(Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri appeared on ARY News’ popular programme ‘Sawal Ye Hi’ anchored by Dr Danish. He threw light on the current developments with reference to scrutiny process and likely outcome of electoral exercise. Given the importance of interview, English translation of its abridged version is reproduced here below for readers)
Economy is on the slippery slope. Politics and society are in decay as well. What not and what not. The institutions mandated under the law to protect the Constitution are unable to do so. We will talk on these issues today. What Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri pointed out on December 23 seems to be coming true today. We will ask him today as to what is his position on these matters as these things become manifestly clear to 180 million people. We will discuss these and other related issues. Today we have with us Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. Thank you Doctor sahib for joining us today.
Doctor sahib, whatever you had said is happening today. You were fiercely opposed then sir but your opponents are crying on the top of their voices on TV channels that no scrutiny is being done. Nothing is happening as Articles 62 and 63 are not being implemented. The corrupt people of all hues and colours are comfortably sailing through the process of scrutiny. The Election Commission, which was unconstitutionally composed and for whose reconstitution you went to the apex court, was letting people pass through the process unhindered by invoking its fake powers. Everything was being done under the very nose of the Supreme Court but we do not have any guarantee for protection of the Constitution. We do not see transparency being in sight. What will you say?
Dr Danish, whatever you have said in your introductory remarks, there is little with which one can disagree. You have said everything in introduction that I wanted to say. I spoke on these issues in my speech at the public meeting on December 23 and called for complete change in the electoral system. Then again, I continued to emphasize these matters from Islamabad Long March and sit-in on January 12 to January 17. I raised these demands, woke people up and apprised the entire nation about grave conspiracy which was hatched in the form of elections, the plan of plunging the nation into destructive future and long dark night, and the arrangements made to install corrupt elements back into corridors of power under the fake mandate and politics of ‘deal-making or ‘Muk Muka’.
I had further said that the ECP was unconstitutional, illegal and immoral; an institution which was composed unconstitutionally, illegally and in whose appointments of members, the laid-down procedure was not followed. How can the nation expect such an institution to preside over fair, free and transparent elections based on justice? I kept on stressing these things vigorously as was evident in my speech at public meeting on March 17 in Rawalpindi. At that time, I was opposed, day in and day out, by both political and non-political people who branded my struggle and position on issues as anti-democracy. They would laugh away my contentions, and regard them as opposed to the Constitution. I am grateful to Allah Almighty that whatever I had said, time proved me right and the same opponents are now crying. This is merely a beginning, not end of it. They will cry in post-May political scenario.
I want to say it openly and on record that an evil deal has been struck in which all institutions are party including politicians, practitioners of law, Election Commission, Returning Officers, and the Caretakers. I want to inform the nation and each one of constitutional institution that fake democracy will destroy this country, decimate its future. A leadership consisting of corrupt, incompetent and dishonest people will sink the boat of this nation and the people will be left to weep. What we need is real democracy, not the fake one. Drama has been enacted to impose fake democracy on the people.
Whatever is happening is happening under the very nose of the Election Commission, in front of its very eyes and it now increasingly becomes clear with its collusion, planning and by design. Where was the Election Commission when the so-called ‘scrutiny’ was conducted for seven days in which the Returning Officers asked people meaningless and purposeless questions regarding the number of their wives and names of fruits? They made fun of Articles 62 and 63 by making candidates recite ‘Dua-e-Qanoot’, and national anthem. Do Articles 62 and 63 deal with these issues? Why were the ROs allowed to sabotage the entire scrutiny process?
Why did the Election Commission and the apex judiciary not take note of such instances when they continued to be broadcast for seven days and nights by the electronic media? Why the Chief Election Commissioner and the Caretaker Prime Minister were were mum on blatant violation of law and relevant constitutional provisions? On the other hand, the nomination papers of renowned intellectual and scholar Ayaz Amir were rejected on the basis of phony charge of writing against Pakistan’s ideology. What was required to be asked was never asked.
I want to tell you, Dr Danish and the entire nation that this drama was allowed to be enacted due to a conspiracy. A justification was handed over to next parliament, which will come into being as a result of fake elections to strike down these Articles from the Constitution. That is why the ROs rendered Articles 62 and 63 and the scrutiny process into an entertainment item. These ROs committed misconduct and gross violation of law. They should be sent home and put behind the bar. They do not deserve to serve as judges. No one bothered to take notice of this attitude.
Independent judiciary, that in Pakistani context means that it can do anything and still go scot-free, turned a blind eye to the entire affair. That is why my petition seeking the reconstitution of the illegally composed Election Commission was not even heard. The drama being enacted today was planned. Had the matter been heard and the ECP reconstituted consisting of people of good character, it would have guaranteed the conduct of meaningful electoral exercise.
I want to tell that except the Chief Election Commissioner, all other four members were compromised and their loyalties have been bought. They are in their positions to protect the interests of their political masters. A few days ago, the nation saw a sight of caretaker Minister for Interior and a high-ranking official of the Election Commission giving a statement in favour of a political party and quarrelling with the media men. Media has been showing this day and night that these are political cells of the parties and protecting their interests. The drama was scripted for protection of their interests so that people’s opinions could be turned against Articles 62 and 63 and the fake Parliament would have a reason in strike down these Articles from the Constitution at the first available opportunity.
Dr Qadri, I want to bring one thing before you. Please explain it too. The Supreme Court did talk of scrutiny process taking place as per spirit of Articles 62 and 63 but what has transpired on the ground points to dichotomy between promise and action. The records have proven that cases have been lying pending before the courts for a very long period of time. Media has shown that the erring individuals and parties have had stays on their cases. According to the judicial procedure, the period of stay on legal matters cannot be longer than 6 months. While those having stays on their cases were declared eligible to contest polls, judiciary including the apex court did nothing. 19 cases of fake degrees are lying before the lower judiciary but decisions are not yet forthcoming.
There are a number of cases before the Supreme Court such as Memo gate case, High Treason Case, NLC, Abotabad Commission Report, Ephedrine case, Hajj corruption case, Drugs case, and many more but these cases have not been decided so far. The Public Accounts Committee has, likewise, been seized of a number of cases of loan write-off. A member of PAC has told me himself that the courts are not taking up their cases. Now all the loan defaulters, tax evaders and fake degree holders have passed through the scrutiny process, they have the justification to say that there was no blot on them as they were declared eligible in every respect as they have been cleared by the Returning Officers under Articles 62 and 63. What will you say sir?
A big fraud is being committed with the nation, the Constitution and its people in the name of Articles 62 and 63. A serious conspiracy is afoot against the country. I wonder why the institutions entrusted with the responsibility of checking such transgressions are being mum on this state of affairs. No election is being conducted in this country. It is corruption, rigging being committed with abandon. Everything unconstitutional is being done in the name of scrutiny. You will recall that I demanded fixation of one month for comprehensive and meaningful scrutiny to take place. But the political parties remained stick to origin one week period.
The purpose was to create conditions in which no one should be able to make sense of the things. Given the workload and huge burden, it is not possible to undertake meaningful scrutiny in seven days. I agree to what you have said about loan defaulters. I would like to add one more thing. The Supreme Court of Pakistan established a Commission to probe the loan defaults and furnish a complete list of loan defaulters from 1971 to 1990. The record of loan defaulters is present with the Supreme Court. Likewise, the list of those who got their loans written off from 1992 to 2009 is also with the apex court. This is the condition of one institution.
Let me get to Parliament now. A report of loan defaulters was presented in the National Assembly in September 2012. This default took place in a period of last five years. The record is lying with both National Assembly and the Supreme Court. The concerned banks submitted thousands of documents to that effect. Some people did not get their loan written off nor did they pay it back. They rescued themselves from court cases by handing over their disputed properties with the courts. The banks are filing cases against these big people but to no avail. All those documents can be made available to the Election Commission within no time.
I now want to draw your attention to a list of loan defaulters issued by the State Bank of Pakistan on October 20, 2010. This list is in my hands. The Bank submitted before the apex court to take action against the defaulting companies. The Court as well as Election Commission will be having the list with them. But what happened is before everyone to see. What is unfortunate is that proofs are available in black and white. The problem lies with the will to move against such elements. All those accused of wrong doings and corrupt practices have been given safe passage. Cleansing will take place when our institutions will function without political considerations.
The institutions of Pakistan are not working for the state but for politics. That is why I raised the voice of ‘save state, not politics.’ I am not against politics. I am against politics of corruption, partisanship, loot, plunder of national resources and dishonesty. This kind of politics is eating into vitals of Pakistani state and society. The institutions have ganged up for protection of this kind of politics. I want to tell you that five institutions are playing criminal role:
- The biggest of the culprits is Election Commission of Pakistan. Four members have compromised loyalty and integrity. They are beholden to political parties and their patrons. Everything is being done by design.
- NAB is the second culprit. It has compiled heaps of record of corruption of all office holders from Presidents to Prime Ministers, to Ministers, to politicians to the government officials. It did not furnish its record. I will talk on it later on.
- FIA is the third culprit institution. It has complete data of culprit investigation but it did not share it with anyone.
- FBR likewise also did not furnish data and record to the concerned authorities.
- The fifth culprit is the State Bank of Pakistan. It did not upload defaulters’ list on its website nor did it give direct access to the people.
These institutions have ganged up to protect their masters but why? Let me tell you this. The officials manning these organizations are beholden to politicians who are responsible for their transfers, postings, and promotions. The political elite holds the fate of these government employees in their hands. Therefore, the employees cannot take the risk of annoying their masters. They are in fact responding all the favours done to them. They know that these are elections of corruption and the same crop of corrupt leaders will be back in the saddle. So why risk one’s job and future?
Either they come to power individually or collectively. Only they will occupy positions of power. There is no space for new people in the system. The electoral system is enemy of new leadership, honesty, integrity and fair play. It is enemy of real democracy, and justice. They think that if we disclosed their record, they would hold us by collars and hold us accountable once they returned to power.
Now interestingly, Mr. Imran Ahmad Khan, Director of Information Management System of the Election Commission, appeared in the Lahore High Court and gave an official statement that we could not place in the form of a consolidated lists the details of loan and tax defaulters shared by the State Bank and FBR. It means that Article 63 was not even touched while Article 62 was made fun of through ludicrous questions. The Returning Officers did not have the lists of loan and tax defaulters with them because these were not shared with them. If the ECP could not prepare lists, why and how is it going to hold elections?
Why did five members of the ECP not address a press conference and tell the nation that they cannot conduct scrutiny as they do not have lists ready with them. They could tell the people that FBR, State Bank, NAB and FIA are not furnishing lists of defaulters. They should have taken the nation into confidence. But they still chose to go ahead with the process because ritual of scrutiny was observed to pave the way for corrupt elements who have fed themselves on the state resources. The purpose was to install them into position of power. The ECP has committed this crime against the nation.
The Election Commission issued a handbook for Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers bearing guidelines and instructions. But the handbook did not address the issues of loan defaults and tax evasion. The job of the ECP is to facilitate the entry of known corrupt elements and looters into power. It is not bothered about the stay on cases. It okayed the appointment of Deputy Governor of the State Bank who was appointed by the outgoing government on the last day. It initially expressed its reservations on the posting but later on reneged on this.
It has been a pattern here that the institutions raise hue and cry initially so that the people have a feeling that they are alert and doing their job excellently. They do this to curry favour with the people. The next day, they withdraw their statement and allow the people to pass through the process unquestioned and unhindered. The entire story is being played out according to script. The fake degree holders were sentenced first and then freed. The cases have been decided according to whims and caprices and not on the basis of points of law.
There is a great yearning for change among the masses but the chances of free, fair and transparent elections are diminishing by the day. All those institutions including the caretaker government, Election Commission or any other institution do not seem to take steps which might ensure fair and free polls. If no change comes about and the post-election scenario is marked by bloodshed and deteriorating law and order, who will be responsible for this?
Since time is very short, I would like to talk on this topic in detail in some next programme. Allow me to complete my earlier reply before I come to this question. I have two letters with me; SBP letter issued with the signature of Syed Ali Jafar Abdid on March 31, 2013 and the second letter was issued by NAB with the signatures of Major (r ) Tariq and OICNEC on April 3, 2013. These letters list the names of defaulters. I do not want to name names but only want to add that names of all big leaders are mentioned in these letters. These people do not take loans in their own names. They take loans in the name of companies. Their companies have defaulted. He who is a simpleton will take loan in his own name.
All of these leaders have their business firms and companies. They and their dependents have shares up to 49% in these companies. You cannot catch them till Day of Judgment according to the Banking Laws. They are adept at hiding corruption. The NAB letter dated April 3 that I am showing on screen says that a leader of a major party is a willful defaulter and his case has been pending in the court for many years in the Accountability Court of Rawalpindi. This case has been pending since 2001 till today. Does independent judiciary not have eyes and ears? Does Election Commission not have eyes and ears? If I have this letter with me, I am sure they would be having the same.
There is another letter issued by an Electricity Supply Company, which accuses a head of a political party of being defaulter on count of payment of electricity bills. I did not name the city to which the leader belongs lest you should identify him. My job is not to raise finger on anyone but to expose the system.
As for your question that voting will not result in change of leadership, PAT has decided to boycott elections in view of these ground realities. I appeal to the entire nation to reject the incumbent system and join the public sit-ins being organized by PAT on the polling day. We need to tell the world that we are united against corruption. We stand for real democracy. There is a need of revolution to put real democracy in place. Around 10,000 politicians and officers will have to be put behind the bar. You need a substantial change. You need a very big democratic revolution. You need complete change of the system.