Featured Articles — July 20, 2009

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Rauf Klasra’s standard gripe with Pakistani political class is its inability to learn from mistakes. Writing in the Urdu edition of Jang, in column after column, Klasra is at pains to point out the disparity between word and deed exhibited by Pakistani politicians depending upon their geographic presence at the time. According to Klasra, while located in Western capitals like London or Washington, Pakistani politicians convincingly play at being democrats, reformers and revolutionaries but once back in Pakistan, they reveal their true colors. Klasra likes to lament the unwillingness of our politicians to learn from the moral superiority of Western political classes. Needless to say, his emotional and loaded articles strike a chord with the common Pakistani who is sick of the decadence and lack of sensitivity displayed by his MNA and Nazim.

What comes as a surprise though is evidence of the same moral failing in Klasra himself, the self-anointed gadfly of the upper classes. Evidence that is presented below reveals the ironic and tragic dissonance between words and deeds of Rauf Klasra. PkPolitics.com has investigated his case and has discovered that he has used his influence to amass wealth and has never relinquished any opportunity to use his connections in the power circles of Islamabad to receive undue favors and patronage, not least with Prime Minister Gillani himself. The tragedy of the whole thing is that Rauf Klasra, the “morally upright” journalist and “exposer” of fraud everywhere, has been continuously parroting his theme song about corruption, looking up and whistling innocently, while doing exactly the opposite with his hands. A truly classic case of Ram Ram japna, praya maal apna, if there ever was one.

The eternal question remains: Is the Faustian bargain with the devil worth it? All the plot allotments, flats, land, houses and illegal appointments of his relatives worth it? For it profits a man nothing to lose his very soul for all the riches of the world, but to lose it for worthless patches of dirt in Islamabad? Klasra has sold his soul cheap, even though he thinks he made a profit.

But one should always be thankful for small mercies. Looking at Klasra’s countless karnaamay, we should thank the gods he is not in a position of power. He would have left even Zardari biting the dust if the priestly columnist of Jang who writes with the tagline: “Aakhir Kyon?” had been our president. With all his corrupt habits, Klasra has not risen to the pinnacles of political power and seems to ask complainingly: “Aakhir Kyon”?

Rauf Kalasra

Dearest Klasra, it’s because Pakistan still has a small store of luck.

Here are a few examples that show the difference between what he preaches and what he has actually been up to. The Tareeqa-e-Wardaat of such black sheep in the media has always been to create vast networks of PR and patronage for reciprocal back scratching with corrupt politicians and blackmailing anyone who stands in their way.

Plot in G-14 Islamabad

The execrable practice of using plot allotments to journalists is a tried and tested method of buying loyalties and hiring those willing to prostitute themselves for their words. The story of Muhammad Malick is a case in point. It goes without saying that in a misruled country with a long history of abuse of power, such practices should cease immediately. Now having said that, even this ethical minefield of a system has a few rules and regulations that purport to uphold a quota-system to ensure transparency and equality. It must take a man completely bereft of decency and a sense of fair play to try to game this system which is unjust and unfair to begin with.

The G-14 plots drama has many other wily and unsavory characters (who are going to be exposed at PKPolitics when their turn comes). The sheer complexity of the drama requires that the background and rules and regulations for allotments be explained thoroughly:

1- The present PPP government has made eight (8) plot allotments to journalists recently. These were all illegal and were made secretly unlike in the past when the process was more transparent. The rules of procedure, followed in the past, call for advertisements, allotments to be made under a devised policy and the final list being posted on the website of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. All of these standard procedures were not followed in the 8 cases recently. It is important to point out that these 8 illegal plot allotments to journalists were made in the last ONE year alone. Last allotment was made to Zardari’s close friend Sohaib Bhutta. Zardari’s Lahori friend Nazir Naji was also given a plot in the same way.

2- Allotments were made to federal government employees and journalists in 2004-05 in Phase-IV of Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) in sector G-14. According to the brochure of this scheme [Download Brochure PDF 3.8MB] 3 % quota was fixed for the journalists. Applications were invited from the Islamabad/Rawalpindi based journalists through an advertisement followed by another advertisement for some changes in criteria etc. [Download Advertisements PDF 4.9MB]. A total 168 journalists were allotted plots in five different categories as defined in the advertisement of Feb 2nd and Feb 21st 2004 [Download Allotments List PDF 0.1MB] and this list is also available on the link of official website of ministry of information and broadcasting. After allotment to these 168 journalists, some journalists who had also applied, failed to get a plot because the 3% quota fixed for journalists in sector G-14 had been filled. As a result, according to devised policy (Devised Policy- Which was completely and clearly announced and given in the advertisement published in national newspapers on Feb 2nd and Feb 21st 2004 – copies already attached) a waiting list was issued with category-I as NIL, according to seniority based on the date of birth from all the five categories [Download Waiting List PDF 2.7MB]. It is also important to mention here that, even at that time, three or four journalists managed to get a plot allotted despite that the fact that they were in the Waiting List until even 2005.

3- Five journalists who were in the waiting list are:
1- Rauf Klasra, Cat-II, Seniority Number-29
2- Amir Mateen, Cat-II, Seniority Number-14
3- Kiani Khaleeq Ahmad Khan, Cat-II, Seniority Number-25
4- Javed Chaudhry, Cat-II, Seniority Number-20
5- Shaukat Mehmood Paracha, Cat-III, Seniority No-18 (Mr. Paracha clarified that he did not avail this offer of Plot and we highly appreciate this action).

These journalists jointly filed a petition with the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi Bench and challenged the process of allotment on purely technical grounds [Download Petition 0.4MB] . The petition was disposed off in March 2006 with no order [Download Court Decision PDF 6.2MB] and the court directed the Housing Foundation to dispose of grievances within fifteen days of their being raised. In fact, court never authorized any public institution to allot plots to these or any other journalists as a result of the rejected petition.

4- After the present government took charge in Feb 2008, it was well-known in Islamabad that Rauf Klasra is a close friend of PM Gilani. Both of them not only come from the same area but have been close friends even before Gilani became Prime Minister. Rauf Klasra has even alluded to the fact in some of his columns for the Daily Jang. Credible sources claim that Klasra had raised the issue of his not getting a plot allotted in 2005 with the Prime Minister who had promised to look into allotting Klasra the plot. Things moved quickly, however, after Imran Gardezi, the present Press Secretary to the PM took the charge of his office in December 2008. Suddenly, the Housing Ministry was asked to allot a plot to Rauf Klasra immediately. The ministry directed the Director General of FGEHF, the notorious Sher Afzal to accommodate Klasra. Sher Afzal wrote in response to the Housing Ministry that a recommendation from the Ministry of Information is mandatory for allotment to journalists [Download FGEHF Letter PDF 0.4MB]. Rauf Klasra was apprised of the new situation. The DG-FGEHF, Sher Afzal, received the recommendation letter from the Ministry of Information within two days [Download Information Ministry Letter PDF 0.2MB]. The recommendation letter asked the FGEHF to allot Rauf Klasra a category-I plot, which was allotted to him subsequently in sector G-14.

5- After the category-I plot allotment to Rauf Klasra, the other original petitioner journalists like Kiani Khaleeq found out that the allotment had been carried out by mentioning the LHC petition (dismissed in March 2006), they approached Secretary Information Ashfaq Gondal and DG-FGEHF Sher Afzal seeking a review of their own cases.

The four remaining petitioner journalists then plotted with the disgraced DG-FGEHF, Sher Afzal, who happens to be close friends to some of these journalists. They decided that instead of seeking the Ministry of Information’s recommendation directly, DG-FGEHF, Sher Afzal would write to the Minstry of Information on their behalf and demand recommendation letters for the remaining four petitioner journalists. This letter by Sher Afzal was illegal to begin with as the DG-FGEHF does not have such powers and functions in his job description. In any case, the Information Ministry sent the recommendation letters to FGEHF in blatant violation of its own waiting list and the defined category. According to the previously devised policy, the category was to be assigned as it existed on the day of applying. This policy was obviously violated.

Today, Rauf Klasra and the other journalists (Amir Mateen, Khaleeq Kiyani and Javed Chaudhry) claim that they were alloted plots as the result of a judgment by Lahore High Cour’s Rawalpindi bench. This judgment was delivered in March 2006 while the plots were allotted in 2009. Klasra’s case was not a matter of devised policy and there was no scheme or program under which plots could be given to other journalists.

The actual situation is that only Rauf Klasra was allotted plots in compliance with Prime Minister’s orders by Sher Afzal, DG FGEHF, on January22, 2009. On February 6th 2009, a story with the title ‘Judges get plots of their choice’ was published in daily The News and daily Jang by Ansar Abbasi, in which an illegal allotment of plot to a journalist was mentioned. This story is available on www.thenews.com.pk in the link ‘Back Issues’ in the date February 6th 2009. At this point of time, Rauf in his attempt to cover up his illegal allotment, in connivance with Sher Afzal conspired to have plots allotted to his co-petitioners i.e. Amir Mateen, Khaleeq Kiyani and Javed Chaudhry. So, on February 14, Sher Afzal wrote a letter to information ministry recommending allotment to rest of the petitioners in the same petition on the basis of which Rauf was recommended for a plot.Rauf Klasra in his column published in Daily Jang Islamabad Edition May 28th 2009 [Download Column PDF 1.4MB] wrote that it was Sher Afzal’s interpretation that he and his co-petitioners could be given plots.

This could mean only two things: either Rauf Klasra and Sher Afzal were being economical with the truth (lying through their teeth) or were exceedingly naïve (and bhola). The reality is, there were a total of 6 petitions who were taken care of through the same order. A petition No 2149 filed by seven journalists were decided before Rauf’s petition with the same order. It is mentioned in the court orders of Rauf’s petition that his petition is being disposed off on the grounds as were given in the decision of petition No 2149.

This is indeed a great mystery. We suspect Mr. Klasra will soon come up with a ‘filmi’ column, beginning with some anecdote, a chance meeting with some politician, whose integrity stands naked and exposed after Mr. Rauf Klasra, the murderously honest journalist, dissects the said politician’s life with his mighty pen.

Perhaps Mr. Klasra, instead of writing one of his Lollywood columns, should answer honestly to straight questions like this: Why was Rauf Klasra, the extremely honest journalist, the only one to be rewarded? Other journalists who had moved the original petition before Klasra, and had gotten the same judgment as Klasra, were not allotted the plots. Why was Sher Afzal’s “interpretation” only applicable to Klasra, the viciously and brutally honest journalist, and not to other petitioner journalists?

The point to be noticed here is that according to legal experts, even if LHC would have given its judgment in favor of petitioner journalists (which it did not), the following would have been necessary:

a. They could be given plots only when some new sector of FGEHF opened and in accordance with the policy and quota as would be defined for the new sector. In case of sector G-14, 3 % quota was fixed for journalists. According to reports three new sectors would soon be opened by CDA and FGEHF.

b. In this case plots were created in G-14 by elimination of green belts and children’s parks. Now according to legal experts, even if these plots were created, the FGEHF and Information Ministry were supposed to properly announce it and allot plots in accordance with the seniority-based waiting list. According to the waiting list, Rauf Klasra, falling in category-II had a seniority number of 29, Amir Mateen, in category-II was on seniority number 14, Khaleeq Kiyani, in category-II was on seniority number 25, Shaukat Mehmood Paracha in category-III was on seniority number 18 (Paracha did not avail this offer), and Javed Chaudhry in category-II was on seniority number 18. So, even if allotments had to be made, they should have been made according to the seniority numbers. But the way it actually happened, Rauf Klasra and others usurped the rights of senior journalists who, according to the seniority list, had a better claim.

c. The technical grounds on which these journalists challenged the court judgment was that the original 3% plot allotment had unfairly favored print media journalists from government corporations (PTV, APP), and these five journalists, being primarily in the print-media, had been discriminated against. The court, however, DISMISSED this petition. It never directed the FGEHF to allot plots to these journalists, and that too by violating the seniority list.

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Flats and Houses in Islamabad

1- Rauf Klasra’s wife Shahwar Faryal, now APS to Chairman Senate (BPS-17) had been allotted Quarter No. 10-C, Block-72, Gulshan-e-Jinnah, F-5/1 some eight years back when she was a contract employee in some other government organization [Download Allotment Letter PDF 0.5MB]. Since the current government took office, she has been allotted a G-Type house, which is meant only for grade-19 government employees, in sector G-6/3 (House-103-G, F-6/3) in violation of all rules and regulations [Download Rules PDF 0.7MB]. The allotment was in blatant violation of rules and complete breach of ethics because according to the rules, the category could be skipped by only one step and even that only in cases of severe need and unavailability.

2- Later on, this G-Type house was alloted to some other officer and Klasra’s wife was instead allotted House # 6, Street # 9, F-6/3. This was an I-Type government house and was in use of Dr. Zawar Zaidi, who was chairman Pakistan Papers. I-Type houses are only for federal secretaries and additional secretaries level officers in either grade-21 or 22. The house was forcibly vacated from Dr. Zaidi and subsequently, the 81 year old Dr Zaidi, who had to leave for Lahore in shock and disbelief, died after three months. This house was allotted to Klasra’s wife, Shahwar Faryal, but was vacated when the issue of illegal and non-entitled allotment was taken up by the media and comprehensively discussed in famous AAJ TV program Bolta Pakistan by Mushtaq Minhas and Nusrat Javed of 15th December 2008. After Aaj TV highlighted this scam, within one night the house was allotted to the wife of another influential journalist Saleh Zafir of Jang Group (by coincidence ???) and Shahwar Faryal was allotted yet another government house. For all these allotments, the Prime Minister Secretariat wrote three different letters letters to the housing ministry, two of them bearing signatures of Nargis Sethi, present acting principal secretary to the Prime Minister.

Daily Times Monitor

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

LAHORE: Quaid-e-Azam Papers Project chief Dr Zawar Hussain Zaidi passed away in Lahore of a cardiac arrest on Tuesday, a private TV channel reported.

According to the channel, 81-year-old Zawar was also the chairman of the Quaid-e-Azam Academy. He authored 20 books; 13 in English; six in Urdu; and one in Persian; on the Quaid’s sayings. The channel said his funeral would be held at 4pm today (Wednesday) in Model Town. He was an excellent teacher and research scholar. He also served as the History Department head in the FC College.

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed their grief on his demise and termed it an irreparable loss for the country.

3- The original home allotted to Shahwar Faryal (No. 10-C, Block-72, Gulshan-e-Jinnah, F-5/1) was not given to anyone else but was immediately and coincidentally allotted to “Khyzer Klasra”, younger brother of Rauf Klasra.

It is important to mention here that these government flats at prime locations of Gulshan-e-Jinnah (next to Marriott Islamabad) have been given to journalists on throw-away prices (RS 4000 to RS 4500 per month) because of their influence and without any entitlement. The government needs to get these houses evacuated to allot them to deserving government employees due to a shortfall of residential facilities in the capital. As it is, the government has to pay large amounts as house rent from the public exchequer to thousands of government employees.

If this wasn’t enough, some more lifafa journalists have managed to allot themselves these prime location houses in addition to the almost free-of-cost flats in their wives’ names. This subterfuge of using their wives’ names for cheap rental flats is employed to hide their identities as journalists after their activities have been probed and brought to light by the media. Recently, a Senate committee has also taken notice of these allotments to journalists and other influential people who are not entitled to such flats/houses. Names of these journalists will be revealed in coming stories on PKPolitics.

4- Rauf Klasra has also got some rooms and family suite in his possession in the federal government lodges. One of the Federal Lodges family suites is “Family Suite # 17, Federal Lodges # 1”, and has been allotted in the name of Samia Naureen, who is a close relative of Rauf Klasra, however, the actual allottee didn’t live there and it is in use of Klasra and his guests according to the staff looking after these government residences.

Interestingly, one of the senior government officers was allotted the same family suite in the Federal lodge, but to his shock, he was denied entry to the property by the staff and was told to talk to Rauf Klasra instead.

Knowing Klasra’s reputation for blackmail and revenge, the officer silently backed off and asked the security staff never to mention his name to Klasra. This shows the troubling emergence of a small clique of journalists, acting as a feudal mafia, peddling influence and patronage through selling their ethics for land, flats and houses.

Sources in the National Assembly (NA) secretariat also reveal that Rauf Klasra, the allotment Magarmach, has taken control of yet another lodge in the old assembly lodges and is not willing to vacate the premises despite repeated requests from the NA secretariat.


گزشتہ سے پیوستہ


نکلنا خلد سے آدم کا سنتے آئے ہیں لیکن
بڑے بے آبرو ہو کر تیرے کوچے سے ہم نکلے

Episode 1: Nazir Naji
Episode 2: Muhammad Malik
Episode 3: Rauf Klasra