NOTE: I am not trying to defend the people who have fake degrees. There is a court of law that deals with forgery but what is happening in the media is to brand politicians and parliament as inept and dishonest. Can we allow that to happen?
Abid Sher Ali - Hope for all Pakistanis
Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali, PML-N MNA from Faisalabad and a relative of the Sharif family has been one of the most active and vocal members of his party for two consecutive parliaments. He was elected as Chairman of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Education during the current tenure. His first famous act was to “expose” the matter of Farah Hameed Dogar’s grace marks in November-December 2008 (off course with the help of some senior investigative journalists). It seemed that for a few months, there was no matter in the country other than Farah Hameed Dogar. The girl was ridiculed, the father was humiliated and literally linked with the restoration of judiciary the matter of the girl’s marks. It honestly seemed to me that this was for the first time in our country that someone had gotten marks added to aid in getting admissions. For the honesty brigade in the country it was 1-0.
Then came the matter of Jamshed Dasti and all the parliamentarians whose degrees were either fake or altered. Again it was Abid Sher Ali who has come out as a crusader against the dishonest parliamentarians. He has ordered that all the parliamentarians and provincial legislators degrees be verified by the Higher Education Commission and action be taken against members whose credentials are proven wrong. In the meanwhile, reports came out that “there is intense pressure on the HEC to suspend degree check”. Needless to say, the report came out from pen of the apex investigative journalist of the country. After HEC’s denial that there was any pressure and that it will take them 4-6 weeks to complete the verification, other reports are being filed on the matter to give a perception that the delay is happening at members’ insistence. Abid Sher Ali has been at the forefront of the campaign and has recommended to his leadership to seek resignations from members whose degrees are fake. He along with leader of Opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has also hinted that by having so many parliamentarians resign or disqualified can potentially lead of mid-term elections in the country. I wonder by uttering such hints, whose agenda they are furthering?
Our beacon of hope Abid Sher Ali is no angel himself. During the month of April and May 2010, there were reports in Dawn that Rana Sanaullah and Abid Sher Ali have major differences on allocation of development funds in Faisalabad district and they outwit each other on different issues. It was also reported that Abid Sher Ali got a contractor freed outside the commissioner office in Faisalabad forcibly.
Then we found out about the publication of a full page advertisement in Nawai Waqt on May 31, 2010 wherein a certain Iqbal Bajwa has appealed to CM Shahbaz Sharif and CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry to take notice of embezzlement of millions in form of paper development schemes in Faisalabad’s NA-84 from where Abid Sher Ali is the MNA. The interesting appeal can be read on this link. There are many an allegations in the appeal. It is also important to note that it was published in Nawai Waqt which is a staunch PML-N supporter.
Full Page Appeal Published in Nawai Waqt against Ch Abid Sher Ali
A few days back, Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali and PPP Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan got entangled in a debate on corruption of President Asif Zardari with Abid Sher Ali alleging that he will prove the accounts of the President and that he will resign if he was unable to do so. The program was aired on 17th June 2010 on ARY. It was anchored by Waseem Badami and the participants were none other than Abid Sher Ali and Firdous Ashiq Awan. The only “proof” that Abid Sher Ali could bring was the judgment of Daniel Devaud and nothing else. On the other hand what Firdous Ashiq Awan brought out was startling.
Having done her homework on Abid, Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Abid Sher Ali was the only parliamentarian who owns 10 plots in Islamabad’s E-11 sector. Before his father became a councilor in Faisalabad, they lived in a 3 marla house whereas now they have multiple houses in Faisalabad with the smallest being 3 kanals. His father was tried and sentenced for 5 years in jail and a fine of Rs 100 million was also imposed. It has also been alleged that Abid Sher Ali doesn’t have any account in Pakistan and that he doesn’t even maintain an account with Allied Bank Limited, Parliament House Branch in Islamabad where salaries are credited, instead, he takes the money in cash. It is also alleged that he owns 200 tolas of gold and maintains all his vehicles in the name of his wife. On top of that, he owns a house in F-10 Islamabad.
Rauf Klasra of The News has furthered the revelations by Firdous Ashiq Awan and has filed a report that was published in The News on 26th June. The same is appended at the end of this post.
The question remains what sort of honesty Abid Sher Ali is talking about when he himself has so many skeletons in his closet. He must be wary of playing in the hands of investigative journalists in the country who do not want to see parliament complete its term and are prompting politicians to say that fake degrees can lead to midterm elections. It is also suggested that Abid Sher Ali clarifies about his plots. I am not sure how many Pakistanis can own 11 properties in Islamabad. Clarify yourself and then cast stones at others.
Abid Sher in a scramble to sell his plots
By Rauf Klasra
26th June, 2010-06-26
ISLAMABAD: Chairman National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Education Abid Sher Ali is embroiled in a legal battle with the NAB since 2002 to get an NOC to sell his 10 residential plots worth millions of rupees in the National Police Foundation. He is the only parliamentarian to own 10 plots in the capital’s E-11 sector.
NAB had directed the Police Foundation in 2003 not to let Abid sell his plots after his father, Ch Sher Ali, was sentenced to five years in jail and Rs100 million fine by NAB court No 2.
One dozen letters sent by Abid to the top guns of the Police Foundation make an interesting reading as how an MNA owned 10 plots in Islamabad and was not being allowed to sell them on the ground that his father’s review petition was pending before the court and he could not sell them unless the petition was decided.
These plots purchased by Abid in the Police Foundation are mentioned in the corruption case filed by NAB against his father Sher Ali who was arrested along with his second son on charges of corruption. Abid entered politics after his father and brother landed in jail. He won election from Faisalabad in 2002, and again in 2008 on the PML-N ticket.
Ch Sher Ali was detained in Adyala Jail along with Prime Minister Gilani. Gilani in his autobiography has narrated several interesting experiences with Ch Sher Ali in the jail. Abid is currently engaged in a “crusade” against parliamentarians holding fake degrees. He is also planning to scrutinise degrees of all government officials holding top positions.
Meanwhile, official documents revealed that Ch Sher Ali, ex-Mayor Faisalabad and ex-MNA was tried for corruption under the NAB ordinance and was sentenced to five-year rigorous imprisonment with fine of Rs100 million. He was also disqualified by Accountability Court No 2 Rawalpindi vide judgment dated 15.8.2002 from contesting election or receiving any loan.
But NAB was not satisfied with the sentence and moved the court to get the punishment enhanced and for forfeiture of his assets. NAB had taken the plea that the sentence awarded to the respondent was inadequate.
During investigations against Ch Sher Ali, the NAB investigators also found out that his son Abid Sher Ali had purchased 10 residential plots in the Police Foundation, Islamabad. NAB issued orders to the Foundation not to let Abid sell those plots or transfer their ownership till the court gave final decision.
In his first letter to chairman Police Foundation Islamabad dated March 25, 2003, Abid on his letter pad “From the Desk of Ch Abid Sher Ali, Member National Assembly of Pakistan” wrote: “I had purchased the following plots personally from my own resources in Sector E-Islamabad: Plots numbers 338, 125,130,131,143,169,170,338,631-D and 641”. He further said: “It may kindly be noted that these plots are neither subject of any order of court or law, nor anybody else including my father Ch Sher Ali has got any connection with these plots. The obstruction being caused in the transfer of plots by sale is absolutely unlawful and therefore you are requested to kindly issue the requisite no objection certificate in this respect”.
Abid wrote another letter to the MD Police Foundation with the reference of letter No M\2232/E-11/500/830 dated 11.4.2005. In this letter, he said: “My father Ch Sher Ali had undergone the sentence of 5 years RI in reference no 9/2000 under NAB ordinance. I am the allotttee of plots Nos. 338, 125, 130, 131, 143,169,170,338,631-D and 641 in the housing scheme of Police Foundation. It is pertinent to mention that these plots are under no incumberance. It is therefore requested that arrangements may please be made to hand over the possession of the said plots.”
Finally, on March 22, 2007 his lawyer Rukhsana Malik wrote to the MD Police Foundation: “my client, Abid Sher Ali, MNA is owner of 10 plots in Police Foundation. As per the terms of allotment, handing over of the possession of these plots is long due. On one assumption or the other, your organisation has failed to fulfil its obligation, mandatory to save my client from obvious loss in all terms. I am forwarding affidavit/ bond of indemnity sworn in by my client. Kindly ensure prompt compliance to save any inordinate measures compelling my client to seek redress for damages and loss he is made to bear without any substance”.
National Police Foundation Director Housing Laeeq Ahmed Khan, wrote to NAB through reference no 2232/ E11/500/4306-7 seeking the advice of the NAB with regard to the repeated requests of Ch Abid Sher Ali to get NOC to sell his plots. Laeeq asked the NAB authorities to guide him.
Abid confirmed that he was being denied possession of these plots since 2003 although he had nothing to do with the cases against his father Sher Ali. He said his father was falsely implicated in these cases, as Pervez Musharraf wanted to punish them. He said his father was sentenced but now he was on bail.