Elected representatives engaged in any private business will be subjected to specific restrictions that will be brought in through appropriate " conflict of interest legislation"
Pakistan Muslim League, manifesto 1997
In his book about the business communities of India, Dwijendra Tripathi had noted that the Mughal rulers, " by and large abstained from interfering in the internal affairs of well-knit business communities, leaving them to manage their affairs and similarly the merchants big or small tried to stay away from the agents of the government". He pointed out that if political authorities had to intervene in disputes of the business communities, they took great pain to appear neutral when ddjudicating such matters. This fact was illusterated by referring to the attitude of Mughal monarch AKBAR in the dispute between two claimants of Bohra community of Gujrat in the 16th century namely, Sheikh Suleman and Syedna Dawood bin Qutbshah for which intervention of the King was sought who constituted a high-level tribunal headed by two nominees of the claimants Abdul Fazal Aziz Koka and Hakim Ali Jilani to adjudicate the case.

Holding each other at arms distance was good for the govt and business who worked independently in their worlds and complimented each other, Tripathi concluded. What Mughal rulers were practicing in the 16th century India is a law today in most of the civilized world, requiring politicians to compartmentalize their business interests and public life.

Unfortunately this tradition of compartmentalizing administration, business and politics could not take roots in Pakistan where bureaucracy played godfather to businessmen and politicians from day-one and business and politics became two faces of the same coin. The allegations that Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif have traded, spring mainly from the fact that Zardari and Sharif failed to draw a line between their business interests and the affairs and interests of the state.

General (R) Hamid Gul, former chief of ISI (Inter Services Intelligence), has many times talked about his meeting in Model Town, Lahore with Nawaz Sharif, on the eve of his assumption of office of prime minister in 1990, Gul had brought together the opposition alliance of Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) that swept the elections and is a way it was a meeting of the mentor and the protege.

Gul said he advised the incoming prime minister to place his business in a trust, for the duration of his term of office. While Nawaz Sharif did not reply, his father , Mian Mohammad Sharif lost temper, saying that all their lives they have queued for bank loans, but now that their day has arrived, the general wanted them to cap their business.

During Nawaz Sharif's premier-ship, Interior Minister Chaudry Shujaat Hussain and later during Benazir's premier-ship her spouse Asif Zardari, defended their right to obtain bank loans, " like any other citizen of Pakistan". All three, Mian Mohammad Sharif, Chaudry Shujaat Hussain and Asif Zardari have been to prison, on charges of corruption relating to their business activities during their hay days, yet they see nothing wrong in mixing business with politics.

Since the creation of Pakistan, businessmen and industrialists have been active in politics and affairs of the state. Yusuf Haroon was first chief minister of Sindh and persons like Ahmad Dawood, Nasir A Sheikh, A K Sumar, Ahamd Qadir (Jalil) and Rafiq Saigol held importent official posts in the ruling parties and governments before the advent of Z A Bhutto era. However it was Zia ul Haq era which harvested a bumper crop of businessmen who entered politics and politicians who made fortune in business, using one to serve the other, without qualm of conscience.

The politicians who are currently pursuing careers both in business and politics on a grand scale include Mian Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, The Haroons, Saifullahs, Ahmad Mukhtar (Service Industries), Shahid Nazir (Kohistan Transport), Chaudaries of Gujrat, Gohar Ayub, Basharat Elahi, Noons, Jatoi and Sumro.

Then there are no 2 politicians like Khalid Ahmad Kharal ( Accord Textile), Faisal Saleh Hayat ( Shah Jiwana Textile), Akhtar Abdul Rehman (Tandianwala Sugar, Superior Textile, Grace Textile), Nawaz Khokhar and Islam ud Din Sheikh.

Ittefaq comprise of at least 30 industrial units with assets etimate ranging between Rs 10-30 billion. Chaudries group comprise of at least 10 units. During the National Debt Retirement Scheme announced by second Nawaz Sharif govt in 1997, Chaudry Shujaat was reported by a Veteran journalist Saud Sahir, in Weekly Takbeer, Karachi to have stated that the he could bring any amount of foreign exchange target without leaving Pakistan.

Saifullahs are in politics for six decades and have the distinction of being part of almost every federal or provincial govt in Pakistan since the days of Z A Bhutto. Under Zia ul Haq, two members of the Saifullah family, Kalsoom Saifullah and Salim Saifullah were federal ministers. In second Bhutto govt when a reporter accused Petroleum Minister Anwar Saifullah of planning privatization of OGDC for his personal benefit, observing that if he succeeded in his plan he would become Pakistan's richest man, he retorted angrily with remark, " But I am already Pakistan's richest man"

Some of the known units of Saifullah's are Kohat Textile Mills, Frontier Textile Mills,Saif Textile Mills, Bannu Flour Mills, Nasa Construction, Saif Beverages, Saif International Combine, K K A Co (pvt) Ltd, Sarhad Pre-stressed Concrete, ASTRA Ltd, Pakistan Mobile Corp and K A K Investment (pvt) Ltd.

The biggest proliferation of politicians has taken place in the setting up of sugar mills. During first Benazir govt, Zardari was accused of setting up sugar mills through front men and when Nawaz Sharif was in power, he was accused of using political muscles to get loans and business for Ittefaq Foudary manufacturing sugar plants.

Apart from Ittefaq, chaudries, Zardari and Hamayun Akhtar Abdul Rehman, several other politicians like Jam Mashooq Ali ( Thar Sugar Mills), Manzoor Watto (Sutlej Sugar Mills), Naseerullah Dareshak (Indus Sugar Mills), Pir Pagara (Kingri Sugar Mills) and Islam uddin Sheikh have secured loans for sugar projects and almost all of them were in default.

Politics and Corruption:

Governments have been trying to fight corruption in Pakistan since the 1960s when a special committee for eradication of corruption from services headed by S Fida Hassan was formed. It observed in its report that corruption was on the rise because of the following reasons.

" The causes of corruption are said to be a general decline in the moral values. Official procedures are so outmoded and cumbersome that at every stage, it is possible for a corrupt functionary to impede the progress of a case". It noted and added that " corruption was one of the main corroding factors which ultimately brought about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and many centuries later that of Ottoman Empire", because it affets the economy and efficiency of the body politics of the country.

Two decades later, American Management magazine CEO defined corruption in Pakistan as " the extent to which getting ahead economically depends on having and greasing the right hands in the govt, and conversely, the extent to which officials use their office to make money; also the vulnerability of the average citizen to extortion by police and bureaucrats".

Corruption was a factor common in the dismissal orders of the thee governments since 1990.

On August 5, 1990, when Benazir govt was dismissed , President Ghulam Ishaq Khan issued a 23-page indictment and alleged that " corruption and nepotism in the federal governement, its functionaries, authorities and agencies, statutory and other corporations including banks working under its supervision and controls and holders of public representatives had reached such proportions that the orderly functioning of the government in accordance with the provisions of the constitution including the requirements of oath(s) prescribed in the constitution does not any longer carry public faith and credibility and despite being subject to wide-public condemnation, the govt failed to take appropriate actions in this behalf.

On April 18, 1993 when the first Nawaz Sharif govt was dismissed , the dissolution order said that " mal-administration, corruption and nepotism have reached such proportions in the federal govt, its various bodies, authorities and other corporations including banks supervised and controlled by the federal govt, the lack of transparency in the process of privatization in the disposal public / government properties, that they violte the requirements of the oath(s) of the public representatives together with the prime minister, the ministers and the ministers of state prescribed in the constitution and prevent the govt from functioning in accordance with the provisions of the constitution".

The most recent presidential Order of November 5, 1996 also emboided indentical charges against Bhutto government sacked for the second time. It said that " corruption, nepotism and violation of rules in the administration of affairs of the government and its various bodies, authorities and corporations has become so extensive and widespread that the orderly functioning of the govt in accordance wth the provisions of the constitution and the law has become impossible and is some cases national security has been endangered. Public faith in the integrity and honesty of the government has disappeared".

Benazir Sharif-Cataloguing Corruption

Table of Contents

Money and Politics

Robber Barons of Pakistan