Newspaper Articles

Recourse to judiciary harmful: experts

By Nasir Iqbal

Originally Published at DAWN

Edited and Posted By: Farhad Jarral

ISLAMABAD: A number of legal experts have cautioned against wasting energy on the debate regarding constitutional immunity for a top office when the remedy to the controversy lies with the people of Pakistan though impeachment by parliament.

“It is not a question of any individual or that of (President) Asif Ali Zardari, but a question of supremacy of the Constitution, which being an organic document, must not be interpreted to suit certain interests,” said Advocate Athar Minallah, who was a spokesman for Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry when the latter was forcibly removed by former president Pervez Musharraf.

People who wanted to see the judiciary strengthened should refrain from dragging issues having political fallout in courts because a situation like this tended to make the judiciary controversial, he added.
Advocate Tariq Mehmood, who was in the forefront of lawyers’ movement for reinstatement of the chief justice, conceded that immunity had been sought by Gen Musharraf for forwarding a reference against the top adjudicator on misconduct to the Supreme Judicial Council, but the Supreme Court had rejected it on the grounds that whatever treatment meted out to the chief justice then was not of a criminal nature and, therefore, no protection was available.

The Supreme Court in its July 20, 2007, verdict restoring the chief justice to his office, had held that the mode employed by the then president to dismiss the chief justice on March 9, 2007, insulted the Constitution and was clearly mala fide and unsustainable in law and, therefore, impermissible.

Citing Article 248(2) of the Constitution, Advocate Mehmood said he was convinced that no process of any criminal nature could be initiated against the president as long he was sitting in the presidency.
“Even if corruption cases against President Zardari are re-opened, no process could commence to summon him in courts. This also applies even if money laundering cases are re-opened by Swiss courts because then the question of sovereign immunity would come,” he said.

Mr Mehmood cited an example when Islamabad Secretariat police refrained from registering a criminal case against Gen Musharraf on a charge of detaining judges of the superior courts and their families in their houses till the time he was occupying the top office. It was after the former president’s resignation, he added, police registered the case that too on the orders of the capital’s lower court.

“Now whenever the former president will return, he may face the charges because the immunity he enjoyed is no more,” he explained.
Mr Mehmood also cited a petition recently moved before the Supreme Court by Khalid Khawaja seeking striking down of the protection available to the president under Article 248 of the Constitution.

He said the apex court had returned the petition on the grounds that the petitioner had no locus standi and that the apex court was not a proper forum to decide the controversy at this stage.
The petitioner later challenged the office order of returning the petition in the same court which is still pending.

Advocate Minallah explained that in constitutional jurisprudence those office-holders who could face the impeachment process were always protected from litigation or immune from being dragged to courts on cases of criminal nature.

“Let us assume a declaration comes from the Supreme Court that the president is ineligible to hold the office or convicted by any court, Article 47 of the Constitution will still apply and unless impeached by parliament the president will still be considered to be the holder of the high office.”

Article 47 (1) of the Constitution says: “Notwithstanding, anything contained in the Constitution, the president may, in accordance with the provisions of this article, be removed from the office on the ground of physical or mental incapacity or impeached on a charge of violating the Constitution or gross misconduct.”

The Constitution and the authority of parliament have to prevail at all cost as the offices elected by the people through their chosen representatives should be removed through the constitutional means.
Advocate Salman Akram Raja, who recently pleaded against the controversial NRO before the Supreme Court, said the president enjoyed complete immunity from all kind of criminal cases and that the July 20 judgment did not affect this protection. SOURCE

Following are some facts and analysis by Nazir Naji and Retired Justice SaeedUzaman Siddiqui

About the author

Farhad Jarral


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  • NRO: Nawaz Sharif, Judiciary & Charter of Democracy.

    Mr. Nawaz Sharif is quite fond of the Charter of Democracy, Independent Judiciary, Implementation of the Charter of Democracy and above all Accountability. Lets read what History has to say about Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s tall Claims. Read the history after reading Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s statement in The News/Daily Jang.

    If I were president, I would have faced courts, says Nawaz PESHAWAR: Pakistan Muslim League-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif on Friday said the government must accept the court verdicts for the sake of solidarity and integrity of the country.

    He said President Asif Zardari had disappointed him by not implementing the Charter of Democracy. About the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), he said it was a gift from a dictator and it only benefited the big fish.

    As per the Charter of Democracy:


    LONDON, May 15: The following is the text of the Charter of Democracy signed by former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif here on Sunday: Calling upon the people of Pakistan to join hands to save our motherland from the clutches of military dictatorship and to defend their fundamental, social, political and economic rights and for a democratic, federal, modern and progressive Pakistan as dreamt by the Founder of the nation; have adopted the following, “Charter of Democracy”;

    3. (a) The recommendations for appointment of judges to superior judiciary shall be formulated through a commission, which shall comprise of the following: i. The chairman shall be a chief justice, who has never previously taken oath under the PCO.

    ii. The members of the commission shall be the chief justices of the provincial high courts who have not taken oath under the PCO, failing which the senior most judge of that high court who has not taken oath shall be the member

    4. A Federal Constitutional Court will be set up to resolve constitutional issues, giving equal representation to each of the federating units, whose members may be judges or persons qualified to be judges of the Supreme Court, constituted for a six-year period. The Supreme and High Courts will hear regular civil and criminal cases. The appointment of judges shall be made in the same manner as for judges of higher judiciary.

    27. There shall be an independent, autonomous, and impartial election commission. The prime minister shall in consultation with leader of opposition forward up to three names for each position of chief election commissioner, members of election commission, and secretary to joint parliamentary committee, constituted on the same pattern as for appointment of judges in superior judiciary, through transparent public hearing process. In case of no consensus, both prime minister and leader of opposition shall forward separate lists to the joint parliamentary committee for consideration. Provincial election commissioner shall be appointed on the same pattern by committees of respective provincial assemblies.

    On PCO Judiciary I will just quote Daily Newspapers. One of the wonders of Internet is this that the History can no more be kept hidden.

    According to a notification, the president has appointed Justice Rashid Aziz, Chief Justice, Lahore High Court; Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui, Chief Justice Sindh High Court; Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice, Balochistan High Court; Qazi Farooq, former chief justice of Peshawar High Court; and Justice Rana Bhagwan Das, judge, Sindh High Court, judges of the Supreme Court. After the elevation of Justice Rashid Aziz Khan to the SC, Justice Mohammad Allah Nawaz has been appointed Chief Justice of Lahore High Court. Justice Deedar Hussain Shah has been appointed Chief Justice of Sindh High Court and Justice Javed Iqbal Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court. After these appointments, the number of SC judges has risen to 12, leaving five posts vacant.

    ISLAMABAD, May 7: President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday appointed Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court, as the next chief justice. He will assume the office on June 30 after retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice, Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui, on June 29. “The notification has ended speculations of appointment of a junior judge as chief justice in violation of the seniority principle settled under the 1996 Judges case,” commented a senior Supreme Court lawyer on condition of anonymity. Justice Chaudhry will reach the superannuation age of 65 years in 2012, which will make him one of the longest serving chief justices in the judicial history of Pakistan. He will serve as chief justice for over seven years. Earlier Justice A. R. Cornelius and Justice Mohammad Haleem served as chief justice for eight years from 1960 to 68 and 1981 to 89, respectively. Justice Chaudhry was elevated as a judge of the apex court on February 4, 2000. He has performed as acting chief justice from January 17 to 29, 2005. He holds the degree of LLB and started practice as an advocate in 1974. Later he was enrolled as an advocate of high court in 1976 and as an advocate of Supreme Court in 1985. In 1989, Justice Chaudhry was appointed as advocate-general of Balochistan and elevated to the post of additional judge in the Balochistan High Court in 1990. He also served as banking judge, judge of Special Court for Speedy Trials and Customs Appellate Courts as well as company judge. He served as the chief justice of the Balochistan High Court from April 22, 1999 to February 4, 2000. He was elected the president of the High Court Bar Association, Quetta, and twice a member of the Bar Council. He was appointed as the chairman of the Balochistan Local Council Election Authority in 1992 and for a second term in 1998. Justice Chaudhry also worked as the chairman of the Provincial Review Board for Balochistan and was appointed twice as the chairman of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, Balochistan. Presently he is functioning as the chairman of the Enrolment Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council and Supreme Court Buildings Committee.


    A number of incidents during 1998-99 indicated a pattern of harassment and intimidation of individual journalists as the government was increasingly becoming intolerant. Imtiaz Alam, a Lahore-based journalist, complains of threat over the telephone and then of his car being set on fire in a mysterious manner the other day. Another Lahore journalist, Mahmud Lodhi, is picked up and held in illegal custody for two days. He was questioned about his involvement with a BBC team filming a documentary on the rise and wealth of the Sharif family. Hussain Haqqani is picked up in a cloak-and-dagger fashion and interrogated at a FIA Center in connection with charges vaguely to do with money embezzlement while he held government office. The residence of Idrees Bakhtiar, a senior staff reporter of Herald monthly and BBC correspondent in Karachi was raided by CIA police on Nov. 26,1998.




    Nawaz Sharif attack on Supreme Court, A rear footage Part 1

    Nawaz Sharif attack on Supreme Court, A rear footage Part 2

    Nawaz Sharif attack on Supreme Court, A rear footage Part 3

    Nawaz Sharif attack on Supreme Court, A rear footage Part4


    NRO: Nawaz Sharif, Judiciary & Charter of Democracy.

  • NRO: Kamran Khan & Dishonest Lawyers.

    Sometimes Intellectual Dishonesty is more fatal than the Financial or Moral Corruption. Financial/Moral Corruption is mostly related with a few and destroys a few [Of course I condone neither] but Intellectual dishonesty destroys nations e.g. Sharifuddin Pirzada, A K Brohi and their Protégé i.e. Barrister Mr Khalid Anwer. Once again it is proven beyond doubt that Human Memory is very weak particularly of Jang Group/Kamran Khan when they discuss PPP/NRO/Zardari and that’s what happen during a talk show on NRO with Legal Wizzard Mr Khalid Anwer. Mr Kamran Khan/Jang Group/GEO TV/Mr. Khalid Anwer “conveniently” forget as to what the same Jang Group used to publish 10 years ago on the “Dirty Role of Barrister Mr. Khalid Anwer” and other Lawyers whom nowaday GEO TV/JANG GROUP/THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL call for “Expert Opinion” on NRO [READ TO DISCUSS WAYS AS TO HOW TO SACK ELECTED GOVERNMENT OF PPP OR GET ZARDARI THROUGH WITCH HUNTING]

    This happened last night i.e. 29-Jan-2010 during a GEO TV Show Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath. Profile: Barrister Dr. Mohammad Farogh Naseem

    Mr Khalid Anwer is a renowned ‘Lawyer’ and as per his Legal Firm Profile ” Khalid Anwer & Co. is a premier law firm having a total strength of eleven lawyers in Karachi and associate firms in Lahore and Islamabad. It was formerly known as A.K. Brohi & Co. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms in Pakistan.” Everybody who know Pakistan History also know that “The Law of Necessity” was basically the brainchild of Late. A.K. Brohi – As per Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee in Daily Dawn.


    HOW fortunate can a man be? Take me, for example. I have had the pleasure of knowing, partaking of their wisdom, and enjoying the company of Allah Baksh Kadir Baksh Brohi, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, and Brohi’s protege, Khalid Anwer. Friend Brohi is with us no more. Friend Sharifuddin is very much around, but for the time being enjoying a sabbatical. One can but admire his self- confidence, as he is still sure that he can convince his Maker (if his Maker will hear him) that all he has done upon this earth has been good and just. Khalid is on his way up. He successfully had Nawaz’s dissolution overturned. He successfully had Benazir’s dissolution upheld. Now he has had 58(2)(b) erased from the Book. As a member of the government, he bears a great deal of the collective responsibility for any action taken by this government, for he is by far the brightest, the most finely educated, the most well-read, and the most balanced of the democrats amongst whom he sits. How often can a man write the same thing, over and over again:

    “Every citizen of this country who can read, write and think, can say without any fear of contradiction that it is, and always has been, the intent of all our leaders (barring the first), to enforce their will, to tailor the constitution and all of the laws of the land and to interpret them to suit their own special needs so that they may remain in power for ever. During the early years, the leaders did make some sort of effort to pretend that they had the interests of the country and its people at heart, bogus though it may have been, but since 1 — 1 even pretence has been discarded. Now, it is total blatant glasnost; machinations, schemes and scams are publicly, fearlessly and contemptuously aired. REFERENCE: Consistent honesty? Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending: 12 April 1997 Issue : 03/15 DAWN WIRE SERVICE


    MORE DIRT ON Former Judge MALIK QAYYUM, Former Law Minister KHALID ANWER PML-N, Ehtisab Bureau Chief[Accountability Bureau of PML-N] SAIFUR REHMAN [NOW General Musharraf Advisor] AND Justice Rashid Aziz of Lahore High Court.

    Judiciary’s/Lawyers Checkered History as compiled in a book The Hegemony of the Ruling Elite in Pakistan (2000) by Mr. Abdus Sattar Ghazali – The author is a professional journalist, with Master’s degree in Political Science from the Punjab University. Started his journalistic career as a sub-editor in the daily Bang-e-Haram, Peshawar in 1960. Later worked in the daily Anjam and the Tourist weekly Peshawar. Served as a News Editor in the Daily News, Kuwait from 1969 to 1976. Joined the English News Department of Kuwait Television as a News Editor in December 1976. Also worked as the correspondent of the Associated Press of Pakistan and the Daily Dawn, Karachi, in Kuwait. At present working as the Editor-in-Chief of the Kuwait Television English News. [Courtesy: HEGEMONY OF THE RULING ELITE by Abdus Sattar Ghazali]

    Excerpts from the book:


    Absolute power has corrupted our rulers absolutely. They have had their way since the demise of the Quaid-i-Azam. Corruption is a universal weakness and is hardly confined to Pakistan. But, whereas in other countries it is abhorred and severely proscribed and punished, we have allowed corruption to thrive and spread with total impunity. Today, it has pervaded the whole structure of our society, not excluding politicians, bureaucrats and even some sections of the army.[1] Rampant corruption has now reached its peak and has engulfed every segment of the society. Successive governments always made vocal claims and hollow promises to weed it out. But it all sounds false, as all these people were themselves involved in all types of corrupt practices. Pakistan’s credit-rating has been lowered by several foreign agencies, and it has been labeled as the third most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International. However, our rulers believe that corruption is a necessary evil in the developing countries that provides incentive for developments.[2]

    Corruption has been a perennial charge against all outgoing regimes and its eradication has been on the top of the agenda of all successive regimes. Unfortunately, the ground realities have only worsened in our country despite tall claims and promulgation of a heap of laws to arrest and contain corruption. It’s not been the inadequacy of the laws but the failure to implement them, as well as the erroneous approach to contain corruption, which has thwarted every such attempt in the past 52 years.

    The first statute, commonly known as PRODA, was enforced by the first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, in 1949. Later, General Ayub Khan, as chief martial law administrator, promulgated PODO in March 1959 which was then substituted by EBDO in August 1959. Under the government of prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Holders of Representative Offices Act and the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies (Disqualification for Membership) Act were passed in 1976. But no case was registered under these two acts which were later repealed by General Ziaul Haq who instead issued two presidential orders, commonly known as PPO No16 and PPO No17 (1977).

    In September/October 1996 the then opposition under the leadership of Mian Nawaz Sharif and the then government of prime minister Benazir Bhutto tabled in Parliament their respective bills on accountability. These bills lapsed with the dissolution of the National Assembly. The caretaker government of Malik Meraj Khalid had promulgated the Ehtesab Ordinance (1996) which was replaced by a new act of parliament called the Ehtesab Act (1997). Even this Ehtesab Act was subsequently amended repeatedly by Nawaz Sharif through ordinances. The general elections in 1997 were held on the basis of the laws whereby defaulters of loans and utility bills were disqualified and every candidate was required to submit declaration of his assets not only at the time of election but also every year after becoming members of parliament. The Nawaz Sharif regime had deliberately allowed this law to lapse as it was made through an ordinance.

    Since the tenure of the first prime minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, across-the-board accountability has remained the unanimous demand of all sections of the public and, after the dismissal of the Sharif government on October 12, 1999, it was once again a burning issue. Ironically, despite unanimity on this issue, the mode, manner, period and extent of the accountability to be undertaken has never been resolved decisively. In Pakistan, the word ‘accountability’ has only one meaning: to malign and persecute political opponents.

    Ehtesab (Accountability) Law

    The National Assembly, on May 29, 1997, amended the Ehtesab Ordinance to introduce major changes in the accountability process. The most significant amendment was the shifting of the starting date for accountability from the original 31st December, 1985 (when General Zia lifted the martial law) to 6th August, 1990 (when the first government of Benazir Bhutto was dismissed). The amendment also transferred the power of investigating charges of corruption from the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner to the Ehtesab Cell set up by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

    Although the amendment excluded the first Benazir government from the purview of accountability but the exemption for the 1985-90 period is significant since it was during this period that Mr. Nawaz Sharif, in his capacity as the Chief Minister of the Punjab, was strengthening and consolidating his industrial and political base. At the time of passage of the Ehtesab Law, there were reports that there were 167 cases of major loan default which include 107 cases involving top leaders of the PML(N) who got the benefit of huge write-offs and rescheduling during 1985-1990.

    The transfer of the power of appointment of the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner from the president to the federal government reduced the office of the CEC to a mere post office. The real power was transferred to the accountability cell in the Prime Minister’s secretariat. The head of the Cell, Senator Saifur Rehman Khan, was accountable only to the PM. The amendment also extended ex post facto legal sanction to the PM’s accountability cell, which was under attack in a number of writ petitions in the Lahore High Court.

    The original ordinance had empowered the CEC to initiate a case on a reference received from the appropriate government, on receipt of a complaint or on his own accord. Under the new amended law, if the CEC deems a reference necessary, he must refer it to the accountability cell for investigation. With all the accountability functions and powers concentrated in a cell functioning in his secretariat, the prime minister was able to keep a strict check not only on the opposition and the bureaucracy but on his own party-men also.

    Ehtesab officials get SHO’s power

    The federal government, on Feb. 4 1998, amended the Ehtesab Act, replacing the name, “Ehtesab Cell”, with “Ehtesab Bureau”, and provided powers of an SHO to the chief of Ehtesab Bureau or any other official designated by him for the purpose of investigation. The amendments were introduced into the Ehtesab Act through a presidential ordinance, the first by President Rafiq Tarar.

    The chief of Ehtesab Bureau or any officer designated by him enjoyed all the powers of an officer-in-charge of a police station. The chairman or designated officer were empowered to require the assistance of any agency or police officer. The amended law provided indemnity to officials of the Ehtesab Bureau on acts deemed to have been done on “good faith”.

    By amending Section 3 of the Ehtesab Act, the government had again brought in the original definition of “corruption and corrupt practice”. In the original Ehtesab Ordinance, corruption by a government official was defined as “favours or disfavours to any person.” Through a subsequent amendment in the original Ehtesab Ordinance of 1996, the words “any other person” was replaced with the words “his spouse or dependents.” The government again restored the original meaning that any favour by a government official to other person other than his/her spouse or dependents would also fall in the definition of corruption, and he would be held responsible for that.

    A reference made to the Ehtesab Bureau was to be treated as a report under section 154 of the Penal Code. After the reference of any case to the Ehtesab Bureau by the Ehtesab Commissioner, it would be an exclusive responsibility of the bureau to examine all the material, evidence and proof. No other agency had a power to look into the matter. For the purpose of inquiry into any matter referred to the Ehtesab Bureau, the chairman and the bureau had the powers of an officer in charge of a police station, including the power to ask any citizen to appear before it. Every government agency, police official or any other government official was bound to assist the Ehtesab Bureau in investigation.

    After the amendment, the Ehtesab Bureau was also empowered to ask the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner to make a request to any court for the withdrawal of any case pending in a court. If the application was granted by the court, the case will be transferred to the Ehtesab Bureau. The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner had the powers at any stage of proceedings against an accused under the Ehtesab Act, to order the arrest of the accused..

    The Bureau became an independent investigating agency with teeth of its own and therefore not dependent, as it formerly was, upon the powers of the FIA. This may be a sequel to the turf war between Senator Saifur Rehman’s ehtesab machine and Ch. Shujaat Hussain’s interior ministry, both of whom were vying for control over the FIA. The first and most striking change of course was to strip the original law of its neutrality and place the powers of investigation and prosecution firmly in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.

    How FIA kidnapped notables to please Saif-ur-Rahman

    Chairman of the Ehtesab Bureau, Senator Saif-ur-Rahman, used his power to harass political opponents and kidnapping leading businessmen. He operated mostly through a select group of FIA officials while Nawaz Sharif had first-hand information about Saif’s involvement in the kidnapping of some of the very reputed citizens as he ignored strong complaints against this nasty operation even from his cabinet colleagues. [3]

    For instance when the FIA sleuths kidnapped Farooq Hasan, owner of Hasan Associates, a renowned builder and developer of Karachi in 1998 and locked him at a Saif-run safe house in Islamabad, federal minister Halim Siddiqi had rushed to Nawaz Sharif to inform him about Saif’s involvement in the kidnapping of a well-known Karachi businessman. Halim Siddiqi’s pleas both to Sharif and Saif went unheeded as Hasan had to stay for about a week in Saif’s dungeon and was only released when he signed a confessional statement that had been prepared by Saif’s lieutenant at the Ehtesab Cell. Saif prepared confessional statement for Farooq Hasan relating to dealings of AES power plant with the Benazir government. Throughout his confinement Hasan was physically abused, mentally tortured and was not allowed to sleep. Hasan was also kept and interrogated at Saif’s personal residence in Islamabad.

    Jamil Ansari, the Chief Executive of a famous trading and business group in Karachi, was also kidnapped in 1998 by the FIA while he was about to board a Karachi-bound flight from Islamabad. For the next four days Ansari’s family in Karachi had no knowledge of his whereabouts. The case was soon brought to the knowledge of Nawaz Sharif, who conveniently ignored protest from an associate who thought that such daylight kidnappings of the business luminaries without any charges would bring the PML government into disrepute. For more than a week, Ansari, a businessman, was questioned for his friendship with a ranking naval official. This week-long illegal detention under Saif’s orders of the chief executive of a reputed firm had sent a shock wave in Karachi’s mercantile community, but the Nawaz Sharif administration was not bothered.

    The FIA was also involved in the kidnapping of Shahzad Sherry, a well-known international banker, from Karachi. Like other victims, Sherry was also swiftly shifted to Islamabad, where he was locked at a government-run safe house. For several days Sherry was kept in illegal confinement and questioned by the former Ehtesab Bureau stalwarts including Senator Saif-ur-Rahman. Sherry was apparently also paying price for his friendship with certain naval officials. His detention also continued for several days before being released without bringing any criminal charges against him.

    Karachi-based Jamil Hamdani, another representative of an international bank, was kidnapped from his house in Defence Society Karachi in Oct. 1999 and was forced to board an Islamabad-bound flight for an urgent meeting with Saif-ur-Rahman and his team. Saif pointedly informed Hamdani about his disliking for his bank’s interest in the privatisation of Habib Bank Limited. Jamil Hamdani was believed to be working on an international consortium that was interested in the management of overseas operations of Habib Bank. No apologies were offered after Hamdani was set free three days later by the Ehtesab sleuths who also warned him not to talk to the press about his ordeal.

    Saif’s frenzy to get private citizens abducted through the FIA touched its peak last year when he used the federal agency to kidnap Arif Zarwani, a UAE national and a reputed businessman, from his friend’s house in Defence Society Karachi. Zarwani, who had been arrested in an FIA-cum-police raid, was quickly flown to Islamabad, where he was handed over to Wasim Afzal, a close associate of Saif-ur-Rahman. The Ehtesab action created a stir in the UAE as Nawaz Sharif was personally told that Zarwani’s kidnapping in Karachi had endangered his official visit next day to the UAE. Zarwani, who was apparently picked up for his ties with Asif Zardari, was freed from the Ehtesab clutches, two days later, only after he was forced to listen to a telephonic sermon from Saif who was then touring Europe. No reasons were given for Arif Zarwani’s arrest nor any criminal charges were brought against him. Despite an official protest from the UAE Nawaz Sharif did not question Saif or the FIA for the kidnapping of a foreign national.

    In another case Ghulam Mustafa Memon, a well-known petroleum dealer and a former friend of Asif Ali Zardari, was kidnapped in an FIA action from his house in Defence Society, Karachi in 1998. During the operation the FIA sleuths ransacked his house. Memon, like other victims, was quickly flown to Islamabad where he was kept at a safe house for about a week. Mustafa Memon said that during the detention, he went through severe physical torture and mental harassment at the hands of senior Ehtesab officials. At last a week later Mustafa was quietly released from Islamabad and no criminal charges were brought against him.

    Among others who made the hostage list of Saif-ur-Rahman was Naeemuddin Khan, a senior United Bank Limited (UBL) executive responsible for recovering Rs 1.2 billion loans from Saif-ur-Rahman’s Redco Textile Mills. While using the FIA in the kidnapping of Naeemuddin Khan from his room at Karachi’s Pearl Continental Hotel, Senator Saif is understood to have told the FIA that Naeemuddin was involved in money laundering. Without verifying the facts an FIA team barged into Naeemuddin’s room in August this year and in the next few hours he was facing a Saif-ur-Rahman interrogation squad at an unspecified location in Islamabad. Naeemuddin’s ordeal ended after Nawaz Sharif listened to a strong complaint in this regard from National Assembly Speaker Illahi Bukhsh Soomro and ordered the bank executive’s release. Sharif, however, refused to order any probe into the kidnapping of a bank executive who was being punished for his attempt to recover Rs 1.2 billion of loan from Saif-ur-Rahman.

    Leading newspaper columnist Hussain Haqqani had been kidnapped by the FIA sleuths along with his brother, an active service Army Colonel, during an evening stroll on direct orders from Saif-ur-Rahman in early 1999. It was at least three days after Haqqani’s kidnapping that Saif-ur-Rahman ordered the FIA bosses to “produce” a case against him. Official sources confirmed Haqqani’s account that he was beaten and kept awake during the first week of his arrest. Haqqani was of the few Saif victims whose captivity brought criminal charges, vehemently denied by Haqqani who said that the cases against him was the figment of Saif’s imagination.

    The annual 1997 Human Rights Report of US State Department said the Accountability Commission, established by the caretaker government and headed by a retired judge, had been overshadowed by an “accountability cell,” headed by a close associate of the prime minister. This cell had been accused of conducting politically-motivated investigations of politicians, senior civil servants, and business figures, designed to extract evidence and, in some cases, televised confessions of alleged wrongdoers. The report gave the examples of televised confessions extracted from Salman Farooqi, secretary of commerce under Benazir Bhutto; Ahmed Sadiq, Benazir Bhutto’s principal secretary; and Zafar Iqbal, chairman of the Capital Development Authority. It said most politicians and bureaucrats, who had been charged with corruption or other crimes, were out on bail.

    MORE DETAILS: NRO: Kamran Khan & Dishonest Lawyers.