Friday, October 13, 2006

Minister Nabbed Smuggling Diamonds


This is what the latest issue of The Friday Times (October 13-19 2006) has to say about Musharraf’s Minister for Defence Production:

A high-powered federal [minister] recently narrowly avoided a stint in the clink and huge embarrassment for the government of Pakistan. The [Minister for Defence Production] travelled to South Africa and was on his way back to the Land of the Pure when the machine went beep-beep-beep as he passed through it. Alerted, the special security squad at the airport took the minister aside to frisk him good and proper.

And what did they find on his person but diamonds worth a fortune. The gems were in loose form, divided into neat packets, stored all over the minister’s person. Airport security told the minister that he was committing a crime in smuggling gems out of the [sic] South Africa and that and that they would have to report the matter to the authorities. The minister, frantic, called the Pakistan mission in Johannesburg which tried to intercede with the airport security staff wielding lame excuses like ‘diplomatic immunity’ etc.

The security staff then passed the matter on to their superiors and the South African authorities were having none of it. The mission then made contact with the highest and mightiest in Islamabad who pulled some hefty strings and got the minister off the hook…

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The Minister for Defence Production is one Major (retired) Habibullah Waraich (pictured above).

To be honest I have never even heard of his name before (considering there are some 50 plus ministers that is not at all surprising).

Perhaps some reader could help us out with some background on Waraich and perhaps even offer us some explanation as to how a retired major cum noveau minister can afford to purchase diamonds ‘worth a fortune’?

4 comments:

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Onlooker said...

On several occasions I have blogged interesting titbits from The Friday Times (TFT), simply because these news items don’t get a wide circulation because of the newspaper’s ‘subscribers only’ policy.

Often TFT publishes news that other newspapers are too nervous to publish. In 1999 its editor Najam Sethi was arrested by Punjab police and IB officers on Nawaz Sharif’s orders and later handed over to the ISI. This led to an international uproar with the European Union and institutions such as Amnesty International and CPJ in the lead. Not surprisingly he was released shortly afterwards.

With that kind of support behind him Najam Sehti undoubtedly feels less inhibited to print hot stories such as this one.

I was emailed a link from Pakistani defence forum where one of the participants, having read this blog, is believed to have stated:

"I went through this glass house and it is very serious and targeted anti pakistan propaganda. I would not consider minister nabbed story credible unless it appears on regular media"


My regular readers should know by now that I love and care for my country just as much as anyone else. It’s just that I do not agree with how its run and who its run by. In the past I have also been a critic of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif’s corrupt governments while they were in power.

Your Blogger is a diehard supporter of the fundamental right to free expression (as long as it doesn’t promote violence or is maliciously used to offend other people’s religious or racial sensitivities). If someone thinks that my blog ‘is very serious and targeted anti-Pakistan propaganda’, rather than get upset, I simply begin to wonder as to what kind of entrenched mindset would think that?

For all of us and in particular for our children’s sake, I hope that our country breaks its shackles with previous mindsets and ushers in a liberal, just and well-educated society that cares for all its citizens – particularly those who are poor and less advantaged.

Finally for those living abroad who doubt the veracity of this news report I suggest they use their Pakistani mama-chacha-nephew network and get someone to read the hard edition of last week’s TFT for confirmation.

HH said...

Please do not be disheartened by accusations of being "anti-Pakistan." You do not need to explain yourself to your readers. We can see for ourselves that you write out of concern for our motherland and not because you are "anti-Pakistan." That epithet has been hurled at anyone and everyone who has made a cogent argument against the establishment, beginning with the mover of the 1940 Pakistan resolution, Fazlul Haq.

It is interesting that while establishment propaganda always targets our (admittedly flawed) civilian leaders as the epitome of corruption, incidents involving smuggling by Ministers almost always take place under military rule.

Does anyone remember the withdrawal of Pakistan's then ambassador to Spain (the scion of a nawab family of a major princely Seraiki State) upon discoverey of a suitcase full of narcotics on his person in 1970 while General Yahya Khan ruled the roost? And that was before heroin smuggling was even fashionable!

Then, in 1987, Minister Islamaduddin Shaikh was detained at Heathrow with contraband in his personal baggage. He was a Minister in the "clean, military-chosen" cabinet of Mohammed Khan Junejo.

To Yahya's credit, the errant ambassador was withdrawn (though not punished beyond that) and to Junejo's credit, Shaikh was quietly sacked from the cabinet.

Wonder what General "In the Line of Fire" and Shortcut Aziz will now do to the diamond smuggling Minister. Or was he acting "in the national interest" as our ruling general does not tire to claim about his own actions?

Loose Diamonds said...

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Great post!
Cheers,
Sandy