ISI General Becomes Test Case of Musharraf Regime's Corruption
April 6: For the first time elected parliamentarians of Pakistan
have picked up courage to bring a former ISI Chief, a retired
General, one who is also very close to General Musharraf, into
the dock for a botched up deal of $100 million with China, in
which there are accusations of largescale corruption.
China Railways deal is already shaping up as the first test case
between politicians and Generals with the parliamentarians testing
their limits as if they were shadow boxing with General Musharraf
himself,” a member of the Public Accounts Committee of the
National Assembly told the South Asia Tribune.
ISI Chief and Pakistan’s Railways Minister, Lt. General
(Retd) Qazi Javed Ashraf (Left) is facing the probe by the NA
Committee after Railways Ministry officials held him solely responsible
for a faulty deal of $100 million with China for importing 69
defective electric Railway engines against a commercial loan.
The PAC members who grilled the
Railways Ministry bosses during a special meeting on March 29,
suspected that General Qazi, and/or some others attached with
this deal, may have pocketed big commissions as Qazi had himself
ordered the import of the engines in bulk, instead of ordering
a few samples first for trial runs.
The locomotives developed faults
quickly and their frames cracked within a year on Pakistani Railway
The PAC formed a three-member
sub-committee to probe into the deal and initial investigations
revealed that General Qazi himself was solely in charge of the
import orders. He took the case to the National Security Council
(NSC) single handedly for approval of the faulty deal with China.
The NSC, obviously influenced by General Qazi and his closeness
with General Musharraf, approved the deal against a commercial
Chairman of the Railways Board,
Shakeel Durrani, after facing a lot of grilling and tough questioning
by parliamentarians, first resisted but then conceded that Lt
General Javed Ashraf Qazi was responsible for the purchase of
these defective locomotives. He said on record: “General
Qazi had actually got the approval of the whole plan from the
NSC presided over by General Pervez Musharraf on December 29,
Railways Ministry officials also
confessed before the NA Committee that because of these defective
locomotives, Pakistan Railways was suffering a daily loss of Rs2.4
The Secretary Railways, who was aided by engineers and other concerned
officials, told the PAC the Chinese deal had landed the Railways
into big financial trouble.
According to a member of the PAC,
Railway Ministry officials who appeared before the Committee were
so scared for almost 30 minutes none of them spoke a word, despite
relentless questioning by parliamentarians.
Almost all the members of PAC put probing questions to these Railway
Ministry officials but when the pressure increased, they finally
had to name the former Minister and the General, as he was obviously
the driving force behind the deal.
The PAC members were at a loss
to understand as to why recommendations of the Railways Technical
Committee were not implemented and without any precedent such
big numbers of defective locomotives were purchased without fear
The Committee members wanted to
know whether the Pakistan Railways had checked the credentials
of the supplier and whether any other country in the world had
purchased similar locomotives from this Chinese company. But,
PR officials had no reply to these questions.
Former Minister and PML-N leader
Choudhry Nisar Ali Khan was of the view that the PAC probe had
initially established that serious irregularities had been committed
in the purchase of these locomotives and a sub committee was constituted
to deeper into the deal and fix the responsibility.
The Chairman of PAC agreed with
the proposal of Nisar Ali Khan and announced formation of the
sub-committee that would probe the General.
The case has drawn immediate attention
as the first serious confrontation between the elected representatives
and the Generals who have been running the country like their
grand dad’s property for years.
Qazi is known to be a rude and foul-mouthed military man who ordered
the thrashing of a PML activist and Information Secretary, Siddiqul
Farooq, just because the politician had demanded a probe against
Qazi later went on air on the
BBC to publicly abuse the political activist and was condemned
by all sections of the civil society for his ill manners and arrogance.
He, however, remained oblivious to the criticism.
when the US announced a $240 million grant for development of
education in Pakistan, Qazi used his influence with General Musharraf
to become the country’s first Education Minister who himself
desperately needs some basic education in good manners and public
the General is educating Pakistan, but more importantly, spending
the $240 million grant in doing that.