By Dr Shahid Qureshi –
One can safely say that current ruling Pakistani elite including political, civil, business and military have sold Pakistan as much as for roughly $8 billion worth of assets abroad. This rough estimate is based on the available figures of two leading figures in Pakistani politics Nawaz Sharif & Brothers Limited and Zardari & Co Limited who have properties and assets abroad mainly in the USA, UK, Europe and else where. The others are Chaudhry brothers of PML-Q, ANP leader Asfandyar Wali, Rehman Malik and others also have assets abroad. British national and self exiled MQM-A leader Altaf Hussain is also part of political sharks in terms of assets abroad. The foreign assets of other politicians like Imran Khan and religious parties are not yet reported. But one can not rule anything out.
One thing is common among almost all Pakistani politicians and Generals is that all of them have their children or grand children living, studying abroad with foreign nationalities or married to foreign nationals. Hypercritically those who shout the loudest against the US have send their sons and daughters their too. There is another class who has assets abroad and that is members of civil, military establishments and corrupt business elite. They are the protectors of the assets of these politicians. They teach them the tricks of ‘sophisticated bank robberies’, wiping out their bank loans, taking commissions from international firms and safely depositing them abroad. There is a tiny minority in Karachi, who is ready to serve any one and every one in terms of money laundering, playing with the currency exchange rates and provides help in the flight of capital out of Pakistan. They place their members on high positions in the disguise of ‘great community workers’ but in actual fact these people are responsible for funding terrorism and gang warfare in Karachi to all sides.
They act as a bank for enemies of Pakistan. Their media channels follow the lines of the enemies of Pakistan in media and psychological warfare. They are the champions of flourishing of ‘black economy’ in Pakistan. That is why we find them in almost each and every financial scandal in the known memory of Pakistani corruption. Most of the above got these properties and assets by robbing Pakistan and selling its sovereignty. The so called business community of Karachi is at the fore front in facilitating the flight of capital abroad and later investments in their projects. They are in the ‘gold circle’ of the current regime and so called elite. They are the real gangsters and worst than target killers.
After reading most of JIT (Joint Investigation Team) reports of target killers from Karachi one can safely say these are the poor people living in deprived areas killing around innocent people on the orders of shady elite living in posh areas with guards in big mansions. One can find this so called business community in all shady deals and working as bank for any one and every one especially the nasty neighbours. In London they have readymade business plans for Pakistani crooks and cons with money. Some of them regularly attend religious gatherings and give large sums in charity to get credibility among the clerics. Without knowing the source of the money some clerics do special prayers for them. Some of them are notorious for frequently doing ‘bankruptcies’, insolvencies as well as running special religious TV channels.
Well money can buy you anything? That is how they get their people placed on the influential positions with access to sensitive information. This is the small minority of people has held Pakistan hostage to the foreigners just to protect their assets, properties, foreign nationalities and green cards. The freezing of assets of Arab leaders after the Arab spring in the past few months should be a wake up call and lesson for others? The lesson is your money is safer in your own country than a foreign plastic platinum card in your back pockets. Bashing of Pakistan’s military both as an institution and its generals for both right and wrong reasons is quite fashionable. Pakistan’s military and nuclear assets are the main target of the enemies and so called friends. Pakistan’s army is a voluntary force; everybody can join the army and may be after the 30 years of service an officer become a general, others retires as they go along their careers.
“The personal wealth of Pakistani generals is estimated at £3.5m a head’, according to The Guardian’s report, “The plot to bring back Benazir” published on 21st July 2007. The musical chair of politicians and military is harming the existence of Pakistan. The elite of Pakistan are institutionally corrupt and now become an organised ‘mafia’. Scandals of ‘steel mills’, sugar mills, cement; stock exchange has broken the records of previous corruptions. The culprits are from both opposition and ruling party. Few years ago Zardari – Benazir Bhutto assets worth more than $ 2 billion according to Saifurahman and according to NAB figure are around $1.2bn [£ 830m]. Raja Bashir of The Pakistani National Accountability Bureau told The Guardian that, “Ms Bhutto has 26 bank accounts, 14 properties and total assets of one billion sterling pounds abroad. We are very glad that other countries are cooperating with us.” On March 2, 2006, The Dawn newspaper reported that Benazir’s assets in Spain ‘unearthed’, The National Accountability Bureau claimed to have unearthed two more offshore companies and a villa in Spain owned by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. A spokesman of the bureau said that judicial authorities of Spain had frozen assets of two Sharjah-based companies, Petroline and Tempo Global Gains, as well as their six bank accounts. The villa worth half million Euros, allegedly owned by Ms Bhutto and her three children, Bilawal Zardari, Bakhtawar Zardari and Aseefa Zardari in Playas Del Arenal, Marbella, had also been seized by the High Court of the Valencia province, the NAB claimed.
The NAB official said the Petroline Company was owned by Ms Bhutto, former FIA director-general Rehman Malik and Hassan Ali Jafferi and was established in 2000. Nawaz Sharif had no connection with the feudal elite. His family moved from Jati Umra near Amirtasr and by 1960 they owned a few modest size factories – iron foundry, ice making, and water pump factory. Some how Mian Sharif managed to reach General Jill, as General Ghulam Jilani Governor of Punjab in General Zia’s regime He literally begged to give a break in politics to Nawaz Sharif. That is how he got into the military’s chicken farm and his factories started laying golden eggs. Nawaz Sharif was appointed as finance minister of Punjab in 1983. In 1981 the family business group Ittefaq’s turnover was Rs. 337 million, but by 1987 it had soared to at least Rs. 2,500 million, that is according to the group’s own accounts. Within four years Ittefaq had become one of the wealthiest private industrial groups in Pakistan. ‘Hard work and grace of Allah’ explained Shabaz Sharif. One can imagine the miraculous growth in the assets of billions now. Investing in politics is not bad business at all in Pakistan.
According to Asia Week, Rehman Malik current Interior minister and key holder of Zardari’s safe produced 200-page report of MNS’s corruption. The secret document was leaked to the London-based Observer newspaper published details of alleged corruption involving the MNS and his family. According to the report, the Sharif family obtained loans from Pakistani state banks for business purposes and illegally converted the money into foreign exchange worth at least $66 million. According to the report, the Sharif family acquired properties in London through two companies, Nescoll and Nielson Enterprises, registered in the British Virgin Islands and linked to a bank account in Lahore in the name of a fictitious person: Sulman Zia. The four flats in Avendale House in Park Lane are said to be worth at least £ 750,000, which worth millions of pounds keeping in view the current housing market in London. Not a bad deal! What clinched the appointment for Nawaz Sharif as PM was a word to the presidency by the then ISI chief Lt. Gen Hamid Gull, that the army believed he was a better choice. General Hamid Gull now regrets his misjudgement. Subsequently the President also dismissed him. Nawaz Sharif’s problem was power: a pathological crass compounded by crass incompetence. Nawaz Sharif also seemed to be an ungrateful person.
He did not feel any obligation towards president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, nor did he ever say ‘thank you’ to General Hamid Gull’. The smart business minded ‘Abbaji’ late father of Nawaz Sharif invited General Asif Nawaz to his Lahore residence. After a fatherly ‘tête-à-tête’, Abbaji told the new army chief that he was like his son and requested him to take his two sons Nawaz and Shabaz under his wings: and also told the ‘children’ that they must follow and never disregard the General Sahib’s advice. And one last thing Abbaji said to the General Sahib, as he came to see him out off at the porch of his house, ‘my both children have a Mercedes each, and here is the key to yours; you are like a son to me.’ It didn’t work with General Asif Nawaz, he felt offended and therefore, instead of being able to buy the General, Nawaz Sharif had instead lost his respect too. “I sent Ghaus Ali Shah to gave a lift home to General Musharaf and inform him that he has been deposed in absence said Nawaz Sharif while addressing a meeting in Manchester in July 2007.
How intelligent was to promote engineering corp’s, Kashmiri, General Zia and decorate him with the badges purchased from Sadar Bazar Rawalpindi, MNS must be thinking in his spare time? Majeed Nizami editor of the Nawa-e-waqat a closest ally of Nawaz Sharif had to remark that they used to regard Benazir Bhutto as a ‘security risk’, it seemed Nawaz Sharif was a greater security risk. He was indeed the worst thing that had happened to Pakistan since independence. Whether it was money, morals or security, the nation found it difficult to trust him. His recent speech at SAFMA attracted lot of controversies. MNS don’t believe in reading and learning? It is interesting that when Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri freedom fighters were battling against the Indian army on the freezing heights of Kargil, Nawaz Sharif’s business proxies were selling sugar to India . India did not need to import any sugar and yet if Vajpayee had accepted to buy Pakistani sugar it was only to sweeten his relationship with Nawaz Sharif.
It is highly significant that when the Kargil crisis broke out both George Fernandez and K S Sudarshan, the former a socialist and India’s defence minister and the later leader of BJP militant wing RSS themselves exculpate Nawaz Sharif of any blame. If the Indians were trying to protect Nawaz Sharif, they must have had very good reasons to do so. It is this selfish and opportunist behaviour that made these leaders make decisions against the interests of Pakistani state? Take the example of US aid to Pakistan and kind of work these people agree to do in return. More recently angry and sarcastic attitude of Nawaz Sharif against the military is deplorable, when thousands of soldiers have lost their lives while his sons and nephews are doing multi million dollar businesses abroad. Pakistani politicians including Nawaz Sharif can only have moral high ground on others once they prove themselves.
That they look after Pakistan’s national interests more than their personal wealth hidden abroad. They don’t take decisions which harm the interests of Pakistan just because their assets could be frozen abroad. The US aid to Pakistan has actually proven to be a ‘rip off and fraud’ by financial terrorists of Wall Steers. There is no doubt that US has caused more than $70 billion losses to Pakistan since 2001. On the other hand only aided/lend or both $22.87 billion from 1950 to 2010. Most part of that aid actually never arrived in Pakistan as it was paid to your defence and military complexes back in the USA. This rip off could only be possible if people mentioned above have prostituted themselves for personal interests.
Breakdown of US aid as reported: total US Aid: $22.87 billion in 64 years & losses to Pakistan: $100 billion
1950-1964 2.5bn economic and 500 m military aid
1965-1979 2.55 billion economic and 26 million military
1980-1990 5 billion military and economic aid
1991-2000 429 million economic and $5.2 million military
2001-2009 3.6 billion economic and 9 billion military
2009-2015 7.5 billion approved under Kerry Lugar Bill aid mostly non military ($1.5 billion per year)
Almost all the regimes of Pakistan have been prostituting with the enemies by deliberately harming the state of Pakistan and following IMF agenda e.g. gas and electric shortages to destroy the industrial infrastructure, Railways and Pakistan Steel. They have ignored the risks and challenges concerning the US lead military occupation of Afghanistan and drone attacks on Pakistan. Pakistan has suffered approximately $70 billion economic, human losses, structural damages to roads and bridges deployed more than 147,800 troops conducting combat operations in the tribal areas along the Afghan border. The Pakistan armed forces has lost more than 3,200 soldiers, with another 6,400 injured.
They sustain an average of 10 casualties each day, and approximately 35,000 Pakistani civilians killed by suicide bombers and terrorism. US policies around the world and especially in Pakistan created refugees and approximately 2 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in SWAT and FATA to further destabilize the country. Millions of people in Pakistan are waiting to be fully rehabilitated; 2.5 million Afghan refugees are a burden on the economy of Pakistan as well as causing social problems.
They can’t go back to Afghanistan as US and NATO have occupied Afghanistan and fighting an unwinnable war. One can assume that Pakistani nation suffered both human and financial losses only because this small minority of people have their few billion dollars worth assets in USA, UK, Dubai, Malaysia and Europe. If current regime and political stake holders in government really sincere with Pakistan, they should bring their money back to Pakistan. They can enjoy their wealth and it will be safe and unfrozen.
A bird (dollar) in the hand is much better than two (dollars) in the Bush(land).
updated by Faisal Qureshi – web editor The London Post