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Posts tagged with: Corruption

Open Letter to HEC Chairman

Dear Javaid Laghari,

One can not pass through the Karachi and Lahore airports without noticing those colonial and discriminating special “parliamentarian” check-in counters. One can also not help wondering if this country was made to honour the men and women who cheated, forged, acquired dual nationalities, never paid taxes and made false declaration of their assets. However even in these painful and despondent times, there is a ray of hope. A small group of committed people like Javaid Laghari and Abid Sher Ali, are standing by their conscience in this struggle for the soul of Pakistan. Will they succeed in fumigating our parliament to remove all its fraudulent encroachers? This depends upon the kind of support they receive from the civil society, universities and the courts. It also equally depends on HEC’s willingness to take the following bold steps.
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Rendezvous with Farah Pandith, US Special Rep for Muslim Communities

Last week a few “new media” journalists were invited by the US Consulate to an exclusive meeting with Farah Pandith, who has been recently appointed as the U.S Special Representative for Muslim Communities. The usual bloggeratti excitement was held at bay since the invitation card had a blazing “No-Camera” policy, which had most of us worried concerned about this concerning hush-hush meeting but on the contrary, when we reached the destination we were told it was only a deterrent to avoid the TV &/or Press media fan-fare as the consulate preferred to have a close face-to-face uninterrupted one-on-one discussion, else the meeting was blogable, tweetable and pictures were definitely welcome, immediately putting the anxious team of bloggers at ease and right in their own comfort zone, out came the iPhones, up came the blackberries, twitter clients were fired up and we were ready raring to go.

The guest list had some 10-odd new media journalists, a few from Dawn, of which I had the honor to finally meet Huma Yousuf, the list of bloggers, (or blAAgers [sic]) was the usual fun bunch, ranging from Faisal Kapadia of Deadpanthoughts, Ammar Yasir of Ronin and Tea Break fame, Sana Saleem of Mystified Justice & Dawn Blog, Sabeen Mehmud from T2F, our very own Zaheer Sb from BiTs Online and Windmills of the Mind and last but not the least our celebrity blogger Naveen Naqvi was also in the house, who we now have laid claim to be more of a blogger then a TV personality. The star-studded bloggeratti guest list almost guaranteed an exciting rendezvous with the US Representative for Muslim Communities.
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India’s Zero Rupee Note against Corruption

This weeks The Economist carries a very interesting article discussing a small innovative idea by an Indian to denounce the rampant corruption spread across India. The idea was dreamt up by an expatriate Indian physics professor from the University of Maryland who, traveling back home, found himself harassed by endless extortion demands. He gave the notes to the importuning officials as a polite way of saying no. The notes tend to work because corrupt officials so rarely encounter resistance that they get scared when they do. And ordinary people are more willing to protest, since the notes have an organization behind them and they do not feel on their own.

Simple ideas like this don’t always work but its at least start of resistance against corruption…. The immediate question that comes to my mind – will such a system work in Pakistan, being ranked as 134th country Corruption Perception Index, the 5th Pillar organization has already designed a Pakistani Rs 10 as a Zero Currency, but I believe it still needs to be fine tuned [by a graphic designer?] into maybe in a more commonly used Rs 50 denomination plastered with elaborate markings signifying the importance of this zero denomination and maybe an elaborate explanation, like the ones printed on the back of the Indian rupee, denouncing corruption. Whatever be the plan, I believe we would need to bank roll a couple of billions to even begin to scratch the surface of state sponsored [read Presidency sponsored] corruption


Mesmerization of Pakistani Politics

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.
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Mumtaz Bhutto’s Interview with Express News Kamran Shahid

Mumtaz Bhutto leader of SNF talks to Express News host Kamran Shahid on 17th January 2010. I believe this to be a very interesting interview worth sharing on this blog, Mumtaz Bhutto generally an old-cadre PPP supporter shares his political views and is seen to be genuinely begruntled at seeing the PPP and the Bhutto name hijacked by Asif Zardari etc. He talks about BB’s fake will, sheds light on Beanzir Bhutto’s murder, the murder of Murtaza Bhutto and many other issues.

UPDATE: I had to remove the video stream as the file seemed to be infected by a trojan


16 Dec decision of Supreme Court – A Critical Analysis

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”.
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NRO declared Null and Void – What Now?

Asif Ali Zardari in PresidencyAfter 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

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He who is Not a Sinner should Cast the First Stone

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.
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12 Cartons of Zardari’s Swiss Case Evidence goes missing

12 cartons zardariThings are definitely heating up for Asif Ali Zardari, with the NRO effectively being contested by a full bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, it seems panic has started to prevail in the Presidency and disaster managemnt has begun. A few days back Geo Tv was tipped off on a developing story in Switzerland where the Pakistan UK High Commisioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan specially flew to Geneva to meet the lawyer prosecuting Asif Ali Zardari‘s Swiss cases in an attempt to confiscate all the evidence present there.  It must be recalled that it were the infamous Swiss cases where Mr. Zardari as being tried for charges of money laundering to the tune of $60 Mln,  the charges were dropped after the Pakistani govt aka Pervaiz Musharraf choose not to pursue the case in a deal validated under the NRO with Benazir Bhutto in October 2007.  The evidence present in the lawyers office was hence effectively lethal for Asif Zardari if the Supreme Court nulls and voids the NRO Ordinance.

Geo News reporter apparently siad that the lawyer resisted and refused to hand over the evidence unless someone from the local Pakistani High Commission does not categorically recieves the evidence. In two hours a staff member arrives and all the evidene is carefully loaded in a black  SUV.
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“Corruption is our Right” – Peoples Party Minister on TV

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjIfV8mTiTs

Laidback Show Episode 8 – Imanae Malik

Cross posted from The Laidback Show | Show notes after the jump
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Abbas Steel Group solely responsible for Pakistan Steel Mill debacle

abbas steel groupPakistan 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.
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So what it’s just the NRO!

By: Agha Haider Raza

So the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) beneficiaries list comes out.  The media is happy that those persons who enjoyed taking advantage of the NRO have light casted upon them, while the government is trying to push forward the argument of how they have respected the Supreme Court’s judgment and have publicized the list.  It seems to be a win-win situation for all parties.  But is it really?  Calls for the resignation of ministries and portfolios have echoed from all corners.  How has this zero-sum game turned into a finger-pointing-name-calling battle?

As we all now know, the NRO was a ‘bail-out’ for politicians and businessmen, giving them a clean sheet.  This not only cleared the way for billions of rupees to be kept in the hands of defaulters, but also allowed plenty of politicians to get re-elected as their corruption charges were taken out of the court as well.  Though many readers would say that I am playing the ethnic card here, I’d like to know why 96% of the beneficiaries are Sindhi’s?  Secondly, if the PPP, claims itself to be a liberal-democratic party, why have they not asked for a majority vote on such a sensitive issue? After all, the billions of rupees that have been siphoned through this ordinance are Pakistani’s money, not the beneficiaries.  Why should this debt be written off?
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From Dogar to Iftikhar Chaudhry — what a difference!

Sohail Khan, a journalist from The News writes an explosive artcile sharing the remarkable proceedings at the Supreme Court of Pakistan where Sheikh Afzal owner of Haris Steel Mills names big bribe takers Agrees to settle Rs9 billion Bank of Punjab claim, the main accused in the Rs9 billion financial scam at the Bank of Punjab (BoP), on Tuesday revealed before the bench of the Supreme Court that he paid Rs35 million to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Babar Awan for winning the case in the apex court. He alleged that Dr Babar Awan took Rs40 million, Sharifuddin Pirzada Rs10 million, Malik Muhammad Qayyum, the then attorney general, Rs20 million and Ali Waseem, the son of Waseem Sajjad, Rs7.5 million.  Afzal said Dr Babar Awan took Rs5 million as fee and Rs35 million for getting a favourable verdict from the then Islamabad High Court.

In addition to these leading lawyers, Afzal said he had given Rs400-500 million to Hamesh Khan, former BoP president, Rs30 million to Aziz Ahmed, BoP Control Risk Manager, Rs50 million to Haroon Aziz, Rs10 million to Shoaib Qureshi, Rs40 million to Saleem Mirza, treasury head of the bank, Rs5 million to Fazil Asghar who helped him escape despite being on the Exit Control List (ECL). Read the full artcile in THE NEWS


MQM’s 3800 Criminal Cases withdrawn under the NRO

nro list page 1The 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.

It might serve us well to first look at the Section 2 of the NRO which centers exclusively around the criminal cases of the MQM
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