Thursday, April 7, 2011

US Reporter Says Nawaz Sharif Propositioned Her

Kim Barker, an American reporter who covered Afghanistan and Pakistan for Chicago Tribune starting in 2003, claims that she was propositioned by Pakistan Muslim League leader Nawaz Sharif when she met him for interviews for her newspaper.

In an interview with KERA radio, Barker said she followed her bosses advice to try and blend with the local population. However, being a young white female journalist with blue eyes who stands at 5 ft 10 in tall, she says she received unusual attention from the men she met to do her job in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In her recently released book "The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan", Barker recounts how Nawaz Sharif gave her an Apple iphone as a gift and asked her to be his "special friend". When she declined Nawaz Sharif's sexual advance, Foreign Policy Magazine reports that he offered to set her up with President Asif Ali Zardari.

This latest report adds Sharif's name to the "illustrious" list of senior Pakistani political leaders who have made news for their dalliances with women.

A 2007 Youtube video showing Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani groping Sherry Rehman attracted a lot of attention. Then, President Asif Ali Zardari was shown gushing about US Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and asking to "hug" her during a meeting in New York.

Here's a video clip of Barker's interview:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Kim Barker's Radio Interview

Ode to Feudal Prince of Pakistan

Foreign Policy Magazine Review of "Taliban Shuffle"

Incompetence Worse Than Graft in Pakistan

The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan By Kim Barker

Comparing US and Pakistani Tax Evaders

Zardari-Palin Meeting in New York


Mayraj said...

That's hilarious!
NS is pimping for AZ while being his great opponent???

Riaz Haq said...

Mayraj: "That's hilarious!
NS is pimping for AZ while being his great opponent???"

Correction: "NS WAS pimping for AZ" when they were still buddies back in 2008.

Anonymous said...

ha ha ha ha

At least do things discretely many politicians in S Asia and the west and other places have mistresses as in power corrupts...

However they by and large do know how to keep things discreet.

Thaks for the laugh..

Imran said...

men would be men, nothing new, happening for centuries. In Pakistani society, these things hardly become public.

Worrisome is that they are watching each other's back 8-)

Riaz Haq said...


What do you think about how NS was pimping for AAZ?

Isn't that a "good" example of national reconciliation and close collaboration among leading politicians in our young "democracy"?

maleeha khan said...

hahaha... Men are always men we can't say anything about them... but such news about Nawaz shairf i can't believe this :)

Riaz Haq said...

maleeha: "but such news about Nawaz shairf i can't believe this :)"

No, it's not so funny anymore....I hear NS is heartbroken, and recuperating in London after heart surgery!

Shams said...

This Kim Barker slut has an opinion too high of herself. She is known to have claims that in Afghanistan and Pakistan, people would routinely call her to tell her "I love you". In some way, she speaks more like Anne Coulter who routinely reminds everyone that she is the "tall one" and the "tall blond one".

Even though I do not wish to question if Nawaz Sharif actually wanted to f--- her --- a free f--- is a free f--- a lot of what Kim is saying appears to be quite made up. The word around is that she actually requested meeting special persons and made it well known that she had no issue having sex for getting good stories.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

being a young white female journalist with blue eyes who stands at 5 ft 10 in tall, she says she received unusual attention from the men she met to do her job in Afghanistan and Pakistan

I do not find her that young, nor particularly attractive.
I guess S. Asians ought to raise their standards

Majtaba said...

corrupt,dishonest leaders of our country, what one can expect from them. His wife is sick for years and fat too so he decided to lure another woman!!!!

Riaz Haq said...

Mujtaba: "corrupt,dishonest leaders of our country, what one can expect from them. His wife is sick for years and fat too so he decided to lure another woman!!!!"

Please don't be so hard on Nawaz Sharif. I hear the poor chap is heartbroken, and recuperating in London after heart surgery!

Riaz Haq said...

Nawaz Sharif's anti-American rhetoric notwithstanding, Wikileaks leaked cables reveal he insists that he is pro-America, according to the Guardian newspaper:

Friday, 01 February 2008, 13:41
EO 12958 DECL: 02/01/2018
Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, for reasons 1.4 (b)(d)

Nawaz and (Ch Nisar Ali) Khan both repeatedly said that the PML-N was pro-American. Nawaz recounted his decision to override his Chief of Army Staff and deploy Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia in support of the U.S. coalition in the first Gulf War. Meanwhile, Khan noted, the PPP and its leaders were organizing street demonstrations against Pakistan joining with the U.S. coalition. Now, Nawaz said, he was hurt that the U.S. did not remember. Nawaz said he understood that 9/11 had changed things, but urged that the U.S. apply some balance to the relationship. In the past, the U.S. was known as the power that rejected dictatorships, that fought for independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. Why, he asked, did we continue to support a man who fired the Supreme Court, abrogated the constitution, and arrested civil society activists?

10. (C) Comment: The fact that a former Prime Minister believes the U.S. could control the appointment of Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff speaks volumes about the myth of American influence here. Based on our understanding of the current situation, we believe Nawaz can and should take the threats to his life seriously. It comes as no surprise that Nawaz exaggerated his party's election prospects; his willingness to deal with the PPP is, however, a good sign he is ready to cooperate on government formation.

Ramzan said...

The old and frail Pope lay dying in the hospital. For years he had faithfully served the people of the world. He motioned for his nurse to come
near. "Yes, Father?" said the nurse. "I would really like to see Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif before I die, please call the Pakistani
Embassy in Rome and send them my request" whispered the pope.

"I'll see what I can do, Father," replied the nurse. The nurse sent the request to the Embassy and waited for a response. Soon the word arrived. Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif would be delighted to visit the Pope.

As they went to the hospital, Nawaz commented to Zardari "I don't know why the old man wants to see us, but it will certainly help our images."

Zardari couldn't help but agree. When they arrived at the Pope's room, the Pope took Zardari's hand in his right hand and Nawaz Sharif's hand in his left. There was silence and a look of serenity on the old Pope's.

Finally Nawaz spoke. "Holy Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?"

The old Pope slowly replied "I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." The old priest continued...
"He died between two lying thieves. I would like to do the same.....!!!!!

Umar said...

He then offered to meet me the next day, at a friend’s apartment in Lahore, to give me the iPhone and have tea. No, I said. I was going to Faridkot. Sharif finally came to the point. “Kim. I am sorry I was not able to find you a friend. I tried, but I failed.” He shook his head, looked genuinely sad about the failure of the project. “That’s OK,” I said. “Really. I don’t really want a friend right now. I am perfectly happy without a friend. I want to be friendless.” He paused. And then, finally, the tiger of Punjab pounced. “I would like to be your friend.” I didn’t even let him get the words out. “No. Absolutely not. Not going to happen.” “Hear me out.” He held his hand toward me to silence my negations as he made his pitch. He could have said anything—that he was a purported billionaire who had built my favorite road in Pakistan, that he could buy me a power plant or build me a nuclear weapon. But he opted for honesty. “I know, I’m not as tall as you’d like,” Sharif explained. “I’m not as fit as you’d like. I’m fat, and I’m old. But I would still like to be your friend.” “No,” I said. “No way.” He then offered me a job running his hospital, a job I was eminently unqualified to perform. “It’s a huge hospital,” he said. “You’d be very good at it.” He said he would only become prime minister again if I were his secretary. I thought about it for a few seconds—after all, I would probably soon be out of a job. But no. The new position’s various positions would not be worth it. Eventually, I got out of the tiger’s grip, but only by promising that I would consider his offer. Otherwise, he wouldn’t let me leave.
I jumped into the car, pulled out my tape recorder, and recited our conversation. Samad shook his head. My translator put his head in his hands. “I’m embarrassed for my country,” he said. After that, I knew I could never see Sharif again. I was not happy about this—I liked Sharif. In the back of my mind, maybe I had hoped he would come through with a possible friend, or that we could have kept up our banter, without an iPhone lurking in the closet. But now I saw him as just another sad case, a recycled has-been who squandered his country’s adulation and hope, who thought hitting on a foreign journalist was a smart move. Which it clearly wasn’t.

To yeh hain hamarey leaderaan!!

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times story on ISI money used to help Nawaz Sharif's party against Benazir Bhutto's PPP in 1990s elections:

A three-judge Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, resumed hearings into accusations that the spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, paid $6.5 million to a right-wing opposition alliance to influence the outcome of the 1990 election.

The case is potentially explosive in a country where the ISI has a history of meddling in politics yet its officials have largely escaped judicial censure. But analysts are divided about its chance of success.

Wednesday’s hearing was cut short after the court heard that statements recorded in 1998 by three crucial witnesses, including a former ISI chief, Asad Durrani, could not be found. A lawyer for Mr. Durrani said he was out of the country.

Justice Chaudhry ordered court officials to find the documents and summoned Mr. Durrani to a hearing next Thursday.

The scrutiny began in 1996 when Asghar Khan, a retired air force officer and politician, asked the court to investigate allegations that the ISI had donated $6.5 million through Mehran Bank to the opposition in advance of the 1990 election.

The ISI, it was said, wanted to oust Benazir Bhutto, the prime minister, in favor of the Islami Jamhoori-Ittehad, a coalition of conservative and religious parties headed by Nawaz Sharif, who went on to win the election.

Early hearings in the case brought striking revelations that embarrassed the military. Mr. Durrani, the former ISI chief, told the Supreme Court that the money had been distributed on the instructions of Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, an army chief and Mr. Durrani’s boss at the time.

General Beg, in turn, said he had done so on the orders of President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who opposed Ms. Bhutto.

The hearings stopped in 1999 after a military coup brought Gen. Pervez Musharraf to power but were revived in January at the instigation of Justice Chaudhry, who is eager to disprove critics who accuse him of going soft on the powerful army.

The resurrection of the case has potentially stark implications for certain politicians. Among the recipients of the ISI money was Mr. Sharif, the current opposition leader, who allegedly got $1.6 million. Should the charges stand, he and other prominent politicians, like Syeda Abida Hussain, a former ambassador to Washington, could be barred from office.

But just how far the court is willing, or able, to go against the powerful ISI remains to be seen.

On Wednesday, the court heard that a confidential statement recorded by Mr. Durrani in 1998 had disappeared, as had separate statements by Naseerullah Babar, a former interior minister, and Younis Habib, a businessman and banker who helped distribute the illegal money.

Moreover, two central figures in the affair — Mr. Babar and Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the former president — are dead.

Many in Pakistan are skeptical that the case against ISI will succeed. An editorial on Wednesday in the English-language newspaper Dawn expressed doubts that the case could “become a transformative moment in the history civil-military relations.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from Raymond Baker's book "Capitalism's Achilles Heel" regarding Pakistan's venal politicians:

"While Benazir Bhutto hated the generals for executing her father, Nawaz Sharif early on figured out that they held the real power in Pakistan. His father had established a foundry in 1939 and, together with six brothers, had struggled for years only to see their business nationalized by Ali Bhutto’s regime in 1972. This sealed decades of enmity between the Bhuttos and the Sharifs. Following the military coup and General Zia’s assumption of power, the business—Ittefaq—was returned to family hands in 1980. Nawaz Sharif became a director and cultivated relations with senior military officers. This led to his appointment as finance minister of Punjab and then election as chief minister of this most populous province in 1985. During the 1980s and early 1990s, given Sharif ’s political control of Punjab and eventual prime ministership of the country, Ittefaq Industries grew from its original single foundry into 30 businesses producing steel, sugar, paper, and textiles, with combined revenues of $400 million, making it one of the biggest private conglomerates in the nation. As in many other countries, when you control the political realm, you can get anything you want in the economic realm."
Like Bhutto, offshore companies have been linked to Sharif, three in the British Virgin Islands by the names of Nescoll, Nielson, and Shamrock and another in the Channel Islands known as Chandron Jersey Pvt. Ltd. Some of these entities allegedly were used to facilitate purchase of four rather grand flats on Park Lane in London, at various times occupied by Sharif family members. Reportedly, payment transfers were made to Banque Paribas en Suisse, which then instructed Sharif ’s offshore companies Nescoll and Nielson to purchase the four luxury suites.
Upon taking office in 1988, Bhutto reportedly appointed 26,000 party hacks to state jobs, including positions in state-owned banks. An orgy of lending without proper collateral followed. Allegedly, Bhutto and Zardari “gave instructions for billions of rupees of unsecured government loans to be given to 50 large projects. The loans were sanctioned in the names of ‘front men’ but went to the ‘Bhutto-Zardari combine.’ ” Zardari suggested that such loans are “normal in the Third World to encourage industrialisation.” He used 421 million rupees (about £10 million) to acquire a major interest in three new sugar mills, all done through nominees acting on his behalf. In another deal he allegedly received a 40 million rupee kickback on a contract involving the Pakistan Steel Mill, handled by two of his cronies. Along the way Zardari acquired a succession of nicknames: Mr. 5 Percent, Mr. 10 Percent, Mr. 20 Percent, Mr. 30 Percent, and finally, in Bhutto’s second term when he was appointed “minister of investments,” Mr. 100 Percent.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from Dawn report on Punjab's economy:

The slowing regional growth has led to contraction in Punjab’s share in the national economy to 54.9 per cent in 2011 from 55.5 per cent in 2000 and 55.7 per cent in 2007.

Punjab’s economy, according to the IPP, is composed of 24 per cent agriculture (17 per cent for the rest of Pakistan and 20.9 per cent for Pakistan), 21.2 per cent industry (31 per cent for the rest of Pakistan and 25.8 per cent for Pakistan) and 54.8 per cent services (52 per cent for the rest of Pakistan and 53.3 per cent for Pakistan). The provincial economy’s sectoral composition signifies relative importance of agriculture in its economy and underdevelopment of industry as compared to the rest of Pakistan, says the IPP.

The report identifies three major factors that have dragged down economic growth in Punjab in recent years: decreasing water availability for agriculture, growing energy crunch for industry and declining public sector investment in economic infrastructure.

The IPP points out that performance of agriculture plays a major part in the economic growth of the province. During the last few years, it contends, the performance of agriculture sector has been disappointing, especially of major crops that have shown little growth since 2007 due to growing water shortages and rising fertiliser prices. Wheat production was virtually stagnant and output of sugarcane and cotton dropped by 10 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. The only crop with significant growth of 26 per cent was rice. In addition, there was hardly any growth in minor crops. Given the relatively large share of agriculture in the regional (Punjab) economy, the growth rate is likely to be lower because even in good years agriculture is unlikely to average a growth rate above four to five per cent,” it underlines.

The annual average agriculture growth rate in Punjab declined to just one per cent between 2007 and 2011 from 3.3 per cent between 2000 and 2007. In contrast, the average agriculture growth rate rose to three per cent for the rest of Pakistan from 2.5 per cent.

Growing energy shortages have affected industrial output in Punjab disproportionately, according to the report. There has been cumulative drop in gas consumption in the province of 13 per cent in the last few years compared to an increase of 16 per cent in the rest of Pakistan, especially in Sindh.

Similarly, increase in electricity consumption since 2007 has been restricted to only two per cent compared to six per cent in the rest of Pakistan. Punjab’s share in the national production of cotton yarn, for example, dropped from 33 per cent in 2007 to 29 per cent in 2011 and in cotton cloth from 43 per cent to 37 per cent.

Additionally, the report underlines the weaker presence in Punjab of industry producing consumer durable and construction inputs compared to Sindh as another factor for slower growth. “In the peak of business cycle, industries producing consumer durables like automobiles and industries providing construction inputs like cement show very high growth rates. During 2003 and 2007, for example, production of automobiles showed extraordinarily high growth rate of 31 per cent. The growth rate of cement industry was also high at 18 per cent.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's TOI on dangers to foreign women visitors to India:

On January 7, Japanese actor Yu Asada took a cab from the IGI Airport in Delhi to her hotel in Mahipalpur. It was her maiden trip to India, and she had come to Delhi to meet the cast and crew of My Japanese Niece, a film by Manipuri director Mohen Naorem. That taxi ride was the worst she ever had.

"The cabbie charged me Rs 4,800. When I told him I couldn't pay so much, he talked about the recent gang rape in Delhi and insinuated that I might meet the same fate. I was numb with fear," she told TOI.

American Michelle Tanner (name changed) didn't have to part with her money when she came to India on a backpacking trip in 2010, but she did become a victim of sexual harassment. "Someone pinched my bottom when I went to Chandni Chowk; when I turned around to see who it was, I felt a hand grab my breast. I felt so humiliated that I immediately returned to my hotel, shut myself in my room, and broke down," she said.

Both Asada and Tanner did not approach cops. Neither do the hordes of foreign travellers who face sexual harassment in varying degrees in India. Their reason is simple: when local women with all their familiarity with the law and advantage of language have such a tough time reporting a sexual offence or getting an FIR lodged, what chance do they have as foreigners?

British woman Kaya Enrich, 27, learnt this the hard way when she was molested by a plumber in Gujarat in 2009 and decided to lodge a case. She was allegedly humiliated in a metropolitan court in Ahmedabad. "The questioning was aggressive, and it seemed to be aimed at demeaning me as far as possible so as to weaken the case. I was asked everything in Gujarati and told to answer in Gujarati even though I had asked for an interpreter," she had said back then.

At an even greater disadvantage are those women who don't come from the English-speaking world and, therefore, do not dare move an inch without help from their foreign offices. India doesn't have an enviable reputation for dispensing quick justice; and tourists with their tight itineraries don't want to go through the rigmarole of procedure, never-ending investigations and sanity-defying questions that promise very little comfort.

According to statistics shared by the market research division of the ministry of tourism, 6.65 million tourists came to India last year. Of them, roughly 40% (2.66 million) were women. This figure is likely to go up with India setting a target of increasing its share of arrivals from the current 0.6% to 1% by the end of the 12th plan. This simply means more and more women will come to India, either for work or pleasure, and quite likely, carry home sordid tales of harassment: tales that would eventually find vent in blogs and websites and dent the India story....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's ET on management of Punjab development budget under Sharifs:


The Punjab government has spent just Rs70 billion of its Rs250 billion development budget for fiscal 2012-13 in the first seven months of the year, around half of it in Lahore alone, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Under finance rules, the Punjab government should have spent around Rs145 billion on development by the end of January, but had only spent Rs70 billion. Of this, Rs34.19 billion was spent on projects in Lahore, the vast majority of it, Rs31 billion, on the Metro Bus Service.

A senior Finance Department official said it was normal for utilisation of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) to remain low in the first six months of the financial year, and for spending to pick up in the remaining six months. He said that the low utilisation was due to the poor financial position of the province.

Last year, the Punjab government utilised only Rs150 billion of the Rs220 billion ADP presented for 2011-12.

In Lahore in 2012-13, apart from the spending on the Metro Bus Service, the Punjab government has spent Rs1.65 billion on the Kalma Chowk underpasses and Rs540 million on the Model Town underpass. Another Rs1 billion came out of the provincial kitty for the purchase of 100 buses, originally meant to be plied on the MBS corridor, but later given to girls colleges.

Other notable expenses included Rs4 billion for the procurement of 100,000 laptops, which are being handed out to students who perform well in exams. The Energy Department spent Rs2.5 billion on solar lamps, being handed out to 240,000 students under the Ujala programme.

Around Rs1.447 billion has been spent on the Pirwadhai Mor underpass and flyover project.

Another Rs1.25 billion has been spent on the Abdullahpur underpasses in Faisalabad, which involved the construction of three underpasses beneath the Tariqabad bridge leading to Chak Jhumra Road.