NRO to benefit several diplomats, bureaucrats and politicians
* Beneficiaries include Asif Ali Zardari, Hakim Ali Zardari as well as the MQM’s Altaf Hussain and Syed Muzzaffar Hussain
* Mir Zafarullah Jamali among Balochistan beneficiaries
* Shahbaz Sharif and Makhdoom Javed Hashmi among Punjab beneficiaries
* No NWFP politicians to benefit due to limited period covered by Ordinance
By AR Qureshi, Razzak Abro, Akhtar Amin and Malik Siraj Akbar
KARACHI/LAHORE/QUETTA/PESHAWAR: Asif Ali Zardari, his brother-in-law, a former FIA DG, a Sindh law minister, the current Assembly speaker and a former chief minister are some of the likely beneficiaries of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).
Pakistan People’s Party chairwoman Benazir Bhutto herself faces a number of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases, one of which is popularly known as the “ARY Gold Reference”. Another case against Bhutto is commonly known as the “Assets Case”. According to the prosecution, she filed a mis-declaration of assets before the Election Commission for the 1985 general elections and failed to submit complete details of the assets she owned. She also faces charges for the alleged commission of an SGS Cotecna through offshore companies. In this case, the Swiss government has decided to continue prosecuting the case despite the government of Pakistan’s withdrawal.
More recently, Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians leaders in the present Sindh Assembly — Nisar Khuhro, Syed Murad Ali Shah and Saleem Hingoro — were accused of beating a government MPA who allegedly slighted the honour of a party member by passing her a “friendly” note in the House. .
Zardari to benefit: Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, also stands to benefit from the NRO as he faces four cases in Sindh. These include the artifacts-smuggling case commonly known as the “Container Case”, the murder cases of Mir Murtaza Bhutto and seven other workers and supporters of PPP-Shaheed Bhutto group, the double-murder case of Justice Nizam Ahmed and his son Nadeem Ahmed and the murder case of Alam Baloch, the former food secretary. Bhutto’s father-in-law, Hakim Ali Zardari, faces at least two cases before Karachi’s Accountability Court.
Bhutto’s sister-in-law and presidential hopeful Faryal Talpur’s husband, Mir Munawwar Talpur, faces cases before the Hyderabad Anti-Corruption Court. He is a former MPA and was a minister in the Syed Abdullah Shah cabinet. Rahman Malik, a former FIA DG, faces a case before Accountability Court IV.
NAB sources put the number at 50 for the politicians, bureaucrats and businessman involved in different corruption cases who could stand to benefit from the NRO. They could include former provincial minister for excise and taxation Agha Siraj Durani, Chaudhry Sharif, former chairman of the NDFC, MB Abbasi, former chairman of the EOBI, Shaikh Barkatullah, former chairman of the Hyderabad Cantonment Board, Riazul Rehman Hashmi and an officer of the board, Badar Alam Bachani, former general manager of the Port Qasim Authority, Irshad Ahmed Sheikh, former director general of the agriculture extension, Malik Akram and Nayyar Barri, former director of the Export Promotion Bureau.
Other PPP leaders facing cases of corruption or misuse of authority include former Sindh Law Minister Pir Mazharul Haq and former federal minister Syed Khursheed Shah.
Many MQM workers to benefit: Many Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders and workers have already been exonerated, as most cases against them have been withdrawn over the past few years. Nonetheless, dozens of its leaders and hundreds of its workers still face criminal trials dating from 1992 onwards. The most sensitive case is that of Saulat Ali Mirza who was sentenced to death in the murder case of KESC MD Shahid Hamid. All appeals have been rejected in this case. The Hakim Muhammad Said murder case is still inconclusive. Similarly, a number of prominent MQM workers have been declared absconders, including Nadir Shah Adil of the Liaquatabad sector and Junaid alias K-2, who is wanted in a murder case involving Pakistan Ranger officials. The lone MPA of the MQM-Haqiqi in Sindh would also benefit as he faces criminal prosecution.
MQM legislator Faisal Sabzwari told Daily Times that there were thousands of cases against party workers. Although they were criminal in content and allegation, the spirit behind the institution or registration of these cases was purely political, he claimed. He said that Altaf Hussain was booked in the murder case of Syed Ehsan Shah, brother of Syed Abdullah Shah, former Sindh chief minister. He was also nominated in the Major Kaleem case and the Hakim Said case, the MPA recalled, adding that all of them had failed to stand the test of trial.
Naming other leaders, Sabzwari said that cases are pending against Dr Imran Farooq, Saleem Shehzad and Tariq Javed.
Current Sindh Assembly Speaker Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah of the PMLF and former chief minister Syed Ghous Ali of the PMLN also face cases.
Some bureaucrats accused of swindling public money or granting land at throwaway prices also face trial. Former Sindh secretary Ramesh Udeshi, Salman Farooqui and former PSM chairman Usman Farooqui are some of the accused in such cases.
Balochistan beneficiaries include former PM: The beneficiaries from Balochistan include former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali, who faced corruption allegations in the Kech Flour Mills scandal, former chief minister Mir Jan Mohammad Jamali, dozens of former ministers, some sitting ministers and former members of parliament. Jam Yusuf also faced serious corruption charges when he was the chairman of the District Council.
Shahbaz Sharif and Hashmi to benefit: A former chief minister, two federal ministers and a provincial minister would benefit from the NRO in Punjab. The potential beneficiaries include former chief minister Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, and ex-federal ministers Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and Jahangir Badr for illegal appointment and illegal assets, former principal secretary to Bhutto, Ahmad Sadiq, ex-MNAs Abdul Hameed, Mian Rashid, Rana Nazir ex-MPAs Tariq Anees, Chaudhry Zulfiqar and his business partner, former NWFP MNA Haji Kabir.
Government employees who might benefit from the NRO are Gen (r) Zahid Ali Akbar who is accused of corruption during his tenure as WAPDA chairman and Pakistan Cricket Board chairman. Brig (r) Karrar Ali Agha in Accountability Court Lahore. Ex-military land director Haroon Rasikh and land acquisition collectors Asad Lali and Amjad Sandal.
Businessmen include Sarwar Hayat, Raja Riaz and his son Mian Luqman, Khawaja Mohammad Tanoli, Kanwar Ajmad, Seth Nisar, Bulend Iqbal, Khalid Sharif, Asif Sharif and Hamad Khalid.
Forex Companies and Shahid Hassan Awan of Bulls and Bears, Sheikh Manzoor Elahi and other directors of English Leading Company, Riaz Wahla and other directors of Nexus Forex Company, Dr Haroon, his wife, father and sister with Rauf International, Khurram Shahzad of Trade Station Securities, and Mohammad Yaqub and sons, who were involved in illegal banking.
Bankers who could benefit include Riaz Dar of the National Bank of Pakistan, Tafweez Amin of Emirates Bank, Khalid Mahmood and Rana Yasin of the United Bank Limited, Abdul Haq of the Agriculture Development Bank and Muzaffar Iqbal Cheema of the Allied Bank of Pakistan.
No benefit for NWFP politicians: No politician and bureaucrat of NWFP will benefit from the proposed National Reconciliation Ordinance, as according to NAB officials, the corruption cases against the three currently facing prosecution had their cases registered under the NAB Ordinance of 2001.
All three people — former Board of Revenue Senior Member Abdul Hamid Khan and former Sarhad Development Authority chairman Ahmad Nawaz Shinwari, and current Peshawar District Nazim Ghulam Ali — would not benefit from the ordinance, as it only applies to the people who held public offices between 1986 and 1999.
ANP central leader Haji Mohammad Adeel told Daily Times that no politician or bureaucrat would benefit from the NRO. He said the ordinance would only benefit Benazir Bhutto and her five subordinate officials, including her secretary, two bureaucrats and some MQM “terrorists” who were charged in the government of Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto in terrorism cases in Karachi.