Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Good Man under Siege?

Ever since the former chairman of SECP, Dr Tariq Hassan, presented a ‘white paper’ to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance about the stock market March 2005 crash - saying that top government functionaries were interfering in SECP affairs and were involved in market manipulation – he has become a target on the government’s notorious ‘hit list’.

(See previous Blog:
Shortcut & Co. Facing Serious Sleaze Allegations)


To make matters worse for Dr Tariq Hassan, the Head Chowkidar has taken it upon himself to protect his ‘loyal’ functionaries. As
The News reported today:
President Musharraf said in an interview that he held Dr Hassan “personally responsible for the March 2005 crash and that it was his (Dr Hassan’s) responsibility to prevent such things from happening.”

President Musharraf said that the PM was not involved in any form of corruption involving the Karachi Stock Exchange. Despite this clean chit from the president, the Prime Minister spent time with members of the ruling party in Islamabad behind closed doors explaining his role, or lack of it, in the Tariq Hassan affair.

And today
Daily Times reveals that Tariq Hassan is now being hounded by the Secret agency personnel for his ‘sins’.
Intelligence agents are bugging the phone calls and monitoring the movement of Dr Tariq Hassan, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Daily Times has learnt.

A senior official told Daily Times Islamabad police had been told to deploy plainclothes officers around Dr Hassan’s residence. The intelligence operation began after President Musharraf appeared on television blaming Dr Hassan for the stock market crash of March 2005, the official said.

The monitoring was tightened after Dr Hassan’s resignation from the office of commissioner and member of the SECP this week. His incoming and outgoing calls are being bugged.” The official said that the government had started an inquiry into Dr Hassan’s alleged involvement in the stock market crash and would later frame a charge sheet against him.

We are now also told not to expect the US forensic team to find the real causes behind the March 2005 crash. Apparently the Government wishes the Americans to aim for Tariq Hassan and at the same time prevent them from prying too deeply into the real causes of the stock market crash. As
Dawn tells us:
A source privy to the forensic investigations said that the first briefing the US forensic investigators had received was on how the former SECP chief had failed to avert the crisis, instead of Badla financing (carry-over transaction) or brokers and their suspected activities.

“The US team now knows more about Dr Hassan than (about) the powerful brokers nominated in the task force’s report on the market crash,” he said.

The sources said that the SECP was also trying to restrict the US investigators’ sphere of operations in the commission’s head office.

The SECP chairman, Mr Raziur Rehman, refused to share any information about the number of officials involved in the probe or the team’s composition.

The idea, it appears, is to heap all the blame on Tariq Hassan, who now seems destined to play the role of the scapegoat for the whole debacle. Meanwhile, it will be business as usual at the Karachi Stock Exchange and the shady billionaire brokers and the badla providers will undoubtedly continue with their destructive practices.

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