Nawaz Sharif, Kamran Khan, Najam Sethi, ISI, NAB, and National Interest


Friday, 19 December 2008.


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—On 18-12-2008 Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif gave an exclusive interview [also covered in Jang and The News International] to a journalist namely Kamran Khan of Geo Tv [Pakistan Private TV Channel owned by Jang Group of Pakistan] who has a history of Yellow Journalism [Kamran Khan also contribute in an American Daily The Washington Post and everybody knows how this newspaper treat Pakistan]. While talking to Kamran Khan [The same Geo TV LINKED PAKISTAN WITH MUMBAI TRAGEDY IN AN EXCLUSIVE STORY RELAYED BY Geo which linked Pakistan’s Farid Kot resident with Mumbai tragedy] Mian Nawaz Sharif [who never advised not a single word of advice to Geo TV on Farid Kot Story Debacle], said Pakistan was presenting a picture of a failed and ungovernable state and the opposition wanted to steer the country out of the crisis and urged the government to implement the ‘Charter of Democracy signed by him and the late Benazir Bhutto. [1], [2]

And the same Nawaz Sharif and Kamran Khan as per Ardeshir Cowasjee in Daily Dawn


In September of 1994 Kamran Khan of The News and The Washington Post came calling. He told me how earlier that year he had asked for an appointment with the then leader of the opposition, Nawaz Sharif, to interview him on his relationship with the army and the security services whilst he was prime minister. He was asked to go to Lahore and meet the Mian.

When on May 16 Kamran arrived at Nawaz’s Model Town house, there was an army of men equipped with bulldozers demolishing the security fences and structures Nawaz had built on adjoining land, not his to build upon (akin to those built around Karachi’s Bilawal House). The breakers had been on the job since dawn. Kamran found Nawaz angry but composed. He was amply plied and refreshed with ‘badaam-doodh’ and Nawaz, his information wizard Mushahid Hussain and he settled down to talk and continued to do so until late afternoon when Kamran left to fly back to Karachi. Nawaz opened up by congratulating Kamran on his Mehrangate exposures which had recently appeared in the press, asking how the inquiry was progressing, and giving his own views. They exchanged information, each believing the other was being informed. They talked about how COAS Aslam Beg (sporter of shades in the shade) managed to get Rs 14 crore (140 million) from Yunis Habib, then of Habib Bank. This was deposited in the ‘Survey Section 202’ account of Military Intelligence (then headed by Major-General Javed Ashraf Kazi). From there Rs 6 crore was paid to President Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s election cellmates (General Rafaqat, Roedad Khan, Ijlal Hyder Zaidi, etc.), and Rs 8 crore transferred to the ISI account.

After lunch, Nawaz brought up the subject of how Aslam Beg early in 1991 had sought a meeting with him (then prime minister) to which he brought Major-General Asad Durrani, chief of the ISI. They told him that funds for vital on-going covert operations (not identified by Nawaz) were drying up, how they had a foolproof plan to generate money by dealing in drugs. They asked for his permission to associate themselves with the drug trade, assuring him of full secrecy and no chance of any trail leading back to them. Nawaz remarked that on hearing this he felt the roof had caved in on him. He told them he could have nothing to do with such a plan and refused to give his approval. The Washington Post had just broken Kamran’s story and when I asked why it had not broken earlier, he told me how they check and recheck, and that in the meantime, he had been busy with the Mehrangate affair on which, between May and August, he had filed seven stories.

We never learn from history By Ardeshir Cowasjee 21 July 2002 Sunday


Nawaz Sharif is really a genious because he say right thing at the wrong time and by the way he should scrap this Charter of Democracy once and for all and should advice his brother Shahbaz Sharif to sack PPP Minister from Punjab Government. Mr Nawaz Sharif who is now itching for National Interest of Pakistan and it pains him that Pakistan is rapidly becoming a Failed State. He is the same Mr. Nawaz Sharif who incited Ethnic Hatred for General Election Gain at the behest of Lt. General Retd Hamid Gul and for this Ethnic Hatred, Mr Kamran Shafi [now write for Daily Dawn and is an Anchor for Dawn News Channel] had written the following:


His Excellency should know (from reports filed by the US Consulate’s Political Officer at Lahore, surely) of the Punjab Government’s open revolt against the Federation, led by the Establishment’s then blue-eyed son, Nawaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab no less. As part of which mutiny Punjab government funds were used to foment rebellion against the “Sindhi Prime Minister” by printing and distributing flyers and buttons and bumper stickers and banners exhorting the Punjabis to wake-up. ‘Jag Punjabi Jag’ was the chilling slogan.

His Excellency holds forth by Kamran Shafi Saturday, December 17, 2005


He is the same Mr Nawaz Sharif who during his last Government [1996-1999] had Najam Sethi [Editor of The Friday Times Weekly Lahore] kidnapped and not only him but many political opponents and had them tortured because Najam Sethi had declared in 1998-1999 and that too in India that Pakistan is a Failed State and others were not bowing before the Rampant Senator Saif ur Rahman [The Pet of Nawaz Sharif who later become an advisor to General Musharraf.


How FIA kidnapped notables to please Saif-ur-Rahman

DAWN/The News International, KARACHI 6 November 1999, Saturday 27 Rajab ul Murajjab 1420

KARACHI: Barring two brief stints under Major General (retd) Enayet Niazi and Khawar Zaman, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) played second fiddle to former Ehtesab Czar Senator Saif-ur-Rahman in covert operations during which numerous respectable citizens were kidnapped, tortured and placed under illegal detention, an exercise never witnessed before in the country.

Officials and business sources informed the News Intelligence Unit (NIU) that Saif-ur-Rahman operated mostly through a select group of FIA officials who danced to his tunes when Mian Mohammad Amin, Chaudhry Iftikhar Ali and Major (retd) Mohammad Mushtaq were heading the FIA. Major General Enayet Niazi and Khawar Zaman had, however, resisted Saif’s attempt to use the FIA for illegal activities, a position that triggered their sudden transfer from the job.

These sources believed that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had first-hand information about Saif’s involvement in the kidnapping of some of the very reputed citizens as he ignored strong complaints against this nasty operation even from his cabinet colleagues.

For instance when the FIA sleuths kidnapped Farooq Hasan, owner of Hasan Associates, a renowned builder and developer of Karachi last year and locked him at a Saif-run safe house in Islamabad, former federal minister Halim Siddiqi had rushed to Nawaz Sharif to inform him about Saif’s involvement in the kidnapping of a well-known Karachi businessman.

Halim Siddiqi’s pleas both to Sharif and Saif went unheeded as Hasan had to stay for about a week in Saif’s dungeon and was only released when he signed a confessional statement that had been prepared by Saif’s lieutenant at the Ehtesab Cell. Saif prepared confessional statement for Farooq Hasan relating to dealings of AES power plant with the Benazir government.

Throughout his confinement Hasan was physically abused, mentally tortured and was not allowed to sleep. Sources said during his arrest Hasan was also kept and interrogated at Saif’s personal residence in Islamabad.

Jamil Ansari, the Chief Executive of a famous trading and business group in Karachi, was kidnapped last year by the FIA while he was about to board a Karachi-bound flight from Islamabad. For the next four days Ansari’s family in Karachi had no knowledge of his whereabouts.

The case was soon brought to the knowledge of Nawaz Sharif, who conveniently ignored protest from an associate who thought that such daylight kidnappings of the business luminaries without any charges would bring the PML government into disrepute. Sources said that for more than a week, Ansari, a businessman, was questioned for his friendship with a ranking naval official.

This week-long illegal detention under Saif’s orders of the chief executive of a reputed firm had sent a shock wave in Karachi’s mercantile community, but the Nawaz Sharif administration was not bothered.

The FIA was also involved in the kidnapping of Shahzad Sherry, a well-known international banker, from Karachi. Like other victims, Sherry was also swiftly shifted to Islamabad, where he was locked at a government-run safe house.

For several days Sherry was kept in illegal confinement and questioned by the former Ehtesab Bureau stalwarts including Senator Saif-ur-Rahman. Sherry was apparently also paying price for his friendship with certain naval officials. His detention also continued for several days before being released without bringing any criminal charges against him.

Karachi-based Jamil Hamdani, another representative of an international bank, was kidnapped from his house in Defence Society Karachi last month and was forced to board an Islamabad-bound flight for an urgent meeting with Saif-ur-Rahman and his team.

Sources said that Saif pointedly informed Hamdani about his disliking for his bank’s interest in the privatisation of Habib Bank Limited. Jamil Hamdani was believed to be working on an international consortium that was interested in the management of overseas operations of Habib Bank.

No apologies were offered after Hamdani was set free three days later by the Ehtesab sleuths who also warned him not to talk to the press about his ordeal. Saif’s frenzy to get private citizens abducted through the FIA touched its peak last year when he used the federal agency to kidnap Arif Zarwani, a UAE national and a reputed businessman, from his friend’s house in Defence Society Karachi.

Zarwani, who had been arrested in an FIA-cum-police raid, was quickly flown to Islamabad, where he was handed over to Wasim Afzal, a close associate of Saif-ur-Rahman. The Ehtesab action created a stir in the UAE as Nawaz Sharif was personally told that Zarwani’s kidnapping in Karachi had endangered his official visit next day to the UAE.

Zarwani, who was apparently picked up for his ties with Asif Zardari, was freed from the Ehtesab clutches, two days later, only after he was forced to listen to a telephonic sermon from Saif who was then touring Europe.

No reasons were given for Arif Zarwani’s arrest nor any criminal charges were brought against him. Despite an official protest from the UAE Nawaz Sharif did not question Saif or the FIA for the kidnapping of a foreign national.

In another case Ghulam Mustafa Memon, a well-known petroleum dealer and a former friend of Asif Ali Zardari, was kidnapped in an FIA action from his house in Defence Society, Karachi last year. During the operation the FIA sleuths ransacked his house. Memon, like other victims, was quickly flown to Islamabad where he was kept at a safe house for about a week.

Mustafa Memon said that during the detention, he went through severe physical torture and mental harassment at the hands of senior Ehtesab officials including Khalid Aziz. At least a week later Mustafa was quietly released from Islamabad and no criminal charges were brought against him.

Among others who made the hostage list of Saif-ur-Rahman was Naeemuddin Khan, a senior United Bank Limited (UBL) executive responsible for recovering Rs 1.2 billion loans from Saif-ur-Rahman’s Redco Textile Mills.

While using the FIA in the kidnapping of Naeemuddin Khan from his room at Karachi’s Pearl Continental Hotel, Senator Saif is understood to have told the FIA that Naeemuddin was involved in money laundering. Without verifying the facts an FIA team barged into Naeemuddin’s room in August this year and in the next few hours he was facing a Saif-ur-Rahman interrogation squad at an unspecified location in Islamabad.

Naeemuddin’s ordeal ended after Nawaz Sharif listened to a strong complaint in this regard from National Assembly Speaker Illahi Bukhsh Soomro and ordered the bank executive’s release. Sharif, however, refused to order any probe into the kidnapping of a bank executive who was being punished for his attempt to recover Rs 1.2 billion of loan from Saif-ur-Rahman.

The Naeemuddin Khan episode also unveiled that Saif was using the Intelligence Bureau also to settle personal scores. Informed officials said that before being picked up by the FIA, Naeemuddin Khan was constantly followed by the IB agents while his personal and official phone was tapped for several months. The recording of his secret taping was provided to Saif-ur-Rahman.

It is no more a secret that leading newspaper columnist and politician Hussain Haqqani had been kidnapped by the FIA sleuths along with his brother, an active service Army Colonel, during an evening stroll on direct orders from Saif-ur-Rahman early this year.

Official sources said that it was at least three days after Haqqani’s kidnapping that Saif-ur-Rahman ordered the FIA bosses to “produce” a case against him. Official sources confirmed Haqqani’s account that he was beaten and kept awake during the first week of his arrest.

Haqqani is of the few Saif victims whose captivity brought criminal charges, vehemently denied by Haqqani who said that the cases against him was the figment of Saif’s imagination.

The only Saif-sponsored kidnapping that did not have any FIA role was that of Najam Sethi, Editor, Friday Times. Sethi, who apparently served the longest term of illegal captivity, had been dragged out of his Lahore house by the Intelligence Bureau officials who later handed him over to the ISI, that kept him at one of its safe houses in Islamabad for about three weeks.

Like all Saif-ordered kidnappings of various reputed citizens, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had fully supported the unlawful arrest of Najam Sethi, as it was later discovered that Sharif had personally asked Lt Gen Khawaja Ziauddin to keep Sethi in ISI custody.

Who Kidnapped Najam Sethi?By Irfan Khawaja

dated 3-15-2004

Sethi, whom we’ll meet in a moment, is the co-founder and editor of The Friday Times, a fiercely independent English-language newsweekly in Lahore, Pakistan .

Dalrymple had taken issue with Levy’s assertion about the kidnappings in his review:

[T]here are numerous occasions where Lévy distorts his evidence and actually inverts the truth. While seeking to prove that the ISI and al-Qaeda were jointly responsible for abducting Daniel Pearl, for example, he cites three precedents in which journalists were “kidnapped in Pakistan by ISI agents suspected of being backed up by al-Qaida.” In reality, in two of the cases he cites—Najam Sethi and Hussain Haqqani—both were arrested by the regular Punjab police as part of a campaign by Pakistan ‘s last civilian prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to intimidate the press. The case of the third journalist, Ghulam Hasnain, remains a mystery: he was picked up for a day and then released. He has never identified the agency that arrested him; but no connection has ever been shown—or, up to now, even suggested—with al-Qaeda. Lévy’s misuse of evidence here is revealing of his general method: if proof does not exist, he writes as if it did. The ISI has been
involved in many dubious activities, but there has never been any suggestion that it has abducted Westerners, least of all an American. This record is important evidence against any direct link between the ISI and Pearl ‘s abduction rather than the reverse. (“Murder in Karachi ,” New York Review of Books , Dec. 4, 2003 ).

In the most recent exchange of letters, Levy modifies his original claim slightly, responding to Dalrymple as follows:

How does one best defend the interests of this “other Pakistan “: by multiplying the intellectual contortions meant to prove that Pakistan ‘s military-mullah complex is not implicated in the kidnapping of journalists such as Najam Sethi, Hussain Haqqani, Ghulam Hasnain, and Daniel Pearl? Or by speaking clearly, and by taking a clear position in favor of those who, like them, fight for free and truthful journalism in Islamabad and Karachi ?

Obviously, Levy takes himself to be doing the latter.

Shortly after the publication of Dalrymple’s review, I had an email exchange with Najam Sethi on precisely the issues discussed in Levy’s book and Dalrymple’s review, asking him (Sethi) to clarify at length and in print what had really happened to him during his kidnapping. He wrote me the following detailed note, giving me permission to publish it; it is unchanged except for minor modifications of paragraphing, grammar, and punctuation. The “Prime Minister” referred to throughout the note is Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s last civilian prime minister, deposed in 1999 by General Pervez Musharraf. I’ve retained Sethi’s somewhat pejorative-sounding (or is it affectionate?) references to “General Mush” as well:

My case was quite bizarre. An armed posse of the Punjab Police and the IB [Intelligence Bureau] smashed its way into my bedroom at 2:30 am on May 8th, 1999, beat up my wife and me, gagged me, blindfolded me, handcuffed me and dragged me away. I was in their custody for many hours. Then I was handed over to the ISI. The ISI kept me in a safe house first in Lahore and then in Islamabad . It investigated everything, found that the treason charges against me were trumped up politically by the Prime Minister (PM) and then confidentially told me that it was under pressure from the PM to court martial me. But it said that Gen Mush [sic] was against the idea of any military involvement in my case and was telling the PM that the civilians should handle it.

In due course, the ISI actually protected me from the IB which wanted to take me away for a few days and “fix” me at the behest of the PM and Saif ur-Rehman. The ISI general in charge of my case was Major General Ghulam Ahmad (deceased now) who came to see me in the ISI safe house three times and initially told me that he was giving me a clean chit of health because he would not be party to any wrongdoing. It was the ISI’s clean chit of health that persuaded the Supreme Court (SC) to put pressure on the civilian government to release me. But within a day of releasing me, the government lodged a case of treason in a civil court against me and tried to arrest me again; but Justice Mamoon Qazi of the SC stepped in and judged that I could not be arrested in any case without the government’s first showing the evidence against me to the SC. When I was released, I told the BBC in an interview that the ISI was largely responsible for my well-being.

Incidentally, the so-called “anti-Pakistan” speech that I was supposed to have made in India, which was the basis of the charge against me, was the same speech that I had made at the National Defence College in Islamabad earlier on the basis of which I had duly received a formal letter from the NDC commending me for having obtained the “highest marks ever” from the NDC for a presentation before the college.

The real reason why I was arrested by Nawaz Sharif had to do with a BBC documentary in which I had taken part, exposing the corruption of the PM. I was interviewed by the BBC in Pakistan two days before I left for India . The IB found out and informed the PM. Saif ur-Rehman called me and asked what I had told the BBC. I told him: “everything.” “Negative or positive?” he asked. “Is there anything positive in your regime?” I replied. “We will get you,” he warned.

That was that. They used the India thing to try and silence and discredit me so that my BBC testimony would be rejected by the people. Then they took the BBC to court in London for potential libel and threatened to close down its operations in Pakistan if the film was shown to Pakistani audiences. Then a “settlement” took place between the two parties–the BBC film was subsequently shown in the UK but never in South Asia . Before showing the film in the UK, the BBC asked me whether I wanted to censor or edit my statements against the PM in the film in view of what had happened. I said “no.” Everything I said was on the record and should be shown.

When Saif ur-Rehman was arrested in 1999 after the coup, he got his wife to phone me and ask for my “forgiveness.” Later, Shahbaz Sharif called from exile and claimed he had never been a party to my ordeal and apologised on behalf of the Sharif family. Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain met me in London two years [later] and also apologised. Other members of that government have also apologised. But Nawaz is still silent.

Nonetheless, I remain committed to the view that military rule is not good for the country and that Gen Mush [sic] must compromise with the mainstream PPP and PMLN despite the many faults of their leaders. And I remain opposed to the continuing political role of the ISI in the internal and external affairs of Pakistan . In short, I propose a truth and reconciliation process in the national interest. This is the truth.

Well, I wouldn’t argue with that. Whatever one thinks of the larger issues discussed in Bernard-Henry Levy’s book—and that is a complicated affair beyond the scope of anything I’ve said here—Sethi’s note demonstrates beyond any shadow of a doubt that it is Levy who is guilty of “intellectual contortions” here, not his critic. The evidence is indisputable: Najam Sethi was not kidnapped by the ISI; he was effectively rescued and released by them. Anyone committed to “clear speech” and “truthful journalism” ought at this point to be able to acknowledge that. We may still not be certain of who killed Daniel Pearl-—but, for whatever it’s worth, we can at this point be quite sure who didn’t kidnap Najam Sethi.


William Dalrymple, “Murder in Karachi ,” New York Review of Books , Dec. 4, 2003 :

Bernard-Henri Levy and William Dalrymple, “Murder in Karachi : an exchange,” New York Review of Books , Feb. 12, 2004 :

Khalid Hasan, “Najam Sethi subject of exchange between author and critic,” Daily Times ( Lahore , Pakistan ), Jan. 29, 2004 :

I wrote to Sethi on December 1, 2003 ; he responded on December 2, 2003 , and gave me permission to go public with his “story” (his quotes) on December 3. Strictly speaking, our email exchange began before the print publication date of Dalrymple’s review (Dec. 4), but I had read Dalrymple’s review online, where it appeared in late November 2003.

Saif ur-Rehman was the head of the Punjab Intelligence Bureau.

Shahbaz Sharif was chief minister of Punjab and is a brother of Nawaz Sharif.

The “PPP” is the People’s Party of Pakistan ; the “PMLN” is the Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz Sharif faction.


Mr. Hallaj (not his real name) is an avid blogger with a grip on history and politics. He be reached at Tarot66 AT