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ISLAMABAD: The list of the 282 journalists who received payments and gifts from the secret fund of the information ministry was made public following a Supreme Court order. The complete list can be viewed as a PDF here, or scroll down to the bottom of this report. The list of disbursements totals just over Rs177 million. Jasmeen Manzoor, Arif Nizami, Saleh Zafar, Munizhe Jehangir, Rameeza Nizami, Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, Asma Chaudhry, Sherbano Taseer, Raza Rumi, Amir Mir, Sohail Warraich, Nazir Naji and Baqir Sajjad Syed feature on the list, among others. According to the rules and regulations, the purpose of the secret fund is only to obtain or uncover sensitive information necessary to protect ‘national interest/national security’. It cannot be used for any other purpose, such as emergencies or incidental expenses. All withdrawals are supposed to come under specific heads and justifications. Another list of 155 journalists who took gifts and payments from the information ministry will also be made public later. A spokesman of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting clarified that secret funds have no link with Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI),tweeted Radio Pakistan. Background SC Judge Jawwad S Khawja remarked during the April 11 hearing of the information ministry secret funds case that Rs300 million was apparently given away to a private television channel. Journalists and members of the civil society demanded the Supreme Court make public the names of the private TV channel that received Rs300 million from the information ministry and of all those journalists who allegedly received huge payments from the ministry. Complete list

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will approach the superior courts if the National Accountability Bureau chief Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari persists in his refusal to reopen graft cases involving politicians before the general elections.

Bokhari had said on Saturday that no such cases could be reopened, since elections were around the corner.

“The NAB chief does not have any right to stop proceedings in any (political) case,” said PTI Chairman Imran Khan in a statement on Sunday, adding that his party reserves the right to go to the courts regarding the issue.

“A top accountability institution should initiate an impartial inquiry into all such political cases…it should not be held back by the possibility of general elections approaching or any other political concern,” emphasised PTI Secretary Information Shafqat Mehmood while talking to Media.

“Various options are open for us including the alternative to resort to the courts. We will take up this case if NAB relents,” he added.

According to a statement issued by the PTI chairman, NAB chief has made everything ‘clear’ by asserting that he had been asked specifically by President Asif Ali Zardari not to open cases involving the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership.

The government had earlier filed a reference against the Sharif brothers in a money laundering case, directing NAB authorities to formally initiate an inquiry into how around $32 million had been ‘siphoned off’ in PML-N’s second government during 1997-99.

The reference had been filed in NAB as well as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) by the then interior minister Rehman Malik.

However, PAC had rejected the reference, on the basis that it did not fall under its ambit.

In his statement, Imran further stated that the people of Pakistan want a powerful accountability bureau, which can initiate political cases against any powerful politician.

“It seems as if the NAB chief has ‘promised’ to take it easy on Nawaz Sharif, while it is the nation’s wealth that has been plundered,” said Imran.

The top accountability forum’s duty is to aggressively pursue all such cases, he maintained.

“The argument that since elections are near, no further cases can be opened against politicians appears to be very ‘strange’,” the statement pointed out.

Rather, a thorough inquiry into all the graft cases becomes all the more necessary in an election year, it maintained.

On the other hand, PML-N leaders have maintained it throughout that the party is willing to face any case involving alleged corruption by its leaders, and that the NAB should go ahead with its probe.

“We have already rejected the allegations, terming these a pack of lies,” said PML-N Information Secretary Mushahidullah Khan, while talking to Media a few days ago.

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ISLAMABAD – PML-N President Nawaz Sharif made financial gains of $418 million during his two stints as prime minister of the country, according to a book, Capitalism’s Achilles Heel, by Raymond W Baker.
The book by the American is a dossier on the corruption of most dominating political families in the history, including the Sharifs, and explains how they accumulated their properties, factories and enormous wealth. According to the book, at least $160 million were pocketed by Nawaz from a contract to build the Motorway from Lahore to Islamabad during his first stint as prime minister in 1990.
Baker states in his book that Nawaz made at least $140 million in unsecured loans from banks, more than $60 million from government rebates on sugar exported by mills controlled by him and his business associates, and at least $58 million from the import of wheat from the US and Canada. “In the wheat deal, Mr Sharif’s government paid prices far above the market value to a private company owned by a close associate of his in Washington,” the book states quoting records.
Falsely generated invoices for the wheat generated tens of millions of dollars in cash. The book review went on to state, “The extent and magnitude of this corruption is so staggering that it has put the very integrity of the country at stake.”

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ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau Chief (NAB) Fasih Bukhari has said that due to corruption, the national treasury is facing a Rs6 billion to Rs8 billion loss per day.

The NAB chairman said that the bureau’s job was to recover the ‘stolen’ money, not prosecute. He however added that if anyone was found guilty, they would be prosecuted.

“Till now, NAB has recovered Rs235 billion for the treasury but this is not enough,” said Bukhari, adding that the government has given approval for recruiting 300 new investigators.

Ongoing corruption cases

Referring to the rental power project case, National Accounability Bureau Chief Fasih Bukhari enquired whether the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) had placed Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL) as yet.

The chairman also said that the Ashraf was interrogated for 3 hours before he was made the prime minister.

Bukhari told the media that a joint investigation team (JIT) including the FIA, NAB and police among others had been formed for investigating the Arsalan Iftikhar case and will be headed by the NAB director general (DG) Financial Crime Investigation Cell, as per the order of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s letter.

Speaking on the issue of conducting an unbiased investigation, the NAB chief said, “It doesn’t matter if we know Malik Riaz or Nawaz Sharif, the investigation will be unbiased.” He also added that he had never taken any money from Malik Riaz.

Referring to Arsalan Ifitikhar’s  letter which he sent through his lawyer, the NAB chief said it was insolent through. “The letter is threatening, it uses threatening language, said Bukhari, adding that a notice will be taken in this regard.

Bukhari said that although the Sharif brothers’ case could yield just Rs3 billion and the Swiss letter case, Rs6 billion but the case of former Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) chairman Tauqeer Sadiq could restore Rs55 billion to the treasury. He told the media that a warrant was to be issued for Tauqeer Sadiq’s arrest.

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ISLAMABAD: While hearing the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to submit a written response to the court on whether or not he will write a letter to the Swiss authorities by July 12, Express News reported.

A three-member bench, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk, ordered Attorney General Irfan Qadir to get in touch with Ashraf and inform the court about Ashraf’s stance.

The court had already issued an order when a contempt of court case was underway against former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, in which it was told to disregard the summary made by the Law Ministry and write a letter to the Swiss authorities to open graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The federal government had asked the court to not implement the order yet as Gilani’s case was underway.

Today, the court said that a prime minister is not an ordinary person and that it didn’t suit him to say that he doesn’t know about the case and hence he should ponder over it and submit a reply to the court.

An application was filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday praying that contempt proceedings against the incumbent prime minister Raja Parvaiz Ashraf be initiated for giving a statement that he will not write a letter to the Swiss authorities.

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ISLAMABAD: After losing the dreamy office of prime minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani faces grave consequences – dismal political future, possible arraignment for a host of alleged mega corruption scandals and acceleration of pace of investigations against his two sons for their involvement in huge financial scams.

The stigma of conviction on Gilani that will stay for five years starting from April 26 when Justice Nasirul Mulk led seven-member bench sentenced him till the rising of the court on contempt charge will debar him from contesting next general elections and even the following parliamentary polls if they were held before April 2017. The moment he will file his nomination papers in any election before the expiration of these five years, the returning officer will reject them on the ground that he is a convict and can’t stand for any elected office. No superior court is likely to give him relief till this bar remains in force.

As prime minister, Gilani used every trick in his bag to obviate meaningful investigations against his sons, Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani and Syed Ali Musa Gilani, for months. Now the two young men will be deprived of the powerful parental patronage from the highest echelons of power to annihilate probes against them.

One boy, who is a member of the Punjab Assembly, is mired in the Haj corruption scandal while the other, who is member of the National Assembly, is caught up in the Rs7 billion ephedrine import quota scam with the Anti-Narcotics Force advancing at a fast track to conclude its investigation. The Supreme Court is supervising both the probes.

Additionally, all Gilani cronies, who were inducted by him in lucrative posts for certain considerations, are likely to be dumped by the new man, who would bring in his own set of favourites. His outgoing buddies are expected to face different serious charges.

At the same time, the lack of wisdom and failure to grasp the Constitution and law on the part of the official legal brains led Gilani to the garden path when they counseled him not to appeal against his conviction.

The short order also noted this fact when it said since no appeal was filed against the judgment of the Justice Nasirul Mulk bench sentencing Gilani on contempt charge, the conviction has attained finality.

Right from the start, the official legal eagles took Gilani’s conviction very lightly and kept harping on the theme that the matter ended with Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza’s ruling not to send the disqualification reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). They also asserted that just 30-second sentence was not enough under the Constitution to disqualify Gilani as MP.

Even before the short order was handed down by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry led three-member bench, Babar Awan took the likely outcome as a god gifted opportunity to make a dig on his main rival, Gilani’s lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, by saying that people responsible for advising the prime minister not to appeal against the conviction would be soon unveiled. “No client would forget the lawyer who charged Rs100 as his fee as with this amount it is only possible to purchase petrol to reach the Adiala Jail.”

The saga of the notorious National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) that started with its knocking down on December 16, 2009 partially culminated with Gilani becoming the first major casualty and having been ousted from his coveted office.

While the April 26 short order of the seven-judge bench and its May 8 detailed judgment left some aspects unclear and certain grey areas, the brief ruling handed down by the three-member panel was abundantly clear-cut, explicit and unambiguous. It made the consequences and fallout of the conviction absolutely clear.

Gilani was hit by Article 63(1)(g), which says a person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, member of Parliament, if he has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for propagating any opinion, or acting in any manner, prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or the integrity, or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan, or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the armed forces of Pakistan, unless a period of five years has lapsed since his release.

Even now, Gilani has the option of filing a review of the short order, but there is always a very narrow scope to get relief in such pleas as the fundamental decision is not radically changed. Only errors floating on the surface of the original judgment are taken care of, which, in the present case, are apparently missing. Gilani doesn’t have the luxury of filing an appeal against the short order.

The short order interpreted the role of the Speaker, in this case, when it said the Speaker, under Article 63(2), exercises powers, which are not covered by the definition of internal proceedings of Parliament, therefore, the Supreme Court, in exercise of power of judicial review, is not debarred from inquiring into her order of May 25.

This means that while parliamentary proceedings can’t be called into question in any court of law, the speaker’s decisions as was the present one, which do not fall in this category, can be.

Article 63(2), which says if any question arises whether an MP has become disqualified from being a member, the speaker or, as the case may be, the Senate Chairman shall, unless he decides that no such question has arisen, refer the question to the ECP within thirty days and if he fails to do so within this period it shall be deemed to have been referred to the ECP.

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Islamabad: The list of federal and provincial government institutions who are the defaulters of power generating companies was presented to the Standing Committee on Water and Power on Thursday.

The committee was told that husband of Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Feroz Gulzar was also defaulters of millions of rupees to the power companies but he had started paying the electricity bills.

The meeting was headed by Awami National Party (ANP)  leader Senator Zahid Khan.

Secretary Water and Power Imtiaz Qazi tol the meeting that loss of Rs 20 billion was being inflicted monthly to national kitty due to shortage of electricity.

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