With the death of John Profumo, one of UK’s greatest scandals can be finally laid to rest.
I wonder how many realise the minor Pakistani link in the scandal that eventually brought down Prime Minister Macmillan’s conservative government.
The scandal was centred on Dr Stephen Ward, a Harley Street osteopath who socialised in high-ranking circles. Ward operated as a pimp, using a cottage on the Clivedon estate, he made pretty call-girls available to the upper-class set. Cliveden was a manor owned by Lord Astor, an aristocrat. It was a custom at the manor for guests to swim naked in swimming pool. Ward used this opportunity to introduce his nude call girls – including the subsequently notorious Christine Keeler – to meet with equally nude influential men.
The scandal broke, at the peak of the cold war, in 1963, when Minister for Defence John Profumo was compromised by his affair with Christine Keeler. British parliamentarians were stunned to learn that Keeler had also been sleeping with a top Soviet KGB agent in London, Capt. Yevgeny Ivanov. Profumo had to resign in disgrace.
What was not well known at the time was that one among the many nude swimmers, who enjoyed the rewards available at Cliveden, had been General Ayub Khan, then military dictator of Pakistan. It is said that in her juicy memoirs Mandy Rice-Davies, one of the Cliveden call girls, accuses Ayub Khan of attempting to get physically close with her in the swimming pool. The same did not apply to Christine Keeler who is believed to have had a sexual fling with Ayub before he ducked for cover once the scandal broke.
The local chattering classes had a field day after Sindh chief minister’s recent broadside against one his Sindhi cabinet members.
An incensed Arbab Rahim went on warpath against his own provincial minister for population, Syed Ali Bakhsh Shah alias Pappu Shah, accusing him of plotting to replace him as chief minister. In his accusation he implied that Pappu Shah had willingly provided the services of his wife, currently a senator in Islamabad, to Musharraf to win his favour.
A bowdlerised news report (Cold war between CM & Pappu Shah) recently stated:
This was clear indication that cold war between chief minister and Pappu Shah has intensified. It is also learnt that Pappu Shah has "Aashirwad" of Islamabad but they are waiting for suitable time to change the guard. Dr Rahim had publicly said that some members want to grab power by using influence of their wives which was clear indication to Pappu Shah as his wife Bibi Yasmin Shah is Senator.You may well ask, who exactly is this Pappu Shah?
All that I have been able to discover about him is that until recently he was a relatively unknown politician from Badin, who was originally a member of the ruling Muslim League (Nawaz), until switching sides after the military takeover.
Pappu Shah contested the 2002 provincial elections on a basis of a fake internet-bought degree from a Norfolk Island (it’s in the Pacific near Australia somewhere) company calling itself ‘International University of America (London Campus)’. When this dubious bit of paper was challenged in the High Court, Islamabad intervened and Pappu Shah was allowed to contest.
The story about Pappu Shah temporarily gifting his wife to the Head Chowkidar was subsequently ‘confirmed’ by another senior minister in the Sindh cabinet.
Is your Blogger shocked? Not really. The history of Islamic Republic of Pakistan is replete with such instances. So, sadly, what’s new?