thursday, December 10, 2009, Zil’Hajj 22, 1430 A.H
    http://www.jang. dec2009-daily/ 10-12-2009/ main2.htm

  • Another historic judgement By Ardeshir Cowasjee 22 April 2001 Sunday 27 Muharram 1422

    “DO your judges still cover their heads with horsehair? Invited or not, they visit us. Some dump on us copies of what they proclaim to be historic judgements they have written. Others tell us they are in Washington for medical treatment for themselves or their wives.”

    This was said by a US Supreme Court judge to a man who had identified himself as a national of Pakistan, and who could only grunt and groan in response and do his best to uphold the honour of the country’s judges.

    The horsehair referred to was the wig worn by the former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Nasim Hassan Shah in his photograph printed on the cover of a booklet containing his ‘historic’ judgement restoring Nawaz Sharif and his corrupt government dismissed by the then president in 1993.

    The medical treatment referred to was that of the wife of the present Chief Justice of Pakistan, Irshad Hassan Khan.

    We now have another ‘historic’ judgement handed down last week by a bench of seven, headed by Justice Bashir Jehangiri, in the appeal against their conviction for corruption of the former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, and her husband Asif Zardari.

    Their guilt is doubted by none, not even their own defenders. But would the duo have been able to do what they did, robbing and destroying this country, without the aid and abetment of others? Dismissed for the first time, their re-entry into the government was expedited by none other than President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the man who in 1990 had sacked Benazir’s first government on charges of corruption, vociferously citing her husband Asif as being the most corrupt of the corrupt lot. After he had dismissed her successor, Nawaz Sharif, and his government on the same charge in 1993, Ghulam Ishaq sent for Benazir and Asif from London where they were biding their time, and himself swore in Asif as one of his caretaker ministers. Has anybody been able to calculate the loss to the country caused by the two rounds of Benazir’s governments?

    Now to the latest historic judgement, which records the taped version of a conversation which took place “between Saifur Rahman and Qayyum J.” I can swear on oath that I was present in Saifur Rahman’s office one day when he received a telephone call from the then Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court, Rashid Aziz Khan, reporting on the good work his court had done. Saif told him that he had done well and that he would convey the good news (whatever it was) to Mian Sahib.

    The judgment makes it crystal clear what the honourable judges of our Supreme Court had in mind. Paragraph 36 reads: “The record reveals the glaring injustice meted out to Asif Ali Zardari, appellant, when the Court [Ehtesab Bench of the Lahore High Court] declined to grant him permission to recall certain witnesses for the purpose of cross-examination…. It may be pointed out that because of freezing of assets and funds, the appellant, Asif Ali Zardari, had expressed his inability to engage a counsel of his choice to cross-examine those witnesses…..”.

    The question that arises is, do Their Lordships really believe that Benazir and Asif are living below the poverty line and surviving on food ladled out in soup kitchens? Perhaps the judges were not made aware of the fact that their lawyers in Karachi have been handsomely paid, and that, knowing their clients as they did, they took their money in advance. As far as their law suits in England are concerned, it is a well known fact that the duo engaged senior counsel Lord Lester and a string of other leading counsel to plead for them, and various firms of solicitors, all of whose fees ranged up to 600 per hour, or, roughly speaking, some 1,000 rupees per minute.

    The last paragraph of the judgement states, “Before parting with the judgement we are inclined to dispose of the plea of Mr Abdul Hafiz Pirzada, learned Sr. ASC, to the effect that Asif Ali Zardari, appellant, had already served out a substantive sentence of imprisonment, and therefore, he is entitled to be released from jail. As we have already sent the case to a court of competent jurisdiction, it would be more appropriate if this matter is agitated before the court aforesaid.’

    We must be thankful for small mercies.

    How can any sane man who lives abroad, have dealings with Pakistan and hope to safely invest his money here and prosper, bereft as we are of law and order? Anybody surfing the net, seeking information on this country, will come across a well read publication, the Information Times, published in Washington DC. ( On April 18, the Information Times carried an article on “44 wanted men, fugitives, crooks, criminals, thugs, smugglers, robbers and thieves of Pakistan who are wanted by NAB.” Each person listed is ably qualified to be a respected member of any international swindling, smuggling or money-laundering organization.

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