Secret of Shamsi Base revealed as closure ordered

 

Ahmad Noorani
Sunday, November 27, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Shamsi Airbase was the major operational centre for US drones that was given to UAE which sublet it to American forces to launch attacks on targets in the tribal areas.

In the in camera session of the parliament the top military authorities had admitted that Shamsi Airbase was given to UAE by the government and now it turns out that it was in the use of the US and has been asked to be shut down. There were also reports that the notorious Blackwater people also remained stationed at Shamsi.

Shamsi Airbase was first given to the US by the Musharraf government under secret agreements after the 9/11 attacks. Some of media outlets had also published pictures of US drones parked at the base in 2004-05.
When the Musharraf regime was asked by the media to explain the pictures, US and Pakistani spokesmen had explained that the drones parked were used only for landing at the base, and not in the attacks. It was a ridiculous explanation as landings could not happen unless the planes took off with missiles to fire at Pakistani targets.

Some other airbases were also given to US forces immediately after the 9/11 when US forces attacked Afghanistan and a Nato website had then revealed, by mistake, that some 59,000 sorties took off from Pakistani bases to attack the Taliban government in Afghanistan in three months and hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs were dropped by aircraft which used Pakistani soil.

The cutting off of Nato supply through Pakistan will hit the major sources of furnishing all kind of goods ranging from oil to food, weapons to fuel for Nato forces fighting against Afghans.
The supplies are shipped to the Karachi port from where these are loaded on big Nato tankers and transported to Afghanistan through roads of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistan had also blocked Nato supplies in October 2010 after a Nato helicopter strike, which had killed three soldiers then. However, after some calls from Washington and reported apologies both military and civilian leadership had reopened the supply line in a few days.

Most of Nato supplies mostly comprising big tankers and trucks are also sitting targets of anti-US fighters inside Pakistan.

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THANK YOU ! THANK YOU ! AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH ! ! !

By Asif Ali Zardari

(A Satire written by Jean Pierre Marches – Nom de plume)

Recently I have been in the news again. I thought it appropriate that
I gave a response, but my decency requires that I should not hit below
the belt as most have done in the past.


I am a democratically elected leader of the Great Islamic Republic of
Pakistan. Just as a reminder to my critics that 498 members of the
Senate out of a total of 500 voted for me as the President. They were
the representatives of the people of Pakistan. It is a great
compliment to me and rather reluctantly, I accepted the challenge to
serve my great nation.

For those who want to change the rules of the game now will have to
wait till the next elections when my term is over.

I have suffered at the hand of various governments in the past. My
loving wife Benazir Bhutto was murdered by the political enemies. I
was  incarcerated in the jail for 8 long years. I was ill and suffered
from innumerable diseases as I had very little medical attention. The
scar left from that period still haunts me. I have nightmares and
sometimes I find myself floating from Islamabad to Manhattan in USA or
to an unknown Chateau in Normandy, France. These are terrible visions
and I hope and pray to the Almighty that no one should suffer such
ignominy.

People have been talking about my past, my childhood and my family
background. Well, I am proud of all these things and I do not wish to
disown my past. I am also proud to admit that I am a classic example
of “rags to riches” story. Whilst there are many in Pakistan who can
easily be given the same title but they shy away with embarrassment,
timidity or secrecy. I am not one of them.

To clear the hot air surrounding these allegations I will take you
for a joy ride into my past.

I hail from a very humble Sindhi family of farmers. My father Hakim
Ali Zardari broke away from the clan and set up a small cinema in
Karachi called “Bambino Cinema”. It was a good start though it made no
large money.

I was the most handsome guy in Sindh. My step-mother Mrs Zarina
Zardari is a very shrewd and visionary lady.. She suggested that I get
married to this lady the daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who had
finished her studies at Oxford. People accuse me that I do not have a
degree. Quite right! Did education matter in politics or the Army?
Generals Musa Khan, Tikka Khan or Yahya Khan never had any kind of
degrees. They all rose from the ranks.

They all rose to high positions. Generals like Yahya Khan or Zia ul Haque became Presidents of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. I do not have to teach you about
what kind of mess these people got us into. I have maintained a status
quo all around. Look at the politicians like Pehlwan Nawaz Sharif, and
younger Pehlwan Shahbaz Sharif who have “degrees’ and what have they
contributed towards the  betterment of Pakistan. I digressed so I will
continue about my own career.

My wife had full faith and confidence in me. When Benazir came to
power in her second term she appointed me on a very sensitive
assignment as The Minister of Investment. It was a tough assignment
and I fulfilled my assignment with due diligence. In the process, as
luck would have it I had the chance to make, as they say; “a buck or
two”. This was done without hurting anyone. I shared the profit
element with the rich people of Pakistan; otherwise these rich people
would have become super-rich.

I am a bold and honest man. I will tell you the truth and will not
hide the facts like the barons of Raiwind, who continue to hide how
they made their fortunes. There was this Agosta submarines and Exocet
Missiles deal. I was approached by the Naval Chief at the time and
suggested easy way of making large sums. Vow! I exclaimed, and said
how? I was told to use the services of one Amer Lodhi (brother of
Maleeha Lodhi – colloquially who has one leg in PPP and one leg in
Nawaz’s camp!).

Amer is a lawyer and he devised the entire scheme for
me “gratis” but retained certain portion for himself and Admiral
Mansur ul Haque. I was the innocent man who simply made it convenient
so that there were no impediments. Unfortunately, US$60 Million is
still owed to me as “my commission”. This NAB chap called Saifur
Rehman, now in self imposed exile sits in Qatar, put a case against me
and as a result these funds are still stuck in Swiss. I am just
waiting for an opportune moment to go and claim these funds i.e. “my
funds” – hard earned commission.

By the way, according to NAB’s Saifur Rehman there were 40 Accounts identified with about US$1.5Billion in them.

Wrong! I had more accounts in Spain, France, USA, UK and
Switzerland.  The total is now three or four times the figure stated.
People have been trying to damage my reputation by calling me by the
epithet “Mr. Ten Per Cent”. They think I was raking off 10% on any
deal that went past my eyes. So wrong!. How do they know such intimate
details?

Well, I will again be honest and tell you the truth. The
deals that I brokered in my privileged position ranged, between 10% to
50%. I had the power to approve the deals. My nation had elected me as
the President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to do as I willed. I did
exactly that. There is nothing in the Constitution that says I cannot
make money. They call me “King of Thieves”, “Mr Ten Per Cent” or
“Zardari 100% Pure Corruption” – all these are sour grapes.  Saifur
Rehman had frozen 40 accounts in Switzerland, United Kingdom.. He is
very nasty man. This was hard earned money that he managed to block
but thanks to Musharraf’s NRO I have now managed to move all
elsewhere. Who is going to have the last laugh?

You want to know about Rockwood Surrey Mansion. I fail to understand
as to why people are interested in our Rockwood Surrey Mansion? We
have the money at our disposal and we decided to splash it the way we
wanted to do it i.e. in style. We bought the Mansion for over
£4Million in 1994. It had 400 acres of land, 15 bedrooms. We furbished
it with a beautiful Lalique Glass Dining Table which cost a small sum
of £120,000. Then we had beautiful crystal Chandeliers, and Gilded
furniture.

It has had so much bad publicity of jealousy that I have
decided to sell it and is on the market for £7.5Million (say
US$11.25M). Villa in Spain. It is a palatial Villa but I do not get a chance to go
there that often.I managed to acquire a 5 acre Chateau in Normandy, France.  President Sarkozy of France on his present tour was kind enough to provide his
personal helicopter to enable me to visit my father Hakim Ali Zardari
in this Chateau. 

By the way, I always had connections.  Sarkozy was
then the Minister of Defence when I was negotiating a deal of Agosta
submarines and Exocet Missiles.  If you see the recent footage of my
visit to his official residence Quai d’Orsay you would have observed
that he received me with such warmth at the steps along with my son
Bilawal. 

My Chateau is called Manoir de la Reine Blanche (Manoir of
the White Queen).  It is 16th Century Chateau and was built for the
widow of Phillippe the 4th.  It is a feather in my cap.  There is no
Pakistani who owns a Chateau in France.  Pakistan Zindabad!
Mansion in Manhattan, New York, USA
 

As regards the politicians in Pakistan I decided to choose these
people; Salman Taseer, Zulfiqar Mirza, Qayyum Soomro, Rehman Malik,
Farhatullah Babar, Babar Awan, Aitzaz Ahsan, Amin Faheem, Salman
Siddique, Raza Rabbani and interalia many others.  There is an old
saying “Every dog  has its price”.  They are my pedigree dogs and I
use them at will. They are hungry for money all the time.  I just need
to throw crumbs at them to keep them satisfied.  Do you see them bark
at all? 

Take for example Aitzaz Ahsan, a barrister and a Cambridge
graduate.  What has he contributed to democracy and well being in
Pakistan.  I have hired Aitzaz Ahsan and Babar Awan to protect me.
They are my ramparts.  They know that if they turn away and oppose me
in any form I will have their backside kicked.  That will put a stop
to their steady and regular income from me, which makes up to millions
of Rupees on a regular basis.  Like Faustus, they have sold their
souls to the devil!  That is the way to operate and you must give me
full credit for my method of operation.

As regards the question of a Degree to become eligible to be a member
of the Senate, well I am told that half the members at present Senate
have fake degrees.  In December a study by Pakistan Institute of
Legislative Assembly and Transparency reveals that the average net
worth of a Pakistani parliamentarian is US$ 900,000 and the richest
tops US$ 37M.  So much for the parliamentarians with DEGREES.  At
least I confess I do not have a degree but I have done well.  I had
nothing and I am a billionaire three times over.  Not bad!
 

My European Visit was planned well ahead.  I had to visit France
which was also convenient for me to see my Dad.  I wanted to
re-establish my old contacts with Sarkozy.  What people forget is that
all these trips abroad by the Head of State are paid for by the
Government.  I cannot change the rules.  I was not wasting
government’s money.  To maintain the dignity of the Head of State, one
had to stay in a £7,000 suite, which was a bargain.  It is slightly
cheaper than what the Rulers of Middle Eastern countries pay.

Visit to UK was essential.  I had to meet PM David Cameron to clear
the air regarding his statement in India on Pakistan and Terrorism in
Pakistan. I had also planned to induct my son Bilawal to the PPP as heir
apparent.  I want to give up politics and I plan to get him become the
Head of PPP. 

This visit had been planned by The High Commissioner and
he insisted that I go ahead.  The floods in Pakistan have been worst
for 100 years but my presence would not have made any difference.
These political animals were making a big hullabaloo about my being
here and not returning to Pakistan.  They are simply idiots.
 

Disrespect to the Presidency.  Then there was this bearded man who
got up in his madness and threw his shoes.  He showed utter disrespect
to the President of Pakistan and that too abroad.  This is not the way
to behave.

I hear that there were some people who were very upset about this
man’s behaviour.  They protested tooth and nail in their columns and
in their BLOGS.  My hats off to these people for their courage to
support me.

Thank you, Thank you and Thank you very much.  Pakistan Zindabad

   
_

Sledging destroying beauty of cricket

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Looted billions back after dry-cleaning

Mehtab Haider
Sunday, October 30, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Who says the billions looted by our corrupt rulers are not coming back into the country? Ironically they are, but only after being cleansed and sanitised by being brought back through official legal avenues while a clueless State Bank looks on helplessly.

An investigation by The News revealed that a substantial portion of the foreign remittances of $23.8 billion, during the almost four-year rule of the PPP led govt, is actually a major source of re-routing of dirty money earned through corruption and tax evasion by the political mafia and its business associates. To cite one instance, while there have been no mentionable increases in salaries or the number of Pakistani ex-pats working in the UAE, there are instances where the remittances have surged three-fold from Abu Dhabi, a favourite fund parking choice of our dirty elite.

The foreign remittances stood at $6.4 billion in 2007-08 and went up to $7.6 billion in 2008-09. The remittances witnessed another jump and touched $8.6 in 2009-10 and surged to $11.2 billion in the last financial year ending on June 30, 2011. This rising trend continued in the first quarter (July-Sept) period of the current fiscal year as it stood at $3.297 billion during this period. The figures of the Bureau of Immigration showed that the number of employed workers in the Gulf region did not witness any unprecedented increase but the received remittances jumped up three times in the case of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and maintained the same level from the USA despite the fact that the developed economies such as the USA and EU were facing an acute financial and debt crisis.

The economists describe this funds-movement phenomenon as money laundering, pure and simple, and the easiest method of turning black illegal wealth into legal white money. No questions asked, no taxes paid. And the method is one of the cheapest money laundering tools as well. The entire exercise of taking dirty funds out illegally and bringing them back clean and legal costs a mere 2 percent of the cost of the entire value of the involved sums.

As put by one economic crime investigator, “This is what we call the Dutch disease that needs to be investigated because if it evaporated it could cause us to plunge into a default on our external account.” This is not a baseless apprehension as proven in the wake of emerging realities. Workers’ remittances showed a declining trend by a massive 32% to $890 million in September 2011 compared to $1,310 million in August 2011.

“One should not see development on the remittances front for the first quarter as it is a worrisome indicator if closely reviewed by the economic managers. In terms of remittances, Pakistan can be compared with the Philippines as its growth is almost flat with authorities expecting a 4.5 percent jump keeping in view the economic outlook of major economies such as the USA, United Kingdom, European countries and the Gulf region. But there is a complete mismatch in the case of Pakistan as the country is witnessing a phenomenal  increase by 25 percent without having any economic justifications,” a top officer of the government’s economic team told The News here on Saturday.

Former economic advisor to the government of Pakistan, Dr Ashfaque Hassan Khan who is currently serving as Dean NUST Business School (NBS) opined that there was a mysterious growth in remittances which was not consistent with the level of economic activities in countries from where the bulk of expatriate Pakistanis were sending their money. For example, he said, the US has been the single largest source of remittances and its economy is near to recession as millions of people have lost their jobs. He asked how Pakistanis are still maintaining the same level of remittances as had been the case during the good times in the USA.

He said that another major source of remittances was the European countries, which had been suffering a severe debt crisis for the last two years and economic growth there was almost flat. How one can justify that Pakistanis can afford to continue sending money despite experiencing a standstill economic growth in the EU countries, he asked.

Dr Ashfaque said that another major source is the Middle East and remittances from there witnessed a three-fold increase in recent years. Neither the wages nor the number of overseas employees increased in this period so there is no justification for the sudden jump, he said, arguing, “What is happening on remittances is an unknown phenomenon,” and lamented that so far no credible response had come from the SBP.–