Zardari falsely accused of drug trafficking

Published: May 28, 2010
Former head of the Anti-Narcotics Board, Gen Mushtaq, refused to register a case for lack of evidence.

Former head of the Anti-Narcotics Board, Gen Mushtaq, refused to register a case for lack of evidence.

ISLAMABAD: The first ever written request from Pakistan’s attorney-general to his Swiss counterpart, dated February 12, 1998 accused Asif Ali Zardari of drug trafficking and not money laundering.

Neither the Sharif government nor the succeeding military government of Musharraf could prove these charges in Pakistani courts against Zardari. Therefore, the Swiss authorities were left with no choice but to ignore the request.

Subsequently, former Ehtesab Bureau chief Saifur Rehman sought to implicate Zardari in a money laundering case.

Former attorney-general of Pakistan, the late Chaudhry Muhammad Farooq’s letter (No 6 (45) /98-CHACC), a copy of which has been obtained by The Express Tribune, written to Ms Carla Del Ponte, Attorney-General of Switzerland had requested “seizure of accounts, properties and retrieval of information concerning Asif Ali Zardari and his associates regarding their drug related activities.”  The letter further said that the request for assistance was being made pursuant to the United Nations (UN) convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances signed in Vienna in 1988.  The letter also stated that the subject of the First Information Report (FIR) disclosed that Zardari through current Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza, received sums amounting to approximately Rs50 million from one Arif Baluch, a known drug trafficker in return for facilitating the shipment of narcotics by ensuring that such shipments were not stopped by customs authorities in Pakistan.

“Zardari’s nexus with drug barons is an established fact in Pakistan. It commenced in his youth when he came in contact with the main drug gangs in Karachi,” the letter stated.

Speaking on behalf of former interior minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Ghulam Mustafa Malik said that “Mr Hussain did not know about any letter written to Swiss authorities regarding Zardari’s involvement in drug cases when he (Shujaat) was the interior minister in 1998.”

However,  in an interview with The Friday Times, on July 14, 2000, Hussain had said that the government’s motive “in filing this case was to find a way to invoke the Criminal Justice International Cooperation Act 1990 in order to uncover Zardari’s alleged assets in the UK.”

Despite intense pressure from the Sharif government, Gen Mushtaq, who was heading the Anti-Narcotics Board at the time, refused to register a case against Zardari because there was no evidence to suggest his involvement in narcotics.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) member Khawaja Muhammad Asif, while addressing the national assembly on April 8, 2005 admitted that his party’s government jailed Zardari on false and fabricated charges.

Asif added that Rehman had prepared fictitious cases against Zardari. “Saifur Rehman has tendered his apology to Zardari and is now residing in Qatar,” he said.Presidential Spokesperson Farhattullah Babar told The Express Tribune that the drug case should not be turned into an issue since it has already been dealt with by the courts. Law Minister Dr Babar Awan has already informed the Supreme Court about Zardari’s cases. “The drug case against Zardari appeared to have fizziled out in Pakistan and not heard of again after former interior minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain himself declared that they were false and had been fabricated by Saifur Rehman,” Babar said.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 28th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • lkhan
    May 28, 2010 - 9:42AM

    How terribly unscrupulous Saifur Rehman was and dangerous to rub the wrong way from what one reads in the above article. One ought not to get away with impunity after making such grave baseless accusations. To have jailed Mr. Zardari for three years without proof, why is SR scot free?? It is time the judiciary in Pakistan seriously examine such cases of injustice, initiating its responsibilities as an integral part of a democratic system instead of the way chosen so far of confrontation that hinders day to day governance to state it mildly.

    Likewise Mr. Zardari served a life sentence without being tried or proven guilty. When will humane ways be adopted, the basis of democratic societies. Recommend

  • Haroon Ehsan
    Jun 3, 2010 - 1:22PM

    I take a serious interest in the state affairs of Pakistan and as being British citizen of a Pakistani Background I am amazed to see how people can turn a blindly in favour of politicians who are nothing but thugs! These individuals are billionaires and we’re talking $’s not Rs, how is it possible to amass such a fortune – considering the politicians are servants not masters! All I understand is that these fortunes are a result of corruption at the highest level – and after that the money is made clean! I am ashamed of our country and us a nation – why are bandits and thief’s sat where there should be people thinking of the country. As once said Pakistan is not because of us, the contrary – we are because of Pakistan!
    Kya thum logoan nay marna nahee hai!
    I would not keep these politicians as servants in my house! These guys are a disgrace to humanity. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP IMRAN KHAN IN BECOMING A LEADER! IMRAN GET SOME MARKETING EXPERIENCE, NOT TO MARKET YOURSELF BUT YOUR PARTY AND WHAT YOU STAND FOR!
    I want to see for once an honest person as Pakistan’s leader!Recommend

  • Abu Yashaar
    Jun 3, 2010 - 3:17PM

    I totally agree with khan. Actually, our establishment has been trying to instill selective amnesia regarding events in history. Lately, right-wing ‘independent’media and independent judiciary have taken upon themselves to induce selective amnesia for want of stick to beat the government with. It was not very long ago that there was a complete consensus amongst the political forces and media in general, regarding these cases against Benazir and Zardari. Everybody,knew and accepted that these cases were false and politically motivated. Even the initiators of of these cases accepted that these cases were fake.
    But after NRO and elections, the media has taken an about-turn and have started treating Zardari as if he has been tried, proved guilty and sentenced.Recommend

  • Jun 10, 2010 - 1:22PM

    I think Abu Yashaar’s opinion has some weight, which can lead the youth to discuss the issues continuously going on in Pakistan. So, there is a pressing need to address the burning issues right now at “now or never basis.”Recommend

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