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Broadsheet scandal: A saga of Pakistan's never-ending corruption

Pakistan, known for its unprecedented nature and magnitude of corruption added yet another feather to its cap, Broadsheet scandal, reported The News International.

The latest dominating Broadsheet scandal covers the periods of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the regime of Dictator General Pervez Musharraf.

The Broadsheet LLC, based in the Isle of Man, was hired by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) during Musharraf's regime to trace out hidden assets of Pakistanis in foreign countries. The NAB signed an agreement with the Broadsheet but terminated it in 2003.

The scandal amply proved that Pakistan has been plagued by corruption. Instead of targetting the corrupt, the Broadsheet was used for political gains and safe passage was given to the corrupt people to escape accountability through National Reconciliation Ordinance.

It was used to help fabricate cases against former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto and her spouse Asif Ali Zardari who had remained the defiant bulwark against dictatorship.

The first phase of this vendetta began during the two tenures of prime minister Nawaz Sharif spearheaded by his accountability chief Senator Saifur Rehman.

As a consequence of it, Asif Ali Zardari had to spend more than 11 years in incarceration without a conviction by any court of law and Benazir Bhutto had to run from one court to another to defend herself against fabricated charges that ultimately ended nowhere for want of credible evidence, reported The News International.

The only court conviction came in the form of the SSG Cotecna case by Justice Qayyum of the accountability court, which ended up as flak on the Sharif government when the Supreme Court of Pakistan passed serious strictures against Justice Qayyum for having acted unscrupulously in convicting Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari carrying out Senator Saifur Rehman's dictation to award the maximum punishment.

The second phase, under Musharraf's Accountability chairman General Amjad, ended as an exercise in futility. The former NAB chief now says Broadsheet did nothing to bring back 'looted' assets. Broadsheet "did next to nothing concrete to assist NAB in receiving assets outside Pakistan through their investigations," the former NAB chairman said.
According to General Amjad, Broadsheet failed to provide "the type of proofs of foreign assets" that Pakistan needed to successfully prosecute targeted individuals.
It may be mentioned here that Amjad, who had signed the contract with Broadsheet LLC on behalf of NAB, added that the contract with the firm was signed without necessary approvals being taken from the relevant ministries.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz recently claimed that the Broadsheet scandal is a slap on the face of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and Imran Khan who never gets tired of masquerading and orchestrating his facade of the anti-corruption drive, reported The News International.
The Musharraf regime tried to use Broadsheet against Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari but did not succeed.
Maryam Nawaz believes that Prime Minister Imran Khan feels endangered by PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif and that Shahbaz and Hamza Shahbaz are being victimised to take political revenge.
She claims that Imran Khan considers Shahbaz as his alternative and that is why he has thrown him in jail despite him being unwell. She asserts, come what may, both Shahbaz and Hamza will definitely come out of jail and take part in politics too and defeat the regime's machinations, reported The New International.
It seems that Broadsheet is fast becoming yet another mega scandal with no recourse to the recovery of the looted billions. Now in face of a serious onslaught on his government gnawing at its roots Prime Minister Imran Khan has been cornered by main opposition parties to establish a judicial commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Azmat Saeed to head the panel investigating the "massive scale of Pakistani ruling elite's corruption and money laundering."
Justice Azmat's appointment is being considered as yet another step to cover up the Broadsheet saga of corruption. Both the PPP and the PML-N believe Justice Azmat's appointment is controversial and not above board. The two parties believe that Justice Azmat would be serving on a "perceived" conflict of interest. He is known to be part of the NAB at the time when the asset recovery agreement was signed with Broadsheet.
The whole sordid saga has overly tainted Pakistan's prosecution and performance of legal experts against corruption, leaving no room for relief to the country. (ANI)


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