A new presidential order (ordinance) is in the making which although titles as some sort of reconciliation ordinance with a hoodwinking view to bring political reconciliation in the country but actually is directed to get all cases of corruption (mainly against PPP and PML-N) and murder/extortion (mainly against MQM) quashed (pardoned).
Amazing…… isn’t it…. it is the only truly free country in the world….
Although, the initial thinking behind this law is to make sure Benazir Bhutto does a deal with Musharraf (with the backing and full support/pressure of CFR/US lobbies/Western governments) which itself is a mockery of the term democracy as elections are yet to be held and no one knows who the people will elect. Most of the polls are unscientific and even in those PPP (Benazir’s party) popularity is taking a steeper slump than Musharraf due to news of deal-making.
Here is a short trailer of what Benazir and her beloved husband Zardari (also lovingly called Mr ten percent by everyone else) did during the tenure of their governments.
The Real Face of Benazir Bhutto
By: COMPILED FORM VARIOU SOURCES
Published: July 28, 2007
This is the person now being imposed again on Pakistan by Mush and Bush regimes. Bhutto was charged with corruption and faced a number of legal proceedings (the resolution of which seems to vary depending on opinion) in Pakistan. She has also been charged with laundering state-owned money through Swiss banks, in a case that remains before the Swiss courts. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, spent eight years in prison under similar charges of corruption. Bhutto and her husband continue to face allegations by (among others) the Pakistani government, of having stolen hundreds of millions of dollars by demanding “commissions” on government contracts and tenders.
Over the past decade, the couple have faced an approximate combined total of 90 legal cases; while eight cases still remain, Bhutto maintains that the charges levelled against her and her husband are purely politically motivated.
A 1998 article in the New York Times indicates that Pakistani investigators have documents that uncover a network of bank accounts all linked to the family’s lawyer in Switzerland with Asif Zardari as the principal shareholder in most of these corporations. According to the article, documents released by the French authorities indicated that Zadari offered exclusive rights to Dassault, a French aircraft manufacturer, to replace the air force’s fighter jets in exchange for a 5% commission to be paid to a corporation in Switzerland controlled by Zardari. The article also said a Dubai company received an exclusive license to import gold into Pakistan for which Asif Zardari received payments of more than $10M into his Dubai-based Citibank accounts.
The paper also said that Zardari’s parents, who had modest assets at the time of Bhutto’s marriage, now own a 355-acre estate south of London. The estate has been auctioned through a court order. Swiss Government On July 23, 1998, the Swiss Government handed over documents to the government of Pakistan which relate to corruption allegations against Pakistan’s opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Zardari. The documents include a formal charge of money laundering and an indictment by the Swiss authorities against Mr Zardari. The Pakistani government had been conducting wide-ranging inquiry to account for more than $13.7 million frozen by Swiss authorities in 1997 that was allegedly stashed in banks by Bhutto and husband, whom he also asks Pakistan to indict; Pakistan Govt recently filed first criminal charges against Bhutto in efforts to track down estimated $1.5 billion she and husband received in kickbacks and commissions in variety of enterprises.
The documents suggest that the money which Zardari is alleged to launder, was accessible to Benazir Bhutto and had been used to buy a diamond necklace for over $175,000. (Elizabeth Olson, the New York Times, August 20, 1998 ) August 6, 2003, Swiss magistrates found Benazir and her husband guilty of money laundering. They were given six-month suspended jail terms, fined $50,000 each and were ordered to pay $11 million to the Pakistani government. (Alison Langley, NYT, August 6, 2003) The six-year-long case alleged that Benazir and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, deposited in Swiss accounts $10 million given to them by a Swiss company in exchange for a contract in Pakistan. The Pakistani investigators say Zardari, opened Citbank account in Geneva in Feb 1995 through which they say he passed some $40 million of the $100 million he received from payoffs from foreign companies doing business in Pakistan.[i]
The Polish Government has given Pakistan 500 pages of documentation relating to corruption allegations against Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari nickname of “Mr 10%”.[ii] These relate to concerns in the purchase of 8,000 tractors in the 1997 tractor purchase deal.[iii] According to Pakistani officials, the Polish papers contain details of illegal commissions paid by the tractor company in return for agreeing to their contract.[iv] It is said that the arrangement was initiated and “skimmed” Rs 103 mn rupees ($ 2.0 mn) in kickbacks from a scheme to make available inexpensive Polish tractors, in a bid to boost farming output, not to the farmers benefit .” The documentary evidence received from Poland confirms the scheme of kickbacks laid out by Asif Zardari and Benazir Bhutto in the name of (the) launching of Awami tractor scheme,” APP said. Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari received 7.15 per cent commission on purchase of tractors through their front men, Jens Schlegelmilch and Didier Plantin of Dargal S.A., who received about $1.969 million for supplying 5,900 Ursus Tractors.[v]
Potentially the most lucrative deal uncovered by the documents involved the effort by Dassault Aviation, the French military contractor, to sell Pakistan 32 Mirage 2000-5 fighter planes. These were to replace two squadrons of American-made F-16s whose purchase was blocked when the Bush administration determined in 1990 that Pakistan was covertly developing nuclear weapons. In April 1995, Dassault found itself in arm’s-length negotiations with Zardari and Amer Lodhi, a Paris-based lawyer and banker who had lived for years in the United States, working among other things as an executive of the now-defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International. Lodhi’s sister, Maleeha, a former Pakistan newspaper editor, became Bhutto’s ambassador to the United States in 1994. Schlegelmilch, the Geneva lawyer, wrote a memo for his files describing his talks at Dassault’s headquarters on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. According to the memo, the company’s executives offered a “remuneration” of 5 percent to Marleton Business SA, an offshore company controlled by Zardari. The memo indicated that in addition to Dassault, the payoff would be made by two companies involved in the manufacture of the Mirages: Snecma, an engine manufacturer, and Thomson-CSF, a maker of aviation electronics. The documents offered intriguing insights into the anxieties that the deal aroused. In a letter faxed to Geneva, the Dassault executives — Jean-Claude Carrayrou, Dassault’s director of legal affairs, and Pierre Chouzenoux, the international sales manager — wrote that “for reasons of confidentiality,” there would be only one copy of the contract guaranteeing the payoff. It would be kept at Dassault’s Paris office, available to Schlegelmilch only during working hours. The deal reached with Schlegelmilch reflected concerns about French corruption laws, which forbid bribery of French officials but permit payoffs to foreign officials, and even make the payoffs tax-deductible in France.
The Swiss and the French have resisted American pressures to sign a worldwide treaty that would hold all businesses to the ethical standards of American law, which sets criminal penalties for bribing foreign officials. “It is agreed that no part of the above-mentioned remuneration will be transferred to a French citizen, or to any company directly or indirectly controlled by French individuals or companies, or to any beneficiary of a resident or nonresident bank account in France,” one of the Dassault documents reads. Negotiations on the Mirage contract were within weeks of completion when Bhutto was dismissed by another Pakistani president in 1996. They have bogged down since, partly because Pakistan has run out of money to buy the planes, and partly because the Pakistan Army, still politically powerful a decade after the end of military rule, waited until Bhutto was removed to weigh in against the purchase. A Dassault spokesman, Jean-Pierre Robillard, said Carrayrou, the legal affairs director, had retired. Two weeks after he was sent a summary of the documents, Robillard said that the company had decided to make no comment.
In the largest single payment investigators have discovered, a gold bullion dealer in the Middle East was shown to have deposited at least $10 million into one of Zardari’s accounts after the Bhutto government gave him a monopoly on gold imports that sustained Pakistan’s jewelry industry. The money was deposited into a Citibank account in the United Arab Emirates sheikdom of Dubai, one of several Citibank accounts used by Zardari. Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast, stretching from Karachi to the border with Iran, has long been a gold smugglers’ haven. Until the beginning of Bhutto’s second term, the trade, running into hundreds of millions of dollars a year, was unregulated, with slivers of gold called biscuits, and larger weights in bullion, carried on planes and boats that travel between the Persian Gulf and the largely unguarded Pakistani coast. Shortly after Bhutto returned as prime minister in 1993, a Pakistani bullion trader in Dubai, Abdul Razzak Yaqub, proposed a deal: In return for the exclusive right to import gold, Razzak would help the government regularize the trade. In January 1994, weeks after Bhutto began her second term, Schlegelmilch established a British Virgin Island company known as Capricorn Trading, SA, with Zardari as its principal owner. Nine months later, on Oct. 5, 1994, an account was opened at the Dubai offices of Citibank in the name of Capricorn Trading. The same day, a Citibank deposit slip for the account shows a deposit of $5 million by Razzak’s company, ARY Traders. Two weeks later, another Citibank deposit slip showed that ARY had paid a further $5 million. In Nov. 1994, Pakistan’s Commerce Ministry wrote to Razzak informing him that he had been granted a license that made him, for at least the next two years, Pakistan’s sole authorized gold importer. In an interview in his office in Dubai, Razzak acknowledged that he had used the license to import more than $500 million in gold into Pakistan, and that he had traveled to Islamabad several times to meet with Bhutto and Zardari. But he denied that there had been any secret deal. “I have not paid a single cent to Zardari,” he said. Razzak offered an unusual explanation for the Citibank documents that showed his company paying the $10 million to Zardari, suggesting that someone in Pakistan who wished to destroy his reputation had contrived to have his company wrongly identified as the depositor. “Somebody in the bank has cooperated with my enemies to make false documents,” he said.
[i] THE BHUTTO MILLIONS; A Background Check Far From Ordinary,January 9, 1998, Friday, By JOHN F. BURNS
[ii] Timesonline:£4m Surrey mansion in Bhutto ‘corruption’ row, November 21, 2004, By Sian Griffiths
[iii] EXPRESSindia.com:Poland gives Pak papers on $ 2-mn Bhutto bribe, REUTERS, Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.
[iv] World: South Asia Poland linked to Bhutto corruption charge, Friday, May 7, 1999.
[v] DAWN.com:NAB says Swiss order names Benazir:Ursus tractor case, By Our Staff Reporter, 23 July 2004, He claimed that Ms Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari received 7.15 per cent commission on purchase of tractors through their front men, Jens Schlegelmilch and Didier Plantin of Dargal S.A., who received about $1.969 million for supplying 5,900 Ursus Tractors.