The Rich Have Fun While the Ship Sinks
A Budget Critique
by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto
June 18, 2006
Pakistan is witnessing a worrying economic and social divide. There is a
growing disparity between the rich and the poor and between the powerful and
For the rich, the military dictatorship’s high economic growth is a major
boon. It means bullish stock markets, booming property prices, and easier
bank loans. For the asset-less poor, the recent surge in economic growth is
a bane. Prices for essential goods are higher—and purchasing power lower in
real terms. Pakistan, in the words of the economist Mahbub ul Haq, is like a
titanic where the rich are having fun but the ship is sinking down.
These growing economic imbalances threaten to rip apart the social fabric of
society. If unchecked, they can deepen ethnic cleavages in a country plagued
by militarization of North Waziristan and Balauchistan and a growing sense
of alienation in the provinces.
This story of growth and inequality, stark poverty amidst obscene luxury is
reminiscent of the 1960s and the so called “decade of development” under
General Ayub Khan.
The divisive economic policies of General Ayub’s era sparked a nation wide
protest and ultimately culminated in Pakistan’s dismemberment in 1971. Now
another military dictator follows similar policies of economic exploitation
of the poor, disempowerment of the citizens and faces a rising rebellion in
Pakistan’s largest province.
Last year, the general price level (measured by the consumer price
index)—rose by 9.30 percent. This is the largest annual increase in the last
eight years. Over three years, oil prices went up by nearly 70 percent
affecting all aspects of daily life from transportation costs to goods
The military dictatorship’s economic mismanagement resulted in record
increases in the prices of edible items including pulses, sugar, vegetables
and cooking oil. Such soaring prices played havoc on the monthly budget of
fixed income groups.
In the developed world, food prices remained constant. Take the case of
United Kingdom where there was no significant increase in the price of milk,
oil, poultry, sugar and other items of daily consumption during the last six
The Pakistani media rightly highlighted the dramatic increase in food
prices. Such price rises transform into real lives with children going
hungry because their parents cannot afford the sky rocketing prices and with
increasing malnutrition amongst both young and old. Yet the dictatorship
turned to the utility store concept begun by the PPP. The PPP did set up the
utility stores but it never saw them as a substitute for deficit reduction
and curbing price control. Four hundred utility stores cannot go far in a
country with a population of nearly 160 million people.
Ensuring price stability requires good governance. It requires steps to stop
hoarding, improve supply networks, reduce the role of middle men, and
control business cartels.
Sugar prices nearly doubled in the last six months. The Public Accounts
Committee held selected sugar mills responsible involving influential sugar
barons in the Federal Cabinet.
However, when it comes to nabbing sugar hoarders and business cartels whose
misdeeds impoverish millions of ordinary citizens, there is a criminal
silence. The law is helpless in eradicating corruption since the loyalty of
the corrupt is crucial to sustaining the military regime. The country’s
entire accountability apparatus is geared towards keeping one unelected
leader in office.
A misplaced focus on expenditures rather than outcomes
The regime claims to increase pro-poor expenditures through increased
subsidies and higher development spending. Greater allocations for
development are welcome but who will finance these expenditures and how will
they reach the poor?
First, there is a distinction between allocations and actual expenditures.
The Musharaf regime regularly failed to utilize amounts allocated for
development. Sometimes as much as fifty per cent was unutilized. One Chief
Ministers left 70 percent of the development expenditure unutilized. During
last year’s first nine months, the NWFP spent only 38.7 percent of its
annual development budget. A higher development allocation does not
necessarily mean higher actual expenditures.
Second, given defence expenditure and debt servicing (with more and more
loans being taken) fiscal space is limited. By the middle of the financial
year development spending is reduced. This is the second reason why higher
allocations do not necessarily make higher expenditures.
Third, the relationship between expenditures and outcomes is not automatic.
Examples abound of hospitals without doctors, ghost schools, missing
teachers, political patronage, centralized management structures and
widespread corruption in education and health departments. In fact, when
public resources are channelled through dysfunctional public institutions
they rarely reach intended beneficiaries.
Fourth, these higher development expenditures need financing. If new
resources are raised through domestic borrowing, they translate into
tomorrow’s greater debt liabilities which further burdern the weak and
downtrodden sections of society.
The poor need a level playing field that ensures socio-economic justice to
all. Despite promises of “enlightened moderation”, the military regime’s
managers refuse to change an unequal and unjust system that locks people in
a perpetual cycle of poverty. It is a system that taxes the poor and
subsidizes the rich, a system that keeps ordinary people hostage to the
interests of a narrow elite.
Social protection—too little, too late
The budget includes a 15 percent dearness allowance for government
employees, a modest increase in pensions, reduced income tax rates for the
salaried class and an increase in the minimum wage. These well-intentioned
these steps cannot relieve the financial pressures on the poor. Few of
Pakistan’s people have formal sector employment to take benefit of these
The budget launched an employment scheme based on personal loans granted
through the National Bank of Pakistan. This scheme is unlikely to resolve
chronic unemployment in Pakistan. Employment comes through revival of the
industrial sector and a fundamental change in national priorities. While
masses of young people look for a remunerative job, retired military
officers take over civilian positions. These are jobs that could help
thousands of families but are used to give a second income to retired
Social protection in Pakistan is grossly inadequate. Even on generous
accounts, the country spends less than 1% of GDP on social protection.
Last year, expenses of both the Prime Minister’s House and the President’s
House exceeded their annual budgetary allocation. The Prime Minister’s House
spent twice as much as originally allocated! The new army General
Headquarters in Islamabad, including mansions and luxury clubs for top
military bureaucrats, will cost a whopping $ 2.4 billion dollars.
Defending frontiers or defending the real estate?
To balance the budget, the increase in development expenditures should have
been offset by cutting non-development expenditures. Instead, a raise of
about Rs 27 billion in defense spending was announced.
Moreover, the Public Accounts Committee found last month that over Rs 35
billion in military pensions were paid from the civilian budget!
This is strategic fudging to prevent the ratio of defense expenditures to
At a time when sixty percent of the people live on two dollars or less a
day, when poverty, hunger and unemployment is rising, solidarity with the
people could have been demonstrated by reducing perks for the top military
brass. This was not done.
The democratic political parties have a record of a strong commitment to
defense requirements. But there is a difference between defence requirement
and financing lavish life styles for the top brass. The Charter of Democracy
signed on May 14, 2006 calls for transparency in defense spending. It is
therefore important that the military regime allows a healthy parliamentary
discussion on the uses for defence allocations.
Privatizing the future
It was the vision and hard work of Quaid e Awam Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed
that Pakistan invested in public sector corporations including the Steel
Mill. The PPP governments invested in the infrastructure of the country
building amongst others the Karakorum Highway, Port Qasim, Heavy Mechanical
Factory, Heavy Engineering Factory, Saindak Project, Ormara Naval Base,
Pasni and Gwadar Ports, the Oil Refinery, Power Projects, Fertiliser,
Cement, Sugar and other plants.
While the state’s involvement in public corporations was overstretched, a
rushed, non-transparent privatization fails to protect the rights of
ordinary workers. Most recently this was witnessed in the controversial sale
of the Pakistan Steel Mills. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of workers in
privatized entities face an uncertain future. The regime must ensure they
are able to sustain a secure livelihood for themselves and their children.
The budget mysteriously refrains from providing information on the actual
use of privatization proceeds. The concern is that the military dictatorship
has used privatization proceeds for budget deficit reduction purposes. That
would be a shame for far more necessary is the need to retire the national
debt. This is what the PPP government did, becoming the first in history to
repay principal debt and lower the debt burden on the unborn generation.
While children sleep hungry and parents cannot find work, the harsh reality
of life under the military dictatorship is a stinging rebuke of the
inability of unrepresentative systems to deliver economic emancipation to
Bid to make payments Minister’s constituents from HR fund condemned
Islamabad June 18, 2006: Pakistan
Peoples Party has expressed shock over the mistreating of a senior female
officer of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights after she refused
to approve millions on rupees for the 560 applicants of the Minister’s
constituency in the name of victims of human rights violations.
Pres reports have said that the Law Minister himself presented 560 cases of
the human rights abuses in his own constituency and asked the officer to pay
millions from the Ministry’s human rights fund. The female officer however
expressed reservations over the payment from the fund to alleged victims
from the same constituency. The Minister reportedly rebuked and humiliated
her for not complying with his illegal orders and even threatened to sack
her under the amended civil service ordinance.
The beleaguered lady officer has sought the help of the Prime Minister
seeking her immediate transfer from the Law Ministry. The matter also echoed
in the Senate.
In a statement today spokesman of the Party said that it was shocking that a
Minister should personally direct the officer to pay millions to over 550 of
his constituents in the name of human rights victims from the human rights
fund and demanded a probe into the matter. He also demanded of the
government to ensure that the female officer came to no harm as a result of
her refusal to comply with the illegal orders of the Minister and for
The spokesman said that the present regime had institutionalized the
corruption. He said that corruption in the purchase of Chinese locomotives
in 2001 was covered under the guise of ‘honest mistake made in good faith’.
Questionable deal made in another establishment was protected and the
Parliament disallowed to probe it under the guise that it was a private and
not a public sector concern and therefore beyond the purview of
parliamentary scrutiny. In some other cases those formally charged with
amassing wealth beyond known means have been left off the hook on the
pretext that ‘investigations are continuing’.
The spokesman said it was futile to ask the NAB to probe the matter as NAB
was only meant to ensure perpetuation of dictatorship and had nothing to do
with eliminating corruption.
It is a mockery of law, justice and human rights that the Minister in charge
should seek to dole out public funds solely to his constituents without
regard to rules and regulations, he said adding also, "it is also misuse of
Raza Rabbani says NFC Award not constitutional
Islamabad, 18 June 2006: Mian Raza
Rabbani, Leader of the Opposition, Senate of Pakistan, has issued the
following press statement:
The Prime Minister's, Adviser on Finance, is reported to have said the NFC
Award announced by General Musharraf, "has been given under a constitutional
amendment." This statement is condemned. The Government is called upon to
explain how the Constitution has been amended other than the procedure
provided under Article 238 and 239 of the Constitution. To amend the
Constitution through an Executive fiat amounts to its subversion.
The last distortion to the Constitution was through the infamous 17th
Constitutional Amendment. Even after this amendment clause (4) of Article
160 of the Constitution only permits General Musharraf to make an "Order" on
the recommendations received from the Commission. In the instant case it is
an admitted fact that no recommendations were made or sent by the
Commission, therefore, the NFC Award as announced is in violation of the
Further if the statement of the Adviser is assumed to be correct, even then
the Government is in violation of clause (5) of Article 160, which makes it
mandatory for the Government to lay the recommendations and the action taken
there on before both the Houses and the Provincial Assemblies.
The Government must explain as to how the Constitution has been amended
without recourse to the provisions of Articles 238 and 239 of the
Constitution, failing which the Opposition in the Senate, after mutual
consultation, will be forced to requisition the Senate.
Makhdoom Amin Fahim
rejects call for a new Constitution
Islamabad June 18, 2006:
Vice Chair of the Pakistan Peoples Party and leader of the Parliamentary
Party in the National Assembly Makhdoom Amin Fahim has rejected the call by
some elements to frame a new Constitution for the country.
In a statement today Makhdoom Amin Fahim said that of late it had become
fashionable with some people to call for scrapping of the present
Constitution and making of a new one.
"The agreement of all the federating units on a federal and parliamentary
character of the Constitution was a great political achievement and if it
was scrapped it would be almost impossible to make another consensus
Constitution", he said.
The PPP vice chair said that we should demand scrapping of the amendments
made in the Constitution through executive fiat rather than ask for
scrapping the entire Constitution and making of a new one.
He said that the ARD had also in the Charter of Democracy demanded
restoration of the 1973 Constitution and the repeal of the 17th amendment
that had been forced on the Parliament created through gerrymandering in
He said that Constitution was the most basic document of a people to live
together and any tinkering with it could be disastrous for the country.
Makhdoom Amin Fahim said that those who talked of scrapping the Constitution
and making a new one were in fact playing into the hands of dictators who
wanted to drive a wedge in the people and thereby perpetuate themselves in
Bhutto pays glowing tributes to Munawar Suhrawardhi
Islamabad June 17, 2006: Former Prime
Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir
Bhutto has paid glowing tributes to Munawar Suhrawardhi former Secretary
Information PPP Sindh on his second death anniversary today.
She said that Munawar was gone but she hoped that his spirit will inspire
the party workers to fulfil his last wish when she returned from exile in
the near future.
Following is the text of her message on the occasion.
Message of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto
On the Second Anniversary of Shaheed Munawar Suhrawardy
Two years have passed that Munawwar Suhrawardhy was brutally cut down in the
prime of his life and in the prime of his political career. Munawwar was
like a brother to me.
Unfortunately even as millions continue to mourn Pakistan’s brave sons
knowing the hands that eliminated them, the killers roam free protected by
massive cover-ups. Two years have passed without the arrest of Munawwar
Shaheed’s murderers or progress on the investigation of the murder.
When Munawar Shaheed was with the PPP we could always count on him for
difficult tasks for the Party and its workers, as well as orphans, needy,
prayers, funerals, and mourning. It is tragic that he who was with all in
their hour of grief to share the sorrow is no more with us, taken in the
prime of his life leaving behind a young wife and small children.
Munawar Shaheed joined the party as a teenager in 1977 in a revolt against
military dictatorship, which had overthrown the constitutionally elected
democratic government of Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Since
that moment, every single day of his life was committed to struggling
against tyranny and injustice. Munawar Shaheed remained true to the ideals
of Shaheed Bhutto and displayed exemplary courage and fortitude in
championing freedom, justice and the economic rights of the people. He
struggled tirelessly for the rights of the people, for peace, for
brotherhood, for harmony and for ending poverty and backwardness.
Munawar’s deep consciousness of the social and political questions made him
choose the most difficult path of democratic struggle against dictatorship
culminating in his Shahadat. His firm commitment with the causes he
cherished made him exclude personal motives from his political agenda. He
never chased high political offices declining election to the Senate and
President Karachi. High political offices were time and again offered to him
but he preferred to remain by my side as my Chief Security Officer – a true
brother to a sister protecting her against all enemies. His doors were
always open for everyone. He regularly went out of his way to help those
wronged or in need. He tenderly looked after his paralysed brother who was a
victim of an assassination attempt.
Today the children of Munawwar miss their loving father, the wife her caring
husband, the brothers and sisters an elder who was their anchor. The killers
of Munawar Shaheed attacked a kind-hearted, courageous and devoted man who
had not harmed anyone, who had no malice in his heart, who was universally
respected and admired by friends and foe. They created a sad vacuum that
will forever remain.
Munawwar Shaheed possessed leadership qualities and a brilliant mind. He
could mobilize Party workers and the people at large for the party’s. He was
always first in taking a bold step. And when Munawar gave a call all rushed
to respond and join the action. Munawar arranged many receptions for me
including the Karachi reception after the overthrow of the PPP government in
His last words some two years back in London to me were to return to Karachi
and give him the responsibility of the arrangements for a truly historic
Munawar is gone but I hope his spirit will inspire our party workers to
fulfil his last wish when I return from exile in the near future.
May Allah rest Munawar Shaheed’s soul in peace.
criticises dismal human rights record of regime
Says signal has been conveyed even if aid cut restored
Islamabad June 17, 2006:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto criticised the military regime for enforcing dictatorship in
In a statement today she said that the dismal democracy and human rights
record of the country under the Musharaf military dictatorship had resulted
in some think tanks listing Pakistan high on probability of a failed state.
She said that people of Pakistan can save Pakistan just as they saved
Pakistan after another military dictator broke up the country in 1971
bringing both disintegration and disgrace. The people of the country must be
empowered through democratic institutions, justice must be promoted and
opportunity provided to end unemployment, hunger and disease, she said.
She said that due to the ill advised policies of the Musharaf dictatorship
in violating the fundamental human rights of its own people, even a country
like the United States, which has backed Musharaf, has been forced to reduce
the aid to Pakistan.
It may be recalled that the United States has reduced aid to Pakistan in the
current fiscal year to $300 million on grounds that Islamabad has "failed to
do enough" to improve democracy and human rights.
While citing the cut on the appropriations for Pakistan last week on June
10, 2006 the House of Representatives (by a 373-34 vote) cut the Foreign
Military Financing (FMF) Fund for Pakistan for 2007 by $100 million.
The bill specifically cited the "increasing lack of respect for human
rights, especially women's rights, and the lack of progress for improving
democratic governance and rule of law" as chief reasons for reducing
Islamabad's Foreign Office said the House of Representatives said the US
Congress had applied a similar cut last year but the US government had
subsequently restored allocation.
The PPP Chairperson said that even if the US Government subsequently
restores the cut, the cut itself sends a powerful signal of the importance
of human rights and democracy in the world of today. She called upon the
people of Pakistan to unite to regain their democratic rights by supporting
the PPP and its allies so that Pakistan could be respected in the
international community as a country whose people were living under the rule
of law and shaping their own destiny.
PPP files petition with NAB
Islamabad, 17 June, 2006: Pakistan
Peoples Party has filed a reference with the National Accountability Bureau
against Federal Minister Finance, Shaukat Aziz, former Federal Minister for
Petroleum and Natural Resources, Usman Aminuddin, former Secretary to
Ministry for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Abdullah Yousuf, Federal
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Amanullah Khan Jadoon,
Secretary to Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Ahmed Waqar, and
Qaisar Jamal, Abid Saeed Ibrahim, Asad A Siddiqui and Tariq Kirmani for
wilful involvement in corrupt practices.
The reference was filed by Advocate Nadeem Hussain Mughal on behalf of the
Pakistan Peoples Party which states that the respondents are reportedly
guilty of corruption and corrupt practices as defined in the section 9 of
the NAB Ordicnance and as such are subject to punishment under Section 10 of
The petition says that for the last five years the petroleum prices was
fixed by OCAC with the blessing of the Petroleum Ministry. The so-called
commercial wizards hired at huge salary packages have been allowed to do
massive graft as in the case of fixing up of petroleum prices. The Oil
Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC), which is a regulatory body with members
comprising from the companies who are beneficiaries by the favorable action.
Formation of OCAC and its function. As the plunder of the people of Pakistan
continues these officers, who were sitting in MP&NR (Public Servants)
deliberately kept on looking the others way for the past five long years. It
is known that the determination of petroleum products pricing by OCAC is
done by the people working for oil marketing companies/refineries and they
have formed a cartel to decide amongst themselves the prices of POL product
without any- credible logic thus inflicting a huge burden on the consumer
but little or no gain to the exchequer and in return receiving kickbacks in
the tune of billion of rupees.
The petition further says that the recent shoot up of oil prices in
international market played its part in curtain - raising after which the
lobby has become active in safeguarding their interests. They have issued
various statements, which are nothing but figments of their own imaginations
and nothing more than attempts to hide the real issues behind jargons. They
have issued statements on floor of the Parliament House explaining crude oil
reaching US $ 52 a barrel. This is the price West Texas Intermediate (WTI) a
US crude. Pakistan import crude oil from the Middle East where price of
crude oil is US $ 10 per barrel less than WTI. This lobby also compares
retail prices of India and Sri Lanka that is also illogical as the retail
price includes taxes and duties so certainly cannot be termed as correct
comparison. The truth of the matter is that PSO is taking supplies from
Kuwait Petroleum on long term basis since last 35 years M.S Shell buys POL
products from its mother company Shell International while M/S Caltex buys
POL products from its mother company Caltex International in the' prices
till to day and never crossed USD 37 $ per barrel which can be verified. It
is surprising that OCAC has not updated the oil import graph since September
The petition states that the NAB Sindh has notified to Secretary Petroleum
and Secretary Establishment in October 2003 that Mr Qaisar Jamal was being
investigated for corrupt practices to the tune of billions of rupees but the
mafia has been instrumental in getting him two years extension till February
2005. This, despite the fact that NRL is to be privatized in June 2005 and
NAB has not issued him any clearance. Who is protecting Qaiser Jamal and
why? The same is the case of Mr.Tariq Kirmani MD PSG and his colleague who
are being investigated by NAB Peshawar and Rawalpindi, public accounts
committee, standing committee for Petroleum of National Assemhly and Senate
but no result are coming out because of their connection at high places.
The petition also draws attention towards a number of illegal appointments
stating that the present set up in the oil industry all handpicked corrupt
low-level officials from the private sector and multinational companies have
been posted all over the oil industry e.g. OGDCL, PSOCL, NRL, and PPL SSGC.
SNGPL& OCAC. under the umbrella of ministry of Petroleum & Natural
Recourses, are appointed in consultation with the newly appointed CEOs which
totally negation of the system of check & Balances.
condemns murder of journalist
Demands probe and arrest of killers
Islamabad June 17, 2006:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has condemned the brutal murder of tribal journalist
Hayatullah and demanded a thorough probe into the matter and arrest of the
The tribal journalist has been missing for the past seven months during
which appeals by professional newspaper bodies and family members of
Hayatullah to the authorities to locate him fell on deaf ears. The
government agencies did not even respond to the allegations and surmises as
to who was holding Hayatullah in their custody.
His body was found lying outside a village in Mirali in the North Waziristan
agency on Friday afternoon.
In a statement today the former Prime Minister said that she was shocked and
grieved to learn about the gruesome murder of a young and promising
journalist at the hands of unknown assailants.
She demanded a thorough probe into the matter and arrest of the tormentors
and killers of Hayatullah. Only an impartial and judicial probe can reveal
the blood-stained hands behind the crime. She said that the murder was a
serious blow to the freedom of the press and enterprising investigative
journalists who have apparently been sent a strong warning signal.
She also prayed for eternal peace for the soul of Hayatullah and solace to
the members of the bereaved family.
No discussion on Shadow
Islamabad June 15, 2006: Spokesman of
the Pakistan Peoples Party has issued the following statement today.
"A section of the press has reported that the Pakistan Peoples Party along
with other opposition parties has decided to form a shadow cabinet.
"The reports are not correct. No discussions have taken place nor any
decision has been taken on the formation of shadow cabinet with the MMA or
any other opposition party.
"A segment of the press has mixed up composition of the Parliamentary
Committees where all parties have representation with formation of a shadow
"It appears that the strengthening of the Committees as watch dog bodies was
wrongly interpreted in a section of the media as the setting up of a shadow
cabinet, when the two are entirely separate things.
"The PPP's focus is on holding of free, fair and transparent elections under
a government of national consensus in a level playing field for all
political parties and leaders.
condemns victimization of former Balochistan Chief Minister
Stresses political solution to the crisis in Balochistan
Demands withdrawal of politically cases against BNP chief
Islamabad June 14, 2006:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has condemned the victimization of former Balochistan Chief
Minister Akhtar Mengal and warned that chasing and hounding Baloch leaders
for political dissent could have serious repercussions for the federation.
In a statement today the Chairperson P.P.P criticized the policy of seeking
to eliminate political leaders through abuse of the judicial system. She
said such narrow minded tactics failed in the past leading to the
disintegration of the country.
An anti terrorist court in Karachi declared the other day the former
Balochistan Chief Minister Akhtar Mengal a proclaimed offender and also
ordered the attachment of his entire movable and immovable property.
Sardar Akhtar Mengal who is also the chief of Balochistan national Party was
earlier declared absconder in a case registered against him by security
The former Prime Minister said that it was shocking to note how the regime
was dealing with the political issues in the province of Balochistan.
Political issues can be resolved only through political means and the use of
force is counterproductive, she said.
She said that Sardar Akhtar Mengal was the head of a political Party that
had representation in the provincial Assembly, in the National Assembly and
in the Senate. It will have serious political repercussions if a Baloch
nationalist party was pushed with its back to the wall, she warned.
Mohtarma Bhutto said the turmoil in Baluchistan threatened to spill into
She said it was significant that almost simultaneously a Senator and a
Member National Assembly belonging to the Balochistan National Party along
with legislators of other Baloch nationalist parties were placed on the Exit
Control List restricting their constitutional right to freely move in and
out of the country. Declaring Akhtar Mengal a proclaimed offender and
placing legislators of the Baloch nationalists Parties on the Exit Control
List is a violation of the fundamental right of freedom to travel. It also
mocks the Parliamentary Committee on Balochistan which recommended several
political measures for defusing provincial tension.
The continued victimisation of the Balochistan National Party, a secular and
moderate force, is aimed at strengthening the theocratic elements. The
regime is hell bent on promoting the politics of the extremist as opposed to
the moderates. The former Prime Minister warned the regime to take heed from
the lessons of history, stop imposing solution by force and judicial abuse
and follow the political path.
Mohtarma Bhutto also demanded withdrawal of politically motivated cases
against the former Balochistan Chief Minister.
Weep, Pakistan, weep
On Friday May 26 a sub-committee of the public accounts
committee of the National Assembly took up investigations into the
irregularities in the purchase of Chinese locomotives for $100 million. The
locomotives were purchased in 2001 when a retired three-star general was the
minister in charge, another retired three-star general was chairman railways
and a former two-star general was general manager railways.
The issue was first raised in the Senate last year upon which the prime
minister ordered an inquiry. Investigations revealed that the purchase had
been sanctioned despite the fact that the locomotives were unfit for
Pakistani rail tracks --- they were too heavy. No international tenders had
been floated either. Even the railway officials who attended the meeting
said that it was a wrong decision. The chairman railways reportedly said:
"If I were secretary Pakistan Railways at the time I would not have signed
the agreement". According to Rauf Klasra's report in The News of May 27 the
chairman railways also named the three generals involved and then
challenged: "If you are serious in investigating the issue please summon
them and proceed as you like".
The sub-committee, headed by a retired serviceman Col Ghulam Rasool Sahi MNA
demonstrated its seriousness, but how. A 'mistake' had been committed, it
acknowledged, but quickly dropped the case because the mistake had been made
in 'good faith'.
A day before the sub-committee had taken a kinder view of another case of a
questionable deal that involved retired military men including a brigadier.
A 132 KV grid station had been set up at Kamra in 1995 at a cost of 64
million rupees. The committee learnt that the auditor-general was not
satisfied because a similar 132 KV grid station set up at Taxila in 1994 had
cost only 39 million rupees. The AG had also objected that the contract had
not been awarded through open bidding in violation of government rules.
Despite evidence and objections by the AG, the sub-committee chose to take a
milder view and refrained from referring the case to NAB.
On June 1 another sub-committee of the public accounts committee met to take
cognisance of the non-utilisation of 36 million rupees provided during
1988-90 for the construction of low cost houses for the widows and orphans
of defence forces. The money had not been utilised during the financial
year. Instead of the returning the unspent amount to the government it was
unlawfully withdrawn at the end of the year to avoid lapse.
When the irregularity was first brought to its attention in 1991, the
services' headquarters approached the government for post facto approval for
retention of the amount. The AG however refused to accept this saying that
even the government was not competent to permit withdrawal and retention of
unutilised funds, as it was a violation of constitutional provisions.
When the sub-committee took up the case the defence ministry admitted that
rules had been violated but insisted that the violation was in 'good faith'.
The sub-committee however did not agree and refused to accept the 'good
faith' plea. The chairman of the sub-committee Riaz Fityana, a
non-serviceman, deserves to be commended for refusing to settle the case but
this did not diminish the audacity of the defence ministry to invoke once
again 'good faith' and seek exemption.
The NAB law is applicable only to political leaders and civilians accused of
corruption. Serving military officers are exempt from it because, it is
claimed, the military has its own internal accountability mechanism. "We
live in sweet prison because of the manual of the Pakistan Military Law
during our service" is how a former NAB chairman, a three-star general as
well, stoutly defended exemption to military officers in an interview
published in this newspaper on June 20, 2005, after he had retired both from
NAB and the military.
The civilians and politicians hauled by NAB for real or imagined crimes are
also promptly sent to jail. Investigations and proofs follow later at a pace
determined by NAB. The accused has to prove his innocence. In an interview
with The News on April 24, 2000 the then chairman justified the 'onus of
proof' with great relish thus: "Yes, it does mean that the corrupt should
prove himself innocent".
But five years later in June 2005 as chairman of the Fauji Foundation, the
same former NAB chief was directed to appear before the defence committee of
the Senate to answer serious allegations in the sale of Khoski Sugar Mills
that had come to light in the National Assembly in reply to a question asked
by a female MNA belonging to the treasury benches. He refused saying that
the Fauji Foundation was a private concern and that the Senate body had no
business to ask him any questions. The yardstick of proving innocence
appeared to have changed now as the hunted was a former senior military
officer. "Judge not so that ye shall not be judged".
Retired military officers, though not exempt from NAB, have also been
exempted from effective accountability through the device of unending
investigations. In reply to a Senate question on December 5, 2003, NAB named
fourteen uniformed officers working in civil departments that also included
one ex-lieutenant general as being 'under investigation for accumulating
assets beyond means'. Three years later when NAB was asked again about the
status of the case it replied: "Investigations are still continuing".
Meanwhile the accused roam free.
To these familiar devices has now been added yet another device, 'good
faith'. True, that 'honest mistakes' and 'good faith' must be recognised as
basic to the concept of justice with compassion or 'adl bil ihsan'. But it
seems that in the Islamic Republic only former generals are entitled to 'adl
Those who seek reprieve on grounds of 'honest mistake' and 'good faith' must
possess very high standards of morality. In 1995 a scandal broke out about
the American chief of naval operations, Admiral James Boorda. The case was
about whether the admiral should have won a small bronze star that cost less
than a dollar. His supporters said he was entitled to wear it. His
detractors however insisted that technically he was not entitled to wear it.
Appearing before inquiry committee Boorda called it an 'honest mistake'. The
inquiry committee agreed that Boorda had made a mistake in wearing the medal
even if it was an 'honest' one. The admiral who had a great sense of honour
saw a personal shame and dishonour in it and shot himself with his service
As I juxtaposed and placed together the admiral and the generals on my minds
canvas, an anguished cry leapt from the depth of the heart and it said:
"Weep Pakistan, weep".
The writer is a former member of the defence committee of the Senate. Email:
Corruption in Pakistan
Steel Mills Privatization
Pakistan Steel Mills(PSM) offered to close friends of Shoukat Aziz and
General Pervaiz Musharaf Factory worth 300 billion Rupees sold for 22
The privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills is without doubt “the great grand
steal” in the whole history of Pakistan. The handing over of PSM to the
close friends and front man of the military regime of GeneralMusharaf was
carefully planned in a very conspiratorial manner over the years. It is like
a story of a successful act of theft that was well planned for the last six
The Musharaf regime has sold PSM for 362 millions dollars that was worth 5
billion dollars. The successful “bidders” is a consortium of three companies
Arif Habib Securities (Pakistan), Al-Tuwairqi (Saudi Arabia) and
Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works Open JSC (Russia) The 31st March 2006
bidding of the PSM organized by Privatization Commission of Pakistan was
just an eye wash and it was all planned before hand. The whole process of
selling the largest steel factory of Pakistan ended up just in 30 minutes.
One: The Thieves
Arif Habib Securities Karachi, a stock exchange company, is very well known
in Karachi circles as front organization of Prime Minister Shoukat Aziz.
They have 20 percent share in the consortium.
The Saudi Steel company Al-Tuwairqi is very close to “president” General
Musharaf. It has 40 percent shares in the deal. Such is the nature of close
relationship of the two that general Musharaf opened a new Steel factory of
Group next to PSM only a day before the privatization of PSM. Al-Tuwairqi
group claim to spend 130 millions dollars on this factory.
Two: Rented land of PSM
The interesting fact is that the 220 acres of land for this new venture of
AlTouwairqi was rented out from PSM. A day late, the Al-Tuwairqi group
became the owner of this rented land of PSM. They have been provided on
urgent basis the facilities of natural gas and electricity for this factory.
On the occasion of inauguration of this new steel factory on 30th March
2006, general Musharaf invited the group to buy the PSM. Very next day, the
group became owner alongside with two others on a very throw away price. Who
could ignore the advice of General Musharaf for the sale of PSM?
Three: So-called clean Bidding:
The neat and clean bidding of PSM is also exposed by the fact that the
consortium that came second in the bidding offered 355 million dollars, only
7 million dollar less than the victories one. It is clear from the whole
process of bidding that the offers were shared with each others. It was made
clear to every one in the run that the PSM will be offered to those close to
the President and Prime minister of Pakistan. Commissions were offered to
each party that was taking part in the deal. The five parties that were
cleared for pre qualification by the Privatisation Commission were asked to
form two consortiums. Finally, the result was as per scheduled.
The final price of the PSM was such a low that even the former chairman of
PSM Haq Nawaz Akhtar has to say “they could have got more money by selling
the PSM as scrap”.
Only two days before the deal, the Al-Tuwairqi group signed a deal HOT (head
of terms) with Sui Southern Gas Company for buying 45 mmcfd. The deal is
valid for ten years and could be extended for another ten years. So, post
PSM buying arrangements were made before the deal.
If PSM is handed over to this consortium, it will definitely lead to
monopolization of steel industry in Pakistan. The share of PSM in production
of billets in Pakistan is 30 percent and with the new Al-Tuwairqi Steel
Mills, the group could have over 50 percent of the total share in this
regard. Capacity of steel production of PSM is 1.1 million tons which the
group likes to extend to 3 million tons. That will also be leading to total
monopolization of steel production.
General Musharaf has an eye on the PSM since he came into power in October
1999. While addressing a gathering in PSM on 27th May 2005, General Musharaf
was not able to hide this fact. “I am keenly watching the performance of PSM
since I am in power” he said. On the occasion, he handed over 2.5 billion of
Rupees to Habib Bank as the last part of loan on PSM.
The Musharaf regime had made it sure that when their friends buy this Mills,
all loans on the Mills be already cleared. In the end of 1999, the PSM had a
total loan of 19 Billion Rupees. The annual loss was nearly 9 billion
Rupees. The PSM was handed over to the military officials. Their first act
was to reduce the work force of the Mills. In the beginning of 2000, there
were 20533 workers and now it is been reduced to 13080, so 7453 workers were
laid off, that is more than one third of the work force.
According to the finance director of PSM, in 2003/2004, the total revenue of
the factory was 26.1 billions Rupees and net profit was over nearly five
billion Rupees. In 2004/2005, the revenue increased to 31 billion Rupees and
pre tax profit rose to 10 billions Rupees. The Mill has been depositing over
9 billion Rupees tax to the government on average for the last four years.
After privatization of PSM, the tax deposit to the government will decrease
tremendously, that has one of the main features of all the privatized
institutions of the last 14 years. The fact is the PSM is been sold to the
equivalent of two and half year of the tax amount deposited to the
government by the Mill management.
At the time of the privatization of PSM, there was 12 billions in cash and
bank balance in the Mill, no loan, 98 percent production of the capacity, no
industrial dispute, no collapse of” industrial peace” profit was increasing
every year, tax up to 9 billion Rupees. So why to sell the factory, the only
answer one can assume is a shear loot and plunder of national assets by the
friends of the regime. Why there was no workers resistance to the sale in
this case as opposed to all other sold ones in the past?
Four: MQM Role
The most criminal role in the process of privatization was played by the
firstly, United Workers Union, linked to Muhajior Qaumi Movement, a
chauvinist group who hold Karachi local government and is in partnership
with Musharaf in Sind government, secondly by Labour League, linked to
ruling Muslim League and PASLOW, the union linked to Jamaat I Islami, the
main religious fundamentalist group in Pakistan. The leaders of these trade
unions formed an action committee to fight privatization, but later adopted
a strategy to buy the Mill by forming “workers group”. This was a tactic
dictated by General Abdul Qayum, the director General of PSM.
Only Progressive Union at PSM linked to National Trade Union Federation
Pakistan, a federation that Labour party Pakistan support, has not singed on
the deal of Privatization. This has resulted in threats, terminations and
other suppressive tactics.
Five: Management Corruption
The PSM management made good use of public money just before the
privatization, buying off 80 new cars for themselves on the justification of
If we consider the fact that there was 12 billion Rupees in cash and bank
balance at the time of sale, then the original price offered to government
is only 10 billion Rupees. The Privatization Commission has
offered a package to workers worth 15 Billion Rupees, if that is made a
reality, and then in fact the government sold a profitable mill in minus 5
Six: Supreme Court intervension
Supreme Court of Pakistan has to intervene to stop the privatization of PSM
on a write petition on 24th May.
Conclusion: Party Must Demand
PPPP must demand that the privatization should not only be stopped till June
2006, but there should be cancellation of the whole process of privatization
We demand that the chairman of Privatization Commission and privatization
federal minister be charged of corruption and a trail be started against the
The privatization under military junta has only brought in Pakistan the job
losses, price hike, incensement in poverty, monopolization, and increased
profit for the bosses, reduced quality of the products and less efficiency
and no better production. The whole process of this privatization under
Military junta is corrupt and should be made transparent.
Senior Vice President,
Ph : +92 (0)40 4221312, 4227377
Cell: +92 (0)300 9692548
Musharraf should declare
his assets, says Benazir
By Akhtar Amin
PESHAWAR: Benazir Bhutto,
Pakistan People’s Party chairperson, has asked General Musharraf and his
family to declare their assets in accordance with the principles of
transparency. “For the last seven years the general is reluctant to give an
account of his assets since he seized power in coup d’état.”
The PPP chairperson stated this in her special message to the NWFP People’s
Lawyers Forum Convention 2006, which was read out by Barrister Masood Kausar,
chief organiser of the convention.
“The assets of political leaders are declared and published for public
scrutiny every year, but the general is reluctant to declare his and his
family’s assets,” stated the former prime minister.
Regarding the Charter of Democracy (COD), she stated, “The charter was a
result of our experiences as elected prime ministers, whose governments were
“The PPP and the PML-N do not seek entrenchment of power for an individual.
We seek to broaden power through independent commissions; empower our people
and provinces; and build a better future for our people from the experiences
we gained in government and in opposition,” Ms Bhutto stated.
“The day is not far when the military would go back to barracks after
signing the charter,” she stated, adding that after tearing the constitution
to shreds, the military dictatorship had tried to wipe out the alternative
through a character-assassination campaign to discredited political parties
by targeting their leaders.
She said the lawyers’ community played a front line role in the struggle for
the people’s fundamental rights including the rule of law and supremacy of
The NWFP People’s Lawyer Forum through various resolutions expressed concern
over the political, social and economic crises facing the country.
In the first resolution the forum states, “The crises have been accentuated
by the military’s subordination of all state institutions, re-writing of the
constitution through executive fiat, undermining of the parliament, assaults
on the independence of judiciary, growing poverty, unemployment and
breakdown of rule of law under a military dictatorship.” They demanded the
supremacy of parliament, independence of judiciary and rule of law, in
addition to controlling unemployment and inflation.
In another resolution it states that the civil society was systematically
being militarised and the civil-military equation continuously being
re-written on the terms of the military. They demanded an immediate end to
civil society’s systematic militarisation.
The convention through a resolution also showed reservation over the
increase in poverty and the gap between the rich and the poor. They demanded
the prices of oil, sugar and other basic necessities should be controlled.
Jehangir Badar, PPP central secretary general, said the charter is the
second important written document in the history of the country that would
bring about real democracy, restore the 1973 Constitution and end military
dictatorship. Regarding Ms Bhutto’s return before general elections in 2007,
he said she had promised party leaders that she would return before the
Mohtarma Bhutto condemns harassment of Hindus in Sindh
Demands inquiry and end to reign of harassment
Islamabad June 9, 2006: Former Prime
Minister and chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir
Bhutto has condemned the harassment and intimidation of minority community
members particularly Hindus in Larkana in Sindh to force them change
The Hindu community ahs complained that some prominent members belonging to
their community in Shahdad Kot, Larkana have been receiving threatening
telephone calls demanding bhatta from them and also asking them to renounce
their association with the Pakistan Peoples Party or face dire consequences.
Noted Hidnu family of Warand Mal living in the neighbourhood of MNA Ramewsh
Lal was targeted the other day as Waradd's son was shot and wounded. The
assailant made good their escape.
Last month another Hindu youth was shot and killed in Larkana by unknown
assailants. Threatening calls and letters are routinely sent to Hindu
families asking them to give up their association with the PPP and also
demanding bhatta. No action has however been taken on the complaints filed
by the affected Hindu families with police.
In a statement today the former Prime Minister said that she was shocked at
the manner in which the state apparatus had been let loose against the
Hindus in Larkana in Sindh. She said that in Sindh the life and honour of
Hindus was not safe and they were living in reign of terror. The regime has
two faces; one to show to the world that it was promoting the values of
liberalism and tolerance in the country, but its other face that was also
its real face was that the minorities were threatened and humiliated as
never before, she said.
Mohtarma Bhutto said that as elections drew near the Hindu and minority
supporters of the PPP were being harassed in a calculated and deliberate
manner so as strike terror in the hearts of the people of Sindh to desist
from supporting the Party. She asked the regime to immediately stop
terrorising the Hindus and other minorities in the country particularly in
Sindh. She also demanded an inquiry into the incidents of harassment of
Hindus and arrest and punishment to those involved.
Mohtarma Bhutto also asked the human rights bodies to take note of latest
spree of intimidation of the minorities let loose by the regime.
Summary of Rigging
Report - PS-80, Sanghar
1.The CEC was appraised by fax and phone of the tense
situation in PS-80, Sanghar III where the PPP's polling agents had been
forcibly evicted from the polling stations in the morning. The Central
Information Secretary appraised them the night before of the Returning
Officer's letter that restricted polling agants from outside the
constituency completely illegaly, as this was a provincial poll.
2.Polling Agents of PPP Candidate were confined by the Ruling Party
supporters and disciples of Pir Pagaro. PPP Polling Agents who resisted were
3 Ruling Party supporters were openly stamping ballot papers with impunity,
while the police looked the other way, at the following Polling Stations :
Bero Bambhro, Irrigation Bungalow-Dhiliyan, Iqra Primary School-Khipro,
Govt. High School Khipro, Govt. Primary School Nian and many others.
4.The PPP's polling agent, Mr Subhan Ali Khaskheli and Mr Ameer Buksh were
forcibly evicted from the polling station Irrigation Bungalow, Dhilyan by
the Ruling Party supporters, who brutally beat them when they tried to
resist being dragged out of the polling premises. They were later taken away
and abandoned some 3 to 4 miles away from their respective Polling Stations
with the threats that if they returned to
their polling station, they would be killed.
5. A PPP voter, Ahmed Mangrio S/O Phull Mangrio, primary school teacher, was
forcibly kidnapped and charged by Police under a false drug case.
6.An unconstitutional and illegal order was issued dated 07/06/06 No. C/01
of 2006 by the Office of the Returning Officer Additional Session Judge
Shahdadpur, defining the eligibility of Polling Agents, who's name is
endorsed in the concerned constituency i.e. PS-80.
7.NAB convict, Mr. Waryam Faqir Khaskheli, backed by armed militants,
forcibly evicted PPP Polling Agents and supporters from the Polling
Stations. PPP supporters and polling agents were also brutally beaten by
armed militants of Ruling Party. The entire constituency was recorded as
tense and under occupation by armed gangs of the Ruling Party. Almost all
the polling stations were made into no-go zones for PPP agents and workers.
8.PPP Women Polling Agents were also evicted from Iqra Primary School (UC
Khipro City) Polling Station 6 & 7 for several hours.
Central Information Secretary - Pakistan Peoples Party
rejects Federal Budget
Islamabad, 7 June 2006:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto rejected the new Budget presented before the Parliament as
nothing but a media exercise for electoral purposes. However, she said that
the PPP believes that you can fool some of the people some of the time but
not all the people all of the time. The PPP knows that the masses have seen
through the double speak, subterfuge and tall promises of the regime to
recognise it as a reckless one which has failed to help the people meet
their basic necessities.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said that PPP was committed to job generation. As
such she and the PPP lamented the fact that attention was not given to job
creation or to bringing down inflation. She noted that after the fall of the
PPP government, the working classes and the middle classes were being
crushed under the weight of increasing utility bills and widespread price
increases. The working and middle classes were being further squeezed due to
the lack of job opportunities available for young Pakistanis.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said that under the Musharraf military dictatorship,
the rich had gotten richer and the poor were poorer. In this connection, she
said that poverty in Pakistan had increased from 17 percent of the
population in 1996 to sixty percent of the population. She noted that sixty
percent of the population were living on less than two dollars a day. In
other words, sixty per cent of the people of Pakistan had to eke out an
existence on less than Rs 3600 per month. She said this was a shocking
figure given that families had to be fed, rent paid, transport cost incurred
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto criticised the regime for not giving details of
privatisation proceeds as earlier committed to the international donors to
ensure transparency of the use of proceeds. She noted that her government
had used privatisation proceeds for retiring Pakistan's principal debt,
becoming the first government to do so, to ensure that the future children
of Pakistan were born with less burden on their tiny shoulders. Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto said that as a Mother, she felt a special responsibility
towards all the children of Pakistan and wished for them to have a better
future than the one which the military dictatorship was bringing about.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto pointed out that under the Musharraf regime, the
trade Deficit, balance of payment deficit, domestic and foreign loans, taxes
on per litre price of petrol, loot sale of national assets in the name of
privatisation and increase in terrorist activities are highest in last
fiscal year when compared against the 58 years of Pakistan's history. The
former Prime Minister noted that:
The long-term economic outlook remains clouded as the nation remains in
shackle of foreign lending and import of basic commodities.
The budget was silent on the massive trade deficit, current account deficit
and ever rising inflation and interest rates.
From the equivalent of 10-month import bill, Pakistan's reserves now are an
equivalent of a six-month import bill. This is a highly dangerous level
where any shock, external or internal, could send the rupee into a free
Transportation costs, medicines, school fees, textbooks and essentials like
food items have become very expensive reducing the purchasing power of the
working citizens by almost 50% in last six years of Musharraf regime.
Tragically, the dictatorships VIP culture flourished with even NAB officials
using Mercedes cars in abuse of their office and countless perks, including
massive security, being provided to an enlarged list of VIPs at exorbitant
cost of exchequer.
Consumer financing at exorbitant rates has had a dangerously ballooning
effect on the economy. The middleclass debt is growing rapidly on the basis
of high interest credit cards and defaults are increasing. Currently, the
customer deposits in banking system are actually earning negative interest
as the rates remain below that of inflation.
86% of Pakistan's population is estimated to be poor, out of which about 50M
are living below poverty line on less than one dollar a day or less than Rs
1800 per month. Mohtarma said that economic development is highly dependent
on industrial production, not on the rich buying expensive cars, big
bungalows and fast foods .
The military dictatorship spent more on defence than they said they would
last year. The increased the expenditure by nearly eighteen billion rupees.
This shows that this year too they will continue to raise the defence
expenditure while cutting down on developmental expenditure needed to build
roads, provide water, sewerage and electricity to the people as well as
schools and health clinics. It may be noted that the dictatorship revised
defense expenditure from Rs 223.5 billion to Rs 241.1 billion for the
outgoing fiscal year 2005-06, an increase of Rs 17.6 billion.
That the budget continues to give a false picture was proved by the Economic
Survey 2005-06 which showed that contrary to the announcements made last
year, both agriculture and manufacturing sector failed to achieve the
targets set last year. Per regime's own figures released yesterday, the
agriculture sector grew by only 2.5 percent, short of the target of 4.2
percent and last year's growth of 6.7 percent, and the manufacturing sector
grew 8.6 percent against the target of 12.6 percent . Under the PPP
government, agricultural production went up from zero percent to seven
percent in three short years.
Major crops and forestry registered negative growth of 3.6 percent and 5.7
percent. Major crops showed negative growth of 3.6 percent, as against 17.8
percent growth last year The trade deficit in July-March of 2005-06 stood at
$9.427 billion, up from $4.868 billion the year before.
The defence allocation of last year is over spent but the public sector
spending is under spent big time.
The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of Rs 415 billion for 2006-07
has also been approved for the development of infrastructure and social
sector, no doubt that is a right step in right direction but the real
question is what happened to the last year's allocation of Rs. 280B? Recent
reports disclosed that only 52% of the amount could be spent so far, while
only three weeks left in current fiscal year to rest utilize 48% of money.
This is the proof that figures are announced for propaganda purposes which
have no weight to them as they are changed as soon as public attention is
diverted to a different issue.
PPP files reference against
Deputy Chairman NAB
Islamabad, 7 June 2006: Pakistan Peoples
Party has filed a reference with the National Accountability Bureau against
Deputy Chairman National Accountability Bureau, Hassan Wasim Afzal and his
wife Farkhunda Afzal misuse of authority as they turned sacred religious
place of Badshahi Masjid Lahore, into marriage hall for the wedding ceremony
of their daughter.
The reference has been filed by advocate Nayyar Hussain Bukhari MNA. The
reference says, "By misusing their official positions both the accused
respectively took over the Badshahi Mosque which is a national archive as
being built in 1674 by the then Mughal Emperor Aurengzeb. The courtyard of
the mosque was dragged in order to create holes to fix pillars of lighting
and other installations to give it the shade of a private venue while
outraging the sacredness and religious entity of the mosque which is
admittedly meant only for prayers. Carpets were laid, furniture was
installed, fixtures were created to make it look like a marriage hall thus
colossal damage to the national exchequer and this historic national
property was done by both the accused in connivance of each other. As the
accused / respondent No.1 Hassan Waseem Afzal was then posted as Home
Secretary in Punjab, therefore, he exerted all his influence on the
functionaries working under him for creating the Mughal atmosphere and
comfort and for this purpose he ended up with living beyond means as he
provided to hundreds of guests pairs of silk shoes for their entrance of the
court yard of the Badshahi Mosque turned into marriage hall. This is the
worst example of misuse of authority in the country by a public servant duly
paid by the taxpayers."
The reference further says, "Only the acts of misuse of authority committed
by Hassan Waseem Afzal and the co-accused Mrs. Farkhanda Afzal are
cognizable offenses under the NAB Ordinance but the same also do fall within
the mischief of Antiquities Act of 1974 and the Punjab Special Premises
Preservation Ordinance of 1985 but as the accused No.1 is presently serving
under you as Deputy Chairman NAB therefore, no action so far is initiated
against him or his wife which is an additional proof of his misuse of
official authority. The Archaeology Department is on record to object these
acts of massive abuse of official authority and made public its concern of
damaging the walls of this national monument which has history of centuries
but no heed was paid to the cries of law abiding citizens of this
"In the above said premises, keeping in view of the facts and circumstances
as detailed in the body of this Reference it is earnestly prayed to
forthwith start the proceedings against the accused/respondent and his wife
co-accused Farkhanda Afzal and in order to make the investigation impartial,
it is in the best interest of the justice that Hassan Waseem Afzal is
removed forthwith from the post of Deputy Chairman NAB. It is also requested
that since the accused / respondent Hassan Waseem Afzal is a highly placed
official in NAB, therefore, an independent joint investigating team be
constituted to probe into his guilt and to ensure his punishment without any
fear or favour strictly in accordance with law", the reference requested.
Naheed Khan demands
Islamabad, 6 June 2006:
Naheed Khan MNA and the Political Secretary to the Chairperson Pakistan
Peoples Party, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has condemned the allocation of 800
million rupees for National Accountability Bureau to hound and harass
peoples' leadership, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
Naheed Khan said that NAB in the last nine years has been wasting public
money on concocted and false cases against PPP leadership but has failed
miserably to find an iota of evidence of corruption against Mohtarma Benazir
Bhutto. For the last nearly a decade billions of rupees have been spent by
the NAB in vilification campaign against PPP leadership on one hand and
failed to act against corrupt elements such as sugar mafia, petrol mafia,
land mafia etc. on the other.
Naheed Khan said that it is unjustified to allocate such a huge sum of money
for a department which is being used as the political arm of the military
dictatorship. The time is fast reaching when the looters and plunders of
national wealth would be held accountable. The corrupt NAB official would be
identified and punished by the democratic government. Naheed Khan demanded
closure of corrupt institution of NAB which is wasting hard earned money of
the Pakistani honest and hardworking public.
PPP slams increase in
LAHORE: Hitting hard on
the increased defence expenses, the Pakistan People’s Party has called the
2006-07 budget as “no more than a public relations stunt, anti-people and
“The budget under military dictatorship has no sanctity. As has been the
practice under this dictatorship, mini budgets will continue to haunt the
people every month by raise in prices of petroleum, gas and electricity,”
PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said. “Under commitments with the
International Monetary Fund, the regime was required to give details of
privatisation proceeds and borrowing from banking and non-banking sources
but these appear to have been removed from mandatory disclosure of
consolidated budgetary operations,” he said.
Babar said that the government’s claim that allocation for the Public Sector
Development Programme has been increased from Rs 272 billion to Rs 415
billion was “untrue and a misrepresentation of facts”. “The PSDP has already
been revised from Rs 272 to Rs 228 billion for the outgoing fiscal year. The
development budget is not what is allocated; it is what is released and
used,” he added.
“Military expenses during the current fiscal crossed the budgeted Rs 223
billion by nearly Rs 18 billion without any debate and discussion while the
PSDP was slashed to Rs 228 billion.”
The PPP spokesman said that the Public Accounts Committee was informed last
month that over Rs 35 billion of military pensions were being paid from the
civil budget. “Failing to address this issue in the budget amounts to not
only fudging the figures but also robbing the civil society and squeezing
the poor,” he said.
“The increase in military allocations from Rs 223 to Rs 250 billion in the
new fiscal year is unjustified particularly in view of a strident drive for
peace in the region. staff report
PPP dismisses charges
against its chairperson as politically motivated
Islamabad, 5 July 2006:
Central Secretary Information Pakistan Peoples Party, Sherry Rehman has
strongly condemned the military government's latest attempt to involve
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in trumped up cases.
Not only has the regime abused the judicial process by asking for red
warrants in a case where the PPP Chairperson is alleged to have concealed
her assets, it has made an international laughing stock of itself by asking
Interpol to be involved in cases which actually lie within the purview of
the Chief Election Commissioner's office. When he has found no irregularity
in her asset statements filed for the 1993 election, why is NAB resorting to
a district session's judge to harrass an elected popular leader of Pakistan,
Ms Rehman also questioned the timing of the most recent salvo thrown by the
regime at Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Refereeing to reports about NAB being
used to file a fresh reference against the PPP Chairperson in the UN Oil for
Food programme, she asked why the regime is so unsure of itself every time
Mohtarma Bhutto meets Nawaz Sharif? When the case has already been
dismissed, why is NAB embarrassing itself by opening it up again? Pakistan's
rulers are not able to disguise their anxiety the moment any contacts
between two mainstream political parties are confirmed, she said.
It is their own illegitimacy that haunts the non-reprehensive cabal of
rulers running this country every time they see prospects of a return to
democracy in Pakistan, she said. Ever since the Charter of Democracy has
been signed, said Rehman, the junta has become unhinged and increasingly
panicky at the challenge this poses to its survival.
On the one hand the regime tries to break the spirit of the PPP torturing
its leaders like Yusuf Reza Gilani in jail, and on the other hand it
unleashes a battery of manufactured cases against Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,
Rehman said, adding that nothing will shake the resolve of the party and its
leader because we know how to face cruelty and malice at the hands of
military dictators. The PPP leadership has seen the insides of all jails in
Pakistan and faced with dignity and courage politically motivated murder as
well. Piling up case after case against the twice elected prime minister of
Pakistan is only going to make the regime look desperate and bring a bad
name for the country for not honouring its leaders, said Rehman.
After so many failed cases against Mohtarma Bhutto, why does the regime want
to pour billions of taxpayer rupees into NAB's coffers for investigations
that invariably end up making both NAB and its masters look pathetically
The regime is advised to spend constructive time planning its exit strategy,
she said, because the Charter of Democracy is the beginning of the junta's
Naheed Khan condemns
issuance of arrest warrant
Islamabad, 4 June, 2006:
Naheed Khan MNA, the Political Secretary to the Chairperson Pakistan Peoples
Party, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, has condemned the vendetta against party
leadership by the military regime which is abusing judicial system of the
country for its agenda.
Naheed Khan in a statement said that the issuance of arrest warrant against
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto is unjustified as it is the domain of Election
Commission to decide upon the declaration of assets and the National
Accountability Bureau had nothing to do with this matter. Mohtarma Benazir
Bhutto had submitted her declaration before Returning Officer in Larkana and
no complaint was filed in this regard at that time. Naheed Khan said that
the NAB is being used by the military regime for achieving its nefarious
designs, which want to oust Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto from politics. Naheed
Khan said that Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto is peoples' leader and no conspiracy
to oust her from politics would succeed.
Naheed Khan said that the military regime is abusing the judicial system of
the country as part of its vilification campaign against Mohtarma Benazir
Bhutto in a bid to blackmail her to quit politics but the regimes seems
ignorant of the fact that the people of Pakistan want to see Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto as their prime minister the third time.
Naheed Khan said that the regime has gone berserk after the signing of
Charter of Democracy thus has increased its slander campaign. The days of
dictatorship are numbered and soon a peoples' government will be in place to
solve peoples' problems, Naheed Khan concluded.
PPP condemns threats
of filing of yet another reference against Mohtarma Bhutto
Nothing will deter Mohtarma and PPP from pursuing democratic agenda
Islamabad June 4, 2006:
Pakistan Peoples Party has condemned the reported filing of another
reference against Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and termed it as yet another bid
by a frustrated regime to break the opposition after the signing of Charter
of Democracy in London last month.
According to reports in a section of the press today the NAB is about to
file a fresh reference against the former Prime Minister. The new reference
pertains to alleged payment of surcharge to Saddam regime in the oil for
food program by a company associated with Mohtarma Bhutto, according to
In a statement today spokesman Farhatullah Babar said that every time the
two former Prime Ministers met recently and reaffirmed their resolve to rid
the country of military dictatorship the regime resorted to character
assassination of Mohtarma Bhutto in a farcical media trial.
Early in April last when Mohtarma Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif made first
initial contacts to restore democracy the regime alleged that a
non-Pakistani company involving non-residents and associated with Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto had paid commission during the Oil for Food Program. The NAB
was however silenced when the PPP gave a befitting rebuttal to the
accusations of wrongdoing, the spokesman said.
In the middle of May when the two former Prime Ministers again met in London
and signed the death warrants of dictatorship the NAB filed a case in a
local court in Islamabad accusing Mohtarma of mis-declaring assets before
the Chief Election Commissioner in 1993 that had not even been questioned by
the Election Commission..
The spokesman said that on June 2 when Mohtarma Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif
met in Dubai the regime went into a tailspin and abusing judicial process
yet once again issued arrest warrants of Mohtarma Bhutto and Senator Asif
Soon after the June 2 Dubai meeting Mohtarma Bhutto in an interview with a
private TV channel exposed the junta and rejected compromise on the terms of
dictators. Within a day of the interview the NAB has planted reports of
filing yet another reference to deter Mohtarma.
"Nothing would deter Mohtarma Bhutto and the PPP from pursuing their
democratic political agenda".
"The NAB during the last decade has been desperate to link Mohtarma Bhutto
with corruption but failed miserably. It failed in the SGS case, in the
Steel Mills reference, in the KESC case, in the PIA reference and in the
case before the high court in the Isle of Man. It is doomed to fail now".
offensive De Vinci Code
Islamabad June 1, 2006:
The Pakistan Peoples Party has voiced concern over the film 'De Vinci Code'.
Christians in Pakistan have taken offence to it and asked for an immediate
In a statement today spokesperson of the Party said that the Party believes
in freedom of expression and freedom of faith. It also believes giving
license to hurt the religious sensibilities of any community is not
respectful of the right to religious worship.
PPP denounces double
standards in closing Locomotives scam
Islamabad June 1, 2006:
The Pakistan Peoples Party has denounced the decision to drop investigations
into the scam involving purchase of Chinese locomotives for nearly one
hundred million dollars on the ground of 'good faith' and said that it
proved yet again the regime's double standards and using the charade of
accountability only for political ends.
A subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week let off
three retired army generals of charges of bungling in the purchase of
Chinese engines,, on the grounds that the "mistake" had been made "in good
faith". The PAC sub committee also refused to refer a case of corruption in
establishing a grid station in Taxila involving a former brigadier to the
NAB ignoring the recommendations of the Auditor General of Pakistan.
The locomotive scam was first raised in the Senate last year after which the
Prime Minister constituted an inquiry committee. The inquiry committee
confirmed in April last that top bosses of Railways had wrongly sanctioned
the purchase of Chinese locomotives knowing full well that the locomotives
could not operate on Pakistan railway tracks, as they were too heavy. The
locomotives weigh 140 tonnes but local tracks can withstand only up to 132
tonnes of weight.
In a statement today spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that political
leaders were being chased and hounded on flimsy grounds while serving and
retired military officers were not even being probed for taking bad
decisions on ground of 'good faith'.
He said that a former Prime Minister is being hounded for alleged corruption
in awarding pre-shipment inspection contract even though the contract
brought gains to the country and she had not personally awarded the
On the other hand the nation lost billions of rupees in the locomotives
contract but the accused were let off on pretext of 'good faith' just
because those involved in the scam were former military officers.
The spokesperson asked the regime to answer the following questions.
-Why it backed out from investigating the sugar price scandal within
twenty-four hours of the announcement last month?
-Why is it is not investigating the mega corruption in the fixation of oil
-Why is it not carrying out investigations in the scandalous sale of Khosgi
Sugar Mills by the Fauji Foundation to a bidder that had not even
participated in the bid, despite the fact that the scam was admitted on the
floor of the National Assembly in May last and a reference filed in the NAB
by concerned citizens?
-Why is not completing investigations nor making arrests into the three year
old cases against a former Lt General who headed WAPDA and a former
Brigadier who served in the DHA Lahore for amassing assets beyond known
means and corruption despite the fact that NAB has admitted in the Senate
that cases against them are pending without progress.
He said that the NAB was quick in filing a case against the former Prime
Minister for alleged mis-declaration of assets before the Election
Commission but was not proceeding against the former general despite
charging him with amassing assets beyond known means. If these are not
instances of double standards what else are these, he asked.
Condemns attempts to discredit charter of democracy
Islamabad June 1, 2006:
The Central Information Secretary of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Sherry
Rehman, has strongly condemned the allegations made by Minister Sher Afghan
Niazi in his speech at a seminar in Islamabad on Saturday that PPP
Chairperson was in direct contact with General Musharraf.
In a statement today she said that clearly the military regime had tasked
Sher Afghan and a few others to spread this lie about Mohtarma Benazir
Bhutto in a futile attempt to create a rift in the new formalized
understanding between the two elected, popular leaders and their parties
through the recently signed Charter of Democracy.
The regime's daily attempt to spread this disinformation campaign is a clear
reflection of its own panic at the growing accord between the PPP and the
PML N on the principles that would govern a new social and democratic order
in Pakistan. Since the regime and its henchmen are unable to find any flaws
in the Charter, which heralds an era of mutual tolerance for all democratic
forces and supremacy of independent judiciary, election commission and an
elected, accountable parliament, they are trying to divert public attention
from it's the Charter's substance by deliberately creating confusion based
on blatant falsehoods, she said.
Sherry Rehman said that the PPP and its leadership had paid in blood and
sweat for its commitment to democratic principles, starting with the life of
its own founding Chairman, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Mohtarma Benazir
Bhutto and her own family, including Senator Asif Ali Zardari, have spent
long years in prison and exile for the major portion of their adult lives
without cutting any deal to soften their hardship. Why would they compromise
on their principles now, she asked.
Sher Afghan Niazi can hardly be believed in anything he says, given that he
openly betrayed the PPP and its Chairperson by getting elected on the party
ticket and then joining hands with a regime desperate for proxies and
defectors to illegally and unconstitutionally cross the floor while all laws
were suspended to facilitate a puppet government. What credibility can such
a Minister have, when his entire office is based on a pack of lies and open
violation of all laws? What credence do his questions against the Charter of
Democracy hold when his own credibility has been fatally compromised in the
eyes of the whole country at his daily defence of a system he shouted most
loudly against even two days before he traded his conscience for a ministry?
Does Mr Niazi really think anyone will believe in his defence of a
dictatorship when his speech against Musharraf and the LFO rang the loudest
in our ears only two days before he discovered the dubious joys of embracing
a president in uniform," asked Rehman.
She said the PPP is at least trying to create a system based on citizen's
participation and respect for the rule of law. The military regime should
realize that Pakistan cannot be made hostage to one man's whims any longer
and allow a new system to take root with the help of a free and fair
election held under the auspices of a neutral caretaker government of
national consensus. This is the best exit strategy the beleaguered General
can have, and this alone will save Pakistan from further destabilization and
political change brought about by traumatic political upheaval."
Claims of direct
contact between Mohtarma and Musharraf bundle of lies
Disinformation aimed at dividing the opposition
Islamabad June 1, 2006:
Pakistan Peoples Party has dismissed as bundle of lies the assertion by
Minister Sher Afgan Niazi that Mohtarma Bhutto was maintaining direct
contacts with General Pervez Musharraf.
In a statement today spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that there is no
direct or indirect contact between Chairperson PPP and General Musharaf.
The latest propaganda blitz is nothing but a desperate attempt by a
beleaguered regime to divide the opposition through disinformation, he said.
He said that either Sher Afgan Niazi has concocted lies or his master
General Musharraf has fed him a course of lies.
The dictators have been thriving on lies to perpetuate themselves in power
and it is no wonder that a new lie has been concocted.
>From lies to the jehadis on February 5, 2000 that Afghan jehad had shifted
to Kashmir, to the lie that he will not become the President to the lie that
no referendum will be held to hang on to power to the lie that A.Q Khan
alone was responsible for nuclear black market the record of the regime is
studded with blatant untruths and shameless lies.
It is a pity that Dr. Sher Afghan should have allowed to either stoop so low
as to concoct lies or be deceived by his new military masters.
The PPP challenges the regime to produce the dates of the so called
conversations between Mohtarma and General Musharraf, the spokesman said.
It is the fate of a desperate and despotic regime to twist and turn as it
fails to divide the opposition, he said.
Another Mehran Bank
scandal in the making
PPP demands probe and steps to avert run on depositors' money
Islamabad June 1, 2006:
Pakistan Peoples Party has demanded a thorough probe and unmasking of the
real faces behind the Crescent Standard Investment Bank Limited (CSIBL)'s
reported involvement in serious financial crimes that has threatened the
hard earned income of depositors.
In a statement today former Federal Minister and Secretary General of the
Federal Council of the Pakistan Peoples Party Khalid Khan Kharal warned that
a Mehran Bank type scandal was brewing that must be averted by timely steps
regardless of the high position of the people involved.
The real faces behind the brewing scandal must be unearthed as reportedly a
federal Minister had interests in the Bank and was using his influence to
protect it from action even as the Bank's activities had come under serious
question, he said.
The PPP leader said that from the reports of the Company's auditors and of
the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) it had become obvious
that Crescent Bank was involved in hiding its liabilities and was now
seeking to be bailed out by the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).
The irregularities committed by the Bank include maintaining six fake
accounts, hiding Rs 6 billion liabilities and making transaction with a
dubious offshore company, he said.
The SECP reported that CSIBL was maintaining six accounts in the name of
Jhang Electric Supply Corporation that "were not reported in the printed
general ledger of Lahore branch of the bank". Assets of Rs 5.252 billion
were hidden in parallel books, the SECP report has said.
The report of auditors prepared for the Bank have corroborated the findings
of the SECP saying also that liabilities were mainly borrowed from financial
The SECP report said Crescent Bank had entered into Musharaka transactions
with a private developer for investing 1.540 billion rupees in real estate
violating banking regulations as the bank does not have a housing finance
Khalid Kharal said that it appeared that the same people were behind the
CSIBL who were also accused of wrongdoing in the first bidding for the
United Bank Limited to Mian Mansha Group that had to be cancelled after
public outcry and protests by the State Bank of Pakistan.
He said that if inquiries were held it might reveal the names of people who
operated slush funds and invested it in real estate market and in stock
exchanges in the country and abroad.
He said that investigations should be made as to who were paid 335 million
rupees by the Bank as commission on the purchase of shares in Creek Marina,
a project of the DHA Karachi. Khalid Kharal warned against pressuring the
NBP and the Bank of Punjab for bailing out the Crescent Standard Investment
Bank saying that such a step would jeopardise these very financial