NLC: Yet another evidence of Pakistan army's financial corruption – by Rauf Klasra

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Our saviours in army: Two top generals found involved in yet another multi-million-rupee corruption – by Rauf Klasra

Is it fair to compare corruption of Pakistani politicians with corruption of Pakistani Generals?

Transparency International for check on Army procurements

It is a fact that while urban, middle class chatterers of Pakistani media and blogs bash Pakistani politicians, financial (as well as moral and political) corruption of the military remains conveniently ignored or is not subject to one tenth of the scrutiny which is shown in the case of politicians. Historically and institutionally in Pakistan, military is not under any transparent accounting check and control system or audit. Therefore irregularities and corruption in the military remain unnoticed by the public. While the Military Incorporated is engaged in vast business activities in Pakistan, there is an urgent need to make them subject to proper accounting systems, internal financial controls supervised by reputed external auditors preferably reputed international auditing firms and also in the parliament. (Sarah Khan / Abdul Nasir).

NLC scam: PAC ruling in limbo till Army inquiry is over
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has decided to wait for the outcome of the inquiry ordered by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in the Rs4 billion NLC scam instead of giving its own ruling in the light of three inquiry reports pending before it for more than a year.

Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Syed Athar Ali, who attended the PAC meeting, said the military inquiry would be completed within one month and its details would be shared with the PAC.

General (retd) Athar told the committee that the army command had ordered inquiry into the NLC scam after the Planning Division’s inquiry report was brought to his notice.

He said the army act fully empowers the high command to hold inquiries against retired army officers. General Athar said the purpose of this inquiry was to send a loud message to junior military ranks that all uniformed men were equal in the eyes of military laws.

He said COAS General Kiyani had decided to hold military inquiry public “so as to show our genuine intentions” to establish transparency and fair play.

PAC Chairman Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had claimed in the last meeting that no further investigations were required to reach any conclusion in the scam.

The protests by one PAC member that it was a body of a sovereign house and should proceed in the light of three available inquiry reports on NLC scam were, however, not given any weight by the PAC chairman and his fellow members.

The defence secretary was told that the PAC would not announce its own decision, though it was convinced about the alleged role of military generals in the scam. Lt-Gen Athar was informed that the committee would wait for the arrival of a fourth inquiry report and then make up its mind how to proceed.

Earlier, in a dramatic move, army chief General Kayani had announced instituting an inquiry into the scam to determine the role of three military generals allegedly involved in the mega scam. General Kayani’s initiative was taken in a negative sense as it was claimed that the inquiry was apparently ordered to preempt the PAC decision which was expected in the first week of December.

PAC member Saeed Zafar Padhiar did not agree with Chaudhry Nisar’s decision to wait for the GHQ report. He told the committee “we should treat NLC and GHQ like we treated the rest of civilian institutions” whose acts of omission and commission come before them.

“We even don’t know what the GHQ was up to and what sort of inquiry they were conducting,” he remarked.

But Nisar argued that the committee should keep its intentions positive and should take action of General Kayani in a positive light.

“We will treat the GHQ report as fourth inquiry report into the scam,” Nisar said. He also told General Athar to tell the GHQ that its inquiry board should read three past inquiries conducted into the scam, so they should know what were the main points raised in those reports.

Nisar said if the military wanted to conduct its own inquiry as an institution, then he did not have any problem. But he wondered if the army act allowed action against retired army officers. He said the inquiry should be done in a transparent manner, “so we should know what those generals under Musharraf were doing”.

He added that it might have been better had the defence secretary discussed it before ordering an inquiry so that everyone remained within the given domains.

Auditor General of Pakistan Tanveer Agha also proposed that the army should conduct its inquiry in the light of three earlier investigations into the affair.

Two serving major generals appeared before the PAC members surprisingly in civilian clothes, not in military uniforms. Usually, all serving military men are required to attend parliamentary bodies’ meetings in their military uniforms. PAC member Riaz Fatiana pointed out this lapse on the part of two military generals but, noticing complete indifference of his colleagues towards this otherwise serious issue, he too did not push it further.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2010.

One Comment to “NLC: Yet another evidence of Pakistan army's financial corruption – by Rauf Klasra”

  1. Vanished presents: Our leaders and our gifts

    Rauf Klasra

    Former president Musharraf was one of the main beneficiaries of receiving state gifts. Pakistan suffers a loss of Rs103 million as state gifts undervalued, looted.

    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan suffered a loss of Rs103 million because of the greed of its presidents and prime ministers, as well as civilian and military VIPs, on account of expensive gifts given to them by foreign dignitaries, between 1999 and 2009.

    In most cases, these gifts, which rightly belonged to the state, were quietly palmed off after these dignitaries had their value assessed at next to nothing.

    The actual value of these gifts, numbering 3,486 –
    including costly items such as diamonds, jewellery, gold, carpets, watches, rugs, swords, guns – was assessed at only Rs118 million by officials of the cabinet division.

    However, the VVIPs in question deposited into the government treasury no more than a total of Rs15 million for the entire lot, thus causing the country a loss of Rs103 milion.

    In one case alone, Sehba Musharraf, wife of self-exiled retired General Pervez Musharraf, had taken a gold and diamond necklace set worth Rs6 million, gifted to her during one of the foreign visits to an Arab country, after paying a fraction of the actual price.

    The details of the gifts received by General Pervez Musharraf and former prime minister Shaukat Aziz in particular, had appeared in the media some months ago. However, till now, no one knew the actual loss that was suffered by the state on this account.

    The record now shows that General Musharraf and Aziz jointly took away more than 2,000 gift items after altering the relevant rules at least four times during their tenures.

    The rules were changed so as to help these VVIPs pay next to nothing to retain these gift items. General Musharraf was even said to have stopped declaring his gifts during the last three years of his presidency. Interestingly, the cabinet division does not have a record of exact numbers of gifts he had received.

    The total number of gifts received by Shaukat Aziz, which he took along with him to London, were more than 1,126. Aziz paid only Rs2.9 million to retain the gifts, which are worth Rs26 milion. Musharraf paid a paltry Rs5.1 million to retain gifts worth Rs33 million.

    Musharraf and ex-prime ministers Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Ch Shujaat Hussain, Shaukat Aziz, as well as other top dignitaries, were the main beneficiaries of this practice. Out of a total of 3,486 foreign gifts during their respective tenures, only 447 items, all of no value at all and mostly souvenirs, were left with the Toshakhana of the cabinet division.

    However, this practice is not only a thing of the past. Incumbents President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani too retained gifts given to them by hosts during their foreign trips. Zardari paid only Rs9.3 million to retain gifts worth Rs62 million. Figures pertaining to Gilani are not available with the cabinet division. No one knows how much he paid to retain the gifts he received during the first two years in the office of prime minister.

    Published in The Express Tribune December 12th, 2010.

    For more on this issue follow: musharraf
    Rauf Klasra

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/89144/vanished-presents-our-leaders-and-our-gifts/

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