Friday, November 5, 2010

Pakistan Army Generals get Caught in Corruption Involving the National Logistics Cell

My head hurts. From laughing. Let's see how far and wide this story circulates. It seems to be a variation of the old nineties stand-by, where a loan was given to a favoured person or company and the defaulting of it was acceptable. Anyway here you have a group of officers involved in a Rs 4 billion scam. Retired Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal and Major General Khalid Zaheer Akhtar were messing around with national money.

Here's the rest of the article.

Let's see how much play this gets in Pakistan's oh-so-corruption wary media.

UPDATE: General Ashfaq Kayani, knowing how to play the media game, has publicly ordered the NLC to stop posing as a defence agency (which apparently bought lots of tax exemptions). Very media savvy our General Kayani. When it comes to corruption. Not of course when it comes to kicking out officers who were involved in the cover up of Benazir Bhutto's assassination. Got to keep that "corruption" tag for the politicos.
Interestingly the National Logistics Cell, which we all call the NLC was founded during the dictatorship of Zia-ul-Haq. That alone should make it suspect. And whilst it was known by its initials NLC, during the Zia years it earned the satiric nickname Narcotics Logistics Cell. Because it bought weapons from the ports up till Afghanistan, and carried drugs the other way back to the port. Interesting little contraband Fedex service, the NLC.


Shahid said...

NLC's raison d'être was transporting weapons to Afghanistan. It's mandate is over but even then it has become such a giant that it has reduced Pakistan Railway's share of inland freight transport to less than 5%. And then they wonder why PR is in debt.

Moreover, NLC is legally part of the Planning Commission but guess where are it's HQs? GHQ.

Since NLC and FWO have nearly all of the tool-booth operating licenses on Motorways and most of the northern highways, the major sahiban posted there have awesome opportunities that even customs guy don't get. One year posting to a toll booth and it's more than enough to retire easily.

TLW said...

Thanks for adding that Shahid. Maybe scaling back NLC would help the PR, but I doubt it. I covered part of what you said about weapons. The most infamous abusers of the NLC would have to be General Fazl-e-Haq, who got killed in a hit in 1990, and General Akhtar Abdur Rehman. The narcotics part is something I have heard too many stories of.

Shahid said...

Please be to tell about Fazl-e-Haq's death. I have never heard any details about it. Time magazine profiled Akhtar and Fazle-e-Haq in it's list of the richest generals of the world in 1986 as part of anarco-dictators story. I believe a couple of books cited his complicity in narco trade but did not accuse him directly (and one 9/11 and Afghan war related websites did infact retract its statement in this regard after being told that there was no evidence of personal profiteering). However, wise locals no otherwise :)

Khaled Ahmed did mention Black Prince, a narco dealer, getting in trouble for naming some "generals" involvement in narco trade

TLW said...

Yaar, you have A.H Amin on a first name basis; he could probably tell you more. I remember that Narco-Dictator story you were talking about from Times magazine; good to know I`m not the only one who goes searching for stuff there :-).

As for Fazl-e-Haq, he was Corps Commander XI corps, so he was responsible for NWFP and FATA during the Afghan Jihad. On his wikipedia page, the first citation is by AH Amin (yowser), and assuming his position, we would have to assume he made money of the drug trade. I heard rumours about him from many older than me, but simultaneously, there was Emma Duncan`s book, "Breaking Curfew" where she describes meeting Fazl-e-Haq in his home and from the descriptions she piles in it makes it implicitly clear that he is much richer than a mere general should be. She also speaks to his son in that interview and he admits not drinking in front of his dad, but behind his back. Ask AH Amin more about Fazl-e-Haq's Command of XI Corps, and his war experience in 1965 and 1971.

My reference to the NLC comes from someone who once worked at the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) in Karachi. They said they used to joke about NLC being the Narcotics Logistics Cell and the PNSC being the Pakistan Narcotics Shipping Corporation. One had to assume that army generals who wanted to ship drugs would very likely use NLC, which was used to ship contraband (arms for the Afghan Muj) into Pakistan.

Shahid said...

Never read the Duncan book. Will try to remember to read it.

As for the Time story, I saw that in print in a friend's archives some six years ago. Always wonderful to see old stuff in the form of current affairs, as in not a historical account on a narrative.

I think Chishti's death deserves some digging.

Also, I go by name and not a pseudoname. Productive and fruitful debates are always healthy but some prohibited ones aren't. Hence, let's avoid making associations that might lead to some midnight knocks on my door. I hope you get the point.

Shahid said...

Meant Haq's death not Chishti.

Shahid said...

Citation is yet another of those awesome defence journal interviews. Magazine has gone down the drain.