Double Standards of Favoritism
Wasim Sajjad off the Hook, while others rot in
General Pervez Musharraf has forgiven ex-Senate Chairman Wasim
Sajjad for misusing government cars and telephones to the tune
of millions of rupees while on similar “crimes” several
other politicians are rotting in jail, condemned for years.
instead of paying the bills for private over-use of official phones,
Wasim Sajjad sent a petition to the President to waive his dues,
a write off which would automatically disqualify him from contesting
any election, including the Senate polls he desperately wants
to contest on King’s Party ticket.
of the old National Assembly, PPP leader Yusuf Raza Gilani is
serving a 10-year sentence for misusing telephones and cars, exactly
something what ex-Senate chairman Wasim Sajjad has done. But Musharraf
never considered granting amnesty to Gilani, neither did he seek
one. When Sajjad was asked about Gilani's sentence some timeback,
he prayed for the ex-speaker.
a Balochistan Minister is also in jail for similar misuse of official
facilities and so is the case with PPP leader from Lahore Jehangir
all these politicians did something wrong, they were made to pay
for their misdeeds, but not so with Wasim Sajjad, who is turning
out to be some kind of a sacred cow for the army.
ordered Sajjad to pay a token Rs 5,000 ignoring the Senate secretariat
advice against the waiver of millions of rupees outstanding against
the former chairman. The Secretariat had told the president he
had no powers to take this controversial decision which has already
been opposed by the Public Accounts Committee.
Secretary Senate in a crucial letter to the Chief Executive Secretariat
had pointed out: “I have not been able to lay my hands on
any precedent on the subject that could establish that President
was empowered to do this favor.” Click
to see Senate Secretariat Letter Page1 | Page2
The President was also told that it was not advisable to grant
this waiver to Wasim Sajjad, specially after the National Assembly
had come into being. Before the Assembly, the President could
use the powers of the Speaker.
President had sought Senate comments after Wasim Sajjad met him
twice in the President’s House to request him to get the
huge money written off, to enable him to contest the Senate election.
10 polls had practically blocked all chances of Wasim Sajjad to
get back into the Senate, even though President Musharraf wanted
to see him back as chairman after writing off his unpaid bills.
Former chairman Senate was earlier found guilty of misuse of official
vehicles and phones by the Public Accounts Committee and was asked
to pay millions of rupees but he refused fearing disqualification
from holding public office or getting barred from contesting the
first appealed to the PAC to reconsider its decision. When, the
PAC refused to oblige him, he met the President and submitted
his request for a waiver. Wasim Sajjad was of the view that he
had done nothing wrong and had used his powers available to him
under Senate rules. He also pointed out that the Principal Accounting
Secretaries and Senate secretaries must be responsible for such
acts as they used to execute these decisions. On the same grounds,
he had sought a waiver from the President.
ex-chairman was in full knowledge of the misuse of government
cars and phones but he never stopped the misuse until bills totaling
millions of rupees piled up and were paid by the tax-payers.
Secretary Senate said that since the ex-chairman through this
representation had tried to place the burden of decision making
only on the then secretaries/PAO, it would only be fair if the
concerned secretaries were also afforded an opportunity, along
with the ex-chairman to explain their position.
is yet to be seen whether the action of General Musharraf would
provide Wasim Sajjad enough legal room to contest for a Senate