1. 1. CORRUPTION CASES
Nawaz Sharif and his cronies have always been working to plunder Pakistan’s wealth as their sole agenda. He expanded his business empire by misusing his authority as Chief Minister Punjab and Prime Minister Pakistan. And in order to gain financial benefits, he manipulated laws and changed policies. Likewise, in a bid to avoid accountability, the Nawaz Sharif Government amended “The Ehtasaab Act” and made it effective from “1990” instead of “1985” as proposed in the original text of the “Ehtasaab Act” prepared by the interim government of caretaker Prime Minister (Late) Mairaj Khalid (1996-97). And by bringing this change he cunningly saved his tenure of Chief Minister Punjab (1985-88) from accountability.
Despite all maneuvering following references were filed against the Sharifs:-
Friday, January 3, 2014
The ownership of the Raiwind palace spread over thousands of acres is a mystery because it has never been mentioned in the statements of assets and liabilities of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other members of his family in politics. Even latest declarations submitted by Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shahbaz Sharif, son-in-law Captain Mohammad Safdar and nephew Hamza Shahbaz to the Election Commission of Pakistan are silent on the ownership title of the huge property. But Information Minister Pervez Rasheed told Dawn that the property was in the name of Shamim Sharif, mother of the Sharif brothers. The statements of assets show that the Sharif brothers have much in common. Both live in houses not owned by them. Nawaz Sharif lives in a house owned by his mother while Shahbaz Sharif resides in a house owned by his spouse Nusrat. Both use Land Cruisers gifted to them by unspecified persons. Both have multiple foreign and local currency accounts, own huge agricultural land and have investments in industrial units like sugar, textile and paper mills. The most visible dissimilarity is the rapid growth in the value of assets owned by the elder brother and continuous decline in the value of assets possessed by the younger brother. Another dissimilarity is that Shahbaz Sharif has two properties in the United Kingdom, but Nawaz Sharif has no assets abroad. Till the time of elections in May last year, Shahbaz was richer than Nawaz — though none of them a billionaire — but things are different now. According to the recent declaration, the value of Nawaz Sharif’s wealth has registered a six-fold increase in just 12 months to make him a billionaire for the first time. According to statements of assets and liabilities, the net worth of Nawaz Sharif’s assets was Rs261.6 million in 2012 and of Shahbaz Sharif Rs336.9m. In 2011, the assets of the two brothers were worth Rs166m and Rs393m, indicating an increase of Rs95.6m and decrease of Rs56.5m, respectively. In 2013, the value of assets of Nawaz Sharif ballooned to Rs1.82bn while that of Shahbaz Sharif slipped further to Rs142m. Incidentally, Shahbaz Sharif has more stakes abroad than in the country. He owns properties and bank account worth Rs138.28m in the UK. He has three loans worth 117.10m in Pakistani rupees in British banks. The younger brother has not disclosed the value of five properties with net area of around 676 kanal in Lahore – all gifted by his mother. He has Rs51.96m cash in hand and Rs7.27m in his sole bank account in the country. Mrs Nusrat, the first wife of Mr Shahbaz, had assets worth Rs273.46m on June 30 last year. It was Rs224.56m a year earlier. She has Rs14.34m cash in hand and Rs1.95m in her five bank accounts. The assets of Mrs Tehmina, the second wife of Shahbaz Sharif, are worth Rs9.83m. They were Rs7.64m last year. She has five bank accounts – two in Pound Sterling, one in dollar and two in Pak rupees, but the money in these accounts is only Rs23,770. She has cash in hand and prize bonds worth Rs750,000 and two cars. Kalsoom Nawaz, the wife of Nawaz Sharif, has net wealth of Rs235.85m, which is much less than that of Mrs Nusrat Shahbaz. Mrs Kalsoom has land and a house in Changa Gali, Abbottabad, worth Rs63.75m, a bungalow on Mall Road in Murree worth Rs100m, 88 kanal of land in Sheikhupura worth Rs70m, jewellery of Rs1.5m and shares in family businesses. She has Rs67,555 cash in hand and Rs55,765 in banks. Hamza Shahbaz is wealthier than his father with net assets of Rs250.46m. He has two wives. The wealth of his first wife is Rs2.45m and that of the second is Rs9.88m. Capt Safdar’s wealth is worth Rs14.23m. He owns a car which his wife Marium received as a gift from the UAE.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Appeal to the Following to put Visa and other restrictions on Shahbaz Sharif and Rana Sanullah: United Nations US State Department UK Home Office EU Parliament Other countries and organisations The sanctions on CM Shahbaz and Rana Sanaullah may include: 1. Cancellation of any pre-existing visas; 2. Complete ban on issuing any kind of visas in the future; 3. Stopping national (public, private) and international organisations from engaging in any type of commercial or non-commercial businesses owned by these individuals; 4. Stopping all donations given to these individuals or the organisations they own or manage; 5. Freezing their bank accounts; and 6. Placing details of these individuals and organisations on the international database of terrorist organisations and individuals Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanullah are complicit in pogroms against Shias, Sunnis, Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians. In the aftermath of the Godhra incident, Narendra Modi, the then chief minister of Gujrat, India,, was deemed to be culpable and briefly denied entry in the United States. In Pakistan, the continuing anti-Shia, anti-Sunni Barelvi, anti-Ahmadi, anti-Christian pogroms have a far deeper involvement by the State and the current government. If Modi was deemed culpable for not doing anything to stop the pogroms against Muslims, the Punjab CM and Law Minister in Pakistan have a far more direct role in the ongoing anti-Shia pogroms in Pakistan. This is a humanitarian and legal appeal to all international organisations and governments including the United Nations, European Union and Governments of UK, France, Germany, USA, Canada, India, Australia and all other countries of the world. This is to request you to consider sanctions on Shahbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah, the key sponsors and patrons of banned Deobandi terrorist organizations namely Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). Both organisations, SSP and LeJ, have overlapping mamebership and ideology, and are known for hate speech and violence against Shia, Sunni Sufi Barelvis, Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus of Pakistan and abroad. Both orgnaizations are known for links with the Salafi Wahhabi and Deobandi terrorists of Al Qaeda, Taliban and other terrorist groups. Both LeJ and SSP are currently freely operating in Pakistan with the new name of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). The organization uses the flag, ideology, charter and leadership of banned SSP. The ASWJ (ex-SSP LeJ) has headquarters in Jhang Punjab and enjoys explicit and implicit support of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Deobandi. ASWJ’s head Ahmed Ludhyanvi Deobandi is known for hate speech against Shias, Sunni Barelvis and Ahmadis while ASWJ’s vice president Malik Ishaq Deobandi was a co-founder of banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Both SSP (ASWJ) and LeJ have been outlaweed not only by the government of Pakistan but also by the governments of the US, UK and other countries.
On November 18, CM Shahbaz held a meeting witha dangerous terrorist, Fazlur-Rehman Khalil, the founder of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and a signatory of Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa called the International Front Against Jews and Crusaders. It has been alleged by Sunni Barelvi, Shia and Ahmadi communities that CM Shahbaz is planning full scale genocide of Sunni Barelvis, Shias, Ahmadis and Christians in Lahore in order to implement a narrow, puritanical Deobandi Wahhabi agenda in Punjab and Pakistan.Earlier in the day, the CM held a meeting with prominent ulema in Rawalpindi to enlist their support against sectarianism. As per sources, the tone and tenor of the CM was strict and serious as he talked to the ulema belonging to various schools of thought. Shahbaz Sharif also issued instructions for provision of alternative place on a temporary basis for the offering of prayers and continuation of education by the students of Madrassa Taaleemul Quran Rawalpindi, which was damaged in the riots. The ulema delegation was led by Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Hanif Jallandhri and Maulana Ashraf Ali and included Maulana Zahid Mahmood Qasmi, Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad, Maulana Qari Abdul Rashid, Maulana Abdul Majeed Hazarvi, Maulana Hafiz Muhammad Siddique, Maulana Dr Atiqur Rehman, Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, Maulana Habibur Rehman, Maulana Yousaf Shah, Maulana Gohar Rehman, Maulana Muhammad Owais and Maulana Qari Sardar Ali among others. Federal Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah were also present. http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/18-Nov-2013/administrative-judicial-probes-to-nail-culprits-rawalpindi-tragedy-curfew-lifted-angered-cm Punjab government’s provincial Labour Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar thanked Ulema on behalf of the Punjab government who extended their cooperation for ensuring law and order. He especially thanked Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, Maulana Ashraf Ali, Maulana Hanif Jalandhari and other Ulema for resolving matters between the government and the Ulema amicably. http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-215075-Disinformation-being-spread-through-social-media-Sana
For their culpability in not only allowing but even supporting ASWJ pogroms against Sunni Barelvis, Shias, Christains and Ahmadis, visa restrictions should be placed on Chief Minister Punjab, Pakistan, Shahbaz Sharif and his Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah. The latter also happens to be the cousin of the outgoing Chief Justice whose court has freed a record number of Deobandi terrorists. - See more at: http://lubpak.com/archives/291599#sthash.DG3kITOm.dpuf
Monday, May 13, 2013
Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Noam Chomsky, is without doubt the most widely heard and read public intellectual alive today. Although trained in linguistics, he has written on and extensively critiqued a wide range of topics, including US foreign policy, mainstream media discourses and anarchist philosophy. Chomsky’s work in linguistics revolutionised the field and he has been described as the ‘father of modern linguistics‘. Professor Chomsky, along with other luminaries such as Howard Zinn and Dr Eqbal Ahmad, came into prominence during the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s and has since spoken in support of national liberation movements (and against US imperialism) in countries such as Palestine, El Salvador and Nicaragua. In fact, his prolificacy in terms of academic and non-academic writing has earned him a spot among the ten most cited sources of all time (alongside Aristotle, Marx and Plato). Now in his mid-80s, Professor Chomsky shows no signs of slowing down and maintains an active lecturing and interview schedule. Here we caught up with him to get his views on upcoming Pakistani elections, American influence in the region and other issues. As a country which has spent almost half of its existence under some sort of direct military rule how do you see this first ever impending transition from one democratically-elected government to another? Noam Chomsky: Well, you know more about the internal situation of Pakistan than I do! I mean I think it’s good to see something like a democratic transition. Of course, there are plenty of qualifications to that but it is a big change from dictatorship. That’s a positive sign. And I think there is some potential for introducing badly needed changes. There are very serious problems to deal with internally and in the country’s international relations. So maybe, now some of them can be confronted. Coming to election issues, what do you think, sitting afar and as an observer, are the basic issues that need to be handled by whoever is voted into power? NC: Well, first of all, the internal issues. Pakistan is not a unified country. In large parts of the country, the state is regarded as a Punjabi state, not their (the people’s) state. In fact, I think the last serious effort to deal with this was probably in the 1970s, when during the Bhutto regime some sort of arrangement of federalism was instituted for devolving power so that people feel the government is responding to them and not just some special interests focused on a particular region and class. Now that’s a major problem. Another problem is the confrontation with India. Pakistan just cannot survive if it continues to do so (continue this confrontation). Pakistan will never be able to match the Indian militarily and the effort to do so is taking an immense toll on the society. It’s also extremely dangerous with all the weapons development. The two countries have already come close to nuclear confrontation twice and this could get worse. So dealing with the relationship with India is extremely important. And that of course focuses right away on Kashmir. Some kind of settlement in Kashmir is crucial for both countries. It’s also tearing India apart with horrible atrocities in the region which is controlled by Indian armed forces. This is feeding right back into society even in the domain of elementary civil rights. A good American friend of mine who has lived in India for many years, working as a journalist, was recently denied entry to the country because he wrote on Kashmir. This is a reflection of fractures within society. Pakistan, too, has to focus on the Lashkar [Lashkar-i-Taiba] and other similar groups and work towards some sort of sensible compromise on Kashmir. And of course this goes beyond. There is Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan which will also be a very tricky issue in the coming years. Then there is a large part of Pakistan which is being torn apart from American drone attacks. The country is being invaded constantly by a terrorist superpower. Again, this is not a small problem. Historically, several policy domains, including that of foreign policy towards the US and India, budget allocations etc, have been controlled by the Pakistani military, and the civil-military divide can be said to be the most fundamental fracture in Pakistan’s body politic. Do you see this changing with recent elections, keeping in mind the military’s deep penetration into Pakistan’s political economy? NC: Yes, the military has a huge role in the economy with big stakes and, as you say, it has constantly intervened to make sure that it keeps its hold on policy making. Well, I hope, and there seem to be some signs, that the military is taking a backseat, not really in the economy, but in some of the policy issues. If that can continue, which perhaps it will, this will be a positive development. Maybe, something like what has happened recently in Turkey. In Turkey also, for a long time, the military was the decisive force but in the past 10 years they have backed off somewhat and the civilian government has gained more independence and autonomy even to shake up the military command. In fact, it even arrested several high-ranking officers [for interfering in governmental affairs]. Maybe Pakistan can move in a similar direction. Similar problems are arising in Egypt too. The question is whether the military will release its grip which has been extremely strong for the past 60 years. So this is happening all over the region and particularly strikingly in Pakistan. In the coming elections, all indications are that a coalition government will be formed. The party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is leading the polls with Imran Khan’s (relatively) newly-emerged party not far behind. Do you think an impending coalition government will be sufficiently equipped to handle the myriad problems facing the country that you have just pointed out, such as civil-military imbalance, drone attacks, extremist violence etc. NC: Well, we have a record for Nawaz Sharif but not the others. And judging by the record, it’s pretty hard to be optimistic. His [Sharif's] previous governments were very corrupt and regressive in the policies pursued. But the very fact that there is popular participation can have impact. That’s what leads to change, as it has just recently in North Africa (in Tunisia and Egypt). As far as change goes, significant change does not come from above, it comes through popular activism. In the past month or so, statements from the US State Department and the American ambassador to Pakistan have indicated quite a few times that they have ‘no favourites’ in the upcoming elections. What is your take on that especially with the impending (formal) US withdrawal from Afghanistan? NC: That could well be true. I do not think that US government has any particular interest in one or another element of an internal political confrontation. But it does have very definite interests in what it wants Pakistan to be doing. For example, it wants Pakistan to continue to permit aggressive and violent American actions on Pakistani territory. It wants Pakistan to be supportive of US goals in Afghanistan. The US also deeply cares about Pakistan’s relationship with Iran. The US very much wants Pakistan to cut relations with Iran which they [Pakistan] are not doing. They are following a somewhat independent course in this regard, as are India, China and many other countries which are not strictly under the thumb of the US. That will be an important issue because Iran is such a major issue in American foreign policy. And this goes beyond as every year Pakistan has been providing military forces to protect dictatorships in the Gulf from their own populations (e.g. the Saudi Royal Guard and recently in Bahrain). That role has diminished but Pakistan is, and was considered to be, a part of the so-called ‘peripheral system’ which surrounded the Middle East oil dictatorships with non-Arab states such as Turkey, Iran (under the Shah) and Pakistan. Israel was admitted into the club in 1967. One of the main purposes of this was to constrain and limit secular nationalism in the region which was considered a threat to the oil dictatorships. As you might know, a nationalist insurgency has been going on in Balochistan for almost the past decade. How do you see it affected by the elections, especially as some nationalist parties have decided to take part in polls while others have decried those participating as having sold out to the military establishment? NC: Balochistan, and to some extent Sindh too, has a general feeling that they are not part of the decision-making process in Pakistan and are ruled by a Punjabi dictatorship. There is a lot of exploitation of the rich resources [in Balochistan] which the locals are not gaining from. As long as this goes on, it is going to keep providing grounds for serious uprisings and insurgencies. This brings us back to the first question which is about developing a constructive from of federalism which will actually ensure participation from the various [smaller] provinces and not just, as they see it, robbing them. It is now well-known that the Taliban’s creation was facilitated by the CIA and the ISI as part of the 1980s anti-Soviet war. But the dynamics of the Taliban now appear to be very different and complex, in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, as they attack governments and mainstream parties. Some people say that foreign intelligence agencies are still behind the Taliban, while others consider this a denial of home-grown problems of extremism and intolerance. How do you view the Taliban in the context of Pakistan? NC: I can understand the idea that there is a conspiracy. In fact, in much of the world there is a sense of an ultra-powerful CIA manipulating everything that happens, such as running the Arab Spring, running the Pakistani Taliban, etc. That is just nonsense. They [CIA] created a monster and now they are appalled by it. It has its roots in internal Pakistani affairs. It’s a horrible development and phenomenon which goes back to radical Islamisation under Zia and taking away the long standing rights of people in the tribal areas (who were left largely alone). The Pashtuns in particular are kind of trapped. They’ve never accepted the Durand Line nor has any Afghan government historically accepted it. Travel from what is called Pakistan to Afghanistan has been made increasingly difficult and people are often labelled terrorists, even those who might be just visiting families. It is a border which makes absolutely no sense. It was imposed by the needs of British imperialism and all of these things are festering sores which have to be dealt with internally. These are not CIA manipulations. Actually, US government policies are continuing to do exactly the same thing [produce terrorism]. Two days after the Boston marathon bombings, there was a drone strike in Yemen attacking a peaceful village, which killed a target who could very easily have been apprehended. But of course it is just easier to terrorise people. The drones are a terrorist weapon, they not only kill targets but also terrorise other people. That is what happens constantly in Waziristan. There happened to be a testimony in the Senate a week later by a young man who was living in the US but was originally from that village [in Yemen which was bombed]. And he testified that for years the ‘jihadi’ groups in Yemen had been trying to turn the villagers against the Americans and had failed. The villagers admired America. But this one terrorist strike has turned them into radical anti-Americans, which will only serve as a breeding ground for more terrorists. There was a striking example of this in Pakistan when the US sent in Special Forces, to be honest, to kill Osama Bin Laden. He could easily have been apprehended and caught but their orders were to kill him. If you remember the way they did it, the way they tried to identify his [Osama’s] position was through a fake vaccination campaign set up by the CIA in the city. It started in a poor area and then when they decided that Osama was in a different area, they cut it off in the middle and shifted [the vaccination campaign] to a richer area. Now, that is a violation of principles which go as far back as the Hippocratic Oath. Well, in the end they did kill their target but meanwhile it aroused fears all over Pakistan and even as far as Nigeria about what these Westerners are doing when they come in and start sticking needles in their arms. These are understandable fears but were exacerbated. Very soon, health workers were being abducted and several were murdered (in Pakistan). The UN even had to take out its whole anti-polio team. Pakistan is one of the last places in the world where polio still exists and the disease could have been totally wiped out from this planet like smallpox. But now, it means that, according to current estimates, there will be thousands of children in Pakistan at risk of contracting polio. As a health scientist at Columbia University, Les Roberts, pointed out, sooner or later people are going to be looking at a child in a wheelchair suffering from polio and will say ‘the Americans did that to him’. So they continue policies which have similar effects i.e. organising the Taliban. This will come back to them too.
Monday, May 6, 2013
A Lashkar-e-Jhangvi-linked alleged terror suspect who has already spent five years in jail on murder charges and had known links with a slain al-Qaeda linchpin Amjad Hussain Farooqi is running for a National Assembly seat from Gujrat on a PML-N ticket. Chaudhry Abid Raza Gujjar had been handed down death sentence under section 302 and section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act 1997 for the murder of six people during a failed assassination attempt on the former Nazim of Gujrat, Ghulam Sarwar Bhooch, in 1998. His nomination papers for the upcoming elections were rejected by Returning Officer Malik Ali Zulqarnain Awan on April 6, 2013 after an independent candidate, Raja Haq Nawaz, took up his conviction on the murder charge as well as his alleged connections with some banned sectarian outfits, including the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). Abid was also listed under Section 11 (E) of the 4th Schedule of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 for his alleged involvement in terrorism-related activities. But strangely enough, he was cleared by an election tribunal of the Lahore High Court on April 18, 2013 to contest the general elections. The PML-N leadership’s decision to award the party ticket for NA-107 to Abid Raza of Kotla Arab Ali Khan Group instead of the party’s district president Malik Hanif Awan has surprised many because Awan and his nephew Jamil Awan had won that seat twice in 2008 general elections and in 2012 by-elections, respectively. According to Awan, the party leadership told him that Hamza Shahbaz had made a commitment to award the PML-N ticket to Abid Raza at the time of the December 2008 by-elections to appease the Kotlas who had also been vying for a PML-N ticket for the by-election. But some PML-N rebels allege that the leadership of a banned sectarian group, which is well-known for its proximity with the PML-N, in Punjab had persuaded the Sharifs to award the ticket to Abid Raza. Nevertheless, the PML-N’s decision to award the party ticket to Abid Raza from NA-107 is equally alarming for the law enforcement agencies which had arrested him many times for interrogation since his 2003 release from Gujranwala Central Jail. It was during his detention in Gujranwala jail on murder charges that Abid had developed close ties with LeJ’s Malik Mohammad Ishaq and Ghulam Rasool Shah who were languishing in the same jail for the May 1997 murder of the SSP Gujranwala Ashraf Marth. While Abid’s appeal against the death sentence was being heard by the Lahore High Court, his family managed to strike a deal with Ghulam Sarwar Bhooch. After an ‘out of court settlement’ between the two groups and the withdrawal of the murder case, Abid Raza was set free on July 3, 2003 from Gujranwala jail. However, he was taken into custody by the intelligence agencies a few months later in connection with the December 2003 twin assassination attempts on Pervez Musharraf by two suicide bombers in Rawalpindi. According to well-informed sources in the law enforcement agencies, Abid Raza was arrested in the wake of intelligence reports that the most wanted al-Qaeda linchpin in Pakistan Amjad Hussain Farooqi had been using the huge haveli/dera of Abid [spanning over more than six kanals] located in the Kotla town (also called Kotla Arab Ali Khan) of the Kotli district of Azad Jammu & Kashmir as his base camp to mastermind and plan the Rawalpindi suicide attacks on Musharraf. The former ameer of the al-Qaeda-sponsored Brigade 313, Commander Ilyas Kashmiri who was killed in a US drone attack on June 4, 2011 in South Waziristan, also belonged to Kotli. Kashmiri was arrested in December 2003 following two failed assassination attempts on Musharraf in Rawalpindi. In 2008, five years after he was named in the bids on Musharraf’s life, Kashmiri was accused of plotting to assassinate General Ashfaq Kayani in Rawalpindi. Ilyas Kashmiri was considered close to Amjad Hussain Farooqi. On September 26, 2004, ten months after Musharraf put the state agencies on his track with Rs20 million on his head, Amjad Farooqi was killed in a shootout in Nawab Shah. In an interview with a private TV channel on June 4, 2004, Musharraf had named Amjad Farooqi, the man who had also masterminded the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl with the help of Sheikh Ahmed Omar Saeed, as the chief plotter of the two failed assassination attempts against him. Amjad Farooqi was killed 50 days after the August 7, 2004 arrest and extradition of the fugitive ameer of the Harkat ul-Jehad al-Islami (HUJI) chief Qari Saifullah Akhtar from Dubai and the ensuing information he had provided to his interrogators. Subsequent investigations revealed that Qari Saifullah, during his stay in the UAE, had actually been tasked by Abu Faraj Al Libbi, the then chief operational commander of al-Qaeda in Pakistan, to carry out the twin suicide attacks on Musharraf. In turn, Qari Saifullah had engaged Amjad Farooqi to plan the attack by hiring two suicide bombers - Khaliq Ahmed and Jameel Suddhan. According to sources in the law enforcement agencies, after being arrested soon after the Musharraf attacks, Abid Raza was taken to Rawalpindi and was interrogated by a Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) composed of officials from numerous agencies and led by the then Corps Commander of Rawalpindi and the current Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani. Abid reportedly conceded to his interrogators that Amjad Hussain Farooqi had been staying at his dera/haveli but he claimed that he never knew that he was an al-Qaeda linked terrorist who was planning to target Musharraf. Abid reportedly maintained that Amjad Farooqi actually came to him with the reference of some of his former inmates from Gujranwala Central Jail (most probably Malik Ishaq and Ghulam Rasool) and that he had nothing to do whatever Farooqi had been planning. Abid Raza was interrogated by the agencies for almost eight months and eventually set free on the intervention of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat who were very close to Musharraf at that time. The Chaudhrys were approached by Chaudhry Naeem Raza, a member of Punjab Assembly on a PML-Q ticket and an advisor to the then Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi (between 2002 and 2007). Naeem Raza is the elder brother of Abid Raza who had to quit as advisor after the arrest of his brother for his alleged involvement in the assassination attempts on Musharraf. However, despite being released, Abid Raza was placed on the 4th schedule of Section of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, under which persons charged with terrorist activities, after being released, are kept under vigilance by the law enforcement agencies. Approached by this correspondent, Naeem Raza confirmed that he had made frantic efforts for the release of his younger brother who was picked up by the ISI for sheltering Amjad Farooqi. “But I never knew that I was paving the way for the release of an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist. I actually came to know of this fact after his release when all kinds of sectarian elements and jihadis started flooding his dera at Kotla Arab Ali Khan. To tell the truth, Abid Raza had once introduced me to Amjad Hussain Farooqi with another name, saying that he was his Ustad. I never knew he was an al-Qaeda operative and was planning to attack Musharraf. After the Rawalpindi attacks on Musharraf, the ISI not only picked up Abid Raza but they also interrogated me as a suspect, only because of my brother’s jihadi links. Brigadier Ejaz Awan of the ISI had shown me a picture and asked if I knew that person. I immediately recognized him and told the Brigadier that he was introduced to me by Abid as his Ustad who was staying at his dera along with several others. But I was literally shattered to know that he was Amjad Farooqi. Frankly speaking, Abid Raza publicly claims to be a key leader of the Punjabi Taliban who had secured the PML-N ticket by assuring the Sharifs that the Taliban won’t target them in their election campaign”, said Naeem Raza who is contesting the coming election on a provincial assembly seat (PP-115) as a PML-Q candidate from Kharian. When approached Abid Raza strongly refuted that he has any terrorist links as being alleged by his “political opponents”. Asked if he was arrested in connection with the Musharraf attacks following his release from Gujranwala jail in a murder case, masterminded by Amjad Farooqi who used to hide at his dera in the Kotli area, Abid Raza said: “You must know that those arrested in connection with the Musharraf attacks were never released. I was seized by the agencies because of the maneouvering of my political opponents. I was taken to Rawalpindi but was finally released because the agencies had nothing against me. My opponents even allege that I was taken to the Guantanamo Bay after being arrested from Afghanistan which is absolutely baseless. That Abid Raza was someone else from Karachi, having the same name”. To another question, Abid refuted having any link either with al-Qaeda, Amjad Farooqi, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or the Sipah-e-Sahaba. But he conceded that he was a diehard Sunni Deobandi, adding that being a Deobandi was not a crime. About the murder case, Abid Raza said he was sentenced to death but was released after spending five years in jail because of an out of court settlement with the rival party as per the Islamic Shariah. As the PML-N spokesman Senator Pervaiz Rasheed was approached by this correspondent and asked as to why an alleged terror suspect was awarded a party ticket by his leadership, he said: “All the allegations (against Abid Raza) had been proved wrong in the court of law and he was released honourably. He was in fact victimised by his influential political rivals of the area who monopolised politics (at that time). Abid Raza had challenged his rivals and fought against them bravely in the court of law to clear his name. His innocence was even acknowledged by the Election Commission of Pakistan which accepted his nomination papers and declared him a bona fide candidate for parliamentary elections”.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Monday, March 11, 2013
The anti-Christian violence in Lahore where 100-plus houses and shops were ransacked, looted and finally set ablaze by a group of fanatics has further blemished the already depressing record of the PML-N government which has mostly failed to protect members of the minority communities from the wrath of the extremists and terrorists. According to careful estimates, during the five-year tenure of Shahbaz Sharif as chief minister of Punjab, over 200 Ahmadis, Christians and Shias were killed in the province in hate-drive attacks, with some of the horrific attacks targeting the minority communities taking place in Lahore. In an almost similar incident, hundreds of hooligans belonging to the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) attacked a Christians’ locality in Gojra city on July 31, 2009 and burnt alive eight members of a family besides setting ablaze over 100 houses. The failure of the Punjab government to prosecute any of the 70 accused held responsible for the gory incident had compelled the family head to leave Pakistan after the Punjab police failed to arrest the culprits who were hurling death threats to him for pursuing the case. The anti-Christian attacks were triggered by reports of desecration of the Holy Quran by some Christians, which eventually proved false. Five of those burnt alive were women and children who could not run to save their lives. A total of 72 people were nominated in the Gojra attacks’ FIR who were set free one by one because the complainant in the murder case, Almas Hameed Masih, a resident of the Christian Colony, decided against pursuing the case and left Pakistan to save his life. Almas had actually nominated the president of the Toba Tek Singh chapter of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the FIR as one of the accused who was held responsible for the July 31, 2010 incident along with the local leadership of the SSP which had been renamed as the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). Those nominated in the case registered under section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act included Abdul Qadir Awan of the PML-N and Maulana Abdul Khaliq, Qari Abidur Rehman Shah and Hafiz Muhammad Imran of the ASWJ. Ten months after the Gojra tragedy, two fidayeen squads of the Punjabi Taliban targeted two Ahmadi mosques in the Model Town and Garhi Shahu areas of Lahore and killed over 100 people who were offering Friday prayers. Claiming responsibility for the May 28, 2010 twin terrorist attacks, Mansoor Maawia, a spokesperson for the Punjabi Taliban, had said, “No Ahmadi would live in peace in Pakistan. Our war against them will continue till their complete elimination because they are as bad infidels as Jews are.” It later transpired during investigations that the master planner of the twin attacks was in fact a doctor of the Jinnah Hospital, Dr Ali Abdullah, who was also the president of the Jamaatud Daawa Medical Wing. He told his interrogators that while pursuing his medical degree at Allama Iqbal Medical College, he had received armed training in Azad Kashmir at a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT) training camp being run by Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaatud Daawa (JD). His arrest showed for the first time that the LT was a part of the Punjabi Taliban who have let loose a reign of terror across Pakistan, especially targeting the minority communities. However, none of the accused in the twin attacks has so far been taken to task. Seven months later (on January 4, 2011), Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was shot dead in the federal capital by Malik Mumtaz Qadri, a bodyguard from the Elite Force of the Punjab Police. The killer later explained that he had assassinated Taseer because of his criticism of the blasphemy law and his efforts to secure a presidential pardon for Aasia Bibi, a poor Christian woman already condemned to death by a Pakistani Anti-Terrorism Court for having committed blasphemy. Qadri had admitted in his confessional statement that he was actually provoked for the murder by the fiery speeches of two Rawalpindi-based clerics Mufti Hanif Qureshi and Qari Imtiaz Hussain Shah. Mufti Hanif is the ameer of a Rawalpindi-based religious outfit, Shabab-e-Islami Pakistan while Imtiaz Shah is the imam of a Rawalpindi-based mosque called Amna Masjid. Two months later (on March 2, 2011), Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, a Roman Catholic and an outspoken critic of the blasphemy law, was shot dead in Islamabad. The responsibility for the assassination was placed on the Punjabi Taliban because of a pamphlet found at the place where he was killed. Written in Urdu, the leaflet claimed that Bhatti had been killed because of his opposition to the blasphemy law. His killers have yet to be arrested. The next in line to be killed by the Punjabi Taliban was Bargeeta Almby, a 72-year old female Christian charity worker from Sweden, who was shot in the Model Town area of Lahore on December 3, 2012 for allegedly backing two Christian priests who had been accused of committing blasphemy, the preliminary police investigations have indicated. Bargeeta Almby, the managing director of the Full Gospel Assemblies (FGA), a church fellowship founded in the United States with congregations worldwide, was returning home from her Kot Lakhpat office when two unidentified motorcyclists shot her in the Model Town area of Lahore where she had been living since long. The day Bargeeta was targeted in Model Town, another significant incident took place in the Q Block area of Model Town where over a dozen masked men carrying arms and digging tools, vandalised the tombstones of 100-plus graves at an Ahmadi cemetery. Three months before this incident, Warren Weinstein, a 71-year old Jewish American US Aid official, was abducted from his Model Town home in Lahore (on August 13, 2011) by armed men belonging to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ) who eventually sold him to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The ugly episode in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore took place at a time when the PML-N government in Punjab was already under fire from its political opponents for trying to strike a seat adjustment deal with the ASWJ in south Punjab for the upcoming general elections. However, a Punjab government spokesman refuted the impression that it has failed to protect members of the minority communities because of a soft corner for the banned militant or sectarian outfits.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Feeling clearly upset over Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N’s changing tone and tenor towards Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (defunct Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan – SSP aka Lashkar-e-Jhangvi LeJ), the central leadership of ASWJ has reminded Shahbaz Sharif that he owes his present chief ministership to none other than the Sunni Deobandi religious party which had withdrawn its candidate in his favour from PP-48 Bhakar-II to ensure his election as a member of the Punjab Assembly in June 2008. Visibly offended over the PML-N spokesman Pervaiz Rasheed’s recent statement that he hardly knew about the existence of a party with the name of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, ASWJ’s central secretary general Dr Khadim Hussain Dhillon has advised him to better check with his boss, Shahbaz Sharif, on whose request Maulana Mohammad Ludhianvi had withdrawn his party’s candidate [Maulana Abdul Hameed Khalid] in Mian Sahib’s favour to pave the way for his unopposed election as a member of the Punjab Assembly in the June 2008 by-election. Shahbaz Sharif was elected unopposed from PP-48 (Bhakar-II) on June 2, 2008 after the remaining 17 candidates in the run were made to withdraw from the race. The Bhakar seat had actually been won by an independent candidate, Saeed Akbar Niwani, in the February 18, 2008 elections. He had retained the PP-49 seat and vacated the PP-48 seat after joining the PML-N. Mian Shahbaz Sharif, who could not take part in the February elections after being disqualified by the Lahore High Court, eventually became the provincial chief executive on the same seat on June 8, 2008. Giving details to The News of the 2008 understanding between ASWJ and the PML-N, Khadim Dhillon said: “Our candidate from PP-48 was Maulana Abdul Hameed Khalid, the president of the Bhakar chapter of the ASWJ. Of the 18 candidates in the run, 16 had been made to withdraw by the local administration [which was under the command of Chief Minister Dost Mohammad Khosa]. Those left in the field were Shahbaz Sharif and Maulana Abdul Hameed Khalid who had refused to withdraw from the race. As the by-election loomed, Shahbaz Sharif approached Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi with a request to withdraw his candidate in his favour. For further talks, a six-member PML-N delegation consisting of Sanaullah Khan Masti Khel, Ikramullah Niazi, Khawaja Ahmed Hassan, Zafarullah Dhada, Afzal Khan Dhada and Najeebullah Khan formally called on Maulana Abdul Hameed Khalid at his seminary (Jamia Siddiqia) in the Panj Garan area of the Bhakar district a day before the by-election. They formally requested Maulana Ludhianvi and Maulana Khalid on behalf of Shahbaz Sharif to pave the way for his unopposed election to ensure the beginning of a new chapter of friendship and amity between PML-N and the ASWJ. Our leadership subsequently decided to oblige Mian Sahib by withdrawing its candidate as a goodwill gesture”. Approached by The News, Maulana Abdul Hameed Khan gave further details of the PML-N and the ASWJ détente which led to his withdrawal in favour of Shahbaz Sharif. “I am extremely hurt for having sacrificed my candidature and facilitated the election of someone who has no regard for his benefactors from the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. One feels sorry to say that the PML-N leadership has not only disowned its benefactors but also launched a tirade against them in the news and print media which is quite painful. Let me tell you frankly that it was actually Shaukat Javed, the then Inspector General of the Punjab Police who had first approached Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi and arranged his meeting with Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore shortly before the Bhakar election. During the meeting, Maulana Ludhianvi had called me and handed over his phone to Shahbaz Sharif. It was then that Mian Sahib made me a personal request for withdrawal in his favour.” Maulana Abdul Hameed Khan continued: “A six-member delegation of PML-N came to see me at Jamia Siddiqia Panj Garan in Bhakar a day before the election where Maulana Ludhianvi and other leaders had finally agreed to support Shahbaz Sharif. Immediately afterwards, the PML-N delegation and the leadership of the ASWJ went to the court of the district and sessions judge (Bhakar) where I formally withdrew my candidature. Sanaullah Khan Masti Khel then called Shahbaz Sharif and congratulated him for his unopposed election. He also made Mian Sahib say thanks to me on telephone. I had met Shahbaz Sharif only once since he became the chief minister. The meeting was held in Lahore where he thanked me for my sacrifice and told me that the leadership of the two parties should constantly stay in touch”. Earlier, PML-N spokesman Pervaiz Rasheed had strongly refuted reports of a possible seat adjustment deal with the ASWJ in the coming general elections, saying his party had neither sought nor seeks the support of any extremist group or party in the polls. Although Pervaiz sticks to his ‘official stance’, Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi had reminded him that besides paving the way for Shahbaz Sharif’s unopposed election from Bhakar, the PML-N and ASWJ had jointly contested the March 2010 by-election on another Punjab Assembly seat PP-82 (Jhang) that was won by PML-N’s Azam Chela. Maulana Ludhianvi added while referring to the PML-N leadership: “They are weak people who can’t stand up to pressures. They lack the ability to stay firm in difficult times. They deem it convenient to change their stance under changing circumstances”. According to Dr Khadim Dhillon, instead of disowning his benefactors in the ASWJ and launching a tirade against the party, Shahbaz Sharif should have been grateful to people like Maulana Ludhianvi and Maulana Hameed for whatever they did for him. “Shahbaz Sharif had given us a commitment at the time of the Bhakar by-election that he would not repeat past mistakes. But it seems that he has not only forgotten his previous mistakes but is bent upon committing more. But let me make it clear to all and the sundry that we are here to exist as a reality. We have thousands of voters in almost every constituency of South and Central Punjab and the PML-N leadership is destined to knock at our doors once again when the elections come”.