Let us assume PML-N’s ex-senator Mr. Saifur Rehman’s allegations against President Asif Ali Zardari telecast through Geo TV/ Jang Media Group (Meray Mutabiq by Dr Shahid Masood) are correct, then how would the same Jang Group of Newspaper and its owner Mir Shakil ur Rahman justify the below mentioned flagrant violation and abuse of Rules, Law and Justice by the same Saifur Rehman.
A GLIMPSE OF PAKISTAN MUSLIM LEAGUE – NAWAZ GROUP’S SENATOR SAIF UR REHMAN “ALLEGED ACCOUNTABILITY” AGAINST JANG GROUP OF NEWSPAPERS/PRESS/CITIZENS BY VIOLATING EVERY LAW IN THE BOOK. I HOPE JANG GROUP/THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL/SHAHEEN SEHBAI/DR SHAHID MASOOD/MAHMOOD SHAM/MUHAMMAD SALEH ZAAFIR/ AND ABOVE MIR SHAKIL UR REHMAN WOULD AGREE WITH THE ACCOUNTABILITY STYLE OF SENATOR SAIFUR REHMAN.
Cassette exposes govt’s assault on press – Mir Shakil says govt preparing anti-state cases against him; fears for his life; ‘our organisation is being destroyed’; audio cassette of talks with Saif, Mushahid played during crowded press conference; journalists flabbergasted – By our correspondent
KARACHI: Editor-in-Chief of Jang Group of Newspapers Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on Thursday said that after victimising his group by freezing its accounts, seizing newsprint and serving income tax notices, the government was now preparing anti-state cases against him. Addressing a crowded press conference at the Karachi Press Club, Mir Shakil said that there would not be any problem for the Jang Group if he bowed before the PML government, instead of publishing the truth.
The editor-in-chief said that the PML government had attempted to create an impression that the action against the Jang Group of Newspapers was an administrative affair because of income tax issues and misuse of newsprint quota. But every government action taken against his group was to stop printing of those news items, which would go against the interest of the prime minister, his business concerns and his family, he added. Flanked by senior journalists Z A Sulehri, Irshad Ahmad Haqqani, Maleeha Lodhi and Kamila Hayat, Mir Shakil said that he was under tremendous pressure from Ehtesab Bureau chief Saifur Rahman, who was out to victimise the Jang Group of Newspapers for not bowing before his whims.During the press conference, Mir Shakil also played an audio cassette on which some of his talks with Senator Saifur Rahman, Information Minister Mushahid Hussain and senior journalist Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shami, who played the mediator’s role, were recorded.
The cassette also included the following dialogue between Mir Shakil and Senator Saifur Rahman: “Mir Shakil: The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has given verdict in our favour. “Saif: This was because of our leniency. We did not give him (chairman of the tribunal) the instructions. If we had given him the instructions, even his father could not have given that decision.”
Regarding the character of IT Tribunal Chairman Mujibullah Siddiqui, Mir Shakil said that he was an honest officer and had enjoyed enviable reputation for his integrity. This was a fact endorsed by senior lawyers, who had come to hear Mir Shakil’s press conference. During the recorded meetings, Senator Saif and Information Minister Mushahid Hussain were heard demanding favours from the Jang Group on policies regarding the governor’s rule in Sindh, the Shariah Bill and the economic policies. The government functionaries were heard as saying that 14 people on senior positions both in the Jang and The News should be removed. The journalists included Maleeha Lodhi, Kamila Hayat, Irshad Ahmad Haqqani, Mahmood Sham, Kamran Khan, Abid Tahami, Marghoob, Khawar, Aftab Iqbal and others.
The government also demanded that such journalists should be replaced by people who could favour the government’s policies. The government had divided the unfavourable journalists into ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories. Raising objections on the reports of investigative reporter Kamran Khan, Saif said during the meetings the government had secured assurances from the ISI about him and he should be controlled by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. The government team also accused the Jang Group of spreading hatred among the masses against the ruling party. They demanded that telephonic surveys on national issues should not be conducted by newspapers. Mir Shakil said that because of restrictions on newsprint supply, the Jang Group was facing hardships in bringing out its daily newspapers. “Despite clearance from the Customs authorities, 2,000 reels of paper have not been released todate. Because of this problem, from Saturday, daily Jang will print only six pages and The News will bring out 10 pages,” he added. Mir Shakil said: “All our bank accounts have been seized. The personal accounts of mine and my mother have also been seized. Yesterday (Wednesday) when my brother gave statement in our favour, his account in the United Bank Ltd, Al-Rahman Branch, was also seized.”
The editor-in-chief said that the Supreme Court was moved against the injustices meted out by the PML government. “It was a remarkable thing that this step was taken by us in the country,” he added. Mir Shakil said reports were received that anti-state cases were being prepared against him. He said: “The government is making all out attempts that the issue should not be construed as one of ‘press freedom’ and ‘freedom of expression’. I am afraid that something terrible is in the making. I also fear for my life.” He said he would prove whatever published in the Jang Group of Publications was the truth. “Whatever we published was also covered by other newspapers, but only our group was being targeted. I don’t care whatever they will do with me. I will prove each and everything on the basis of logic and facts. Whatever we published, it is our job to prove it. And what the government said, it is their responsibility to prove it,” Mir Shakil remarked. The editor-in-chief said that the government’s actions were based on malicious intentions and were taken with ‘unfair mind’. According to the tape-recorded message, Senator Saifur Rahman said that the income tax and other legal notices would be withdrawn and government advertisements would be released, if the Jang Group supported the government’s policies.
Mir Shakil said: “There was a time when I got confused. I thought about my life, my family, my organisation and about my 4,000 workers and their families. It is very difficult to stand before the state power. Some people advised me to bow down and accept the government’s conditions to save the institutions. But there were also people who advised me to stand for the truth.” Regarding a story which was published in daily Observer of London and reproduced in Pakistan by a number of newspapers but could not be covered by the Jang because of pressure from the government, the editor-in-chief said: “I felt sorry for it. In the market economy, it is very difficult to survive, if one is not in the competition.” Mir Shakil said: “The government did too much against us and is still doing a lot. The organisation of newspaper owners — the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) — and the association of editors — the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) — also intervened into the matter. But under the given circumstances, the Jang Group had to take decisions which were not recommended by the APNS and the CPNE. But they are with us. There is also a resolution from them in our favour.”
The editor-in-chief said that the situation was in the Jang Group’s favour. “We were not involved in selling imported newsprint quota in the market. We did not avoid payment of income tax. We did not publish stories which were incorrect,” he added. Without giving names of other newspaper organisations involved in selling newsprint quota, Mir Shakil said the government was not taking any action against them. The editor-in-chief said that when he addressed a press conference in August 1998, some newspapers played a nasty role. “They propagated that there was a deal between the government and the Jang Group. But that was not true. If there was any deal and if that was any administrative matter, then why the ban was imposed on releasing public sector advertisements to us,” he added. Mir Shakil said: “I did not leave any stone unturned to resolve the issue. I went from pillar to post. I wrote a letter to Abbaji, the father of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but to no avail. The government’s action against the Jang Group began in August 1998, when income and wealth tax cases of the group’s various companies and directors, previously being dealt by different Income Tax (IT) circles, were pooled in one circle. This circle is renowned as a branch of the Ehtesab Bureau in the IT Department where cases of those politicians are dealt, against whom the government has decided to take any action.”
Referring to a television programme telecast the previous night on the PTV, Mir Shakil said that it was a one-sided propaganda. “If there is democracy, then versions of both the sides should be presented and then experts will decide what is right and what is wrong. This is the policy of the Jang Group to give views of all concerned parties. We have printed complete view of the government’s side also in our newspapers,” he remarked.
REFERENCE: Cassette exposes govt’s assault on press – Mir Shakil says govt preparing anti-state cases against him; fears for his life; ‘our organisation is being destroyed’; audio cassette of talks with Saif, Mushahid played during crowded press conference; journalists flabbergasted – By our correspondent February 07, 1999 The News International Pakistan
In 1999, on the morning of Sunday July 18, Moinuddin Khan, who had been brought in by the prime minister early in his second round to be chairman of the Central Board of Revenue and who has now reverted to his original profession, banking, rang from Riyadh. He told me that his brother, Naeemuddin Khan, an officer of the United Bank who dealt with bad debts and recoveries, had been abducted from his house in Karachi the night before by the FIA under instructions from Senator Saifur Rahman, head of the accountability bureau, the prime minister’s chief trouble shooter. Naeem’s whereabouts were not known. Knowing how Najam Sethi and Hussain Haqqani had been recently treated, Moin was naturally worried. What could be done? Ringing Saifur Rahman would not help as he would deny all knowledge or involvement. All that could be done was to file a writ of habeas corpus, though many of our judges are not aware of the meaning or importance of the urgency of this writ, and do not realize that it must be heard as soon as a petitioner’s advocate rises and announces that he has filed such a writ. Moin said that they had already decided to do this and that advocate Akram Shaikh was being instructed accordingly.
Senator Saifur Rahman, close confidante and friend of the prime minister from whose secretariat he operates, has taken upon himself the responsibility of ensuring that Nawaz Sharif and his government rule over us in perpetuity. Like the rest of the partymen, using his clout he had borrowed money from the government bank UBL in 1991, during Nawaz Sharif’s first round and become a mill owner and industrialist. Some sums have been repaid but as of today he, his family, his textile mill and his business concern Redco owe UBL, from borrowings made in Pakistan and abroad, some Rs.1.4 billion (140 crores). Before Nawaz Sharif came in for the second time, the loan repayments were rescheduled twice but the repayment schedule was not adhered to. Come Sharif and his second round, banker Zubayr Soomro was brought in to head UBL and the recovery process in all cases was activated. For the third time, Saifur Rahman’s repayments were rescheduled, and yet again no repayments were made in time. Finally, UBL filed a recovery suit in the Lahore High Court and the harassment of Zubayr commenced. His safety was guaranteed by the fact that he is the son of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro.
Saifur Rahman, in turn, filed a suit in the LHC against UBL claiming damages, pleading that interest was un-Islamic, etc, etc. The suits are being heard. Then, about six weeks ago, Saifur Rahman filed a writ in Justice Malik Qayyum’s court at the LHC seeking, inter alia, that proceedings in the UBL suit be stayed so as to give him time to approach the high-powered bankers’ rescheduling committee. Justice Qayyum passed no orders. The heads of seven banks and financing institutions forming the committee are: Shaukat Tareen, Habib; Mohammadmian Soomro, National; Zubayr Soomro, United; Mian Mohammad Mansha, President, Muslim Commercial; Rashid Chaudhry, Allied; Mohammad Ali Khoja, PICIC; Bilal Shaikh, NDFC. This committee cannot take notice of any rescheduling until the affected bank itself refers the matter to it. This UBL has not so far done. Saifur Rahman can prevail upon five of the seven committee members (let each think he is one of the two). In the meantime Saifur Rahman managed to get one-time Ittefaq lawyer, Chaudhry Mohammad Farooq, who is also the Attorney-General of Pakistan, the first law officer of the people, to write to the Governor of the State Bank asking him to direct the committee to consider questions relating to Saifur Rahman’s unpaid loans. The State Bank has brought this letter to the committee’s attention but so far it has taken no action.
In the meantime, on the orders of Saifur Rahman, the income tax authorities commenced harassing Naeemuddin and his other brother, Banker Bahauddin of Deutsche Bank. Saif rang Moinuddin in Riyadh on July 9 asking him to prevail upon Naeemuddin to be reasonable. Moin told him his brother abided by his own norms. On July 18, as soon as Zubayr learnt that Naeemuddin had been abducted by the FIA, he moved to save his man. The first person he turned to was naturally his father, Ilahi Bakhsh, who leapt into action, and found the prime minister at Lahore airport as he and his ninety hangers-on were about to board their special Umra flight. The prime minister took a second wise decision and instructed his Principal Secretary, Saeed Mehdi, to order the immdiate release of Naeemuddin, who had been flown from Karachi to Islamabad and lodged in Saifur Rahman’s safe domed secretariat.
On July 22 when I rang Saif to ask him why he felt compelled to harass those who did not ‘cooperate,’ he denied all knowledge of Naeemuddin’s abduction. For good measure, he informed me that the previous day certain power-wielders of Islamabad were considering sending the federal police to collect me from Karachi and to ensure my presence before the Privileges Committee of the National Assembly. When I asked who they were, he would not name them, but told me he had restrained them from taking any such action. I had to refresh his memory. On April 13, 1998, MNA Khwaja Asif, holding the rank of a federal minister, reported to the National Assembly secretariat that I had not only “used abusive language but also threatened me with dire consequences.” He considered this to be “a clear breach of my privilege and attempt to stop me from performing my duties as a parliamentarian.” I was summoned by the Privileges Committee. Much correspondence ensued. On December 5, 1998, I wrote a seven-page letter in the final paragraph of which I wrote : “Let me state that in principle I have no objection to appearing before the Committee but before I do I would like to be categorically told about the law under which I am required to appear, the details of the allegation, as well as the evidence upon which it is based, and the finding of the Committee on the crucial issues I have raised hereinabove.” After my talk with Saif, I wrote another letter to the Secretary of the Privileges Committee drawing his attention to the General Clauses (Amendment) Act 1997 (adding section 24A to the General Clauses Act 1897) passed by parliament. This requires any authority, office or person making any order, or issuing any direction, to give reasons for making the order or issuing the direction. I reiterated my readiness “to appear before the Committee as and when lawfully summoned, but I must be made aware of the law which entitles you to summon me . . . . . I justifiably feel that an unsubstantiated statement made by a legislator is not sufficient reason to inconvenience any citizen.” I would like to believe that my lawyer, Khalid Anwer, our present government’s law minister, is giving ‘sound advice’ to the prime minister but that his advice is not being heeded.
REFERENCE: Sound advice By Ardeshir Cowasjee 25 July 1999
(b) “With him, amongst others, was Senator Saifur Rahman. Saif was later to deny having had anything to do with the transportation of the hordes, explaining that he had ‘rushed’ to Lahore the evening before to visit a judge of the Supreme Court. Having met His Lordship at 11 o’clock at night, he had hitched a ride back with Shahbaz.” (b) Which Supreme Court judge did Saifur Rahman call upon at 2300 hours? (c) A ‘move’ exercise would have entailed a company of 111 Brigade motoring up and down the Constitution Avenue without resorting to action. (d) From the statement filed in the court by Senator Iqbal Haider on May 25, 1998. This was followed by the clandestine visit to the judges of the Quetta Bench of the honourable Supreme Court by the envoy of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Senator Rafiq Ahmad Tarar, whereafter the Quetta judgment of November 28, 1997, was delivered by Justices Irshad Hasan Khan and Khalilur Rahman Khan.
(e) The video cassette of the film recorded by the CCTV cameras installed in the Supreme Court building was considered sufficient evidence by Chief Justice Ajmal Mian to order a judicial inquiry into the storming. (f) Justice Abdur Rahman Khan confirmed that the storming had coerced and intimidated the judiciary. A clear case of contempt in the face of the court. (g) All the evidence remains on record of the Supreme Court. (h) On the production of evidence recorded by the court cameras a judicial inquiry was conducted and contempt proceedings followed. 5) That in the interests of the “sanctity, dignity and respect of the apex court of the country”, I submit that Mian Nawaz Sharif, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Saifur Rahman, Lt General Nasim Rana, and the journalists present in court on November 28, 1997, be summoned to give evidence under oath.
REFERENCE: Storming of the Supreme Court By Ardeshir Cowasjee 01 October 2000
The Committee to Protect Journalists – Jang Group of Newspapers Targeted by Government
Feb 1, 1999
His Excellency Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister’s Secretariat
2118 Kalorama Rd., N.W.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is shocked by the range of tactics your administration is using to harass and intimidate the Jang Group of Newspapers, Pakistan’s largest newspaper publishing company. Earlier today, officials from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) impounded supplies of newsprint bound for Jang’s Rawalpindi headquarters. The action came just hours after a ruling in the Jang Group’s favor by the Supreme Court, ordering the government to allow the immediate delivery of newsprint to the group, which has only enough paper in its reserves to publish through tomorrow. The Supreme Court’s order came on the first day of hearings on a case filed by the Jang Group, accusing the government of conducting a campaign of “vilification, intimidation and harassment.”
Government officials have reportedly announced that they will not comply with the Supreme Court’s directive on the grounds that the Jang Group owes customs duties on previous shipments of newsprint amounting to 1.6 billion rupees (US$31.4 million). The government has also delivered a stream of tax evasion notices against the company-as well as against Jang’s publisher, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman-that now total more than 2 billion rupees (US$40 million). Meanwhile, on January 30, an official acting “on behalf of the state,” according to the police report, registered a case at Karachi’s Civil Lines Police Station charging the company’s Urdu-language daily Jang-along with the Urdu-language newspapers Amman and Parcham-with sedition. Shakil-ur Rahman is named in the police file, and is accused of publishing a political advertisement that “has created hatred in the public by virtue of seditious contents.”
These threats constitute a multi-pronged assault on Jang’s ability to publish. In addition, two prominent journalists associated with the company have recently reported incidents of personal harassment. Maleeha Lodhi, an editor with Jang’s English-language daily The News in Rawalpindi, wrote a letter to Interior Minister Shujat Hussain on January 30, complaining that in a 24-hour period she had received several anonymous phone calls threatening that she would be killed and that her house would be “blown up.” Lodhi believes the threats are aimed at her journalistic work and that they have assumed “an ominous nature because of the current climate of hostility created by the government’s assault on the Jang Group of Newspapers.”
Kamran Khan, investigations editor for The News in Karachi, reports that he is being followed by agents who say they are with Pakistan’s Intelligence Bureau. On January 28, intelligence agents visited Khan’s home in response to a story he had written, and, according to Khan, sent a message that “I must behave because they knew well about my movements and activities.” Khan says that officials have confirmed that the Intelligence Bureau is tapping his phone calls, and that transcripts of his conversations have been provided to the government’s Ehtesab (Accountability) Bureau to “dig [for] some weak points.” The Ehtesab Bureau, established by your administration to investigate corruption charges, is headed by Sen. Saifur Rahman, who has been accused by the Jang Group of making a number of demands on the company at the behest of the government.
As an organization of journalists dedicated to the defense of our colleagues around the world, CPJ is outraged by your government’s blatant attempts to control the independent media in Pakistan. CPJ’s initial protest was sent to your office on December 15. In that letter we enumerated several cases of official harassment, and listed the names of 15 Jang journalists (including Lodhi and Khan) whom the government has allegedly targeted for dismissal. We received a reply from Principal Information Officer Ashfaq Ahmad Gondal on December 19, stating that “the government has never asked the management of the Jang Group of Newspapers to dismiss any of their employees” and that “a government that is wholly committed to press freedom cannot even for a moment consider steps that impinge upon freedom of expression.” And yet, in a press conference held on January 28, Shakil-ur-Rahman played excerpts of his tape-recorded discussions with Senator Rahman in which the senator clearly orders the dismissal of several senior journalists, advises the publisher to hire only those journalists who would report favorably on the government’s policies, and demands that Jang’s papers desist from publishing reports critical of the government’s performance. According to the tapes, Senator Rahman said at one point that “If we see any positive change in your attitude, we will settle your problems in a positive manner.”
CPJ strongly urges your administration to cease all actions against the Jang Group and its employees in order to demonstrate Pakistan’s commitment to the “promotion, protection, and preservation of the freedom of press,” as pledged in your principal information officer’s December 19 letter. We appreciate your attention to this matter, and await your response.
Ann K. Cooper
Join CPJ in Protesting Attacks on the Press in Pakistan
Send a letter to:
His Excellency Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister’s Secretariat
November 20, 1999 12:00 AM
REFERENCE: Jang Group of Newspapers Targeted by Government Feb 1, 1999 http://cpj.org/1999/11/jang-group-of-newspapers-targeted-by-government.php Sharif fights to strangle free speech By Peter Popham in Delhi and Anwar Iqbal in Islamabad Tuesday, 9 February 1999
Saif admits to pressuring Jang group: Vows to pursue cases of tax evasion
By our correspondent
ISLAMABAD: While admitting to having issued ‘instructions’ to the Jang Group on almost all the points mentioned in the advertisement “War on Jang” published by the group on Monday , chairman Ehtesab Bureau Saifur Rehman categorically declined to swear an oath at Faisal Mosque about his role in taming the press.
He, however, denied that at any point of time he had asked the Jang Group administration to sack 16 journalists and replace them with “our people.” Visibly disturbed over publication of an advertisement carrying his photograph and facts about issuing diktat to country’s largest group of newspapers, Saif said he would not be apologetic about issuing directives on certain matters to the Jang Group, as his boss, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, wanted the national press to support him and his policies.
He was addressing a press conference on Monday at his office following a national seminar “The Government and the Press–Face toFace” organised by the Jang Group on the occasion of seventh death anniversary of its founder, Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman. Mr Saif was accused of issuing the following diktat: sack 16 journalists and replace them with our people! If your journalists do not behave, let me know. I have the right medicine for them. I can have them picked up.
Or else…; don’t print anything against Shariah Bill (CA-15); judicial system is to be changed, support us on the cases where the courts are ruling against us. Also on Karachi situation. Or else…; do not print anything regarding the ruling family’s loans, tax arrears, business and private affairs! Or else…; We will expect your unconditional support on issues as well and we will give you directions whenever such support is required. Or else…
Senator Saif also issued two documents about the Jang Group’s allegation: Facts and Fictions; and Facts on Jang/News Group vilification campaign against Senator Saif-ur Rehman Khan. In these two documents, he has repeated what he or the government has been saying for long. The Jang Group and chief editor of Jang/The News, Mir Shakil-ur Rehman, has already termed it a “pack of lies.”
Declining to accept the challenge to swear an oath at the Faisal Mosque, Mr Saif gave a counter-proposal involving family members of Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman to swear an oath at the grave of founder of Jang Group, Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman, to prove each others’ allegations and counter-allegations. “Its not a war on Jang but a simple case of tax evasion, and we will press ahead with it,” threatened Rehman adding “it is not a problem between the government and the press, as he has unearthed cases of tax evasion by the Jang Group.”
He said the Jang Group has made it an issue after the income tax department moved against it. “The government has not accepted the demands of the group, despite meetings between the two-member government team and a delegation of APNS,” he added. He said the Jang Group was asked to to “behave” in order to strengthen government’s hands in its endeavour to reform society and enforce Shariah. “We have told them not to publish negative stories, as it creates stir in the masses and hits the stock market.”
Rehman, who claimed that nothing wrong and illegal was done against the group, said some stories published in the newspapers of the Jang Group had created problems for the government, and even on Eidul Fitr one story carrying predictions of somebody was an attempt to provoke the people of Karachi. He said the government would welcome “healthy and constructive criticism”, and not the stories which created problems for the government. “We have done nothing wrong.”
We are pursuing cases of corruption and catching the big fish, in line with prime minister’s directives to uproot corruption. “The group has to pay around Rs2. 6 billion in taxes and duties. We have done our work on merit.” When asked, he said concession could be granted to the Jang Group by pending recovery of taxes from 6 to 7 months, but the group should cooperate with the government. “The Jang Group is pursuing a political agenda to evade taxes.”
He also claimed that some accounts of the group were unfrozen for paying salaries to the employees, and newsprint was released from time to time. He said the Jang Group has launched 5-day advertisement campaign against the government at a cost of around Rs15 million. “There will be no use of fighting with us. We should settle it through negotiations,” said Rehman, “We have not yet conducted any raid, but because of the power we have, raids can be conducted on the Jang Group.”
He said his efforts to uproot corruption and arrest those involved in corruption have been successful as, so far, he has traced Rs2,000 crore of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari in foreign banks. “We expected these people to criticise us, but we will continue to do it.” Senator Rehman said it was not his problem but he was dragged in because of tax evasion. “The tax evasion cases are only against the Jang Group and nobody else.”
He said he found no solid reason of launching a campaign against him. “The Jang Group can exercise its legal option if it thinks the government has done anything wrong.” He also objected to publication of a story from a British paper about alleged purchase of property by the prime minister in London. He stressed the need for a Press Council to look into all such cases. “The media is extremely powerful, but we have taken on them in some cases for which notices have already been served.”
This startling disclosure and the 11-year-long incarceration of President Asif Ali Zardari in cases that remained unsubstantiated in the courts give a benefit of doubt to the two main victims of this so-called accountability process bulldozed by Sharif’s confidant, Saifur Rehman of the Ehtesab (Accountability) Bureau. But what to talk of exoneration in media trials or malicious campaigns, certain quarters are unwilling to give even this benefit of doubt to President Zardari and his deceased spouse in sheer disregard for the undeniable fact that their party is still the biggest repository of the majority votes of the people of Pakistan. Yes, they were democratic machinations and nothing more than that. It was none other than the high-profile and dependable figure of Mian Nawaz Sharif who blew the gaff during his interview to renowned journalist Suhail Waraich whose book is very much available at national and international bookshops. In this interview, while pronouncing the accountability process, ie Saifur Rehman’s accountability process, as wrong, Mian Nawaz Sharif has unequivocally stated that they (the Sharifs and the PML-N) were pushed to do so. To quote Sharif further, “there was pressure on us from the armed forces and the ISI. We were made to take such steps, by design, so as to deal a big blow to the politicians’ credibility.” But that was an era when even the judicial forums have been conducting their affairs in a strange manner. On one day, Bhutto and Zardari would be ordered to appear in a Rawalpindi court and on the next day, they would be directed to appear in Karachi. This in itself speaks volumes of the anti-Bhutto and anti-Zardari conspiracies that would be pursued for years (rather for more than a decade) with ‘enthusiasm’ and exceptional shrewdness. Dates of appearance would be stage-managed, prosecutors would be given specific advice and material and the entire might of the governmental machinery and agency networks would be employed to make sure that Bhutto and Zardari remain in prison, if not as convicts, then as under-trials. The fact is the same that Nawaz Sharif has already been exposed as a leader committed sincerely to the cause of democracy. It is unfortunate that cases sans evidence were instituted during his tenure, but it is heartening that he (Nawaz Sharif) has revealed the truth without any fear or reluctance. Just have a look at some other words of Nawaz Sharif in the same interview. Sharif says: “I was not in favour of arresting Benazir Bhutto, but Saifur Rehman would insist upon her arrest. Ch Shujaat Hussain is witness to this fact that I wanted Benazir Bhutto to go abroad before being sentenced. In fact, I never wanted her to go to jail.” REFERENCE: Anti-Asif Zardari malice exposed By Fasihur Rehman Saturday, December 12, 2009
REFERENCES: Ghaddar Kaun? Author: Sohail Warraich – Nawaz Sharif opens up to Sohail Warraich in a big way
READ THE BOOK sohail waraich – ghaddar kaun http://www.scribd.com/doc/2411542/sohail-waraich-ghaddar-kaun