Politicians used military dictators to make billions?

By Dr Shahid Qureshi

Pakistan armed forces like Britain are ‘voluntary forces’ anyone who full fill requirement can join the forces and an officer may become a general probably after 30 years of service and couple of dozen exams and interviews. On the other hand no such thing training is required for ‘family based politicians’. How many exams and political internships Mr Bilawal Zardari, Humza Shabaz, Monis Elahi, Mosa Gillani, Asfand Yar Wali, Fazal ur Rehman have done and /or passed? They are all parachuted in politics and imposed on people via so called political parties run like business? A doctor's son cannot become doctor automatically but a politician's son/daughter/ grandson/son in law/nephew/niece can become rulers without any qualification. 

People of Pakistan are feeling sick and tired to rhetoric that dictators ruled this country for long time and politicians were not given chance. Truth of the matter is that when dictators were ruling all these politicians were with them? They collaborated in the military takeovers and then joined their cabinets? In the end of the day it is the responsibility of political leadership to prove that they are credible and rule worthy? Soldiers all over the world sign their ‘death warrants’ at the time of joining as part of their oath? Those Pakistan army soldiers who are under tons of ice and snow in Siachen surely don’t have villas in Spain, Dubai, London and Washington? Politicians did not bother to visit them in this time of distress. If they were British, US or NATO soldiers their leaders would have been on the spot within 24 hours but Pakistani president ‘Supreme Commander’ went to visit a holy grave in India donated $1 million while his soldiers were buried alive and waiting for help to arrive. Professional politicians don’t sign anything of this kind.

They just send the soldiers to die in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kashmir, and Africa? In proper democracies when soldiers are at war no one criticise them? But in Pakistan so called dodgy democrats don’t go and see their own soldiers at war, don’t spend time with them, military bashing is ‘national sport’ of all most all the politicians? I think all the parliamentarians must spend couple of weeks with the soldiers and realise that soldiers are not mere security guards and /or watchman? In a TV documentary an Israeli soldier said to a religious cleric (who are exempted from military service), ‘we are dying for you and you are praying for us’. I don’t know how many Pakistani politicians have visited the bereaved families of over five thousand soldiers and security forces officials? On the other hand none of the politicians ZA Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and their governments have failed to charge and/or convict three dictators General Ayub Khan, General Zia ul Haq and General Pervez Musharaf for any kind of personal financial corruptions in past 50 years? 

The whole world is witness to the corruption by few hundred politicians in a short span. That does not mean that all the Generals were innocent. “The personal wealth of Musharaf's key generals is estimated at £3.5m a head. And Musharaf himself, who has a combined salary of £700 a month for his jobs as president and army chief, has acquired a real-estate portfolio worth £5m”, according to The Guardian’s report, “The plot to bring back Benazir” published on 21st July 2007. The two bed room flat of Pervez Musharaf is like a servant quarter of Zardari’s multi million £ Surry Palace (Rockwood Estate) and Nawaz Sharif’s Park Lane flats £ million a room? On the other hand Zardari – Benazir Bhutto’s assets worth more than $ 2billion according to (Nawaz Sharif) Saifurahman and according to (NAB) National Accountability Bureau figure was around $1.2bn [£ 830m] until 1996.

Nawaz Sharif’s family business group Ittefaq’s turn over in 1981 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. These were the accounts of profits and companies which were openly known to public. Shariff family’s declared annual profits from industrial units had increased 1500% from US$ 30 million to staggering US$ 400 million until 1995. Illegal use of ‘influence’ is also corruption? Chaudhry Shujat Hussain and his family also come from a humble back ground and have become billionaires in few years while sticking with General Pervez Musharaf. 

While looking at the above it is evident that Pakistani politicians have used the military dictators to further their careers and earned billions. Those who are asking for Musharaf to be brought to be justice must also bring all the beneficiaries to the account too, who have supported military dictators? It is time for the armed forces of Pakistan to seriously review their performance and actions of past six decades. It is quite clear that both ZA Bhutto and Nawaz Shariff were grown in the military green houses? As a politician there is no comparison of ZA Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif but both have used army generals to progress their careers? 

Many brilliant army officers couldn’t reach at the rank of chief of army staff because Ayub Khan, Zia ul Haq and Pervez Musharaf broke the military rules and norms. By doing that they had harmed their own institution but it is the corrupt politicians who are the winners? Those who were making water pumps worth few million Rupees like Nawaz Sharif and like Zaradri running cinema entertainment business become billionaires, president and prime ministers in matter of years with the backings of the army generals. Not like Bill Gate off course!!! Investing in politics is not bad business at all in Pakistan. According to Asia Week, Rehman Malik, Benzair Bhutto’s close ally 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. “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 Butt and decorate him with the badges purchased from Sadar Bazar Rawalpindi, MNS must be thinking in his spare time? 

On March 2nd, 2006, a Karachi based English daily Dawn 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 Jeffery and was established in 2000. 

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According to Pakistani analyst; “Zardari regime is being run by international plotters and cons? Surely he is being used as a front to advance the sinister agenda which is making him feel that he is taking revenge from the ‘military’ for the murder of his wife Benazir Bhutto. He will be disposed of accordingly. His hate and ‘democratic revenge’ cost Pakistan lives of thousands of innocent civilians and security officials in Pakistan especially in Karachi since 2008. That is what he means by ‘democracy is the best revenge’? One can see how the whole system of ‘state craft’ comes to protect the corrupt pawns of this regime. They are successful in pitting institutions of judiciary, media, parliament, security, and military against each other. It is this ‘international cabal’ which is running the government of Pakistan. All the actions taken by the current government has harmed Pakistanis more than anyone else. These spines less people are cowards and compromised? 

They are using Zardari in the name of ‘democratic revenge’. One can predict that corrupt rulers of Pakistan will not be able to use their stolen wealth abroad because London and Washington will no more be safe heavens for stolen wealth. We will soon hear like the following: ‘A Nigerian ex-governor jailed for fraud in London last week (17 April 2012)’, according to media reports: “A former Nigerian state governor was jailed by a British court for 13 years on Tuesday for his part in a $250 million fraud of state funds. James Ibori, 49, who was governor of Nigeria's oil-rich Delta State between 1999 and 2007, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in London. 

Scotland Yard says that during his two terms as governor, Ibori “systematically stole funds from the public purse, secreting them in bank accounts across the world”, in a fraud worth $250 million. In February, Ibori pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money, five of money laundering and one of obtaining a property transfer by deception. He also admitted conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to make false instruments, and one count of money laundering linked to a $37-million share fraud surrounding the sale of shares in Nigerian company V Mobile. Ibori “deliberately and systematically defrauded the people whose interests he had been elected to represent”, said Sue Patten, head of Britain's Crown Prosecution Service central fraud group. Britain's International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said corruption was a “cancer” in the developing world and the sentence sent a strong message to people eyeing Britain “as a refuge for their crimes”. “We are committed to rooting out corruption wherever it is undermining development, and will help bring its perpetrators like Ibori to justice and return stolen funds to help the world's poorest,” he said in a statement. – Sapa-AFP” 

This sham democracy must be replaced with real democracy with power to the people living in Pakistan. Any one opted to live abroad must be barred from taking part in Pakistani politics and voting must be compulsory for all Pakistanis like Australia?


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