Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Panama Leaks in Pakistan; US Defense Secretary in India; ZarbeAzb in Punjab; MQM in Karachi By-elections

What do leaked Panama Papers reveal about Pakistani politicians, judges, businessmen and media owners? Where did PM Nawaz Sharif’s sons get the funds to start shell companies and open offshore accounts when they were just teenagers? How should PM Nawaz Sharif respond to the leaks? Should he accept responsibility and resign as demanded by PTI chief Imran Khan? Or should he come clean, pay back taxes and apologize to the nation?

Has Pakistan Army’s Operation Zarb e Azb finally started in Punjab province? Will the Army succeed in rooting out sectarian terror by Punjab-based LeJ and similar other outfits operating under different names? Is PMLN a reluctant participant? Does the operation have the kind of legal cover available to it in Sindh province? If not why not?

Why is the US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visiting India? Why did he say US-India relationship broad and global while US-Pakistan ties are narrowly focused on Afghanistan and terrorism? What does India expect to get from it? Defense hardware? US Predator drones? Will India agree to join US Navy patrols to challenge Chinese Navy in disputed waters in South China Sea?

Why was there such an extremely low turn-out in Karachi by-elections? Was it because the PTI candidate withdrew in favor of the MQM candidate? Or was it due to lack of enthusiasm for MQM since the return of Mustafa Kamal?

Viewpoint from Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)



Panama Leaks in Pakistan; US Defense Secretary... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Zardari Corruption Probe in Switzerland

Culture of Corruption in Pakistan

Sectarian Terror in Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia vs India-US-Japan

The Godfather's Vito Corleone: A Metaphor for Uncle Sam?

Mustafa Kamal vs MQM

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


Anonymous said...

At age 13, (Husain Nawaz son of Nawaz Sharif) created 4 offshore companies worth 30 million dollars and acquired 4 flats in Mayfair, London. The seed fund for these companies came from the ‘Tooth Fairy’ who was buying his teeth at meagre million dollars a pop. I am safely assuming this as his whole family paid an average tax of 70 dollars per year in the 3 decades before (and one decade after) he founded these companies. His family was more poor than 90% of Pakistani tax payers.

At age 17, he was already a self made billionaire. But then, all their assets were frozen by a military dictator. He went to KSA. Took a loan, built a steel factory, and in just four years, he earned so much money that he completely repaid the loan and bought many businesses all over the world. At age 21, he was a multi billionaire. His father, the Prime MInister of Pakistan, is lucky to have a son like him. The PM does not own anything. He is under debt of millions of dollars that he has to repay to his sons while Hussain is however a multi billionaire. It is just a co incidence that his father is a politician.

I am thinking what did Nawaz Sharif do with all this money. How the hell is he under so much debt. Maybe while his sons were working so hard, he was busy gambling and partying in Montecarlo? Destroying the hard earned fortune?

PS: At age 13, I did not know how to fill a bank form and I did not know what an offshore company was? But then I am not as bright as Hussain. However I am richer than his father so surely I am brighter than his father. http://www.baaghi.tv/be-like-hussain-nawaz-goes-viral-on-social-media/

Riaz Haq said...

#US, #India Agree On Small UAVs, High Powered Lasers And Target Detection Technology, Other Joint #Defense Projects

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/15800/US__India_Finalize_Mini_UAVs__Other_Defense_Projects#.Vw5vbW8rj-k.twitter …

India and US have finalized four government-to-government projects that include small UAVs, high powered lasers and target detection technology.

“US Secretary for Defense Ashton Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parriakr have welcomed finalization of four government-to-government project agreements in the area of science and technology cooperation. Atmospheric sciences for high energy lasers, cognitive tools for Target Detection, Small intelligent UAVs and blast and blunt traumatic brain injury,” the Indo-US joint statement said Tuesday.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan PM #NawazSharif flown to #London for once-secret heart treatment | #PanamaLeaks Fox News |


Pakistan's prime minister arrived in London on Wednesday for medical treatment over a previously unknown chronic heart condition, officials said.

Nawaz Sharif has been under tremendous pressure from opposition parties to step down since his family members were named in the mass leak of offshore account data from the Panama firm Mossack Fonseca.

Sharif's son Hussain Nawaz has owned offshore companies and one of the most expansive Mayfair London properties. One of his offshore accounts in the data is worth of 5.5 million British pounds, or about $7.8 million.

Pakistan's interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, sought to assure the public Wednesday that Sharif will return in a few days.

The prime minister had an intervention on his heart some years ago that went "terribly wrong," Khan told reporters in Islamabad.

It was the first time that Sharif's heart condition was disclosed, though there were no details on the nature of the condition. Khan said that since the surgery, Sharif has had heart problems.

After the Panama leaks scandal erupted, Sharif insisted in a televised address to the nation that all of his family businesses were legal.

But Pakistani cricket-star-turned-politician Imran Khan has demanded an unbiased probe into the wealth the Sharif family had amassed. On Wednesday, he asked the government to set up a commission headed by a serving supreme court judge with experts on white collar crimes as members.

If the government fails to do this, Khan's party will march on Sharif's palatial farmhouses in the eastern city of Lahore he warned.

"They steal money and then they stash this money in foreign accounts," Khan alleged.

Khan, the interior minister, said the government was already working to set up the commission.

Riaz Haq said...

US ex Sec of State Henry Kissinger is reported to have said that there's only one thing more dangerous than being a US adversary; it's being a US ally!

The US is playing the India card against China, not against Pakistan.

In response to a question about India's concerns about the sale of US F-16s to Pakistan, Carter made it clear that the US does not want conflict between India and Pakistan. He further said that "India also has relations with other countries like Russia. We respect that."

As to whether you laugh or cry will soon be evident to you as the bill for being a US ally comes due.

The first most likely US demand to India is already on the table: US "invitation" to India to join US Navy Patrols in the hostile waters of South China Sea where China asserts its sovereignty.

Will India agree to becoming the sacrificial lamb for US ambition to check China's rise? Let's wait and see!!


#US #F16 jets are to fight #terrorism in #Pakistan: Ashton Carter assures #India via @firstpost


India has expressed concern over the US decision to sell eight F-16s to Pakistan, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar conveying the government's concerns to Carter, who is presently visiting India.
At a joint press conference with Parrikar, on being asked if the US was trying to be a trusted ally of India while supplying the F-16 fighters to Pakistan, Carter said, "We do try to be trusted partner of India."

He said the US has given some unique technologies to India. "We don't have an agreement like that with other countries."
Asked about the same issue, Parrikar said he did express his concerns to Carter and the US defence secretary assured him the fighter jets would be used to fight terrorism.
Drawing a parallel with India's relations with Russia, Carter said the US values its relations with Pakistan.
"India also has relations with other countries like Russia. We respect that," he said.
"What we do in Pakistan is directed towards counter terrorism. We too have suffered from terrorism emanating from the territory, more specifically Afghanistan," Carter said.
"Pakistan has used F-16 in operations in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). We have approved it. We take terrorism emanating from Pakistan very seriously," Carter added.
He also said the US did not want any conflict between India and Pakistan.
The US confirmed in mid-February the supply to Pakistan of eight F-16 fighter aircraft worth $699.04 million despite protests from India.

r_sundar said...

The ever growing extremely deep pocketed & powerful Indian diaspora, coupled with ever rising Indian-Americans (or Americans of Indian origin) in the political ladder sans party affinity, will make sure India will never become a Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan PM #NawazSharif For Sale On eBay. #PanamaLeaks http://www.valuewalk.com/2016/04/pakistan-pm-nawaz-sharif-ebay/ via @valuewalk

The fallout from the Panama Papers has inspired outrage around the world, and now someone has found a way to make a political point through comedy. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, has been put up for sale on eBay.

Sharif has been implicated in the Panama Papers scandal after members of his family were found to be owners of offshore companies. While owning offshore companies is not technically illegal, they are commonly used to avoid paying national taxes.

For a prime minister to be implicated in a tax dodging scandal it is a huge deal. Nawaz Sharif is one of a huge number of important Pakistani figures that have been swept up in the scandal.

One prankster has decided that an eBay listing promising that Sharif is for sale would be the best way to express his disgust.

The poster has so far remained anonymous, but the advert reads: “Used Pakistani Prime Minister, No longer needed is for Sale. No box or instructions.”

Riaz Haq said...

sundar: " The ever growing extremely deep pocketed & powerful Indian diaspora, coupled with ever rising Indian-Americans (or Americans of Indian origin) in the political ladder sans party affinity, will make sure India will never become a Pakistan."

Progress on US-India defense collaboration will depend entirely on India agreeing to help US check China's rise. US expects "compliance", not just an alliance with India.

Besides, India needs US more than US needs India. Indian economy would collapse without western money inflows:


Also read: http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/05/godfathers-vito-corleone-metaphor-for.html

Riaz Haq said...

In a 1999 BBC interview, Nawaz Sharif's son Hasan Nawaz denied ownership of London Flat now confirmed as property of 2 British Virgin Island companies Nescol Limited (incorporated in 1993) and Nielson Holdings Limited (incorporated in 1994) named in Panama Leaks as owned by Mariam Safdar, Nawaz Sharif's daughter. He claimed at the time that he was merely renting the flat and the rent money came from his family in Pakistan



Nescol Limited and Nielson Holdings Limited were incorporated in BVI in 1993 and 1994, respectively, and were held by one bearer share each. In February 2006, Mariam Safdar signed a resolution of Nescol Limited as the “sole (bearer) shareholder”. MF was appointed as the registered agent through Minerva Trust which described Mariam Safdar as the beneficial owner of both companies.

In August 2008, BVI law firm Farara Kerins issued two legal opinions. As Nescol’s property, it identified “leasehold properties known as 17… and 17A Avenfield House, 117 to 128 Park Lane, London, W1K 7AH and car parking space 9 and box room 6… registered… with Title Numbers NGL342976 and NGL342977 respectively”. As Nielson’s property, it identified two titles of 16 and 16A Avenfield House.


Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s Premier #NawazSharif Leaves the Country Amid #Panama Papers Scandal. #ImranKhan #PTI #PMLN #PanamaLeaks


Speculation about the political fate of Pakistan’s embattled prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, was swirling on Thursday after he left the country in the middle of an unfolding scandal over his family’s offshore wealth.

Opposition politicians have pressed Mr. Sharif to resign after the so-called Panama Papers document leak revealed that three of his children controlled shell companies through which they owned expensive residential properties in London. Demands have picked up for a judicial commission under the country’s chief justice to investigate any potential wrongdoing by the prime minister and his family.

Mr. Sharif has rejected any allegations of money laundering, claiming that his children have legitimate business abroad, and he has signaled his willingness to establish an inquiry commission.

But as the political turmoil increased, Mr. Sharif flew to London on Wednesday for cardiac medical treatment that he described as a checkup. The timing of the visit immediately prompted rumors that Mr. Sharif might not return to Pakistan until investigations were completed.

In his absence, the finance minister, Ishaq Dar, is leading important cabinet meetings this week. However, government officials said that Mr. Sharif will return on Sunday, and will face the crisis.

Mr. Sharif, 66, an affluent businessman whose family has made its money through businesses primarily dealing in steel, returned to power in 2013 after his party won a majority in the general elections. He had been prime minister in the 1990s and was ousted in a military coup in 1999.

Mr. Sharif has tried to assert civilian control over the government but has run into difficulties with the powerful military, which has again become ascendant in both foreign and domestic affairs in recent months and commands a deep well of public support.

On Thursday, Imran Khan, the most trenchant political opponent of Mr. Sharif, also arrived in London. Mr. Khan said he was looking to hire financial investigation agencies that could look into the Sharif family’s dealings. Mr. Khan has threatened to lead street protests if an investigation is not initiated by the government.

Some political analysts here say that the major opposition political parties do not want the crisis to reach the point at which the military might step in.

But the Panama Papers leak has lent momentum to Mr. Khan at a time when he had seemed politically weakened. He led thousands of his supporters and staged a sit-in outside the Parliament in 2014, accusing Mr. Sharif of rigging the last general elections. That effort to bring down Mr. Sharif fizzled, but Mr. Khan is taking this as a second chance.

“This is a godsend opportunity for us,” Mr. Khan said last week, urging Pakistanis to rise against Mr. Sharif.

Another mainstream political power, the Pakistan Peoples Party, has so far seemed to be weighing its options, and there has been no major joining of forces with Mr. Khan. Analysts say the party may be looking to cut a deal with Mr. Sharif.

“They are trying to find some kind of political agreement to deal with the current crisis,” said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a prominent political analyst based in Lahore.

“He is not threatened to that extent,” Mr. Rizvi added. “However, if all political parties join hands, then Nawaz is in real trouble.”

Anonymous said...


"The ever growing extremely deep pocketed & powerful Indian diaspora, coupled with ever rising Indian-Americans (or Americans of Indian origin) in the political ladder sans party affinity, will make sure India will never become a Pakistan."

Thanks for reassuring me. I had often worried about India evolving into a better place, but thanks for letting us know that India will have 10 times higher suicide rate, will have more people than living in poverty than Pakistan and will stay one of the most racist country of the world, not to mention the rape capital of the world.

G. Ali

Ali H. said...

All currencies merely do their job by endlessly recirculating. How do the dollars remitted go from those who receive it to the Sharifs to be taken out of the country again? Do they just hand them over?

Riaz Haq said...

Ali H: "All currencies merely do their job by endlessly recirculating. How do the dollars remitted go from those who receive it to the Sharifs to be taken out of the country again? Do they just hand them over?"

I suggest you read Capitalism's Achilles Heel by Raymond Baker that details how the corrupt third world leaders move money overseas.

Baker says one of the ways Sharifs have done it is through over-invoicing by 20-30% of imports in Pakistan by Sharif's handpicked middlemen. For example, Pakistan imported wheat from US in 1990s when the imports over-invoicing generated $58 million in "commission" for Sharifs through middlemen.

"At least $58 million skimmed from inflated prices paid for imported wheat from the United States and Canada. In the wheat deal, Mr. Sharif ’s government paid prices far above market value to a private company owned by a close associate of his in Washington, the records show. Falsely inflated invoices for the wheat generated tens of millions of dollars in cash."


Riaz Haq said...

Is #America cozying up to #India to counter #China’s aggressive expansion policy?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama watch India's Republic Day parade from behind rain-streaked bulletproof glass in New Delhi on January 26, 2015. The author writes that as long as the U.S. maintains its close links with Pakistan, Indian leaders will view with skepticism U.S. professions of loyalty to India’s vital interests.

The just-completed visit of Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to India has generated considerable speculation.

That is especially true in China, where opinion leaders noted not only was this Carter’s second trip to India during his relatively short tenure as Pentagon chief, but that he canceled a previously scheduled trip to Beijing so that he could make this latest journey.

That move, they feared, suggested a rather unsubtle tilt against China in favor of one of its potential geostrategic competitors.

The agreement that came from Carter’s visit will do nothing to reassure the Chinese. Carter and his Indian counterpart, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, pledged to increase logistical cooperation in the military arena, especially maritime cooperation.

Although that agreement is still a considerable distance away from constituting a full-fledged military alliance between the two nations, it continues a trend that has emerged over the past decade of ever-deepening strategic ties. And mutual concerns about China’s ambitions appear to be the driving force in the bilateral relationship.

At a minimum, the United States appears to be trying to put in place the building blocks of a containment policy directed against China, if U.S. leaders later decide that such a full-blown policy has become necessary. On this same trip, Carter made a stop in the Philippines to reassure that country of strong U.S. backing in its South China Sea territorial dispute with China.

Apparently, previous statements by the secretary of state and President Obama himself, combined with a buildup of U.S. troops in the island nation, were not sufficient evidence of resolve.

And Carter’s sojourn in India must be seen in the larger context of Washington’s efforts to strengthen its long-standing alliances with South Korea and Japan and to forge cooperative military ties with such former adversaries as Vietnam. Along with Japan, though, India would be the biggest prize as a strategic ally.

Despite the wishes of some Sinophobes in Washington, we are likely to see a more measured response from India. Delhi has much to lose and little to gain by becoming a cat’s-paw ally of the United States against China.

That is especially true if Washington is not willing to sever its close ties with India’s archenemy, Pakistan. Yet as long as U.S. leaders insist on waging a “war on terror” with a major Central Asia/South Asia component, centered in Afghanistan, they will not cut Washington’s supposed Pakistani ally loose.

And as long as that is the case, Indian leaders and the Indian public will view professions of U.S. loyalty to their country’s vital interests with justifiable skepticism.

Moreover, shrewd Indian policymakers may conclude that the best position for their country is one of constructive neutrality in the growing tensions between the United States and China. Whatever side India would take, it would anger one of those great powers, lose potential benefits and increase its risk level. Only if China truly adopted a policy of rogue expansionism is that sober calculation likely to change. In the meantime, Ash Carter and other American suitors may press their courtship of India, but they are likely to come away disappointed.

Riaz Haq said...

A Tale of Corruption in #Pakistan & #NawazSharif's Spin Machine: From Nandipur to #Panama. #PanamaLeaks #PMLN #PTI http://www.thenews.com.pk/print/113256-Nandipur-to-Panama …
Nandipur went from $329 million to $847 million. Imagine: a wholesome $518 million evaporated into thin air. Neelum-Jhelum has gone from Rs15 billion to Rs414 billion. Imagine; a massive Rs399 billion over and above the original cost estimate and the project is still not ready. The New Islamabad Airport has gone from Rs37 billion to Rs81 billion. Imagine: Rs44 billion overspent and the project is still not ready.

Nandipur’s expose amounted to nothing. Neelum-Jhelum’s expose amounted to nothing. The airport’s expose amounted to nothing – and the credit goes to the A-Team’s superb ‘media management’ and its outstanding political gymnastics.

Panama is a different ballgame altogether. This is cyber warfare at its best. The attacker picks the target and the timing of the attack. The A-Team has fought and won many a battles before but the A-Team has absolutely no experience in this kind of war fare. The A-Team has no control over foreign investigative agencies. The A-Team has no control over foreign media. The A-Team has no control over other prime ministers resigning (and the domino affect). And the A-Team is up against a global war against offshore tax havens.

Cyber warfare in tandem with exposing the truth as a weapon is a deadly cocktail. Imagine: Russian President Vladimir Putin had to admit the accuracy of the Panama Papers (the Papers revealed that Putin’s associates “secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies”). Putin now claims that the “funds had been spent on musical instruments”.

The first wave of bombing has knocked out the First Daughter and infected the prime minister with Panama Fever. Will there be another wave of bombing to knock out other members of the A-Tem? Will there be another wave of bombing to knock out PML-N’s B-Team as well?

The domestic political minefield is now divided between the leaders who own offshore companies and those who do not. From within the PPP, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan stands out while the rest of the PPP stands united with the PML-N. From within the PTI, one or two members of the top leadership probably own offshore companies but Imran Khan and the rest of the party is clean (and thus cannot be targeted). Lesson: If you are clean you cannot be targeted. For the time being, the PML-N and the PPP are united versus the PTI plus JI.

The PML-N’s goose is being cooked – and the PML-N doesn’t even know who the cook is. What is the cook’s intention – toe the line or else? What does the cook want – chaos or destruction? Is the cook after strategic or tactical resources? If the cook is of American origin, and resides in Fort Meade, then he will have both political and economic objectives.

To be certain, the New Silk Road is a target. Eurasian integration is a target. And the ultimate goal of this warfare is to protect a US-controlled ‘One World’. On the economic front, offshore wealth is estimated at $32 trillion; compare that to the total American debt of $16 trillion. Remember, offshore wealth is untaxed and taxes are the ‘lifeblood’ of Western governments.

Make no mistake; cyber warfare is war by other means. What that means is that Pakistan is at war – at war with the cooks. There is no doubt that what is coming out is the whole truth but there are cooks trying to create chaos in Pakistan. And Pakistan is actually moving towards chaos. And chaos is not in Pakistan’s interest. And serious steps must, therefore, be taken to avoid chaos.

Riaz Haq said...

Corruption must be uprooted to end #terrorism: #Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif. #PanamaLeaks #NawazSharif http://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/113834-General-Raheel-calls-for-across-the-board-accountability …

“On-going war against terrorism and extremism being fought with the backing of entire nation cannot bring enduring peace and stability unless the menace of corruption is not uprooted,” he said, adding that the military would fully support every meaningful effort in that direction, which he said would ensure a better future for next generations.

“Across the board accountability is necessary for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of Pakistan,” the ISPR statement quoted the army chief as saying.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Army sacks 2 generals, 4 other officers for #corruption. #PanamaLeaks


The Pakistani army chief on Thursday sacked six officers, including two generals, after they were convicted in a court martial for corruption, officials said.

The move involved a lieutenant-general, a major-general, three brigadiers and a colonel, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

The officials declined to elaborate on the trial, the corruption charges, but confirmed that the officers have not been sentenced to prison terms. Local media reported the officers were allowed to go home after being stripping off all military benefits, except for medical and pension benefits.

The rare move comes on the heels of calls on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign after his family members were named in the offshore accounts mass leak from Panama’s Mossack Fonseca firm.

Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz has owned offshore companies and one of the most expensive Mayfair London properties. One of his offshore accounts in the data is worth of 5.5 million British pounds, or about $7.8 million.

Sharif has agreed to set up a commission of inquiry under a Supreme Court judge but opposition leaders — specifically the cricket-star-turned-politician Imran Khan — have rejected this, demanding instead that a serving judge and white collar crime experts make up the commission.

Earlier this week, army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif said there should be an across-the-board accountability — a statement that was taken as ramping up pressure on the government of Prime Minister Sharif, who has had a history of uneasy relations with the military establishment.

Sharif is also said to have deep differences with the army over reviving peace efforts with arch-rival neighboring India.

“By the grace of God, we’re clean,” Sharif said in a statement Thursday, referring to the calls for his resignation on corruption charges.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #PTI #PakistanArmy put huge pressure on #Pakistan PM #NawazSharif #PMLN to come clean after #PanamaLeaks


There is no doubt the leaks have left him on shaky moral ground.
The allegations of corruption have chased Mr Sharif since the 1980s. And much of what the Panama Papers have revealed now was the subject of a federal inquiry in the mid-1990s.
Mr Sharif ordered that inquiry closed when he came into power in 1997, terming it "politically motivated".
But this time he and his family have had to admit they used offshore companies to acquire foreign assets.
Also, the allegations have come at a time when his government is battling to keep some semblance of civilian control over domestic security and foreign policy issues that have been slipping into the military's control.
On Tuesday, a statement by army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, that terrorism cannot be effectively curbed unless "the menace of corruption" is uprooted, has got the tongues wagging.
While many suggest the statement may be just a general remark to express solidarity with the popular sentiment, some ex-military analysts have said it may well be a statement of intent.

In a recent article, independent political and defence analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi has outlined a number of possible scenarios.
One of these could be street agitation, which he says could accelerate Pakistan's internal conflict.
It could either degenerate into a stalemated confrontation between the government and the opposition, or it could lead to an in-house change, or even the setting up of a fixed-term military-backed civilian dispensation to "clean up the stables".
A more likely scenario is that of Mr Sharif continuing in office as a weaker leader, giving even greater initiative to the military.

In a society where family and tribal links determine the distribution of jobs and official patronage, political corruption has not taken long to spread.
Politicians complain they have remained the only target of campaigns against corruption while the military and the judiciary remain outside the purview.
The military and the judiciary insist they have their own separate systems of internal accountability and do not need governmental controls.
Both have colluded in the past to oust politicians from power, but have abstained from calling each other's actions into question.
There have been instances where retired military officers accused of embezzlement in civilian sphere have been co-opted back into the military to prevent them from being tried under the mainstream laws.
More recently, a sitting chief justice was accused of receiving perks from a real estate tycoon, and at least two judges, one of them now retired, have been named in Panama Papers as owning offshore companies.
In these circumstances, as Pakistan stumbles from one phase of confusion into another, democracy, rule of law and real accountability have become cliches with a negative connotation.

Riaz Haq said...

"Speaking fee for #Musharraf in $150K-200K range for a day," says Embark USA President David B. Wheeler. #Pakistan


"The [speaking] fee for Musharraf would be in the $150,000-200,000 range for a day," says Embark President David B. Wheeler, "plus jet and other V.I.P. arrangements on the ground." Wheeler says Clinton, for whom Embark has arranged speaking engagements in the Middle East, commands up to $250,000 per appearance. "If we did multiple events in multiple cities, [Musharraf] could get closer to the $500,000 to $1,000,000 range [for a series of talks]," he said. Embark, which promises "unique experiences that educate, entertain and enlighten," has also booked speeches for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Pakistanis who know Musharraf well say this is good news for the former president, who is not believed to have salted away a fortune as some of his predecessors have done (Musharraf will only receive a modest army retirement pension). But he is a long way from the poor house. Workers are putting the finishing touches on a mansion, said to be worth some $2 million dollars, that he is building on five acres of prime land just outside Islamabad. Since his resignation he has been playing golf and tennis with friends, surrounded by heavy security, and is also planning to write a sequel to his successful 2006 autobiography, "In the Line of Fire," which could easily net him another seven-figure windfall.

Riaz Haq said...

The confessional statement of Senator Ishaq Dar was recorded before a district magistrate in Lahore. He was brought to the court from a jail by Basharat Shahzad, who was then serving as assistant director in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

According to legal experts, the senator's deposition was an 'irrevocable statement' as had been recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Senator Ishaq Dar has always been regarded as one of the closest aides of the Sharif family, and is now also a relative as his son is married to Nawaz Sharif's younger daughter.

However, the NAB record clearly shows that back in 2000 he had agreed to give a written statement against the Sharifs about their alleged involvement in money laundering.

The top PML-N leaders had hit a rough patch by then as some of their lieutenants were busy developing a new political system for Gen Pervez Musharraf after his Oct 1999 military coup.

In the statement, Ishaq Dar accused Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif of money laundering in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case. At one point in the 43-page statement, Mr Dar said that on the instructions of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, “I opened two foreign currency accounts in the name of Sikandara Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi with the foreign currency funds provided by the Sharif family in the Bank of America by signing as Sikandara Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi”.

He said that all instructions to the bank in the name of these two persons were signed by him under the orders of “original depositors”, namely Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif.

“The foreign currency accounts of Nuzhat Gohar and Kashif Masood Qazi were opened in Bank of America by Naeem Mehmood under my instructions (based on instructions of Sharifs) by signing the same as Nuzhat Gohar and Kashif Masood Qazi.”

The document shows Dar stated that besides these foreign currency accounts, a previously opened foreign currency account of Saeed Ahmed, a former director of First Hajvari Modaraba Co and close friend of Dar, and of Mussa Ghani, the nephew of Dar's wife, were also used to deposit huge foreign currency funds provided by “the Sharif family” to offer them as collateral to obtain different direct and indirect credit lines.

Senator Dar had disclosed that the Bank of America, Citibank, Atlas Investment Bank, Al Barka Bank and Al Towfeeq Investment Bank were used under the instructions of the Sharif family.

Interestingly enough, Ishaq Dar also implicated himself by confessing in court that he — along with his friends Kamal Qureshi and Naeem Mehmood — had opened fake foreign currency accounts in different international banks.

Mr Dar said an amount of $3.725 million in Emirates Bank, $ 8.539 million in Al Faysal Bank and $2.622 million were later transferred in the accounts of the accounts Hudaibya Paper Mills.

He said that the entire amount in these banks finally landed in the accounts of the paper mills.

The Hudaibiya Paper Mills case is still pending in the National Accountability Bureau.

If it is opened again, the Sharif brothers may be in for a rude shock a confidant is to blame for the albatross around their necks.


Riaz Haq said...

Journalist Kevin Hall talking with NPR Fresh Air host Dave Davies about his research on Panama Leaks:


Well, there are several forms of front companies. In the most basic sense, it's a company that is created to hide assets or to give the appearance of having a functional business. They're also - you can have a foundation, which is a version of that that's a little more secretive. The key to a lot of these companies is the ability to hide true ownership, that you have directors, who aren't the real owners of the company, named. I think that's really the big thing that distinguishes them.


Well, some of the legitimate reasons would run the gamut from real estate transfers - if you're purchasing property, say, in Panama - because it was easier to transfer that property to another. And then there are transfer taxes that you don't have to pay. So there's a financial gain in doing it this way, but it's also ease in property transfer. That would be one aspect. Another might be estate planning. Maybe you don't like the estate tax in the United States. And you keep certain assets overseas, and you try to find ways to pass on inheritance without going through the U.S. tax system. That would be another.


There is a gray area. And as we found in the documents, people go right up to the end as close as they can. And of course, U.S. tax law has been modified so much since the Reagan era that all of these loopholes have been written into it specifically to kind of get around some of these laws.


Well, I think the key thing is the money is still the important part. The law firm isn't necessarily involved in any way with the money. And that's what's been so frustrating because you're looking at what are called company formation documents. This company sets up a shell company in the Seychelles or British Anguilla, places like that. You don't actually, in most cases, see the money. You don't know where that money is. You presume the money is in Liechtenstein or Luxembourg or Switzerland. And with the U.S. crackdown on UBS and HSBC and the Swiss banks, it's driven I think more people into this offshore world if they're looking to camouflage that money they have back in Switzerland.


What's so interesting about this company Mossack Fonseca is the kind of menu of options they provide. They can just simply create a company for you. They can create what's called a private enterprise foundation. They can help you get a Panamanian visa if you either purchase property or invest in Panama. It gets as complex as going into derivatives trading. We've found some evidence that they actually help customers, place them into derivatives trading in real complex securities.

They have an asset management arm. They have a mail forwarding service. They also provide - if you want to have the appearance of being a legitimate brick-and-mortar company, they'll provide you a website, a phone number, an office suite, everything to make it look like you're a legitimate brick-and-mortar company.

Right, those are called shelf companies, as opposed to shell companies. And a shelf company is ready to roll. They're offered in the United States too. And sometimes, a legitimate use of one of these might be you're purchasing - one American company is buying another American company. And they need to do it quick. And they're going to incorporate in Nevada or Wyoming or, you know, pick your state. That would be a legitimate use. It's already ready to go. You don't have to wait seven days. You complete the transaction, and you're ready to roll.