The following article was originally penned by Mr. Javed Chaudhry. The script below has been translated to English from the original source.
Allow me to take you a little in the past. Dr. Javed Iqbal (son of Allama Iqbal) contested elections against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto from Lahore. Two big Industrialists, owners of Ittefaq Group and Batala Engineering Company (BECO) companies, of Lahore financed the election campaign of Dr. Javed Iqbal. These were Mian Sharif (father of Mian Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif, besides other children) and C. M. Latif. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had already threatened of dire consequences of their support to Javed Iqbal, but the two did not budge.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto won the 1971 elections in West Pakistan, East Pakistan became Bangladesh, and Bhutto became the civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator. He nationalized all the industries and banks etc. The two mentioned aforementioned companies also became a victim to this highly un-nationalistic action. Thus two big industrialists of the country were suddenly brought to “Farsh” [clouds] from “Arsh” [ground]. Mian Sharif was left with a small ice factory, a vehicle and some jewellery. Grindleys Bank gave some loan to Mian Sharif and he started some business again and with mere hard work re-established the industrial estate. In comparison, owner of BECO could not bear the shock, left Pakistan and got settled in Germany.
In 1970’s, when Mian Sharif was re-establishing the industrial setup, German Counsel General advised him to bring one of his sons into politics to sustain, avoid, and counter any incidents like that mentioned above. Thus Nawaz Sharif was pushed into politics by his father and he joined “Tehreek e Istaqlal” of Asghar Khan. Tehreek e Istqlal and Asghar Khan of yesteryears were just like Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI) and Imran Khan of today. Asghar Khan enjoyed the support of the then President Zia ul Haq just as Khan is blamed to enjoy the support of military of the previous days (Gen. Pasha in particular). But Zia ul Haq did not honour Asghar Khan and so Nawaz Sharif became partner to Zia ul Haq; no more details and explanation are required here of what and how things happened during this marriage of convenience. An analysis of happenings during the decade of 1970’s, it was Bhutto’s treatment with Mian family, that brought present Sharifs to politics. Otherwise, they would have been busy in their business and enjoying super-star life like many others of their kind. Bhutto’s decision to derive Mian family of their assets, led them into politics in a way, accidentally or consequently.
Now let me have a look at Bhutto family. General Zia ul Haq imposed Martial Law in the country in 1977, arrested Bhutto and sent him behind the bars. With this Bhutto family just scattered. What they did to others came before them. They were neither business people nor industrialists and thus had hardly any assets in or outside the country for reasonable sustenance during the years 1977 and 1988. Libya’s Col. Qaddafi was kind to the family and came to their rescue and support. Bhutto family came to realize that they need to have some means abroad (offshore) for support in crisis situations, especially if they wished to remain in politics (this was other way round; Mian family entered into politics to save their businesses, Bhutto family accumulated assets to save politics and were probably the first from politics to have offshore assets). Thus when Benazir Bhutto came to power she established an estate abroad in the form of Surrey Palace and Swiss accounts, Dubai palaces, besides buying properties in France and USA. Their wealth swelled by 1000 times in a short period of 1993 to 1996.
Sharif family went through a similar process during the years 1992 to 2000. They suffered a second jolt at the hands of both Civilian (Ghulam Ishaq Khan) and Military (Gen. Pervaiz Musharaf) leadership. Nawaz Sharif was ripped of his democratic power twice in a row besides going through political victimization. In fact Gen. Pervaiz Musharaf ripped them of their entire properties including factories and households. Nawaz Sharif was arrested and sent behind the bars; his entire family was shattered and scattered. Saudi Arabia’s Shah Abdullah came to their rescue and they were allowed to go out of country and stay in exile for 7 years. During this period of exile, they once again established some Industrial units and businesses in different countries including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and UK. Both sons of Nawaz Sharif and a son-in-law got settled abroad.
If one were to be realistic, one can understand and appreciate well the reasons behind having residences abroad by leaders like Altaf Hussain, Asif Zardari, Pervez Musharaf and others. One will also be able to understand why Imran Khan’s children like to stay with granny, why off springs of Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Aleem Khan, Chaudhry Sarwar, Jahangir Tareen and others are settled abroad instead of being in Pakistan. It is not difficult to comprehend why these people with means have alternate homelands and they make all out efforts to have dual nationalities.
Choosing an alternate homeland is not limited to politicians alone. A large number of Pakistan bureaucrats, retired armed forces personnel, traders, industrialists, landlords, all are buying properties and estates in foreign countries of their liking and enjoying dual nationalities. There are reasons to justify their fleeing the country themselves and managing the flight of national exchequer.
When we contemplate, understand and appreciate the reasons of this human and monitory flight/plight with a cool mind, we will be able to find a solution to this problem (if at all this is a problem). We need to accept that when amidst darkness of nights we will rip the landlords of their lands, the industrialists of their industry, and the bankers of their banks, with utter shamelessness, then similar will be the consequences and response. If we continue sending elected governments home/abroad through shear “dhons and dhandli” [dandey k zore per, “at the point of a sword”], will maltreat/destabilize the essential pillars of national economy, will not provide security to life and belongings, those who can afford will seek security wherever available. Then there will be flight of people as well as money, there will be offshore companies as well as offshore estates. Who stands to suffer? Pakistan does. Pakistan will be at loss and no one else.
I believe from the core of my heart, we have to shun the policy of letting the history repeat itself. Why? Because our history stands witness to this that whenever we tried to dislodge the people on the basis of so-called corruption, we have to face/bear more corrupt people coming back with greater force. I am afraid that this practice is repeated once again, then the target persons will not only fly away themselves but their cabinet members will follow suit as well. And when the so-called revolution will die off in 6- years, these people will come back stronger. How long must we play the same old game with new players? How long will we take a step forward and two backwards? Believe me or not, corruption will not end with exclusion of the so-called corrupt but we will need to change the system. Unfortunately we are not attempting to make a system that has in-built mechanism of rooting out corruption.
This article was originally penned by Mr. Javed Chaudhry. The script above has been translated to English from the original source.You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more updates. Otherwise fill in the subscription box above, or subscribe to our RSS Feed.