In continuation of highlighting the stakeholders of Corruption in Pakistan as reported by Capitalism’s Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System His comments on Nawaz Sharif can be found here, while Benazir Bhutto, Zardari & PPP’s reign on corruption is reproduced below [Credit @Aleem_Ashraf]
Corruption and criminality run from the top down, with the political class constantly looting the national treasury and distorting economic policy for personal gain. Bank loans are granted largely on the basis of status and connections. The rich stash much of their money abroad in those willing western coffers, while exhibiting little inclination to repay their rupee borrowings. Pakistan’s recent history has been dominated by two families—the Bhuttos and the Sharifs—both merely tolerated by the military, the real power in the country. When it comes to economic destruction, there’s not a lot of difference among the three.
Benazir Bhutto on pages 77-82: Born in Karachi in 1953 and educated in private schools, Benazir Bhutto graduated from Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1973. Going on to Oxford for a master’s degree, she displayed her budding political skills and was elected president of the Student Union in 1977. Meanwhile, her father had become prime minister of Pakistan in
1971, was ousted in a military coup in 1977, and was executed in 1979 on charges of conspiracy to commit murder. In and out of prison and house arrest, Benazir was not allowed to leave the country until 1984 but then returned to lead the democracy movement two years later. Her father’s usurper, General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, was killed in a mysterious plane crash in 1988, which also took the life of the U.S. ambassador Arnold Raphel, and the head of the U.S. military aid mission to Pakistan, General H.M. Wasson. Benazir was elected prime minister that year, served until her ouster in 1990 on charges of corruption and nepotism, was reelected in 1993, and ousted again in 1996, amidst more charges of corruption. During her two terms in office and since, what has come out portrays Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari as world-class thieves.
Over the past few days Wikileaks has been regularly releasing an interesting set of secure cables on Pakistan. it is my belief that these documents will without doubt go down into history books to have been a world changing event, We here in Pakistan till now dont see anything that may suprirse us, we knew that these bafoons running our country are enslaven to the American interestes, literally calling them up practically at every juncture to appraise them of the issue quite often seeking advise and suggestions, even internal issues.
To me these cables are seemingly like an immensely long chain of love letters written by US embassies around the world, their disclosure embarrasses the participating countries, its without doubt, practically all nations, including Pakistan will be very careful on sharing their ballads in the future, hurting years of American diplomacy. What one does have to wonder, who may actually stand to benefit from supporting Julian Assange and his team helping them to spill the beans, many conspiracy theorists have their own theories, but time will only tell who suffers the least. Fingers have gone pointing to Israel, could it possibly be China or would you speculate someone else? Care to venture a thought
I fully support Julian Assange and his team in this whistle-blowing effort, we here in Pakistan can, after this, claim to be a better informed electorate [for whatever that means in Pakistan] but no longer are we shooting theories into the wind, as to the extent of American involvement in our day-to-day affairs of Pakistan, but now they are documented that all our bafoons running our country blatantly report to their masters quite frequently. I share with you a TEDGlobal2010 interview of Julian Assange with Chris Andersen on Why the world needs WikiLeaks
We fail to participate in democratic processes while we recognize democracy as a utopian ideal form. We fail to contribute to the national kitty while demanding increasing state services. We can apply the same line of argument to other segments of society. We must recognize our own failures for allowing society to reach the state it faces today. All of us may be part of the solution, but we are also part of the problem. Our actions/lack of action can rightly point to helping maintain the status-quo, the political-military musical chairs that we have today accepted as part and parcel of everyday Pakistani life.
Politicians and generals may belong to a class of their own, they may be totally disconnected from society and have little or no appreciation of the suffering of the common man. Intuitively however there is a stubborn link between those who exercise power and those who have to deal with it. The powerful are a reflection of society at large. While many chastises politicians for corruption, many of us also secretly envy those who can stop traffic at their beck and call, fly off to other countries for “personal visits” and at the very least never have to face the spectre load shedding. Similarly we admire the generals for their power and authority. They perpetuate one of our countries dominant narratives that read: Pakistan army, disciplined, ready to sacrifice and at the nation’s service, ever ready to stare down those who would look at us with an “evil eye” or with “nefarious designs”.
Sunday evening Youtube.com started facing intermittent reports of inaccessibility. It initially started off with a simple white page saying “This Site is Accessible” subsequent reports were submitted on Herdict Web shows the inaccessibility lasted for about an hour but then everything recovered back to normal.
It was then later reported that the crackdown by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority was on one particular video which is of Mr. Asif Ali Zardari saying a very forceful Shut Up to an audience member while he is busy delivering his speech at a rally.
Link to the Blocked Video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzuHD5x1fEU [a few other variants have also been blocked]
Speculations are that as this government will continue to edgy on a number of issues as they get pushed into a corner, instinctively they will react in short similar burst. It is a known fact that the President and his core group of leaders might be feeling the heat from the Supreme Court of Pakistan as the NRO was apparently chucked away into oblivion hence leaving them technically ineligible to occupy these high-level offices.
Guest blog by Agha Haider Raza
Politics in Pakistan mesmerize me. Not only does one enjoy the daily dose of rhetoric that is spewed from the mouths of our beloved politicians, but the one track mind of those in and out of government baffles the mind. Politics in Pakistan, much like the political parties themselves seem to be more inclined towards a personality than an ideology. Nawaz Sharif, Altaf Hussain and Asif Zardari seem to be controlling the present and future of 170 million Pakistanis. What is ironic of these three distinguished gentlemen is the immense power they control. Nawaz Sharif, already a two-time Prime Minister – failed miserably on both occasions, Altaf Hussain – a self exiled leader living in London and Asif Zardari – the current President of Pakistan seems to be holding on to his seat with every bit of strength his party can muster. But why has it lead to a power struggle amongst these political leaders when thousands of Pakistani civilians and soldiers have died over the last few years? Why are we still playing the dirty political games of the past, when history has taught us to do better?
It is highly unfortunate that the two largest political parties in Pakistan are currently vying for the federal government, while the very nation they wish to govern is in flames. Do not for a second believe that I am being melodramatic with the word “flame”. From power outages to inflation and from the target killings in Karachi to the drone strikes in the North; we are on a path of destruction. But here I am – the eternal optimist – believing that a country which was born out of a long and hard fought struggle can make it through the difficult times again. However, we will only be able to walk through it all with our heads held high, if we review our past and yearn not to repeat them again.
In an interview with Express News [transcript on DoD], Robert Gates confirmed in some clear terms that private security firms Blackwater and DynCorp are operating inside Pakistan. “They’re operating as individual companies here in Pakistan” – so technically by all counts this statement more or less proves that Anne Patterson, Hilary Clinton and Rehman Malik all have being LYING to the people of Pakistan. Where over the past few months they have one after the other vehemently denied the presence of Blackwater and its operatives in Pakistan. Rehman Malik is on record to quit. In an attempt to soften the blow the US Department of Defense is covering up their statement by that updating reporters that Mr. Gates had been speaking about contractor oversight more generally and that the Pentagon didn’t employ Xe in Pakistan – which we all know is yet another lie, since even Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, confessed to his organizations involvement in Pakistan barely a month back in the Vanity Fair article.
I can’t complain much if foreign agents like Anne Patterson and Hilary Clinton lied to our people, as they probably were protecting the interests of their own government, but what irks me is that our own Ministers (& President) knowingly continue to lie to their people literally selling our soul to the highest bidder and yet had the audacity to deny the real facts while our country continued to burn under our noses.
By Barrister Amjad Malik
16 Dec Supreme Court short order was an expected response of superior judiciary. Federation and all provinces through their lawyers jointly consented to its repeal, and none came to rescue the beneficiaries and even academic discussion was not made possible on the topic of powers to issue and right course of action to dispose off a bad law. 342 members of the Parliament jointly expressed their unwillingness to discuss and vote out this notorious ordinance despite the fact that it relates to them and their future on the whole as a club, and any order would have far reaching implications on the future of their brethrens good or bad. In that situation, what do you expect from judges.
They could not invent a defence for that ordinance so hated by the majority of the people, media and intelligentsia. If politicians were expecting leniency or a different judgment, its their own fault, and the problem lies with their capacity or capability not with the short order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. On 5 August the writer in response to 31 July 09 decision which scrapped Gen Musharraf’s 3rd Nov PCO and emergency and wrote,
“Overall, a welcoming order, full of happy tidings, but similar amount of flaws, unaddressed anomalies, and legal circles expect a lot more explanation in detailed judgement, and I hope the order does the job in the end. This order is also reflection of various ‘compulsions’ under which Pakistani society goes through daily. The short order incites that there is more to come, and a detailed judgement will open a lot of avenues for further litigation. On the outset, Superior Court is mindful of the limitations they are working under and one can say that the decision has set the track on which SC is likely to go in near future. However, it is not a final decision, this is part of a series of decisions we must expect in the days to come”.
Show notes after the Jump
After a lapse of over two years, today a full bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan came through with a historic judgment declaring the 2007 National Reconciliatory Ordinance null and void. It must be recalled that the NRO was the mastermind of the then President of Pakistan General Pervaiz Musharraf who in October 2007 orchestrated this pact with the exiled PPP leader Benazir Bhutto in an attempt to negotiate his own extended stay on the Presidential seat of power and in this process pardoned most of the corrupt criminals whom he himself detested so vehemently in his autobiography a few months earlier all in the name of political compromise. Since then history stands witness to have watched the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the people of Pakistan stood embarrassingly dumbfounded as one of the most corrupt politician Mr. Asif Ali Zardari snuck through the back doors of diplomacy to land into the Presidency of Pakistan.
Today the year-old restored judiciary stood strong to declare the NRO null and void, a short order issued outlined some important aspect of this new judgment but the exact specification and its affect on the Presidency remains to be ironed out. But it might be in the interest of Pakistan to not embarrass and ridicule Asif Ali Zardari and the Presidency any further and it might serve us all well to settle for a negotiated compromise, possibly having him to hand over most of the illegally amassed wealth back into the national treasury in lieu of his respect and freedom
By: Amjad Malik, MA, LLM
I have been vehemently advocating the need to erect a system of accountability by invoking a new commission and an Act of Parliament to curb mal practice, plundering and looting whilst one is holding a public office. This new Commission can truly ensure compliance with the Clauses of Article 62 and 63 of the constitution too. We are witnessing many names in the list of beneficiaries of National Reconciliation Ordinance, and many names which are not in it, are either praying to be in it or cursing the said redemption order of the former military dictator who came to rid corruption on 12 October 99, and left giving this strange gift of ‘hypocrisy’ to the nation.
Mal practice, corruption and mal governance is a common phenomenon of the third world countries as wealth is confined to the elite and institutions are so weak that they do not get roots and are run on the dictat of personalities. Pakistan is amongst those few unfortunate countries where despite abundance of natural resources, talent, passion, capacity of self dependency in edible food products, the country is still rating higher in corruption, suffering from food, electricity, gas, sugar shortages. Who is to be blamed is a long short, and to me, all bear the collective responsibility to bring this country to a stage where each person of any possible public stature is not free from corruption charges, which I will call allegations.
By: Agha Haider Raza
Yet again Pakistani’s find themselves, lined up, shoulder to shoulder offering prayers for the departed. The brazen attack during Friday namaaz has clearly shown the audacity and ability of the militants present within Pakistan. On the one side, the suicidal mission that was led out is a direct signal to the Pakistan Army (the attack was taken out in the officers residential colony in Parade Lane, Rawalpindi Saddar) for retreating its forces in the tribal region, while also visibly proving that these militants are not Muslims. The issue for me however is, why have our top brass only been visible at the namaaz-e-jinaza when one of their own has lost their life? Poor Peshawar has been witnessing non-stop death and bombs. It surely has been a while since I saw or read the Prime Minister being in this troubled city of Peshawar, rubbing shoulders with us and praying for those who have lost their lives due to actions taken by the state.
Watch this Youtube video of a TV show where one Peoples Party Minsiter actually says in a discussion with full confidence that corruption is ‘our right’, if the elected parties dont do corruption then its their own loss. So much for the facade of denying that any party was ever involved in corruption, might this minister and his fellow corrupt party men, want to lobby for a bill in the parliament to legalize corruption?? The answer might be a resounding yes, when everyone does it, why not legalize it, hence the people who don’t, might be better of being labelled absconders of the law. Watch this youtube video and weep, Gaad can only Bless Pakistan
Pakistan Steel Mills located 40km south east of Karachi came under some serious controversies after reports continued to appear in the media in early 2009 of some serious financial problems that may have effectively left this organization in some serious debt which may actually extend to well beyond a substantial few billions, reportedly upto the tune of Rs 22 billion, if not more. The first set of reports emerged during middle half of February 2009 following which the Competition Commission of Pakistan undertook a detailed investigation and came up with some very alarming discoveries which place the Abbas Steel Group, owned by Riaz Lalji, also a close associate of Asif Ali Zardari, being interincisly involved in some serious corruption issue in the previous PPP tenures and has been labelled as “fugitives from law” in turn was a close associate of Asif Ali Zardari being solely responsible for recent recent Steel Mill debacle.
The initial set of accusations generally started off with accusing the, then Chairman of Pakistan Steel having a strong bias towards the Abbas Steel Group [ASG] accusing them of allocating all the billets being produced by Pakistan Steel Mill to be exclusively sold to the Abbas Steel Group at well below the market price while other competing vendors, who had actually made full advance payments at official market price, were left stranded and starved literally running their own factories into debt and ultimate closure.
The NRO mudslinging competition continues to go on, each party/individual boldly underplaying his/her own association with the controversial bill. What seriously amazes me, is that we still do not have access to the full and complete list of beneficiaries and are at the receiving end of confusing reports where the totals have seemingly fluctuated from a mere initial 600 to a now whopping 8000, seriously that’s one hell’uva discrepancy. While our two-timing politicians undermine their own headcount to say its between 34 to 300 victims, probably they hope to rely on the confusing mess to numb out the issue from the minds of the people of Pakistan. Such rampant corruption which as literally debilitated this nation, it is probably their right to know was eligible for this executive presidential pardon issued by Pervaiz Musharraf and its all the more important to know who cashed it in and what precisely was waived off, in the name of politically reconciliation.
The mudslinging is for now centered on some kingpins from the PPP but in the confusion it seems MQM is trying its damnedest to sneak under the media-frenzy hoping to walk away with mere statements like “National Accountability Bureau has no case against any MQM worker“. Karachi is a witness to the anarchy of the good ‘ol terror-filled days courtesy of the MQM. The time frame for pardoning of all criminal cases charged against them ironically range from 1986 and onwards.