By Dr Shahid Qureshi –
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. PTI leader Imran Khan called him the most corrupt man of Pakistan. He alleged him that he has been taking money from foreigners including Osama bin Laden. Sharifs started their businesses in Gwalmandi (Ram Gali) in Lahore and have reached to Park Lane in London and Dubai.
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. Somehow Mian Sharif managed to reach General Jill, as General Ghulam Jilani Governor of Punjab in General Zia’s regime He requested General Jillani 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.
According to Asia Week, Rehman Malik current Interior minister and key holder of Zardari’s safe produced 200-page report of Mian Nawz Sharif’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 give 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 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.
The angry and sarcastic and undermining policy and attitude of Nawaz Sharif against the military is deplorable, when thousands of soldiers have lost their lives in war against terror and India while his sons, son in laws (son of Ishaq Dar, The Finance minister of the regime) and nephews (Shabaz Sharif’s sons) are doing multi-billion dollar businesses abroad including with India. Pakistani politicians including Nawaz Sharif can only have moral high ground on others once they prove themselves.
Ishaq Dar is also ‘bent’ like others in the family and main supporter of the MQM-A. He reportedly was behind the escape of MQM-A Babar Ghauri former port and shipping minister who was a waiter in a hotel and now one of MQM-A’s billionaires. It is reported that under pressures from abroad Nawaz regime is giving oxygen to the treacherous MQM-A party and inadvertently undermining the Karachi operation?
According to media reports Ishaq Dar’s own father was in renting bicycles and transport business. He was main character in the BBC documentary made about the money laundering and corruption of Nawaz Sharif. “From Pakistan to Park Lane -Nawaz Sharif Money Laundering Scandal” – http://www.unewstv.com/7903/bbc-documentary-on-the-corruption-of-nawaz-sharif-and-money-laundering
One thing is common among almost all Pakistani politicians and Generals is that all of them have their children or grandchildren living, studying abroad with foreign nationalities or married to foreign nationals. Hypocritically 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 (Arif Habib Memon, Riaz Lal Jee, and similar breed) 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.
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and chief editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Kazakhstan 2015 and 2016 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. He wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Imam Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ also studied Law at a British University. He speaks at Cambridge University)
Views expressed are not of The London Post