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Archive for March, 1999

Framing and covering up

The primary objective of casting false allegations against anybody is to spoil that person’s chances of success in any given field. A spurious, concocted accusation is meant to defame character and destroy merit. As we all know merit is a disqualification in many developing countries. It is murder all right, not meant to put the person in the grave but to leave him or her in limbo, in a form of living death. That gives the person initiating the made-up charges, or on whose behalf it is initiated, an advantageous position as opposed to the victim. Sometimes the planted rumour fulfils the purpose, sometimes a fact is distorted to represent what is not the truth. Sometimes the truth is coloured. This is not a national pastime in Pakistan, as in many other countries, this victimisation is a serious profession. What is unique to Pakistan and many other Third World countries is that the person or persons levelling the false accusations almost always get away with it. There is no punishment if the falsehood is discovered, this despite the fact that if the charges were proven it would have seriously discomforted the accused, including loss of life, job, status, prospects, etc the person’s whole future. To protect the perpetrators of false witness if discovered, the art of the cover-up comes into play, this is done pretty systematically and effectively by initiating an “enquiry”. Many a times the senior hierarchy may not themselves be involved, but in accepting the concoctions served up by their juniors in sworn statements they give an official credence to falsehood and are thus as culpable as the one making the concoctions. As such it is their responsibility to carefully sift through the statements.


Investing in trouble

Mohammad Anwar Pervez is not an ordinary human being. Born in Thathi, Rawalpindi in 1935, he moved to England when he was 21 and became a British subject in 1960. Made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1992, he was awarded a Knights Bachelor honour in the Queen’s 1999 New Year’s Honour List. In a rags-to-riches story embodying the Pakistani dream, Sir Anwar opened a convenience food store in Earls Court, W. London in 1960, building it to a chain of 10 outlets by the early 1990s. He then went into the wholesale grocery trade with a “cash and carry” business called BESTWAY which had phenomenal growth. The chain is the second largest in UK. The group has now a turnover of UK Pounds Sterling 1.1 billion, employing over 2,000 people in the UK. Encouraged “by Mian Nawaz Sharif’s repeated requests in 1992 to invest in Pakistan”, he has made a US$ 150 million investment in putting up a cement factory in Haripur. Not losing sight of humanity in the search for profits, Sir Anwar has donated heavily to charity through the Bestway Foundation.


Dhaka doings

The title of the article is shamelessly plagiarised (with apologies) from the now defunct MIRROR monthly, Mrs. Zaibunissa Hamidullah’s photo-heavy chronicle of Pakistan pre-1971. The Second D-8 Summit in Dhaka on 1-2 March 1999 was filled with photo-opportunities and formality but had little substance. Of the 8 leaders meant to attend, it was understandable why the Nigerian Head of State Gen Abubakar Salam could not leave the country during the all-important election week — but why (alphabetically) Presidents Hosni Mobarak of Egypt, Habibie of Indonesia and Khatami did not turn up, except for disinterest one could not well understand? President Suleyman Demirel of Turkey and Prime Ministers Mahathir of Malaysia and Mian Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan more than made up in sheer value and enthusiasm so that the host country Bangladesh was not embarrassed but that particular ingredient that should go into such an association was unfortunately missing.