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Corruption rooted in Pak army: PPP
Shyam Bhatia in London |
September 17, 2003 03:18 IST
The Lahore high court in Pakistan is being overwhelmed by complaints of military corruption involving the highest ranking generals, officials of the Pakistan Peoples Party have revealed.
The PPP, which says military corruption has reached unbelievable levels, lists some of the alleged kickbacks received by generals, air marshals and admirals contained in a petition submitted to the court.
The petition includes claims that:
- Air Chief Marshal Abbas Khattak (retired) received Rs180 million as kickbacks in the purchase of 40 old Mirage fighters.
- Air Chief Marshal Farooq Feroz Khan was suspected of receiving a 5 per cent commission in the purchase of 40 F-7 planes worth $271 million.
- In 1996, the Pakistan Army bought 1,047 GS-90 Jeeps at a cost of $20,889 per unit. The market value of the vehicle then was only $13,000. According to the National Accountability Bureau, some senior army officers made Rs 510 million in the deal.
- One hundred and eleven army men got 400 plots in Bahawalpur and Rahimyar Khan districts at throwaway prices --Rs 47.50 per kanal (1/8th of an acre) as against the market rate of Rs15,000-20,000. Six respondents got 400 kanals in Punjab, while former NAB chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Amjad was allotted a two-kanal plot on Sarwar Road in Lahore for just Rs 8,00,000, payable in instalments over 20 years. The market value of this plot was Rs 2 crore.
- Gen Pervez Musharraf acquired a commercial plot worth Rs 2 crore at the Defence Housing Authority in Lahore for just Rs 1,00,000, payable in 20 years. "As mentioned in the report of defence services director-general, a loss of Rs 5 billion was incurred due to such allotments," the petition says.
- The army awarded a contract for the purchase of 1,000 Hino trucks at $40,000 a unit when the local Gandhara Industries had offered trucks of the same specification for $25,000 a piece.
- In the purchase of 3,000 Land Rovers in 1995, army officials allegedly received around Rs20,00,000 as kickbacks.
- The army management at the Water and Power Development Authority purchased electric meters at Rs 1,050 a piece against the market price of Rs 456, causing a loss of Rs 165 crore to the national exchequer.
- A former military regime sold the Pak-Saudi Fertilizers for Rs 700 crore and earned a Rs 200 crore commission on the deal.
- In 1996, the Pakistan Navy spent Rs 1.3 crore on installing air-conditioners at the Islamabad Golf Club without any justification.
Apart from this petition, some other major scams involving serving or retired members of the military junta detailed by the PPP are as follows:
Former army chief General Jahangir Karamat took kickbacks of more than US $20 million from a Ukrainian tank company selling tanks to Pakistan through a middleman named Colonel Mahmood, a brother tank corps officer of Karamat. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharief sent the present chief of WAPDA, Major General Zulfiqar, then serving in the Inter-Services Intelligence, to the Ukraine and Azerbaijan to investigate the scandal.
Gen Zulfiqar compiled a report of the transaction and the bribes given. But the army tried to buy him out by rewarding him with the post of WAPDA chairman and promoting him to rank of lieutenant general.
General Karamat was forced to resign. He was threatened that if he did not, he would be charged with corruption.
Many road contracts were given to Hasnain Construction Company without any public tenders by the recently removed railways and communication minister, General Qazi. The company, owned by a relative of Gen Musharraf's son, was also awarded the lease of prime real estate in Lahore for the construction of a golf course under the frontmanship of Palm Country Golf Club, Singapore.
The relative of Gen Musharraf admitted publicly that he was working for a commission to use his contacts and influence for the company.
Prime commercial land developed by the DHA, Karachi, was leased at dirt-cheap rates to a McDonald's franchisee outlet operated by Amin Lakhani by the then corps commander, Karachi, Lt Gen Afzal Janjua.
"Men who had one green suit to wear, in the words of General Tajammul, became the tycoons of Pakistan," a PPP spokesman told rediff.com
"It was the beginning of prosperity for a few and the beginning of the end of military virtue of a previously spartan and clean military machine. In this messy situation, the subservient Lahore high court has been asked to sit in judgment with the sprawling mountains of charges, some even admitted publicly by the army.
"God help the poor justices of the superior court," the spokesman said.