Original Articles

How honest and objective is Pakistan’s media? A small comparison of Daily The News and The New York Times

Long March and the role of Pakistan Army. Same story (Long March), same source (General Karamat’s article). Look at the twist in the version offered by Pakistan’s ‘The News’.


The New York Times

Published: March 16, 2009

Pakistan Avoids Pitfall, but Path Ahead Is Unclear

Mr. Sharif, often held in suspicion in Washington because of his leaning toward Islamic conservatives, was more cooperative than had been thought, some United States officials suggested.

In Washington, there was an awareness that Mr. Sharif’s reputation from the Bush administration of being too close to the Islamists might be overdrawn, and that his relationships with some of the Islamic parties and with Saudi Arabia could be useful, said a foreign policy expert familiar with the thinking of the Obama administration on Pakistan.

Mr. Sharif has told people that he got along well with the Obama administration’s special envoy, Richard C. Holbrooke, during their meeting at Mr. Sharif’s farm last month.

He speaks admiringly of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he met with former President Bill Clinton while in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Pakistani analysts, too, said Mr. Sharif could prove to be a useful partner as Washington tried to talk to what it considered reconcilable elements in the Taliban.

“Who from Pakistan can talk to a faction of the Taliban? It’s Nawaz,” said a senior Pakistani politician who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating Mr. Sharif.

But Mr. Sharif has to play a delicate game because if he is seen as doing Washington’s bidding, he will be discredited among much of his constituency, the politician said.

And Mr. Sharif could also turn out to be unwilling to back some of the tough steps that Washington wants.

One encouraging sign for Washington was the role played in the crisis by the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who let Mr. Zardari know that he could not rely on soldiers to confront the protesters who were threatening to descend on Islamabad to demand the return of Chief Justice Chaudhry.

“The military acted to avert, to correct and to clear the way for full democracy with the center of gravity where it should be — in Parliament and the people,” said Jehangir Karamat, a retired general and former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, in an article for Spearheadresearch.org, his Web site.

General Karamat called the new military approach the Kayani Model, after General Kayani, whom General Karamat is close to. During the crisis, the army chief had been “invisible but around, fully informed and acting through well-timed and effective influence in the right quarter,” General Karamat wrote.


The News (Pakistan)

Judges’ restoration is victory of people power: Karamat

Updated at: 1750 PST, Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ISLAMABAD: Former military chief General (retd.) Jehangir Karamat has said that restoration of deposed judges is the victory of people power on the state force.

“Had the government not taken this step, it would have been an end to the democracy, he said.

In an article, Karamat writes that the democracy has become more powerful and it is very clear that the center of power has also shifted to the people.

He said that different types of speculations and models were being discussed in media and elsewhere, including intervention of army, models of Bangladesh and Thailand to end this crisis. However, the role played by army to end the crisis should be called as “Kayani Model”.

The former army chief further said that lawyers, civil society activists and political parties had not sought any help from army against the state force. They relied on their own power and were fully prepared to meet any untoward situation.


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  • General Karamat’s article. Look at the twist in the version offered by Pakistan’s ‘The News’.
    General Jahangir Karamat has to answer this as well, these Military Rascals are themselves part of all of the troubles in Pakistan.

    His son Farrukh Karamat [Banker] is himself involved in Bank Scam and Pakistani Army helped his son in his escape from Pakistan. COPYRIGHT 2004 Financial Times Ltd.

    (From Pakistan Press International Information Services Limited)

    LAHORE June 02-(PPI): Accountability Bench of the Lahore High Court Wednesday issuing notice to the NAB Chairman on the acquittal plea of Farrukh Karamat, son of ex-Army Chief Gen. (Retd) Jehangir Karamat, involved in Emirates Bank Fraud case.


    LHC orders probe into missing papers By Our Correspondent

    June 12, 2005 Sunday Jumadi-ul-Awwal 4, 1426


    LAHORE, June 11: Chief Justice Iftikhar Husain Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court has ordered an inquiry into the disappearance of pages from a court file that contained a stay order in favour of Farrukh Karamat, a son of former chief of army staff Gen Jahangir Karamat, in a bank fraud case.

    A deputy registrar has been asked to conduct the inquiry and submit a report fixing responsibility within seven days.

    The stay order in favour of Farrukh Karamat, manager of the Emirates Bank in 2000 when the embezzlement of about Rs300 million was found, was granted by a division bench comprising Justice Farrukh Latif and Justice Sadar Mohammad Aslam against the proceedings of a reference against him.

    Farrukh, the head of the bank’s corporate branch, Aali Shafi and traders Arif Moaz Shah and his brother Asif Moaz Shah, Naeemuddin Qamar Sahaf, Shahiduddin Jauhar Sahaf and Zeeshan Mustafa were allegedly found guilty and the Civil Lines police registered two FIRs against them on the allegation that all connived in advancing a loan of Rs300 million to traders under forged guarantees of the ABN Amro and the United banks.

    According to a writ petition moved by Aali Shafi, who was also allowed a stay order by the LHC division bench on Thursday, the case was sent to the special banking court which acquitted Farrukh Karamat and Aali Shafi through an order on Nov 29, 2001, since no evidence and material was available against them.

    However, the National Accountability Bureau entered the fray without a legal justification and served on both Farrukh Karamat and Aali Shafi notices of show cause in the fraud case. The NAB later filed references against them with an accountability court starting proceedings. The two moved the Lahore High Court challenging the NAB move besides pleading that the proceedings should be quashed. Advocates Wasim Sajjad and Ali Hasan Sajjad pleaded on behalf of Aali Shafi that the reference suffered from a double jeopardy as no one could be retried in one offence. The counsel stated that Aali Shafi could not be proceeded against in the reference they contained similar charges in which he had already been acquitted by the banking court. The LHC issued a stay order in favour of Farrukh Karamat which was found missing when the court resumed hearing of the writ petition on June 9. The same day the court also issued a similar stay order in favour of Aali Shafi through which the NAB was restrained from proceedings against him.

  • General Karamat’s article. Look at the twist in the version offered by Pakistan’s ‘The News’.
    General Jahangir Karamat has to answer this as well, these Military Rascals are themselves part of all of the troubles in Pakistan.

    Pakistan lays down the agenda for the US By Seema Sirohi Dec 25, 2004

    WASHINGTON – Pakistan, the United States’ premier ally in the “war on terrorism”, has laid down the agenda for the Bush administration for the next four years on what it expects in exchange for continued cooperation to hunt down al-Qaeda.

    On the menu is a slew of demands, ranging from continued economic aid to a generous flow of weapons. But above all is the expectation of a long-term relationship, especially in light of what Washington is building with India under the title of the “Next Steps in Strategic Partnership”.

    Jehangir Karamat, Pakistan’s new ambassador in Washington, wants no less. He, in fact, chose to dub his first public speech “Next Steps” too, articulating Pakistan’s hopes and desires for a partnership that will endure beyond the capture of Osama bin Laden. “We seek sustained and enhanced engagement so that gains continue to be consolidated and pushed further,” he said at a well-attended speech in Washington last week.

    But what was noted by observers was the language he used to deliver the message. He sounded more like a teacher telling a pupil the level of performance he expected from the Americans, said diplomatic observers. He seemed to be drawing a clear parallel between payment and delivery, which led to questions whether the changes in policy that Pakistan has pursued post-September 11, 2001, have been made because they are good for Pakistan, or because they bring US arms and aid.

    The administration of President George W Bush is currently in the process of dispensing US$3 billion in economic and military aid, apart from having written off nearly $2 billion in Pakistani debt. An arms package approved by Congress worth $1.2 billion includes eight P-3C naval reconnaissance planes, 2,000 TOW missiles, and other weapons, which has raised serious concerns in New Delhi because they counter specific Indian capabilities. New Delhi has told Washington that large-scale delivery of arms to Pakistan will jeopardize the composite dialogue between India and Pakistan.

    But Karamat, a former chief of army staff, said that the US largess, both monetary and material, “must” continue. He turned India’s reasons for opposing the weapons package on its head, arguing that it is the United States’ “tilt” toward India that makes peace in South Asia elusive.

    “The conventional defense capability must continue to be built up because an unacceptable tilt in the balance of power makes meaningful India-Pakistan dialogue difficult,” Karamat declared.

    Among other “musts” for Washington to carry out are a free-trade agreement, or alternative arrangements, and bilateral investment initiatives in Pakistan to “influence public opinion”. “US support must continue to give us access to international financial institutions,” Karamat added.

    “The US support for Pakistan’s counter-terrorism effort must continue and capabilities must continue to be enhanced. We need to work with the US to change perceptions based on past happenings and create perceptions based on current policies and future projections,” he said. As for his side of the bargain, Karamat said that “Pakistan will of course continue to address US concerns. The present cooperative and unambiguous relationship will help to do this as everything is on the table.”

    Karamat’s categorical tone left some US officials a little embarrassed, for they are not used to ambassadors laying down the line in Washington. “Even Tony Blair’s ambassador won’t use that tone in public,” said one observer. Some others said that Pakistan prescribing the agenda was a case of the tail wagging the dog.

    Meanwhile, what surprised some was Karamat’s dismissive tone about the A Q Khan affair, which he labeled a “proliferation episode” while denying any government complicity in it. “There was no government sanction, approval, or any kind of government connection with what went on,” he said flatly. But Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, in his 11-page confession reported in the US press in February, named Karamat, former chief of army staff General (retired) Mirza Aslam Beg and President General Pervez Musharraf as the men on top who were aware of what was going on. As the chief of army staff from 1996-98, Karamat was directly responsible for the safety and security of the nuclear program.

    But Karamat declined to elaborate how something so big could happen on his watch, saying that too much had already been written about the Khan affair.

    Karamat’s main objective in the speech appeared to be to move the debate in Washington from Pakistan’s past to Pakistan’s future and Washington’s commitment. He said Pakistanis are worried that they will never be let off the hook, because the past is always being dredged up to color policy.

    Even though the Bush administration has embraced Pakistan as a key and indispensable ally in its “war on terrorism” and publicly defended Musharraf on every issue – from the Khan affair to the re-emergence of the Taliban to his refusal to relinquish his post as army chief as promised – the US media and many congressmen and senators have repeatedly raised questions about Pakistan’s commitment to the United States. Editorials in respected newspapers have questioned the reliability of Pakistan as an ally, and whether the US is giving Musharraf a pass despite the many problems.

    It is Karamat’s job to change this perception, and he took a big leap forward with his first speech. Crafted well and delivered with ease, he presented Pakistan, its role and its indispensability to Washington with flair, said many in the audience.

    He said Pakistan had changed “strategic directions” and is now suffering the consequences. “From a policy of active interference and destabilization of Afghanistan, Pakistan is working with the US for a stable and friendly Afghanistan. From a policy of hostility and confrontation with India, Pakistan now has a policy of dialogue and conflict resolution. From a policy of appeasement and political expediency with extremist religious elements, Pakistan has moved to confronting them to end their negative influence and activities. From a clandestine nuclear program with proliferation consequences, Pakistan has moved to a regime of command, control and international cooperation,” he said, giving an overview of the “new” Pakistan in progress.

    “This is a major strategic reorientation of the country. And, as in all such strategic turnarounds, there is a price to be paid. This price is paid in terms of the blowback, the resistance and the retaliation to the changes.”

    Reaction to Karamat’s presentation was mixed. His host, senior South Asia analyst Stephen Cohen, was full of praise for his candor. “I had never heard a Pakistani official so systematically and bluntly go over the errors of past governments, including one in which they served. Of course his government, and the army, did things that were wrong at the time, and have come to regret, but Pakistan officials have promulgated a new benchmark that the world can hold them to. This is not trivial,” said Cohen.

    But others, speaking on background, were more critical of Karamat’s rosy picture. One US official who is familiar with South Asian issues said the ambassador’s storyline was overly optimistic.

    Regardless, there is little doubt that the US-Pakistan partnership is fraught with potholes that will take more than a smart presentation to fill up.

    Seema Sirohi is a Washington-based correspondent.

    (Copyright 2004 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us for information on sales, syndication and republishing.)

  • really interesting how Kayani’s involvement in the political process is being presented as a positive thing!

  • @Rabia, interesting twist by the mostly right-wing media in Pakistan.

    Anyway, the following is an excerpt from what Mahir Ali wrote in Dawn today:

    There isn’t much cause for pride in the fact that Hillary Clinton, David Miliband and their representatives in Islamabad had to bang heads together in order to curtail a dangerous demonstration of juvenile delinquency. However, the extra-parliamentary opposition mobilised on the streets of Karachi and Lahore played a decisive role in concentrating minds. On its own, Clinton’s clout might not have sufficed.

    A reality check is also advisable for those who, enthused by Nawaz Sharif’s success in hitching his wagon to the lawyers’ movement, are beginning to perceive him as some sort of saviour. It is all very well for him to decry Zardari’s ‘democratic dictatorship’ and to champion the cause of judicial independence, but his political antecedents and past conduct ought not to be overlooked.

    He is not a democrat by birth: as a political entity, he emerged from Pakistan’s most toxic military dictatorship. On at least one infamous occasion, his party goons displayed considerable disrespect towards the Supreme Court. And he demonstrated an alarming level of autocracy during his second stint in power, while flirting openly with Islamists of the Sharia-wielding variety. In the absence of a clear-cut and comprehensive mea culpa, there is no assurance that, given the opportunity, he won’t repeat his follies.

    At the moment, there are no palatable alternatives to compromise and political accommodation. It may well be possible eventually to look back on this week’s developments as a crucial turning point. But it’s too soon to make that judgment. It’s undoubtedly a victory, but what good will come from it only time shall tell.

  • very very interesting.
    The whole jang group and dunya TV have been most nauseating in their coverage of the march.

    what happened to good old impartiality?

  • Jang group has always been pro-right. Geo TV even aired a commercial of Clean-Shaven Moulvi Imran Khan, which showed kids asking for justice and then IK appears and says ” Bacha bach keh raha hay Insaaf Chahiyay !”.
    Shame on this black-mailer news group (read propaganda group) !

  • Geo TV Reporter Approaches a 13-Year for Sex?

    A Pakistani American Journalist Mr. Syed Haider K. Zaidi (pen name: Nayyar Zaidi), Washington correspondent or Washington Bureau Chief of Pakistan’s Geo News TV, The News International (English newspaper) and Daily Jang (Urdu newspaper) was arrested by the US FBI and the Police on March 20/ 2008 in Ohio, USA, on sex crimes charges.

    He is still locked up in an Ohio jail since March 2008. Read the following American media-press news reports about Pakistani American journalist Nayyar Zaidi who lives in Woodbridge, Virginia, USA.

    Publisher: THE INDEPENDENT – Massillon, Ohio, USA

    Man Arrested for Trying to Meet Teen

    JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio, USA, March 20/ 2008 – Authorities arrested a Virginia man Thursday accused of traveling to
    Jackson Township to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

    Syed Haider Kar Zaidi, 64, of 12776 Captains Cove, Woodbridge, Va., was taken into custody at 3 p.m. in a parking lot at 4220 Belden Village St. N.W., according to jail records. The arrest culminated a two month investigation by local police and the FBI’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

    Jail records show Zaidi developed an online relationship with the girl and arranged to meet her for sex in the Belden Village area. The girl Zaidi was communicating with actually was an undercover officer. Zaidi faces felony charges of attempted unlawful sex with a minor, attempted child endangering, attempted illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and importuning. Zaidi was the task force’s 98th arrest.

    Feds Eyeing Internet ‘Predator’

    Virginia man is 98th arrest by FBI task force; bond set at $ 200,000

    MASSILLON, Ohio, USA, March 24/ 2008 – Federal charges are likely for a Virginia man who allegedly arranged to have sex with a 13-year-old girl in Jackson Township.

    Jeffrey Haupt, attorney for Syed Haider Kar Zaidi, 64, said Monday it appears his client’s case will be sent to U.S. District Court in Youngstown. Haupt said Zaidi could appear before a magistrate or judge later this week. “I have been in discussion with local and federal authorities about this case,” he said.

    Zaidi was arrested Thursday night in a parking lot at 4220 Belden Village St. N.W. following a two month investigation by local police and the FBI’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Zaidi was the task force’s 98th arrest.

    According to jail records, Zaidi developed an online relationship with the girl and planned to meet her for sex in the Belden Village area. An undercover officer assumed the girl’s identity in an Internet chat room. Zaidi reportedly drove to the area from his home in Woodbridge, Va.

    The case could be moved to federal court for several reasons, Haupt said, including the fact that Zaidi crossed state lines, the nature of the material involved in the case and the age of the purported victim. Local charges filed against Zaidi would be dropped if the case is transferred to the federal level, according to Haupt. “He would remain in the custody of the federal government pending an indictment or the filing of a bill of information,” Haupt said. Zaidi was arraigned Monday in Massillon Municipal Court on felony charges of attempted unlawful sex with a minor, attempted child endangering, attempted illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and importuning.

    He remains in the Stark County Jail in lieu of $ 200,000 bond. Haupt said he has advised family members not to post bond.

    “I’m very confident if he does (post bond) that he will be taken into federal custody,” Haupt said.


  • Nayyar Zaidi behind bars in USA!


    A few days back, wife of renowned Washington-based Pakistani journalist, Mr. Nayyar Zaidi, called me up and informed me that her spouse was in detention in Ohio since March 2008 and that she would like to send me some documents for review and publication on DesPardes.com. I therefore gave her my address and my Ferderal Express account number. The next day, I received a package which contained copies of correspondents Mr Zaidi had to the Depertment of Justice, FBI, etc., along with copies of his handwritten notes, observations and latest rejoinder to the Federal court judge.

    Mr Zaidi has been living in Virginia, USA, for the last twenty odd years. He is a well renowned columnist of JANG Urdu and a political analyst/commentator for GEO TV, CNN, BBC Urdu and several other world media.

    Mr. Zaidi called me up today from the Northeast Correctional Center in Youngstown, Ohio. Since our conversation was basically relevant to his detention and the papers he had arranged to send me through his wife Shaheen, I did not bother that our phone talk was being “recorded and monitored”. It was a no-holds-barred-conversation but he took pain not to break rules.

    Our conversation was obviously intense. This was the third time in my life that I had received a phone call from a person I knew who was behind bars and who wanted to reach out to someone outside for help. And, of all the people, when a respected Pakistani journalist-cum-columnist with a vast readership in Pakistan and elsewhere happened to be on the other end of the phone, things became different. Naturally, I offered my moral support and promised to break the news to the public on his behalf.

    Without discussing with him the merits of the case and his detention, I showed my concern and promised to review the papers he had sent me.

    Mr Zaidi said he had gone to Ohio to pursue his journalistic “obstruction of justice” research against those individuals who are being detained there from “all over the world”. Unfortunately, he ended up being detained himself in the same facility, he said. He is awaiting trial now in which he is the defendent.

    Mr Zaidi has claimed that he has been “targeted” by the FBI/DOJ and the “story” goes back to 1995 when he worked for the Pakistan Television. He was approcahed to work for the U.S. government, he said.

    According to Mr Zaidi, he was visited by the Feds (FBI) sometime in 2003, and was asked, he claims, to “become an informant”. But he refused.

    He says he has a case against FBI/DOJ for “obstruction of justice” and wants only “due process of law” to happen.

    I have asked him to writeup a synopsis of the events leading to his arrest. He promised he will send.

    I then called the Press Attache of the Pakistan embassy in Washington. Mr Kiani, who happens to be the press attache, told me that he found out about Mr Zaidi’s detention today only from the ambasaddor Mr. Hussain Haqaani who found out from Pakistan, he claimed.

    According to Kiani, Mr. Haqqani is “concerned” about Mr. Zaidi’s welfare.

    Both, according to Kiani, were unaware that Mr Zaidi was in detention since the last three months.

    Mr Kiani said he had been calling Mr Zaidi’s residence but his wife would say that he was either overseas on an assignment or would give him “some kind of answer”. Interesting!

    Meanwhile, Mr Zaidi remains in detention on “national security matters”.

  • Pro-Jihad Pakistan journalist arrested for child sex, porn By Ahmar Mustikhan

    Man allegedly traveled hundreds of miles to meet 13-year-old girl who turned out to be FBI agents and police



    Pakistan, Islamic Republic of (Press Release) July 28, 2008 — A well-known Pakistani journalist was allegedly engaged in child sex and arrested in an FBI sting operation March 20, Pakistan community members released the news to coincide with arrival of a high-ranking delegation from Pakistan led by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

    Nayyar Zaidi, whose real name is Syed Haider K. Zaidi, a reporter of Geo TV, Jang, The News was arrested on March 20 after the 64-year-old pro-jihad journalist allegedly traveled all the way from his home in Woolbridge, Virginia, to a remote town in Ohio to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

    After the alleged two-month long affair with the 13-year-old the journalist covered a distance of more than 400 miles, that lasts nearly eight hours, for the rendezvous with what turned out to be FBI agents and police.

    One of Zaidi’s compatriots Syed Adeeb, also from Virginia and editor of a blog named reportpress.com, announced Zaidi’s arrest Sunday–the day Gilani’s team arrived in the U.S.– and asked readers to read Zaidi’s views about his arrest, detention and prosecution.

    The Independent in Massillon, Ohio, reported that authorities arrested a Virginia man accused of traveling to Jackson Township to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

    The newspaper said, “Syed Haider Kar Zaidi, 64, of 12776 Captains Cove, Woodbridge, Va.,
    was taken into custody at 3 p.m. in a parking lot at 4220 Belden Village St. N.W., according to jail records. The arrest culminated a two month investigation by local police and the FBI’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.”

    The newspaper reported, “Jail records show Zaidi developed an online relationship with the girl
    and arranged to meet her for sex in the Belden Village area. The girl Zaidi was communicating with actually was an undercover officer.”

    source: FPR

    Zaidi, who has always been a staunch advocate of jihad, now faces felony charges of attempted unlawful sex with a minor, attempted child endangering, attempted illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and importuning. Zaidi was the task force’s 98th arrest.

    The GateHouse News Service said Zaidi was the 98th arrest by FBI task force and his bond was set at $ 200,000. Zaidi was defiant and asked his family not to post the bond.

    Many Muslims believe a girl reaches adulthood after the first menses. Quite a few aged men go for very young girls as they think this will make them younger and increase their sexual prowess.

    In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, FBI agents questioned Zaidi for allegedly dialing from his home phone numbers linked to the terrorists.

    Members of the Pakistani community, who spoke on condition of anonymity, defended their compatriot and said they believed Zaidi was targeted by the FBI just because of his pro-jihad views.

    However, the Baluch who are at war with Pakistan in the troubled Baluchistan state commended the FBI for its sting operation. “All this is extremely sick and disgusting,” said Dr. Wahid Baloch, president of the Baloch Society of North America. “Pakistanis should not mix child sex crime with politics.”

  • Man arrested for trying to meet teen By Staff reports The Independent Posted Mar 20, 2008 @ 10:16 PM


    JACKSON TWP, OH — Authorities arrested a Virginia man Thursday accused of traveling to Jackson Township to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

    Syed Haider Kar Zaidi, 64, of 12776 Captains Cove, Woodbridge, Va., was taken into custody at 3 p.m. in a parking lot at 4220 Belden Village St. N.W., according to jail records. The arrest culminated a two month investigation by local police and the FBI’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
    Jail records show Zaidi developed an online relationship with the girl and arranged to meet her for sex in the Belden Village area. The girl Zaidi was communicating with actually was an undercover officer.

    Zaidi faces felony charges of attempted unlawful sex with a minor, attempted child endangering, attempted illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and importuning. Zaidi was the task force’s 98th arrest

  • Kamran Khan on Jahangir Karamt’s and Pakistan Army Corruption

    NAB has evidence of mass corruption in past defence deals
    NAB still to take up cases against corrupt officers; documents with NAB suggest many deals made by military men involved kickbacks
    News Intelligence Unit
    Kamran Khan
    ‘The News’ dated August 29, 2000

    KARACHI: The long arm of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which has already twisted some of the “untouchables” among the political, bureaucratic and business elite of the country, is still far away from touching the veteran military top brass that was at the helm of affairs when questionable military purchases worth billions of dollars were made in the past two decades.

    In a month-long investigation by the News Intelligence Unit (NIU), during which more than three dozen present and retired civil and military officials were interviewed and scores of related documents examined, it emerged the national exchequer may have lost up to Rs. 570 crore (US $1 billion) in the shape of alleged kickbacks in contracts. These related to tanks, submarines, mine hunters, Mirage fighters and army jeeps in multi-purpose deals signed by the Army Welfare Trust, Shaheen and Bahria foundations.

    The NIU investigation has revealed that the NAB is already in possession of enough documentary or circumstantial evidence to launch a full-scale probe against at least 20 retried senior military officials including three former chiefs of army staff, two naval chiefs and an Air Force chief in purchases of tanks, submarines, naval mine hunters, Mirage fighters and army jeeps. But there is nothing to suggest NAB is close to filing a reference against any former ranking military official or even serve them with a questionnaire.
    Interestingly, the documents seen by the NIU providing extensive clues about alleged corruption in mega defence contracts and in the affairs of the Army Welfare Trust (AWT), Shaheen Foundation, Bahria Foundation and Defence Housing Authority (DHA) were made available from the NAB’s huge reservoir of incriminating documents, much of which was built by the former Ehtesab Bureau. There is no indication yet NAB would, at any time in the near future, make any use of this reservoir.

    Besides sizeable documentary evidence, the army-run NAB is also equipped with experienced serving military officials who have brought with them personal expertise and knowledge about many of the questionable defence deals. Among the NAB’s much-talked about consultants, is Major (retd) Saeed Akhter Malik, a former representative for Styer sniper rifles in Pakistan. Saeed can provide an insight to NAB about the “invisible prerequisites” for selling sniper rifle to army-run organisations like ASF and Pakistan Coast Guards.

    Though the defence budget of Rs 135 billion, including the military purchases of about Rs 1100 crore per annum, far exceeds the total budget of all civilian departments of the Government of Pakistan, NAB is barred from investigating the corruption cases that relate to the active service military officials. There is, however, no restriction on the organisation from investigating past military deals and retired military officials.
    While a majority of contracts relating to controversial defence purchases have not yet been touched by the NAB, the organisation is making a low-key effort to seek the extradition of former chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mansurul Haq from the United States.

    The NAB is in possession of documentary evidence, left by the former Ehtesab Bureau, that the DCN-I (Direction des Constructions Navales International) of France had made an indirect payment of about US $ five million to Admiral Mansurul Haq for a grossly over-invoiced up-gradation project for three Agosta B submarines. The NAB is seeking Admiral Mansur’s extradition on that count, but it seems to be not interested to get to the bottom of the most embarrassing defence purchase episode of Pakistan’s history.
    During its investigation the NIU discovered that behind a much- publicised demand for Admiral Mansur’s extradition lay an institutional effort to cover up the whole scandal. Unimpeachable sources have informed the NIU that while the NAB made public demands for Mansur’s extradition, the former Naval chief, who had received advance information to that effect from an official channel, has already left her daughter’s Austin residence in the state of Texas for a new undisclosed location outside the US.

    The NIU can disclose that Commodore Shahid, the former director of Naval Intelligence who was convicted by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) to seven years of rigorous imprisonment for his alleged role in the submarine corruption case, was pardoned by the former Naval chief Admiral Fasih Bukhari, only three months after the conviction. Commodore Shahid spent 12 weeks of this imprisonment in the comfortable atmosphere of his residence in Islamabad, during which there was no restriction on his movement in the city.

    For receiving heavy kickbacks in a submarine deal Commodore Shahid and Captain Liaquat Ali Malik, both considered close to the top Naval hierarchy involved in the submarine deal, were awarded seven and three years rigorous imprisonment, respectively, by a military court in November 1998. These officials had been convicted on the basis of irrefutable bank statements and other documentary evidence, besides damning evidence from another serving Pakistan Navy Captain.

    During the trial and after their conviction both officers, however, rigidly maintained they were just the pawns in a large game, and they have been made the scapegoats. Commodore Shahid, who had held the sensitive post of director Naval Intelligence, was believed to be privy to each and every behind-the-scene development on this subject and his threat to spill the beans is understood to have resulted in his unprecedented pardon by the former naval chief. Before his pardon, the Navy never allowed the authorities to shift the convicted commodore from his house to a prison.

    Evidence in black and white available with NAB also provides ample evidence that kickbacks were also paid in the purchase of Edrian class minesweepers for the Pakistan Navy. The deal worth US $ 250 million had raised several eyebrows regarding the cost and the effectiveness of the project. NIU believed that Commodore Shahid was loaded with inside information on this particular deal also, and his honest testimony may provide vital links to establish payment of kickbacks.

    The NIU has learned that while NAB appeared to be not interested in investigating Commodore Shahid’s statements and the events that led to his dramatic pardon, it has not yet questioned Admiral A U Khan and Rear Admiral Mujtaba, the two senior ranking naval official who had played a significant role in the navy’s decision to buy Agosta submarines under the then naval chief Admiral Saeed Khan.

    Admiral A U Khan, who had received a surprising extension in the service in Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), after the military take-over, is also closely related to a Federal minister. Admiral Mansurul Haq’s financial deals while heading the PNSC before he was handpicked to head Pakistan Navy, though caused the collapse of the PNSC, but NAB is yet to start its probe into the PNSC affairs. The NIU is told the NAB is “fully loaded” with evidence against Admiral Mansur and two other top-ranking former naval officials on the kickbacks worth Rs 500 million they received on the land deals involving Bahria Foundation.

    Admiral A U Khan or Rear Admiral Mujtaba are yet to be questioned by NAB about their role in the submarine deal. Several sources said Admiral A U Khan’s 1994 visit to France was the turning point in the Navy’s final decision to prefer the French subs over the Swedish model. A former Citibank official in Karachi, who had travelled to France with Admiral Mansurul Haq on his famous visit to conclude the up-gradation deal with the DCN-I, is now working closely with a top NAB official, but there is nothing to suggest if he had shared his knowledge, or has been asked to do so, about the kickbacks in the submarine deal with NAB.

    In his private Sindh Club circle, the same former Citibank official is claiming that it was because of his personal relationship with Admiral Mansurul Haq, NAB has not yet moved to seize three personal houses of the former naval chief that are worth at least Rs 15 crore. A senior NAB official, however, informed the NIU that this individual was involved in NAB’s plea of bargain with Tas Jumani who was wanted by NAB in a Rs 8 crore corruption case involving Pakistan State Oil. The NAB source emphatically denied the former Citibank official had anything to do with Admiral Mansur’s investigation.

    Whatever may be the role of the former Citibank official in the submarine saga, but the documents available with NAB and other informed sources have named a Monte Carlo and London-based former BCCI official, as the principal go-between the DCN-I, the submarine manufacturer and the top naval officials in Pakistan. NAB officials estimate that in US$100 million kickback in the submarine deal, this go-between made a cool US$10 million in commission.

    He also acted as the principal go-between with Mirage 2000 manufacturer Dassault Aviation and the Government of Pakistan for an aborted purchase of 40 Mirage 2000 for a deal worth US$4 billion. At that time he was believed to be closely tied with both political and key Pakistan Air Force players. Although the Mirage 2000 deal never materialised, this individual’s role remained unclear in PAF’s surprise deal to buy 40 pieces of old model Mirages for US$120 million.

    NAB’s reservoir of documents has some interesting material about this PAF purchase of 34 Mirage-vf and 6 Mirage 3 BE from the SEGAM of France. The role played by the then Director General Defence Procurement (DG, DP) Rear Admiral Saeed Akhter remained central to the whole deal, which had been concluded by the then Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Abbas Khattak and the SEGAM officials in France.

    Amid charges of kickbacks worth US$20 million, distributed between the PAF command and the DG, DP, Rear Admiral Saeed Akhter left his job, under unexplained circumstances, and left for Europe where he settled permanently. At the time of the deal and afterwards, the dismissed Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Arshad Choudry had voiced concern about rising corruption in the PAF, and in a specific meeting with the then President Farooq Leghari, the Vice Air Chief offered to prove kickbacks and commission in deals ranging from land deals in Karachi to Mirage purchases to the Mirage rebuild factory in Kamra.

    Imprudent and sometimes intriguing financial decisions, during the same period, caused losses worth tens of crores of rupees to the active-service PAF officers-run Shaheen Foundation, the Shaheen Air venture with a Karachi-based General Sales Agent (GSA) for some foreign airlines resulted in more than Rs 500 million losses to the Foundation.
    The situation at the Shaheen Foundation, mostly because of some decisions directed by ACM Abbas Khattak, came to a point that Air Marshal Shafiq Hyder, a highly regarded officer, asked for a premature retirement citing affairs at the Shaheen Foundation. The Shafiq Hyder episode came at a time when the Shaheen Foundation had offered to give its name to a shadowy Shaheen Pay TV project that was to be controlled by PAY TV (Ireland), a mysterious company that did not reveal the names of its directors even to the Shaheen Foundation chief, who had instruction from the ACM Abbas Khattak to sign this deal with PAY TV (Ireland).

    Several sources mentioned that a Peshawar-based individual, Andrew Shalom, with mysterious connections in Europe, was the go-between the then Air Force chief in various projects including the Shaheen Pay TV project undertaken by the Shaheen Foundation. Sources said if NAB ever decides to undertake a probe into the alleged PAF corruption scandals under the former ACM Abbas Khattak, the two former Air Marshals of the PAF would love to extend their cooperation and their insight.

    Acquisition of new tanks has remained central to the defence strategy envisioned by the successive chiefs of Army Staff since Gen Ziaul Haq. In the past one decade alone, cash-strapped Pakistan has spent about Rs 900 crore (US$1.6b) to equip the Army with the finest of desert battle machines. Allegations of kickbacks, also from senior army circles, were made each time the army leadership went into serious negotiations for tank purchases since General Ziaul Haq witnessed the final trial run of American made Abraham tanks at the Army’s tank trial site of Khairpur Tamewali on August 17, 1988. The same afternoon that day, Gen Ziaul Haq’s plane, also carrying the top leadership of Pakistan Army, crashed not far from Khairpur Tamewali.

    While Gen Zia had favoured the US built model of the tanks for an about US$700 million purchase, his successor Gen Mirza Aslam Beg opted for the US $1 billion Al-Khalid manufacturing plant to build MBT 2000 tanks with Chinese cooperation. While Gen Beg’s US$1 billion Al-Khalid plan was still operational, his successor Gen Asif Nawaz went full swing to conclude a US$ 450 million purchase for 320 T-72 tanks from Poland.

    Though Gen Asif Nawaz had died by the day when this deal was to be signed with the visiting Polish team, his successor Gen Abdul Wahid Kakar’s team of experts rejected the deal outrightly, citing the reasons that could form the basis for a NAB investigation. For his part Gen Abdul Wahid thought there was no reason to rush through a tank deal, and Pakistan was better off concentrating on Gen Beg’s Al-Khalid programme.
    Gen Wahid’s successor General Jehangir Karamat, however, thought it was vital for the country’s defence to immediately equip the army with the best possible tanks. He struck a US$550 million deal with Ukraine, which at that time did not even have a diplomatic presence in Pakistan, for 320 T 80 UD tanks in 1996.

    General Asif Nawaz wanted to purchase the same number of 320 tanks for a price tag of US$450 million, while Gen Karamat negotiated to buy the same number of tanks, with almost the same capacity, for US $550 million, through a deal which finally cost the nation a cool US $650 million.

    The criticism of General Beg’s ambition to build the Pakistani version of MBT 2000 at a cost of Rs 570 crore remained restricted to an influential circle in the army that principally backed Gen Asif Nawaz, and Gen Jehangir Karamat’s drive for speedy induction of the tanks, but allegations of kickbacks in the Al-Khalid project had surfaced several times in the past. The reservations of the successive army chiefs about this expansive project may also explain the snags that caused huge delays in the completion of the project.

    NAB’s present reservoir of documents has nothing to substantiate allegation of kickbacks in the tank deals, but several NAB insiders who had also worked closely with the former Ehtesab Bureau chief Senator Saifur Rehman Khan have revealed that the former Senator had personally investigated General Jehangir Karamat’s T80UD tanks with Ukraine.
    Sources said in this respect the affairs of TFT Progress, the company that acted as the go-between the GHQ and the Ukrainian supplier, were fully investigated to establish the role played by Col Mahmood (retd) alias Moda, a former course mate of Gen Jehangir Karamat. As representative of the Ukrainian supplier, Col Mahmood, Army sources acknowledge, had played a key role in bringing the GHQ and the Ukrainian government close to a deal.

    Confirmed reports indicated that while Gen Jehangir Karamat was still serving as the COAS and also after his resignation, Col Mahmood had been vigorously questioned by the people acting on the Ehtesab Bureau’s behalf. One reliable source informed the NIU that the Nawaz Sharif government probe into this tank deal also focused on a retired major general and a close personal friend of General Jehangir Karamat, who was then serving as an additional secretary in the Ministry of Defence. Knowledgeable sources however discounted rumours that during his last meeting with Gen Jehangir Karamat, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif ever mentioned to the former COAS the outcome of his probe against the Ukrainian tank deal.

    Several present and retired officials who spoke to the NIU on the subject of corruption in defence contracts desired that 1995 army purchase of 3700 Land Rover Jeeps – that had carried a price tag of about Rs 180 crore for the army – be investigated by NAB. These sources said NAB only needs to investigate the price Bangladesh army had paid for the same vehicle around the same time period that the GHQ finalised this deal.

    NIU has learned the owner of the key supplier of this vehicle to the army was a close relative of a then serving Lieutenant General, who was also the main decision-maker in the purchase. Though NAB has no documents on this controversial purchase of Land Rover jeeps by the Army, top NAB officials have been given extensive briefings and documentary evidence on the corruption that has now created a financial crisis in the Army Welfare Trust, an organisation dedicated to the welfare of retired army personnel.

    Based on these briefings and documents, NAB is yet to question the former AWT chairman Lt Gen Farrukh Khan for his 1994 decision to borrow US $200 million from the famous US investment Bank Merrill Lynch. A decision later by Merrill to invoke a clause in its agreement with the AWT to call its loan any time in the future brought AWT to its knees, as the National Bank of Pakistan was called to rescue the Welfare Trust.
    NAB is yet to respond to the pleas for investigation into Lt Gen Farrukh Khan’s decision to allow an advance payment of Rs 25 crore to Mitsubishi for a power plant for the AWT’s Nizampur Cement plant. Once again, due to the weaker agreement, the Japanese concern reneged its commitment with the Nizampur Cement Plant, causing a straight Rs 25 crore loss.

    Millions of AWT’s dollars were wasted in a useless pharmaceutical plant constructed in association with a Chinese company. Sources said only a week of “NAB-style” probing was enough to unearth the scam in the pharmaceutical project. Detailed documents obtained by NIU on corruption in the AWT-run cement plants and its former chairman’s dealing with the Privatisation Commission on the subject of cement plants in 1995 are already available with NAB, awaiting executive orders for a probe.

    Like most of the defence-related organisations, the affairs of the Defence Housing Authorities in Karachi and Lahore, despite having an average turnover of about Rs 750 million a year, have never seen an independent scrutiny of their affairs.

    The present DHA administrators in Karachi and Lahore appeared to have worked hard to free these organisation from institutionalised corruption, of sorts, but this NIU investigation discovered that despite serious complaints of financial corruption, particularly in the years between 1994-97, no action was taken against the perpetrators who had converted the DHA Karachi into one of the most corrupt organisations in the country.

    The NIU met several individuals to confirm that almost every allottee in the DHA’s Marina Scheme in its phase 8 had to pay an additional sum of up to 20 per cent, which went to top DHA officials of that time. This particularly attracted tremendous attention because in this scheme the DHA had allowed allotments for the civilians to create recreational facilities on the shore front.

    As expected, the real estate prices in this area sky-rocketed within one year of the announcement of the scheme. While the prices were showing an upward swing the DHA restricted the allotment only to people close to its then director Planning and the administrator.

    The largest plots went to the people widely known to be close to the director planning. One such individual was the father of a Pakistani model who made her name in India. While the Marina Scheme was in full swing in 1994, precious land, particularly in the phase 2 and 5 of DHA in Karachi was allotted in the name of “extra land adjacent to the existing commercial and residential plots at the reserved DHA prices”.

    The NIU discovered that some of the known investors in the DHA Karachi, colluded with the former Director planning, who was then thought to be the most powerful DHA official to multiply their millions in overnight deals involving allotment of extra land.
    While the Marina Scheme and extra land allotment continued, the then DHA administrator and his director Planning created more plots for flat sites, a scheme that was knitted in close collaboration with some of the known builders of Karachi, who were supposed to get the larger piece of the cake. The scheme, however, got busted in its early phase as the Federal Defence Secretary, who also serves as the Chairman of DHA, got wind of this plan and ordered the scrapping of the scheme.

    “If the NAB is not probing against the DHA and particularly its longest serving director planning and a former administrator, it should stop its anti-corruption crusade in the country,” a DHA insider observed while expressing surprise as to how the Army can allow the worst type of corruption to continue just under its nose.

    Senior NAB sources said they had no explicit instruction from Chief Executive General Pervaiz Musharraf or anyone else in the top Army brass to avoid a probe against the ex-army officials. These sources said the multi-million dollar defence deals and other defence-related corruption cases will be investigated “sooner rather than later.” One senior source said the Chairman, NAB has himself ordered an extensive probe on charges that relate to the family fortunes of the sons of a former top military official. At least one of his sons is an active politician

  • Another yellow journalist, Taliban supporter is Orya Mqbool Jan. According to blogger Nota:

    I have always liked Orya but one thing that really bothered me was his last stint as head of Punjab Entertainment Company. I still fail to understand why/how he accepted that position?

    For those who don’t know, PEC is Moonis Elahi’s baby which did Qabza(illegal seizure) of a public park here in Gulberg, Lahore, under the guise of opening an IMAX theatre and under this cover stole over Rs. 1,092 million of public money. (A lot of senior bureaucrats including Orya also benefited)

    Very recently, the court ruled against that seizure and today the park is a giant hole in the ground. PEC itself was dissolved (June 14, 2008) due to financial irregularities by SS. Orya of course protested strongly against it and lead a jaloos against SS’s action. That is when I became aware of his involvement with the project and must say I was shocked. I went, “Et tu, Orya?” 🙁

    Below are some links for those who want to read some more:
    PEC’s ‘gross financial misconduct’: Bureaucrats fear reference by CM
    Delay in IMAX theatre behind Orya’s removal
    Probe into PEC’s muddled affairs to be launched




    PEC’s ‘gross financial misconduct’: Bureaucrats fear reference by CM

    * Rs 1,092.092m released by last govt to fund project
    * IC&YA secretary says details of project would be made public after

    By Ali Usman

    LAHORE: Senior bureaucrats, who have been associated with the Punjab Entertainment Company (PEC), are afraid that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif may file a reference against them on charges of gross financial misconduct in the company’s financial affairs, sources told Daily Times. They have, as a result, become active in trying to shelve the project as soon as possible.

    The Punjab government dissolved the PEC after finding several irregularities in the multimillion-rupee project that benefited several politicians and bureaucrats. The government then announced that it would revamp the IMAX project by establishing an international library-cum-theatre instead.

    The project was initiated by former chief minister Pervaiz Elahi, then Information, Culture and Youth Affairs (IC&YA) secretary Taimur Azmat Osman and then director general Public Relations Shoaib Bin Aziz. The IMAX project (worth Rs 1,411.271 million) had been ‘decaying’ in files while the officers drew hefty salaries and enjoyed several perks and privileges from it.

    The project was signed with the IMAX Corporation, Canada by the then IC&YA secretary as a representative of the then Punjab governor, while the then Finance principal secretary Salman Siddique had proposed the financial viability of the project. To aid the completion of the project, the PEC was established. A 12-member board of directors (BoD) comprising of then – Excise & Taxation secretary Muhammad Sami Saeed; Finance secretary Salman Saddique; Industries secretary Javed Majeed; Commerce & Investment secretary Saeed Ahmed Alvi; IC&YA secretary Taimur Azmat Osman; Housing secretary Javaid Aslam; Local Government and Community Development secretary Akhlaque Ahmed Tarrar; C&W secretary Sibtain Fazl Halim; and National Engineering Services Pakistan (Pvt) Limited (NESPAK) marketing director Dr Amjad Pervaiz Shaikh was formed. Planning and Development (P&D) Chairman Suleman Ghani headed this BoD, which also included two private businessman: Rana Khalid Manzoor – said to be a close friend of Pervaiz Elahi – and Film Producers Association President Sajjad Ahmed Gul.

    Funds: The IMAX equipment was purchased for $2.523 million (Rs 482.271 million) by the previous government through a single tender enquiry. The Canadian corporation has already been paid the amount, however, the system required for the IMAX has still not been delivered to Pakistan.

    The previous government had released Rs 482.721 million for the theatre; Rs 520.371 million for the shopping mall; and Rs 50 million for the PEC expenditures. The estimated costs of the bowling alley and the display tower were Rs 23 million and Rs 15 million, respectively.

    The then PEC managing director had a hefty salary package of Rs 4,00,000 with several other perks as well. He also appointed 28 employees at the PEC, 20 of whom had previously worked with him. He allegedly provided them with inflated pays and reportedly used a jeep that consumed petrol of over Rs 50,000/month.

    After assuming the charge of his office and visiting the project site, Shahbaz ordered the re-evaluation of the project. A high-powered three-member tribunal is conducting an inquiry into the financial and administrative irregularities of the PEC. It comprises Task Force on Administrative and Financial Efficiency Chairman S Farooq Naveed, Task Force member and chartered accountant Viqar Ahmad Khan, and Deputy Inspector General Khaliq Daad Luck.

    Sources said that though the inquiry was probing into the matter, several bureaucrats who fear references against them have been trying to shelve the project. They said that though Jah was being declared the main reason behind the gross financial misconduct, he was not the only one involved in the misconduct of the PEC. They said that the bureaucrats that had favored him and benefited from the project currently fear that the CM might announce a reference against them.

    IS&YA: Talking to Daily Times, IC&YA Secretary Orya Jan Maqbool said that a meeting had been held to discuss the company’s fate, adding that another would be held soon. Details of the project would be made public as soon as the inquiry is completed, he added.