Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Assets of Sharif Family

Everyone knows what Zardaris made while in power specially thanks to Sharif family's special promotion campaign during their reign in power (I still remember every night on PTV just after news from 9:30 to 10:30 the prime time at that time) and their Chief of Ehtesab Bureau Mr. Saif Ur Rehman whose main assignment was to discredit the Political Rivals Bhuttos and made their name dirt. Especially when you have a person like Mr. Asif Zardari then your work is pretty much easy. But still there were many inappropriate scandals which even the hard core anti-Zardaris said that it can’t be true and this is all propaganda.

So, first present President Asif Ali Zardari and his family is alleged to have approximately $2 billion of assets. His political ally or rival (both of them have to stay in politics alive so both are in Government and are against each other as they knew they have to) Sharif family is alleged to have assets of more then $1.5 billion (although many claims it is even above $3 billions). Many of you will say that oh they are business man but why those assets were not above a couple of million dollars in 1981 when they came to power after being in good books of General Zia Ul Haq and when they already had lost most of their assets due to Bhuttos Nationalization (which made them bitter rivals of Bhuttos). How they from few millions reach to billions of dollars in few years and especially when Family members were in Government and these assets which were in 90’s were even divided among Ittefaq family when Mr. Sharif after his son was Prime Minister started to built independent projects which lead to the split in family. When Mr. Nawaz Sharif was finance minister and later Chief Minister of Punjab new industrial units were set up with electrifying. Ittefaq Sugar Mills was set up in 1982, Brothers steel in 1983, Brother's Textile Mills in 1986, Ittefaq Textile units in 2-3 in 1987, Khalid Siraj Textile Mills in 1988.

Now we also have to see that these $1.5 billion don’t contain those millions of dollars (at least 100 million dollars officially in cash which might be much more then that and millions of dollars of assets) which he had to handed over to General Musharaf's Government so that he and his family can go to Saudi Arabia after the deal between him and his family. Before becoming PM he was a major share holder along with his brother and cousins of Ittefaq Group, having assets well in excess of $70m in the start of 90's (all Ittefaq group combine). However he got richer when he took commissions from foreign companies for construction in Pakistan. He builds the first motorway and many new roads and took heavy kickbacks. After the first reign of Sharif family, the family had declared assets of more then $ 200 million. Sharifs are then alleged to have stolen $100m from the Iqra funds, then from a new scheme "Ghar Apna" which Sharifs had started they are claimed to have looted around $40m. Then in 1998 they launched which I always say the biggest scam of Pakistan’s history "Karz Utaro Mulk swaaro" scheme involving public & govt. money collections to help pay of Pakistan's debts. After Pakistan’s nuclear tests then Prime Minister announced to repay all debts of Pakistan through "Karz Utaro Mulk swaaro" scheme in which people contributed enthusiastically. Most of the money which was collected was pocketed and just a couple of debts were repaid to show the people that they are doing something.

In 2000, when Sharif family went to exile after deal with Government, 80% of their property in Pakistan was confiscated by the Government. That includes Brother Steel Mills, Ilyas Enterprises, Hudaybia Paper Mill, Hudaybia Engineering Company, Hamza Spinning Mills, residential property including the Model Town bungalow, three houses at Mall Road Murree, property at 135 Upper Mall Lahore, a plot at Model Town Lahore, a plot at Upper Mall, Lahore, agricultural property including 10.2 kanals of land at Khanpur Sheikhupura Road Lahore, 41 acres and 7 kanals of land at Sheikhupura, 14.2 kanals of land and another 35 kanals at Bhaipharu in Chunnian and 88 kanals of land at Raiwind.

In 1998-99 FIA is said to have presented a report to then President Rafique Tarar about investigation of Sharif Family assets abroad. The FIA's 200-page report alleges that the Sharif family's assets abroad include four flats in London's Mayfair, worth more than 3 million pounds, and over 40 million pounds in accounts and companies controlled by his family. $8 million were sent to off-shore accounts by the Ittefaq companies and then returned as foreign exchange bearer certificates to 43 Sharif family members and friends. The report also alleges that a further $50 million is managed for the family in Switzerland. According to the report, the Sharif family acquired properties in London through two companies, Nescoll and Nielson Enterprises, registered in the British Virgin Islands and linked to a bank account in Lahore in the name of a fictitious person: Sulman Zia. The four flats in Avondale House in Park Lane are said to be worth at least 750,000 pounds each (Note: These are all 1998-99 prices). Through Sulman Zia and other fake accounts, money originating in five banks in Pakistan, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia was used to secure loans to two Ittefaq group companies -- Hudaybia Paper and Hudaybia Engineering -- when Sharif was out of power. The report says that money from these fake accounts also goes to companies controlled by a Washington-based Pakistani who has been awarded lucrative contacts to ship wheat to Pakistan.

These are some of the details of the alleged assets of Sharif family. This does not include alleged Steel Mill and many other factories in Saudi Arabia and U.A.E. in which some of Saudi and Emirates Sheikhs are partners and some property said to be owned by them in Emirates.

This was just to make a point that no one in this political world is corruption free and the persons sitting on top are sitting there because they earned much more then others while staying in power whether it is Asif Ali Zardari or Nawaz Sharif. They all are same when it comes to corruption and looting public money.

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