Denouement at hand, mercifully!

Published: March 8, 2012

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto [email protected]

First, kudos and praise to and for our Honourable Supreme Court ably led by My Lord Iftikhar Chaudhry for proving to all and sundry that it was serious when it took up Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s petition against the Establishment subverting democracy through corrupt and criminal means. Kudos to My Lord too, for seeing through the various machinations which would be resorted to by the Deep State in attempting to obfuscate the matter to its advantage.

So then, the so-called ‘Mehrangate’, which it is not because the procurer of the moneys involved in this quite disgraceful affair was then the Sindh provincial head of Habib Bank and had not till then set up Mehran Bank (which is another disgraceful story begging to be told!!) is exploding in their faces like one of their favourite bums and sending once-powerful Sahib Logs who have sat for too long on this country’s jugular, scurrying for cover! And who do you think I mean? Why, our great brass hats who have always thought themselves above the rest of us, doing with this country as they willed; and their handmaiden, the civilian bureaucracy then headed by Mr GIK (the late ‘President’ Ghulam Ishaq Khan) and his cronies. Hehehe, and serve them jolly well right.

You might well ask why I am so thrilled at the Inshallah fast-approaching denouement of the hydra-headed monster and bane of our lives, the Pakistani Deep State, and those that run it? Simply because they have ruled the roost for far too long to the country’s absolute detriment. Simply because of their utter dastardliness: destabilising elected governments, even dismissing them at whim; holding everyone else to account except themselves as if they were the inheritors of the country; sending an elected prime minister to the gallows after a sham trial and another to jail and exile.

Simply because they have no respect for the ordinary ‘bloody civilian’ Pakistani, disappearing people whenever it gets their fancy; torturing those they deem their detractors, even killing them in the most brutal fashion and dumping their bodies: witness the ongoing carnage in Balochistan, and against our poor minorities. The list of their crimes is long and hideous and would take 10 articles like this to recount. So let it be for the moment.

Now then, according to Younus Habib, the man painted as the evil incarnate by the Deep State for 16 years now, he was asked by M/s GIK; Roedad Khan, the then adviser to the president and lately another ‘leader’ of the PTI; Ijlal Haider Zaidi, then caretaker defence and establishment minister and a member of Mr GIK’s kitchen cabinet; and COAS General Aslam Beg to produce a large sum of money to subvert the coming elections.

Habib states that when he showed his inability to collect such a large sum he was arrested by the FIA until he did the needful, producing Rs148 crores. Of these, according to Habib, an amount of 34 crores was handed over to the ISI which placed 14 crores in something called a ‘Survey Group’ account and asked Habib to place 20 crores in other ‘associates’ accounts because some politicians were not willing to take a handout from the ISI directly.

Habib further alleges that the remaining Rs114 crores were used to buy property for ‘friends’, whatever that term means. Hopefully, the court proceedings will expose the beneficiaries of the Establishment’s largesse. Incidentally let me here and now caution the army and the ISI: that making people say that this disgraceful episode was the personal act of Aslam Beg and Asad Durrani will simply not wash? How would the two have personally benefitted from the PPP being kept out of power? Indeed, since Mr GIK and his cronies were directly involved how can this be a personal matter of Beg’s and Durrani’s.

This is nothing but nonsense to divert the attention of the people away from the institutional role of the Collegium of Generals of the army and the ISI who are the ones who decide who THEY would prefer in power. Indeed, General Moeenuddin Haider is on record telling General Nasirullah Babar that the army should not be involved because it would get a ‘bad name’. Incidentally, I call it the Collegium of Generals because they call all the shots, not the junior ranks and the soldiery who fight on the front lines for the country.

It is time that the brass hats realised that the time for their shenanigans is over, that it is time they realised that they are nothing but the servants of the country and of whichever government the people elect to govern it. They should realise that even they, even if they think of themselves as great military strategists and planners in the league of Rommel and Guderian cannot keep to their old ways after this present disgraceful case opens up more cans of worms. They should also recall the most recent catastrophes that were brought on the country by their ineptness and low professionalism and desist.

Er, isn’t saying the NLC has nothing to do with the army the same as saying that the Para-military Rangers and/or the Frontier Corps have nothing to do with the army, just because all of these organisations are paid from civilian budgetary estimates?

Is this not the Mother of All Disinformation, reader? For, whilst notionally the organisations named are ‘supposed’ to be under the civilian government, their officers are all of them drawn from the army. And don’t we know that it is the army that calls the shots running them?

Take the example of the NLC funds worth 3 billion rupees or some such being gambled away at the stock exchange by three army generals which the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly was looking into, and which the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is now threatening to investigate.

In the case of the PAC, the army announced that it would investigate the matter itself, and in the case of the NAB announcement no further news. So who is fooling who?

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2012.

Reader Comments (21)

  • Umer
    Mar 8, 2012 - 10:59PM

    First, kudos and praise to and for our
    Honourable Supreme Court ably led by
    My Lord Iftikhar Chaudhry for proving
    to all and sundry that it was serious
    when it took up Air Marshal Asghar
    Khan’s petition against the
    Establishment subverting democracy
    through corrupt and criminal means.

    Kamran Sahib shouldn’t we wait until some punishments are served to the concerned by some trial court?

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  • s shah
    Mar 8, 2012 - 11:46PM

    Bravo.

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  • Dilshad Chandio
    Mar 9, 2012 - 12:13AM

    spot on…brilliant as always!

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  • John B
    Mar 9, 2012 - 12:32AM

    It is important to know who were the friends who gave the banker the money, and how did the bank account for the money, and what investments were made of the scheme.

    The state of PAK should confiscate the investment. Guess the PAK rupee is also over valued since there is no legal accountability of this ill-gotten black money now came into account.

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  • Mar 9, 2012 - 12:33AM

    So who is fooling who?

    rhetorics 101?

    ;)

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 9, 2012 - 1:16AM

    @Umer:

    Well, you can say the matter is sub-judice and any comment on it is inappropriate.

    However, as we can see, the media is full of the story and for a very good reason. This is NEWS. It is not sensationalistic and thank God it has nothing to do with our religion — for a change. These are the FACTS.

    This is pure and simple corruption reaching to the highest levels of our so-called government.

    Like the loan defaulter list that Moeen Qureshi our Interim PM produced, it has all the names of the high and mighty who think they can suck the blood of this hapless country with impunity and get away with it. And get away with it they have for 64 years with no one, except one dead man (ZAB) held to account for something that he most probably did not do.

    But I digress.

    Get them for what they deserve but, as I said elsewhere, also get them for tax evasion. These monies were received and whether they passed them on or not, income tax has to be paid. Apply the tax and the penalty for non-payment all these years. Use the book and the rules. No exceptions and no hanky-panky. And then for tax evasion, make them pay up and SEND THEM TO JAIL because tax evasion — in case we have forgotten — is a criminal offense punishable by prison. Do look up the law.

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  • Arindom
    Mar 9, 2012 - 1:17AM

    You guys are making our (Indian) Generals jealous too…..They’ve started thinking of making money too these days – witness the couple of recent military scams. Of course the Generals responsible have been court-martialled and even dismissed wherever detected – but it’s not a good development. I think India must increase the salaries of the army – and if not plots, at least accommodate then in good posts in the booming private sector or Government at senior levels.

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  • Mar 9, 2012 - 1:19AM

    Even though the evidence is overwhelming, with great respect I do not think any ‘positive’ outcome can be expected from the Chief Justice. Remarks from the bench are one thing, action another. How can the Qazi take action against the Sipah Salaar and that too in the middle of a battle if not war? For Mr. Shafi’s sake I will keep my fingers crossed but rather skeptically.

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  • Zorez
    Mar 9, 2012 - 2:39AM

    It’s too early to celebrate Mr Shafi, this court will have to go a lot further to prove itself independent!

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  • Mirza
    Mar 9, 2012 - 3:27AM

    As usual a brilliant Op Ed by KS Sahib. While civilian govt is always called corrupt, the actual corruption starts even before the elections. The generals manipulate the results and if despite (making bogus voter lists by Mush and distribution of money in this case) that they cannot get the desired results they overthrow the elected govt.
    Another fact that is missing from here is that Y. Habib told the court that these same officials have pressured him to initiate fake cases against Zardari. No wonder in more than two decades Pakistani judiciary did not convict Zardari while keeping him in jail for more than 11 years.

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  • Parvez Amin
    Mar 9, 2012 - 4:31AM

    A suggestion: a small correction for greater accuracy. Not ‘servants of the country…’ but ‘servants of the people…’

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 9, 2012 - 4:46AM

    @Arindom:

    I would not brag too much about our corruption; you are not doing too badly yourself these days.

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  • American Pakistani
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:13AM

    Evolution of any system takes years. This is just a start, and it’s going to take another decade to sort these things out (given if things stay on track).

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  • Mustafa Kamal
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:07AM

    Highly Spot on!!
    It is time that the brass hats realised that the time for their shenanigans is over, that it is time they realised that they are nothing but the servants of the country and of whichever government the people elect to govern it

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  • Zubair
    Mar 9, 2012 - 11:06AM

    Isnt this matter sub-judice? If so, you are in violation of the constitution discussing this. I wonder what your beloved lord would have to say about that?

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  • Arindom
    Mar 9, 2012 - 11:07AM

    @Meekal Ahmed:
    permit to brag on this one bro – we’re ahead of you on corruption!!

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  • Pakistani
    Mar 9, 2012 - 11:24AM

    Normal growth and evolution of democratic system and good governance was stunted in Pakistan by some opportunist generals, bureaucrats, maulvis, and politicians during its history. The awam stood by as hapless bystanders and that is their biggest crime for they let the opportunists get away with it. If the people of Pakistan had put their foot down and said a loud NO (remember direct action threat of Quaid-i-Azam), things would have better and out history different. By not resisting loudly and strongly enough, they became unwilling accessories to crime.

    The normal process of evolution and strengthening of institutions and good governance will take time. There are no short-cuts in the natural evolutionary process. We can hasten the process, but we must travel the road.

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  • Parvez
    Mar 9, 2012 - 12:02PM

    A little premature to start rejoicing but I must salute your sincerity of purpose.

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  • K B Kale
    Mar 9, 2012 - 2:22PM

    Dear Mr Kamran Shafi,
    Once again a wonderful article. Thank you so much.
    I wish to tell you again to take care of yourself lest you also meet the fate of Saleem Shehzad. You are too important a person for your people & your country.
    God Bless You!

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  • salim
    Mar 9, 2012 - 6:07PM

    @Umer:
    This case was avoided for much too long! Note Sharif’s are among those who alledgelly received funds from ISI. Anyway better late than ever!

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  • Mehvish
    Mar 10, 2012 - 7:16PM

    Not only had the generals extorted hundreds of millions and distributed at will, they also forced Y. Habib to file fake cases against Zardari. Everything was done by the generals and rightwing touts against BB and PPP, yet they could not keep it from coming to power. Are these not the generals (from Zia to Musharraf) who hanged ZAB, and did everything possible to hurt their party? Yet the hate campaign and slogan of corruption is only directed toward PPP? Despite all this drama in the SC, I would believe it when it would make a real decision!

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