By Dr Shahid Qureshi
Don’t say a word to Asif Ali Zardari the President of Pakistan especially selectively critical media persons who criticise President, army, ISI, religious parties but are rightly scared of Karachi based foreign funded and run mafias. Those who are criticising President day and night for financial and political corruption, bad governance, law and order should stop immediately. He is not alone and cannot do all this corruption on his own? He has a long line of ‘assets’ working for him both openly and secretly apart from those foreign dignitaries who come to assist his regime. Surely his team has learnt the trick of getting things done and by ‘bypassing the system of government and state’.
While having dinner in 2006 late Benazir Bhutto asked me in London’s Kundan Restaurant; “shall we make ‘Nelson Mandela’ (Asif Zardari) prime minister of Pakistan”? I replied to her quietly; “well you are the leader of the party and surely you can make a decision”. Later she called Wajid Shamsulhasan and told him: “keep in contact with me (Shahid Qureshi) ”. (Wajid Shamas Hassan is current high commissioner of Pakistan in UK).
Billion dollar question is how Asif Zaradri managed to survive all that time and defeated all the conspiracies against him? ‘He did it with outside help’. It is like someone who never studied but passed all the exams. In short all the ‘foreign assets’ across the board in Pakistan followed the instructions in supporting his (Zardari) regime.
A senior journalist said to me: “why do you think famous lawyers Asma Jhangir and Atizaz Ahsan both jumped in support of the regime which is the most corrupt and treacherous? Surely someone must have asked them to do so. Otherwise who would dirty their hands and reputation with this filth?” That is true in all spheres of Pakistani elite.
“Did Pakistan People’s Party conduct an internal poll and after finding out that you (Atizaz Ahsan) is the most popular leader who could replace Benazir Bhutto in the party, and after finding the out the results you were deliberately ignored by the leadership (and replaced by Jhangir Badar)”, His (Atizaz Ahsan) response was; ‘That is true’. I asked Atizaz Ahsan famous Pakistani lawyer in Pakistan High Commission London few years ago. Historically PPP never allowed any powerful leadership to grow from Punjab but on the other hand people in Punjab always supported Zulifqar Bhutto and the rest.
In April 2008 (after PPPP formed government in Pakistan) while travelling as a British media delegate to Pakistan I met Atizaz Ahsan again at Lahore airport. We travelled to Islamabad on the same flight. I reconfirmed with him what he told me few years ago in London. Atizaz Ahsan ran a successful campaign but his own party (PPP) let him and Pakistan down by not restoring the illegally deposed Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry chief justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan as promised. While collecting our luggage at Islamabad air port I told him (Atizaz Ahsan) that, “reformers and feudal cannot work together”. Surely as a lawyer Mr Ahsan is allowed to choose his client but representing Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani and his government which is not only most corrupt as well as involved in ignoring the orders of the Supreme Court, installing, hiring, and appointing, convicted criminals on sensitive and high positions. A senior analyst said, ‘Atazaz was a pseudo intellectual like many others who took his fair share in the fruits of government by seemingly taking legitimate contracts of LPG.
It is not a mere coincident that current Pakistani regime of Asif Zardari has stolen $94 billion in four years without any support both outside and inside of Pakistan. His regime is fully supported in money laundering i.e. illegal transfer of state money outside Pakistan and deposit in foreign banks and investment in properties and businesses all over the world.
“Pakistan has lost an unbelievably high amount, more than Rs8,500 billion (Rs8.5 trillion or US$94 billion), in corruption, tax evasion and bad governance during the last four years of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s tenure, Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) claims. The TIP advisor, Adil Gillani, told The News that the real impact of corruption in the country’s economy is far more than what is generally estimated or what is formally uncovered. He believes that Pakistan does not need even a single penny from the outside world if it effectively checks the menace of corruption and ensures good governance. Adil Gillani, the TIP representative, who too has been haunted by the government during these years for producing corruption reports, explained that the TIP pointed out corruption of Rs390 billion in 2008, Rs450 billion in 2009, Rs825 billion in 2010 and Rs1,100 billion in 2011 under the present regime. The total of these identified cases of corruption is Rs2,765 billion; reported Ansar Abbasi of The News.
One must salute the producer and writer of Indian movie ‘Knockout’ released not long ago. The theme of the movie is political, financial corruption and how to get money back from the Swiss Banks into the (India) country. Pakistan should write to Swiss Government asking for information about money deposited in its banks by Pakistani nationals. Indian politicians surely are more politically mature than Pakistanis but both are corrupt as each other the only difference is that Indians ask for their ‘cuts’ in agreements after but Pakistanis asked for their ‘cuts’ before the agreement and leave the companies decide the prices’ said a senior bureaucrat.
“Pakistan cannot be left on its own devices”, said a diplomat in a TV program in London. It is that patronage of the corrupt politicians and actors by foreign governments which made Asif Zardari survive all that time?
Well done Mr President.