ZAB’s nephew challenges Fatima’s version

ZAB’s nephew challenges Fatima’s version.
Thursday, 22 Apr, 2010

TARIQ ISLAM

zabhutto
I refer to Fatima Bhuttos’s book Songs of Blood and Sword. I feel it
is incumbent upon me to set the record straight on at least one story.
Fatima tells us how Z.A. Bhutto wrote to his son Murtaza to go to
Afghanistan to set up a militant base for waging a war on the military
dictator, Zia.

fatima_bhutto_2

I challenge anyone to produce that letter. Because there is none!
The fact of the matter is that at Mir Murtaza’s request I flew from
London (where I was a student at the time) to Islamabad on March 24,
1979, to meet my uncle ZAB and convey Murtaza’s urgent messages.
The messages were to seek permission for Murtaza to base himself in
Afghanistan to wage a guerrilla war on the invitation of the then
Afghan government headed by Hafizullah Amin.

The other message was from PLO leader Yasir Arafat who viewed Bhutto
as the soldier of Islam and was ready to use his resources to spring
him from Rawalpindi’s central jail.

I first met my uncle in his death cell on March 27. I was allowed only
30 minutes and we had to whisper across the cell bars (I was not
permitted inside the tiny cell) as it was heavily bugged and police
and military officers stood all around us, straining to hear.

ZAB flatly refused both options. On the case of Murtaza’s relocation
to Kabul, ZAB flew into a rage. His words, which I recall clearly till
this day, were “Did I send Mir to Harvard and to Oxford to learn about
all this stuff? Already they are calling me a murderer and a smuggler
(on account of the book If I am assassinated, which was claimed to
have been smuggled out of prison to be published abroad).

“Next, they will be calling me a terrorist. Tell him that I forbid him
to go to Kabul. No matter what happens to me, he should concentrate on
his studies and complete his course at Oxford”.
I had to get the message across to Mir but in those days, far from the
mobile phones we have today, there was no direct dialling either.
Amina Piracha (PPP MNA in BB’s first government) took me to her family
office, Ferozesons in Pindi , from where we booked a call to London.
In coded language, I gave Mir his father’s message.

Mir was extremely distraught and disappointed and pleaded with me to
seek another appointment with ZAB. “You have to convince my father.
You must do it for my sake. I don’t care how you do it, but please
don’t come back empty-handed,” he urged.

I managed, with great difficulty, to see ZAB again on March 30 (Apart
from BB and Begum Nusrat Bhutto, I was the last to see him in his
death cell before the execution). I conveyed Mir’s desperate message
again. The reaction was the same, but I persisted. Time was running
out. In sheer frustration, ZAB remarked with great prescience: “I
think Mir has boxed himself into a corner. He has made some
commitments to the Afghans and is finding it difficult to back out
now. Tell him to go if he wishes but I am not at all happy. The
Afghans are too shrewd; they have fooled two superpowers for so many
years. They are master diplomats and schemers and they will manipulate
Mir for their own reasons …, and sell him down the river when it
suits them. He must be very careful in what he does and says. I leave
him in God’s hands. But ask him to complete his studies at Oxford”.

The much quoted man in the book, Suhail Sethi (who also has been my
very good friend for nearly 40 years), was in Pindi at the time. We
went out to eat dinner together that evening, and I told him about the
meeting.

He can set the record straight even at this late stage. I flew to
London on March 31. I conveyed all the messages to Mir. Bashir Riaz
(Mir’s aide and press spokesman and subsequently one of BB’s closest
aides) and the former Punjab Governor, Mr Ghulam Mustafa Khar, were
witnesses.

FE-Chaudhry-Bhutto-court-1                                                                  

On April 4 Mr Bhutto was executed.

It is not only a distortion of history but also a great travesty to
accuse a statesman and visionary of ZAB’s stature of condoning a
bloody and militant route and placing the lives of his own son in
danger when he did not even call upon his party men to go out into the
streets to fight the dictator.

As he said to me in jail: “I am too big a man to ask others to place
themselves in jeopardy so that my life may be saved. I will go down in
history. Songs will be written about me.”

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‘Blackwater/Xe behind Pakistan unrest’

from Press TV

Thu, 22 Apr 2010 02:15:52 GMT

The former leader of Pakistan’s opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami has accused the US security firm Blackwater/Xe of being behind the unrest in the country.
Speaking to reporters in Peshawar, Qazi Hussain Ahmad said that the situation in the country would never improve if the government in Islamabad continued to be the frontline ally of Washington.
"The rulers have been fighting the US war in our own streets, which is fanning unrest," he added.
On Wednesday, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Syed Munawar Hassan told Press TV that Pakistan’s alliance with the US was the main reason behind a surge in bomb attacks across the country.
"The notorious Blackwater agents are behind the bomb and suicide attacks in our country as the US wants to destabilize Pakistan… after invading neighboring Afghanistan," he said.
The people of Pakistan are united against the US and are ready to force the government to end its alliance with Washington on the so-called war against terror, he added.

A SALUTE TO ALL PARSIS

A SALUTE TO ALL PARSIS – WITH NO DISRESPECT INTENDED TO ANY OTHER COMMUNITY, WHICH DOES HAVE SHINING EXAMPLES, WHILE ONLY THE NOT SO SHINING ONES ARE MENTIONED!

(An extract from a leading Indian publication)

No Indian community internalized the civilizing mission of the
    British as did the Parsis.

Only 50,000 remain in Bombay
    today, mainly in South Bombay, the most disciplined and
    cultured part of India .

In South Bombay, the cutting of lanes by drivers is punished,
    jumping a red light is impossible, parking is possible
    only in allotted areas, roads are clean, service is
    efficient, the restaurants are unmatched – civilization
    seems within reach. South Bombay has some of the
    finest buildings in India , many of them built by Parsis.

The Parsis came to Bombay after Surat ‘s port silted over in
    the 17th century. Gerald Aungier settled Bombay and
    gave Parsis land for their Tower of Silence on Malabar
    Hill in 1672.

The Parsis made millions through the
    early and mid-1800s and they spent much of it on public good.

The Ambanis built Dhirubhai Ambani International School , where fees are
    Rs. 348,000 (US $8,000 a  year in a country where per capita income is $ 600 per year) and where the head girl is Mukesh Ambani’s daughter.
The Kingfisher Mallyas gilded the insides of the Tirupati temple with gold.


Lakshmi Mittal, the fourth richest richest man in the world says he’s too young to think of  charity… He’s 57 and worth $45 billion.

The Birlas built 3 temples in Hyderabad , Jaipur and Delhi .

Hindu philanthropy means building temples. They do not understand social philanthropy.
The Hindu’s lack of enthusiasm for philanthropy is cultural. The Hindu cosmos is Hobbesian and the devotee’s
    relationship with God is transactional. God must be petitioned and placated to swing the  universe’s
    blessings towards you and away from someone else. They believe that society has no role in your advancement and there is
    no reason to give back to it because it hasn’t given you anything in the first place. Two  centuries of  British education was unable to alter this.

The Parsis, on the other hand, understood that philanthropy – love of  mankind –
recognizes that we cannot progress alone.  That there is such a thing as
the common good. They spent as no Indian community had ever before, on building  institutions,
    making them stand out in a culture whose talent lies in renaming things other people built.

The Parsis built libraries all over India , they built the National Gallery of Art.

The Indian Institute of Science was built in 1911 by Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata,

the Tata Institute of  Fundamental Research was built by Dr Homi Bhabha,

the Tata Institute of Social Science was built in 1936 by the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust.
The Wadias built hospitals, women’s colleges and the five great low-income Parsi colonies of Bombay .

JJ Hospital and Grant Medical College were founded by Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy.

By 1924, two out of five Indians – whether Hindu, Muslim or Parsi – joining the Indian Civil Services were on TATA scholarships.
They gave Bombay the Jehangir Art Gallery, Sir JJ School of Art, the Taraporevala Aquarium.

The National Center for Performing Arts, the only place in India where world-class classical concerts are held is a gift of the Tatas.

There are 161 Friends of the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) – www.soimumbai.in. 92  of them are Parsi. For an annual fee of Rs 10,000, Friends of the SOI get two tickets to any one recital in the season, they get to shake hands with artistes after the concert and they get to attend music appreciation talks through the year.


    Donations  of Rs.1 million to the Tirupati Temple(
www.tirumala.org) will  bring the donor and his family three days of darshan in the year, one gold coin with the lord’s portrait and 20 laddoos. The  temple’s budget for 2007-08 was Rs 9 billion (Rs 904  crore / US $193 million!!!).
The  Parsi dominates high culture in Bombay are always full in halls and this means that a concert experience in the city is unlike that in any other part of India . Classical concerts seat as many as two thousand.

Zubin Mehta, the most famous Parsi in the world, is director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  since 1969. He conducts the tenor Placido Domingo, the pianist Daniel Barenboim and the soprano Barbara Frittoli. Four concerts are held at the  Jamshed Bhabha Opera House and then one at Brabourne Stadium with a capacity of 25,000.

No other city in India has this appetite for classical music and in Bombay this comes from the Parsi. Despite their
    tiny population, the Parsi presence in a concert hall is above 50 per cent. And they all come. Gorgeous Parsi
    girls in formal clothes – saris, gowns -children, men and the old. Many have to be helped to their seats. Most of
    them know the music.

The people who clap between movements, thinking that the ‘song’ is over, are non-Parsis. Symphony
Orchestra of India concerts begin at 7 pm. Once the musicians start,  latecomers must wait outside till the
movement ends.

The end of each movement also signals a fusillade of coughs and groans, held back by doddering Parsis too
    polite to make a sound while Mendelssohn is being played. No mobile phone ever goes off as is common in
    cinema halls: his neighbors are aware of the Parsi’s insistence of form and his temper.

The Parsis were also pioneers of Bombay ‘s Gujarati theatre, which remains the most popular form of live
    entertainment in Bombay. Any week of the year will see at least a half dozen bedroom comedies, murder
    mysteries, love stories and plays on assorted themes on stage.

The Parsis were the pioneers of this, writing and acting in the first plays of Bombay. They also built the institutions
    that supported  this.. Bombay ‘s first theatre was opened by Parsis in 1846, the Grant Road Theatre, donations from
    Jamshetjee Jejeebhoy and Framjee Cowasjee making it possible.

The  Parsi in Bollywood caricature is a comic figure, but always honest, and innocent as Indians believe Parsis
    generally to be, rightly or wrongly.

In the days before modern cars came to India the words ‘Parsi-owned’ were guaranteed to ensure that a
    second-hand car  listed for sale would get picked up ahead of any others. This is because people are aware of how carefully the Parsi keeps his things. His understanding and enthusiasm of the mechanical separates him from the rest. Most of  the automobile magazines in India are owned and edited by  Parsis.

The Parsis are a dying community and this means that more Parsis die each year than are born (Symphony concert-goers can
    also discern the disappearing Parsi from the rising numbers of those who clap between movements).

As the Parsis leave, South Bombay will become like the rest of Bombay – brutish, undisciplined and filthy. The British
    left when they had to, but they left some of their civilisation behind and the best of it remains in the
    possession of this great Indian community, the Parsis!
Preserve this race…..

You are privileged if you have a Parsi Bawa as your friend…He/She is indeed a "Heritage" to be treasured for ever.

What price loyalty!

by Khurshid Anwer

Gen Kayani in a moment of weakness did the unthinkable, criticize Rahman Malik. The president in the hearing of all shouted, “How dare you, don’t you know he is my right hand man for all shady deals. Now come and see how I single him out for high praise (despite the risk of spontaneous laughter).

Similarly Mian Nawaz Sharif was injudicious enough to criticize Babar Awan, of the Punjab Bank fame. Here again the president came to the rescue, “How dare you, don’t you know he is Faustus to my Devil, he has sold his soul to me. He will not let even his religious piety stand in his way in service to me. He will lie hands down on Surrey Palace***. He will lie hand down on Swiss Cases. He will lie hands up under oath. He is a man after my heart. I wish I could invite you to show you how I will single him out for high praise.

*** Babar Awan crowed not many years ago that the government has not been able to produce proof of corrupt money being involved in the purchase of Surrey Palace. Meaning thereby that the purchase was kosher. Now that NAB has denied the existence of the Surrey Palace, is Babar Awan prepared to say under oath that Surrey Palace was not bought at all, black money or white money.

However there was one notable exception in the praise department. Ambassador Raisani of Syria has been faithfully following in the footsteps of Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Zardari Bhutto in employing relatives in lucrative government jobs and paying them top dollar. Surely he is due for some praise. Since he is also coming in for a lot of stick for rank nepotism. Perhaps he will be compensated with another school to employ his remaining relatives, and cronies if he runs out of relatives.

Let us see when this game of Kramer Vs Kramer started. This was when Bhutto was trying to woo over the awam:

tu mera chand mein teri chandni hooo hoho hoho ho

nahin dil ka lagana koi dil-lagi, koi dil-lagi

Of course politics is a serious business.

A engineering college friend was appointed MD of Lahore Foundaries by Dr Mubashar Hasan, the then finance minister who had also been our professor at the engineering college.

Very soon, against his protests, he was forced to employ dozens upon dozens of jialas against non-existent vacancies. The Balance Sheet soon went into red:

There was nothing right on the left, and nothing left on the right.

He was then asked to fudge the figures because it was not be shown that Bhutto Saabs nationalization was playing havoc with the industry all over the country. There was an epidemic of sick industries.

My friend resigned, became a heart patient, left PPP and joined Muslim League.

This is for those who still think Bhutto did not destroy Pakistan’s industry.

SOS Save Our Soil

by Khurshid Anwer


We are a nation of fools. We don’t know what dams are, why they are built, where they are built. We don’t know what barrages are, why they are built, where they are built. And the politicians exploit our ignorance to scare us into buying our votes.

Dams are built high up in the mountain valleys so that when the river is dammed, the valley fills up forming a natural reservoir. The dam is filled up only during the monsoons when surplus water is available, without interfering with the normal flow of the river. The dam has power and irrigation tunnels, through which the reservoir level and the river flow is regulated. Now how to use the surplus water which has been stored. It cannot be allowed to run down the river unutilized. This is where barrages ply an important role.

Barrages are built in the planes where water is needed for irrigation. They erect a low level barrier to raise the level of the river so that water can flow by gravity into the irrigation canals. Barrages too have regulating gates. But since there are no reservoirs at the barrages, the canals take water directly from the rivers. It is at the barrages where the rivers get depleted and not at the dams. The barrages subtract and the dams add.

Why the public does not know even these simple facts is because of our irresponsible media, both print and electronic. A letter comes to the newspaper editor saying that such and such dam is drying up my river and will make my city a desert. The editor prints it. Another letter comes saying, without dams industrial and agricultural growth will not be possible. The Editor prints that also.

No attempt at investigating reporting to find out the truth. In the west newspapers vie with each other to be the first to give the correct picture to the reading public on matters of national importance.

The same with the electronic media. The anchor person listens to one participant and then the other without interjecting in any intelligent manner. Obviously he doesn’t have a clue as to the subject in hand. Should the channel not have its own resident expert sitting in to interact with the participants and unravel the complexities for the confused public. No wonder it is called the idiot box, the good that it is doing now.

Is it too much to ask the media to do their homework on a subject on which depends the very existence of the country.

Fools we are and fools we will remain, with the active help of the politicians, and thanks to the media, both print and electronic.

$1 billion LNG scam lands in federal cabinet

Monday, March 29, 2010

MAJ2

ISLAMABAD: The first documented $1 billion scam was laid before the federal cabinet last week which officially revealed that Pakistan lost one billion dollars after the top guns of the Petroleum Ministry ignored the lowest bid of the Fauji Foundation and the multinational energy firm, Vitol, for 3.5 million tons LNG contract worth $25 billion, and instead awarded it to the highest bidder, a French firm.

The official documents presented before the cabinet and available with The News reveal that the mega scam might have been buried in the official files had MD Fauji Foundation Lt General Rab Nawaz not strongly protested with the then Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin. The MD FF wanted to know why the lowest bid was ignored, causing the national exchequer a $1 billion loss. When contacted by The News, former Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin confirmed that Pakistan lost $1 billion on account of awarding the contract to a French company.

He, however, made a bold confession that he was not provided full details of the actual prices quoted by the potential bidders by the ministry of petroleum when the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) headed by him took the decision. The scam came to light when the cabinet division presented the decisions of the ECC before the cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. The official documents showed that even the prime minister and his cabinet ministers did not have any idea about it as every thing was done and managed by the ministry of petroleum and natural resources and the ECC.

When the ministry of petroleum invited bidds for 3.5million tons LNG contract, Fauji Foundation and Vitol had jointly offered the lowest bid. Vitol, a Netherlands-based multi-billion dollar oil conglomerate was founded in 1966. Vitol is a big name in world energy trading. It ships over 300 million tons of energy products per year and it had revenues of around $143bn in 2009. When the ECC, then headed Shaukat Tarin, awarded the contract to the French firm, Lt General Rab Nawab called him to know why their joint bid was not entertained despite being the lowest.

But, by then, it was too late as Tarin had already awarded the contract to a French company considering it to be the lowest bidder, which was not the case. It was later revealed in the subsequent ECC meetings presided over by Tarin that the Vitol/Fauji proposal was not even presented before the bidding committee of the ministry of petroleum and natural resources. The bid was not even mentioned in the official summary to keep Shaukat Tarin in the dark and to get a decision in favour of the French company.

The documents showed that when Tarin got the call from MD FF, he immediately wrote a letter to the minister for petroleum to know how his ministry could ignore this lowest bid, which could have saved $1billion. The official report (available with The News) revealed that the minister for petroleum had explained in the ECC the “complaint of Vitol/Fauji Foundation was based on misconception”.

The documents quoted Naveed Qamar as saying “in fact Vitol/Fauji came very late to bid for this multi million dollar contract”. But, sources aid, this did not satisfy the finance minister who wanted to know why it was not mentioned in the summary. Talking to The News Shaukat Tarin said it was true and he had tried to probe the shocking scam before leaving the office last month. But, Tarin said, he was not aware of the latest development on the issue because the petroleum ministry did not reply to his letter.

Tarin said the Vitol/Fauji bid was never brought before the ECC by the ministry of petroleum and he came to know about it only after MD FF called him.

But, he said, by then it was too later as the decision had already been taken on the basis of information provided by the ministry of petroleum and natural resources. “Let me assure you that had I been informed about this lowest bid of FF/Vitol by the ministry of petroleum when the summary containing the names and offered prices of all the bidders, was presented before the ECC for my decision, I might have awarded this contract to Vitol/Fauji”, Tarin said.

He also claimed: “I was never given the full picture by the ministry of petroleum and when MD FF telephoned me I sought the details of this huge lapse from the ministry of petroleum. But its reply never reached my office till my departure from the ministry”. Talking to The News, federal secretary petroleum Kamran Lashari said this contract was awarded before he assumed charge of the ministry. Secondly, Mr Lashari said, additional secretary Mr G A Sabbari was dealing with the LNG contract issue. He, however, confirmed that this issue was recently raised in the ECC again where he was present.  

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Mr Lashari said he could not tell anything more about it, as he was not dealing with it. Talking to The News from Karachi, the federal petroleum minister Naveed Qamar denied all these charges and claimed that FF/Vitol offer did not suit the specific requirements of the ministry and its huge contract. He said actually Pakistan badly needed LNG to meet its rising energy requirements on an urgent basis and he had set December 2009 as the deadline to strike this deal to import 3.5million tons of NLG.

He said we had identified four concerned parties with the option to allow anyone to participate in the bidding for this contract. He said we had even talks with Shell which was representing Qatar which had huge reservoirs of energy.

The minister said we tried to directly negotiate with the Qatar government but it asked us to make a deal through Shell. He said Vitol was only offering to supply half the required amount of NLG along with terminal and this did not suit us. He said although price quoted by Vitol/FF was comparatively low, but we need to understand that they were only offering to supply for five years and more importantly they were not bidding for 3.5million tons.

He said after evaluating all aspects of this multibillion dollars deal, the present contractor was recommended for award of the contract as it suited our requirements from all aspects. Naveed Qamar confirmed that Shaukat Tarin had asked him in the ECC meeting why his ministry did not mention the offer of FF/Vitol along with the summary seeking the award of contract to one party.

Mr Qamar said now this was the job of the petroleum ministry to use its own wisdom to see what suited our interests and then make its recommendation to the ECC. He confirmed that his ministry did not mention the offer made by Vitol/FF in its summary to the ECC. But he claimed it was done because the bidding offer by the Vitol did not suit us.

He claimed that if he did not mention specific information about the offer price of Vitol/FF in the official summary, then it was not something scandalous or big to be made an issue against him. Naveed said he had even explained to Vitol that their offer did not suit our requirements.

But, the minister said: “I don’t know what went wrong somewhere that all of a sudden MD FF started writing against him to the prime minister’s secretariat and contacted Shaukat Tarin to lodge complaints against me”.

He claimed that MD FF had even contacted ISI to lodge complaint against him in this regard. Naveed Qamar denied any wrong doing in this multibillion dollar deal to import 3.5million tons of LNG and said Pakistan’s interests were given priority over anything else.

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