WASHINGTON DC, April 6, 2005 | ISSN: 1684-2057 | www.satribune.com

Click to Make a Donation Click to Make a Donation Click to Make a Donation

 

Former ISI General Becomes Test Case of Musharraf Regime's Corruption

By Mahr Ahmed

ISLAMABAD, 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.

“The 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.

Former 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 tracks.

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 loan.

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, 1999.”

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 million.

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 of accountability.

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.

General 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 the General.

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.

Later 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 behavior.

Currently the General is educating Pakistan, but more importantly, spending the $240 million grant in doing that.

Email story  Email Story | Discuss story Discuss Story

Home | Back to top

 

Copyright 2002-05 South Asia Tribune Publications, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Click to Donate to Imran Khan's Hospital