AHRC Statement: Corruption cases against Generals, Air Marshals and Admirals are the test of an independent judiciary


December 8, 2009 –

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: Corruption cases against Generals, Air Marshals and Admirals are the test of an independent judiciary

Successive governments and courts are conspicuously avoiding the trying of corruption cases against the former top hierarchy of the armed forces. The concept of national security has been misused by the official authorities who, perhaps unintentionally, made it possible for the officers of the armed forces to make huge amounts of money through illegal methods. In addition to this, long periods of martial law have provided opportunities for the generals to loot the country, by siphoning public funds for their own personal gain. The media, judiciary, military and civil bureaucracy, became part of the loot of the generals’ corruption and these institutions in turn made the armed forces out to be a sacred cow and above the law. Anything said to point out the corruption of the armed forces has been referred to as attempts to undermine the national security.

In the 62-year history of the country, no officer from the armed forces has been tried for corruption. According to the law, no general or high official of the armed forces has received impunity from corruption charges, but this impunity is generally provided by the courts, media and government, in the name of national security.

One petition has been in the Lahore High Court since 2003 against the corruption of army generals, Air Marshals and Admirals of the navy but this petition has never come up for regular hearings and has been awaiting the scrutiny of the registrar of the court, making it evident that even retired officers have the power to stop the judicial process.

On December 6, 2009, Daily TheNews published a list bearing the details of those generals and army officers who were running private businesses during their years of service and who received huge loans which were later on written off because of their positions in uniform.

The following petition was taken from the Website of PKPOLITICS (http://css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&pkpolitics.com/). The main charges mentioned against the high officials of the armed forces in the petition include amongst others:

Air Chief Marshal Abbas Khattak (retired) had received Rupees 180 million as kickbacks in the purchase of 40 old Mirage fighters.

Air Chief Marshal, Farooq Feroz Khan was suspected of receiving a five percent commission on the purchase of 40 F-7 planes worth $271 million.

In 1996, the army bought 1047 GS-90s jeeps, at a cost of $20,889 per unit. The market value of a jeep then was only $13,000. According to the then National Accountability Bureau (NAB) some senior army officers made Rs. 510 million on the deal.

One hundred and eleven army men received 400 plots in Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan districts of Punjab province, at throwaway prices of Rupees 47.50 per kanal (a kanal is about 600 Sq Yards), as against the actual price of Rupees 15,000 to Rupees 20,000 (1US $=Rupees. 56). Another 35,000 kanals were distributed among them as gifts.

Six respondents got 400 kanals in Punjab while the former chairman of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lt. Gen Mohammad Amjad was allotted a two-kanal plot on the Sarwar Road in Lahore for just Rs. 800,000 – payable in installments over 20 years. The market value of this plot was then Rs. 20 million. General Pervez Musharraf acquired a commercial plot worth Rs. 20 million at DHA in Lahore for just Rs. 100,000 (then UK£ 960) payable over 20 years. As mentioned in the report of Director General Defence Services, a loss of Rs. 5 Billion was incurred due to such allotments.

The army awarded a contract for the purchase of 1000 Hino trucks at $ 40,000 per unit while the local Gandhara Industries (the Hino assembling company in Karachi Pakistan), had offered trucks of the same specification for US$ 25,000 a piece. In a purchase of 3000 Land Rover jeeps in 1995, Army officials allegedly received around Rupees 2 Billion as kickbacks.

The Army management at the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) raised the power tariff 13 times during the last three years (from 1999 to 2002) besides purchasing electric meters at Rupees 1,050 a piece against the open market price of Rupees 456, causing a loss of Rupees 1.65 Billion to the national exchequer.

In 1996, the Pakistan Navy spent Rupees 13 Million installing air-conditioners at the Islamabad Golf Club without any justification.

The same website reports some other major scams involving serving or ex members of the military junta which were as follows:

General Jahangir Karamat, former Chief of Army Staff, took kickbacks of more than US$ 20 Million from a Ukrainian tank company for purchase of 300 Ukrainian tanks through a middleman named Col Mahmood, a brother corps officer of Karamat.

According to Mr. Rauf Klasra, reporter of The News, many top military officers had their loans written off. This fortunate lot included five lieutenant generals, two major generals and a battalion of other senior uniformed beneficiaries, with some army managed institutions to boot.

The army controlled institutions also got their share from the national plunder when the Army Welfare Trust (AWT) got a massive loan of Rupees 14.49 Million written off from a state-owned financial entity, which is now defunct (hardly a surprising fate). Some of the cases were, however, genuine, as their loans were written off in accordance with the rules.

According to the official list of loan write-off beneficiaries tabled in the National Assembly, Lt General (retired) Ali Kuli Khan and his father Lt General Habibullah Khan had their loans written off. The list shows that General Kuli Khan got two loans written off from the Allied Bank of Pakistan while he was still serving in the Army in the mid 90s. The first loan was of Rupees 1.8 million and second was Rupees. 1.6 million outstanding against Janana De Malucho Textile Mills Limited, Kohat owned by his father General (retired) Habibullah Khan. General Kuli was then one of the directors of the textile mills. After the death of General Habib, he became the chief executive of this textile unit. General Habib, too, was a beneficiary of this loan write off.

Lt General (retired) K M Azhar, who later became active in politics, of Rex Breen Batteries got Rupees 16 million written off by the Agriculture Development Bank.

Lt General (retired) SA Burkey and Lt General (retired) Safdar Butt also figure amongst the happy generals benefiting from the state institutions generosity. Another prominent name on the list is that of Air Marshal (retired) A Rahim Khan.

Air Marshal (retired) Viqar Azeem also got Rupees 15 million written off from Pakistani Kuwait Investment Co. Lt General (retired) SA Burkey, Major General Zahid Ali Akbar, Brig MM Mahmood, Begum Omar Mahmood, Saeed Ahmed also got loans written off.

Gohar Ayub Khan, Mr. Raza Kuli Khan brother of General Ali Kuli Khan—also got a loan of Rupees 7.2 million written off against Rehana Woolen Mills. The loan was written off by the financial institution SAPICO.

Major General (retired) M Mumtaz from Abbottabad, Lt Colonel (retired) Shaukat and Major (retd) Tajuddin Rupees 1.2 million, Major General (retired) Ghaziuddn are also in the list. Major General (retired) G Umar also got Rupees 8.5 million written off from the Agriculture Development Bank.

Lt General (retired) Safdar Butt, Major General (retired) Abdullah Malik, Brig (retired) M M Mahmood, Col (retired) M Zafar Khan, Mohammad Afzal Khan, Mrs Hamida Farhat also got benefits from the UBL. General (retired) Abdullah had resigned after the military coup of General Zia and had opposed the military take over of July 1977.

The list also names Brigadier (retired) M A Baig and Qamar Ahmad, BA Siddiqi, Zubair Rashid, Mohammad Sadiq Baig, Riazur Rehman, Mrs Mamomnna Khatoon, Mrs Mehr Riaz, Mr Taufiq Ahmed Rupees 1.09 million (UBL). Lt-Colonel (retired) Ch M Anis Ahmed, Colonel Atta ullah, Shahid Atta, Mst Qamar un Nisa Rupees 2.6 million, Irfan Rice Mills of Colonel (retired) Nazar Hussain Rupees 1.6 million, Mehr Textile Mills, Chakwal, Colonel Mohammad Ayub Khan, Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Ch Asad Ali Khan, Mrs Sultana Zakia, Mohammad Nawaz, Ch Ghulam Ali Khan. Major General (retired) Khadim H Raja, Air Marshal (retired) A Rahim Khan, Mrs Sattar Azim Khan also got loan written off.

Mohammad Textile Mills Limited of Air Commodore (retired) Amanullah got a loan of Rs. 95 million written off from the United Bank Limited (UBL).

Air Vice Marshal (retired) Ata Elahi Sheikh of the National Fructose Limited also got Rupees 43 million written off.

Sairani Cotton Ginning Factory owners Capt (retired) Shahraz Latif and his business partners Shahnaz Latif, Ch Mohammad Ashraf also got loan written off. Air Marshal (retired) A Rashid Sheikh, Air vice Marshal (retired) S Moinur Rab, Group Captain (retired) Mohammad Ismal Khan, Salman Rashid of Sky Rooms Limited got Rupees 8.4 million loan written off. Brigadier (retired) SM Bakar Naqvi, Mian Ahmed Rabbani, Pervez Iftikar Khan, Abdul Aziz, NM Khanzada and Major (retired) Afzalul Haq also among the beneficiaries.

Colonel (retired) M Yaqoob of Aswan Tentage and Canvas got a huge loan of Rupees 276 million written off from Bankers Equity. His other business partners were Colonel (retired) M. Yaqoob, Mohamamd Afzal Chugtai, Mohammad Siddiqi, Haji Ghulam Sabir and Idris Ahmed Butt. Farook Pulp of Mjaor Nasim A Farooqi, Naeem A Farooqi, Pervez Farooqi, Munir Ahmed Khan and Saleem Farooqi got loan of Rupees 2.1 million loan written off.

Captain (retired) Shaukat of Locus Enterprises got Rupees 8.8 million written off. His business partners were Wiqar Abbas, Khalid Khan, Colonel (retired) M Sadiq Khan, Nabil Hasan, Masoud Abbasi and Abdul Razak. Raja Iftikar Kiani of Ms Alliance Textile Mills, Jhelum got a wavier of Rupees 16 million from the Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB).

A Lieutenant-Colonel, who owned the Meditex Intl got Rupees 6.322 million written off from the HBL. His business partner was Col (retired) Bashir Ahmed. Commander Abdul Latif also got Rupees 10 million written off. Shangrila Macropole Inn, Lahore got Rupees 4.3 million loan written off. Brigadier (retired) Mohammad Aslam Khan and Co got Rupees 4.3 million written off. Feroz Sons Textile Mills Mirpur owners Colonel (retired) Munir Hussain, Nasim Farms’s and Major General (retired) Qazi Nasim Majeed are also among the beneficiaries.

Colonel (retired) Saleem of Special Iron and Steel Mills Limited, Lt General (retired) Habibullah Khan, Brigadier (retired) M Jan Hahang M Khandawala, Raza Kuli Khan, Colonel (retired) M Sharif Khan, Begum Tehmina Habibullah, M I Khurram, M Nazir Khan and IA Khurram are also among the beneficiaries.

Major (retired) Mohamamd Anwar, S Aijaz Ali Shah, S Amjad Ali Shah, S Ghulam Qadir, S Aftab Ali Shah, S Ali Gohar Shah, S. Amin Shah also on the list. Lt-Col (retired) M Jaffar, JH Dinshaw Rupees 7.2 million, Chemphar Pakistan Limited of Brigadier (retired) Shareef Rahat, Captain (retired) AM Murad and Major (retired) Tariq Baig are also among the beneficiaries.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government to constitute a high commission for the trial of the retired generals and other high officials of the armed forces who misappropriated huge amounts through commission, kick backs, and by writing off loans and misusing their official position. The lists of the corrupt Generals, Admirals, Air Marshals and other high officials are with the government and therefore, it is the non-transferable responsibility of the government to bring all the corrupt officers before the law. The judiciary should also take notice of the corruption of the generals and take the cases of corruption for regular hearing which have been pending since 2003.
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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Post suggested by: Aamir Mughal


2 responses to “AHRC Statement: Corruption cases against Generals, Air Marshals and Admirals are the test of an independent judiciary”

  1. Well here we go again, another general (shorn of his uniform) has suddenly found ‘ghairat’ and now is ‘feeling’ the waters in the media so that he also can be considered as a defence analyst like many others before him. but this ‘johnney’ has gone a step further by claiming that the corps commanders of the army were not ‘consulted’ by Gen. Musharraf (who was CoAS and Chief Executive at the time of 911) and he (Gen.Shahid Aziz) did not agree with the decision of the CoAS and Chief Executive to throw Pakistan’s support behind the US war on terror (ref; DAWN-TV program In Focus dated 9-12-2009). When in the army you are allowed to ‘disagree’ or ‘agree’. After serving 38 years in the army and ending as CGS at his last posting, he still doesn’t understand the fact that in the army the culture is ‘Top Down’ and you obey the orders or you are shown the bloody door.

    Coming to his rebith of ‘ghariat’, if he did not agree with the decision of the CoAS and thought it was a ‘unlawful order’, then he had a recourse which he could have taken and ‘resigned’ from the service, but he decided to remain in service till his tenure was complete. May be he feels that as CGS one has a pretty good chance of being named COAS but Gen. Musharraf stayed in that post for nearly 9 years (thus robbing 3 generals the chance of becoming COAS, of which one was he). Until or unless the COAS (any CoAS) does not have support of the Corps Commanders, he cannot take ‘political power’ in his own hands and all the decisions then made by the CoAS / Chief Executive have the full weight of the Corps Commanders and the army behind it.

    A new civilian face The first time in eight years a civil bureaucrat has been appointed as chairman NAB. A review of the bureau’s performance so far By Nadeem Iqbal http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2007-weekly/nos-22-07-2007/enc.htm#1

    Lt. Gen (Retd) Shahid Aziz too is a relative of President General Pervez Musharraf. A fact Gen Musharraf has himself mentioned in his memoir ‘In the Line of Fire’ (page 121). Gen Musharraf dubbed Shahid Aziz as the centre for the counter coup operation in 1999 after whose success General Musharraf took over. Musharraf wrote: “The DGMO — in this case Shahid Aziz — is the officer on whose orders the army moves, for his advice is regarded as orders from the chief.