A story alleging corruption by former President Pervez Musharraf has appeared recently in Pakistan's Jang Media Group publications  in the aftermath of the Panama Leaks that revealed the names of 220 rich and powerful Pakistanis owning offshore accounts.

Politicians Dominate Off-shore Company Owners in Panama Leaks 

The Panama Papers show that Mir Shakeel ur Rehman, the owner of Jang Media Group, owns offshore accounts, as do the family of the current Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif and former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in 2007. Other Pakistanis named in the Panama Papers include prominent businessmen, politicians, judges, bureaucrats, etc. allegedly involved in corruption. The names of former President Pervez Musharraf or his family members are not among the 220 names from Pakistan.

The Jang Media Group story titled "How Mr clean Musharraf became a billionaire" lists accounts held by Mr. Musharraf in Dubai and London with balances adding up to millions of US dollars. Farrukh Durrani, the story writer, demands that the commission of inquiry looking into Panama Papers also investigate the sources of Mr. Musharraf's wealth. Here's an excerpt of the story:

"Despite having such huge chunk of amount in his offshore accounts, neither did any investigative agency nor did the accountability bureau question him how he got billions of rupees in his foreign accounts. However the commission of inquiry appointed by prime minister in the wake of Panama Leaks has a broader scope and powers which can question ex-dictator Pervez Musharraf from where he got billions of rupees which are kept in his offshore accounts."

Knowing what I know about how western leaders like former US President Clinton and his wife Hillary became wealthy after leaving office, let me suggest to Mr. Durrani to do his homework as follows:

1. Learn about the lucrative speaker series business which brings hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech to celebrity speakers in the West, particularly the United States. This is a well-established, well-organized business that promotes lecture series featuring prominent speakers where attendees pay hundreds of dollars per person to attend in large numbers.

2. Do research into how many such lectures President Musharraf delivered after retiring from presidency in 2008? How much did he get paid for each? What does it all add up to? Does it add up to more than the reported account balances in Dubai and London?

Let me give a few pointers to Mr. Durrani if he's honestly trying to understand the sources of Mr. Musharraf's wealth:

1. A Newsweek story quoted David Wheeler, President of Embark LLC,  just one of the international public-relations firms trying to land Musharraf as a highly paid keynote speaker, as saying, "The [speaking] fee for Musharraf would be in the $150,000-200,000 range for a day."

2. The Newsweek story further added that "Public-relations executives say the articulate and brash 44-year army veteran's earning power could approach that of former U.S. President Bill Clinton".

3. Here's how an Oregon newspaper "The Oregonian" reported about Musharraf's planned appearance in Portland in 2010:  "The folks who attract big international names to Portland each year have done it again, landing Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's former president, to speak here in March. The World Affairs Council of Oregon's 2010 speaker series will also feature Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz; Jane Lubchenco, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration chief administrator; and -- in a face-off --Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Karl Rove, strategist for President George W. Bush."

4. A brochure announcing the Peninsula Speaker Series in the San Francisco Bay Area that included Musharraf as a featured speaker, along with Condeleeza Rice, Laura Tyson and Paul Krugman, showed the ticket prices ranging from $294 to $403 per person.

After Mr. Durrani has had a chance to do his homework, I believe he will realize, if he's honest, that he is being used by his employer to deflect attention of the world and of any investigative commission members from the sins of Mir Shakeel ur Rahman and his rich and powerful friends in high places, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, who have either stolen Pakistan peoples' money and/or cheated on taxes they owe to the Pakistani treasury. Any investigative commission must not allow itself to be used to pursue vendettas to obscure the truth.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani Leaders in London After Panama Leaks

Culture of Corruption in Pakistan

Zardari Corruption Probe

President Pervez Musharraf's Legacy

We Hang Petty Thieves and Appoint Great Ones to High Offices

Capitalism's Achilles Heel by Raymond Baker

Views: 595

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 25, 2016 at 7:56pm

Musharraf's wealth explained by Hamza Malik

65 crores. That's the value of assets declared by Pervez Musharraf in his nomination papers submitted to the election commission of Pakistan. He also has not paid any tax in the last 3 years to the government of Pakistan. Several questions have been raised about the source of Musharraf's funds (which he did not mention) and why he did not pay any taxes.

Let's discuss those questions. 

How did Musharraf end up making so much money when he was in fact a government subordinate and retired with not much (relatively) money? The answer to that would be that since his self imposed exile, Musharraf has gone on various international lecture series and tours. The average compensation for one lecture is $100,000 (that's almost 1 crore rupees, give or take). Now in the past 4 years if Musharraf has even done 25 lectures, that means he's earned 25 crores. Assuming he is an educated man and is not overly stupid, he must have (and he did indeed) made a lot of investments which have returned handsome profits to him. So where he got his money should be clear for all to see.

Now the second question, why didn't he pay any taxes? Well according to the Pakistan tax rules, residents of Pakistan earning income abroad are not liable to pay taxes on that income within Pakistan. The Pakistani tax rules assume that because Pakistanis send valuable foreign exchange to Pakistan, it is more than enough to not double charge them (unlike the United States of America, where foreign income is tax deductible). Hence, Musharraf did not pay any income taxes for the last three years he was not in Pakistan. The pension he gets already is tax deducted (income tax is deducted at source) and while we do not know why he did not pay any property taxes (maybe the properties are not in his name? Maybe he did pay the taxes through a proxy that don't appear in his name? Maybe he is indeed, a tax defaulter?) we can be reasonably sure that the money he did make is indeed legitimate.

And finally there's the biggest question of them all, one that doesn't even concern Musharraf. What about the other so called "sadiq" and "ameen" (pious and pure) politicians of Pakistan? The one's who are known to be inherently corrupt? For example Nawaz Sharif says he owns only 1.5 crore rupees in assets (maybe he forgot the 600 crore Raiwind estate he lives in is not his own?) while Zardari says he only owns 1.8 crore rupees (of course he also forgot he owns palaces in France, Dubai and God knows where else). And then there's the cherry on top of the cake, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif who says that he doesn't even own a Suzuki Mehran.

Let's take a moment to reflect on this. These gentlemen who claim that they have next to nothing travel in cars that cost around 6 - 7 crore each. They live in palaces that cost hundreds of crores. And they live a lifestyle that is simply not possible on the meager "incomes" that they declare. So my question is this, do you finger pointers not think before you open your mouths to make allegations?


Comment by Riaz Haq on April 29, 2016 at 10:31am

The confessional statement of Senator Ishaq Dar was recorded before a district magistrate in Lahore. He was brought to the court from a jail by Basharat Shahzad, who was then serving as assistant director in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

According to legal experts, the senator's deposition was an 'irrevocable statement' as had been recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Senator Ishaq Dar has always been regarded as one of the closest aides of the Sharif family, and is now also a relative as his son is married to Nawaz Sharif's younger daughter.

However, the NAB record clearly shows that back in 2000 he had agreed to give a written statement against the Sharifs about their alleged involvement in money laundering.

The top PML-N leaders had hit a rough patch by then as some of their lieutenants were busy developing a new political system for Gen Pervez Musharraf after his Oct 1999 military coup.

In the statement, Ishaq Dar accused Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif of money laundering in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case. At one point in the 43-page statement, Mr Dar said that on the instructions of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, “I opened two foreign currency accounts in the name of Sikandara Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi with the foreign currency funds provided by the Sharif family in the Bank of America by signing as Sikandara Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi”.

He said that all instructions to the bank in the name of these two persons were signed by him under the orders of “original depositors”, namely Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif.

“The foreign currency accounts of Nuzhat Gohar and Kashif Masood Qazi were opened in Bank of America by Naeem Mehmood under my instructions (based on instructions of Sharifs) by signing the same as Nuzhat Gohar and Kashif Masood Qazi.”

The document shows Dar stated that besides these foreign currency accounts, a previously opened foreign currency account of Saeed Ahmed, a former director of First Hajvari Modaraba Co and close friend of Dar, and of Mussa Ghani, the nephew of Dar's wife, were also used to deposit huge foreign currency funds provided by “the Sharif family” to offer them as collateral to obtain different direct and indirect credit lines.

Senator Dar had disclosed that the Bank of America, Citibank, Atlas Investment Bank, Al Barka Bank and Al Towfeeq Investment Bank were used under the instructions of the Sharif family.

Interestingly enough, Ishaq Dar also implicated himself by confessing in court that he — along with his friends Kamal Qureshi and Naeem Mehmood — had opened fake foreign currency accounts in different international banks.

Mr Dar said an amount of $3.725 million in Emirates Bank, $ 8.539 million in Al Faysal Bank and $2.622 million were later transferred in the accounts of the accounts Hudaibya Paper Mills.

He said that the entire amount in these banks finally landed in the accounts of the paper mills.

The Hudaibiya Paper Mills case is still pending in the National Accountability Bureau.

If it is opened again, the Sharif brothers may be in for a rude shock a confidant is to blame for the albatross around their necks.


Comment by Riaz Haq on April 30, 2016 at 8:41pm

#Pakistan #corruption: Ban boosts appeal of film #Maalik. #PanamaLeaks #Sindh #PPP @AJENews

Pakistan's government has banned a film about endemic corruption in its judiciary, law enforcement and political class, claiming it could promote violence.

The decision to censor Maalik has led to increased demand for the film in the black market, with many Pakistanis curious to know why it provoked the ire of politicians.

Pakistan is considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world, placing 117th out of 175 countries, according to the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index put together by Transparency International.

Many Pakistanis told Al Jazeera they looked forward to watching Maalik and suggested the government's made its decision because the film's themes struck too close to home.

"Movies are for entertainment purposes ... they deliver a message to the public," Kashmala Qureshi, a student, said.

"If it is made on the basis of corruption and the government feels threatened by the movie, it means that they are guilty from inside."

One of Maalik's actors, Arif Khan, said the filmmakers had set out to expose the underbelly of corruption that exists within the country.

He said banning the film would only increase its appeal.

Ashir Azeem, who directed Maalik, told Al Jazeera that politicians were concerned with their image internationally and trying to censor anything that cast them in bad light.

"Authorities in Pakistan are very concerned with how they are perceived, especially abroad," Azeem said.

"Whereas this might be considered an overreaction in some countries, it has become the go-to method for the authorities to ban content they deem offensive or controversial."

The controversy surrounding the film comes just weeks after leaked documents revealed that Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's prime minister, stashed huge sums of money in offshore accounts.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 1, 2016 at 7:59am

#Jang Editor Shaheen Sehbai quits in protest over false reporting exonerating #NawazSharif in #PanamaLeaks scandal

Senior journalist Shaheen Sehbai has revealed that he was not shown the report in which the newspaper purported that the International Council for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) mistakenly included Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s name in the Panama Papers, before it was filed.

Speaking to a panel comprising Express News anchors Imran Khan and Gharida Farooqi, and Daily Express Group Editor Ayaz Khan after resigning as the group editor of The News on Saturday, Sehbai said his reports at The News were radically changed without his permission.

According to Sehbai, the CEO and group editor-in-chief of the Jang Group, Mir Shakeelur Rehman, was waging a battle for ‘civilian ascendancy’. He said Jang Group’s ‘Aman Ki Asha’ initiative was considered a bad move among military circles, but “we insisted
that all this was done with full knowledge of the military leadership”.

“We were ashamed of certain decisions taken by my organisation and I now realise that the Jang Group promoted its own perception and angled all news according to its own need,” Sehbai said. He added that the Jang Group was facing a lot of issues for a very long time.

Sehbai said the most recent difference between him and the Jang Group cropped up when the latter ran a story claiming that ICIJ had included Premier Nawaz’s name in the Panama Papers by mistake. “My objection on this issue was that I was neither consulted nor shown the report before publishing it,” the veteran journalist said.

“I was not told about this report at all. Such moves usually took place after midnight and usually orders from the top were accompanied by ‘suggestions’ about which news was to be accommodated where in the newspaper,” he added.

The news report in question, according to Sehbai, was just a ‘one-liner’ correction which was followed by a letter from Daniyal Aziz and was arranged in the shape of a news report.

Things were micromanaged at his previous organisation, he said, adding that orders from the top usually not only included ‘hints’ at placement of even single-column news items, but also which report was to be radically edited too.

“When editors reviewed the newspaper in the morning, they realised just how much of their news reports made it in the paper and how much they were edited out.”

Sehbai said that while Mir Shakeel claimed he was waging a battle for civilian ascendancy, “I was ashamed of the way my previous employer came out in defence of the current government.”

“Owners of the Jang Group have a clear-cut view on what sort of news reports and editorials are to appear in their newspaper. They view everything in accordance with their own perspective and print newspaper in line with their own view point every day. Everything is determined by the group’s owners,” he said.

“Over the past two years, I had been facing a number of issues with the group owners. When the incident involving Hamid Mir occurred, I was with Mir Shakeelur Rehman in Dubai and I advised him not to adopt such an aggressive posture, but he said that a clash between the military and civilians is bound to happen and that I should not interfere,” Sehbai said.

“And everyone witnessed whatever happened afterwards. My differences on policy matters began from that time, I kept telling him not to pursue the course of action he had chosen. The mind of Mir Shakeelur Rehman may contain a host of disparate agendas, but he had some views of his own too,” he added.

“When I joined Jang Group, talks were going on for the ‘Aman Ki Asha’ project and some people from the Times of India visited us. At that time, I explicitly told them that I would not join this effort,” the veteran journalist said.

According to Sehbai, the restriction on Geo transmission during the Musharraf regime and Hamid Mir’s attack haunted Mir Shakeelur Rehman’s mind.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 8, 2016 at 6:20pm

Over 400 more #Pakistanis (politicians, businessmen, media owners) named in #panamapapers #PanamaLeaks #Pakistan https://www.geo.tv/latest/105434-More-prominent-Pakistanis-named-in...

Imran’s financier, Benazir’s cousin, Zardari’s and Altaf’s close friend, Seth Abid’s son, retired admiral’s son, former MD of Port Qasim Authority and mother of Oscar Award winner Sharmeen Chinoy figure in the list; more names to appear after thorough investigations

ISLAMABAD: As the much-awaited list of Pakistanis owning offshore companies is released today, the close associates of politicians and families of celebrities are set to capture more attention than the businessmen including those who registered companies only to open accounts in Swiss banks.

Identities of some of the high-profile figures suspected to be linked with offshore companies are still being ascertained and will therefore be published after a complete investigation.

The list to be released by The News will be the most comprehensive as painstaking efforts were made to find the last Pakistani buried in the 11.5 million files of the Panama Papers shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Nevertheless, it can’t be claimed with confidence that all of them have been fished out.

Right from the family of Zulfi Bokhari, a key financier of Imran Khan, to Irfan Puri, an oil czar equally close to the PPP/MQM leadership and presently in Dubai jail; from Tariq Islam, a cousin of Benazir Bhutto, to the son of former health minister Naseer Khan; from the family of famous Seth Abid to the son of Admiral (retd) Muzaffar Hassan; and from the Port Qasim Authority’s former MD and NRO beneficiary Abdul Sattar Dero to the former president of Karachi chamber of commerce, Shaukat Ahmed, are in the list.

Mother of Oscar award winner, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy; a billionaire owner of Sachal studio Izzat Majeed; wife of Ghous Akbar; and fashion designer Zehra Valliani along with her brother, an asset manager, Fawaz Valliani have also been identified as owners of offshore companies.

Wamiq Zuberi of the Business Recorder and his wife, former PPP senator Rukhsana Zuberi, have been identified among those invested in an offshore company, a fact Wamiq acknowledged. He explained that they stopped investing after being defrauded and that the company was owned by somebody else who was murdered in Islamabad.

Although Abdul Aleem Khan of the PTI has been claiming with confidence that he didn’t figure in the Panama Papers and The News story about his offshore company was based on his assets declarations, his name is very much in the record.

As far as Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bokhari (Zulfi Bokhari) is concerned, he has been identified in connection with the offshore companies he own along with his two sisters. There are six companies owned by Zulfi family: K-Factor Limited, Bradbury Resources Ltd, Bayteck Limited, Bayla Trading Limited, Poreim Trading Limited and Ganstam Trading Limited. They could have gone unnoticed had one of his sisters not given address of Islamabad. Probe indicates the house is owned by Zulfi family. Address in London is of Zulfi’s house. Wajid Bokhari, Zulfi’s father, was caretaker minister in the interim setup installed for holding 2008 elections. One of his uncles is sitting PTI MPA from Attock.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 21, 2016 at 10:51pm

#Pakistan laws facilitate money laundering, offshore transfers #PanamaLeaks

Contrary to the government claims of clamping down on money launderers and tax evaders, Pakistan’s laws facilitate money laundering and tax evasion in a legal manner, tying the hands of the authorities and preventing any tangible action against the culprits.

Over $9 billion are illegally remitted outside Pakistan, according to an October 2013 statement of the then governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Yaseen Anwar. No estimates of the money transferred abroad through foreign currency accounts, opened and protected under the Protection of Economic Reforms Act 1992, are available.

Interestingly, Nawaz Sharif had enacted this law during his first stint as prime minister. After its enactment, industrialists and politicians whitened their illegal money, according to court records and statements of that period.

Sections 5 and 9 of the Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992 and Section 111(4) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 guarantee complete immunity.

The Protection of Economic Reforms Act was passed in July 1992 for “creating a liberal environment for savings and investments and to create confidence in the establishment and continuity of liberal economic policies”. Before the passage of this act, the country had a controlled regime of foreign exchange. The government had de-regularised investment, banking, finance, exchange and payment system and holding and transfer of currencies.

“All citizens of Pakistan resident in Pakistan or outside Pakistan and all other persons shall be entitled and free to bring, hold, sell, transfer and takeout foreign exchange within or out of Pakistan in any form and shall not be required to make a foreign currency declaration at any stage nor shall anyone be questioned in regard to the same,” says Section 4 of the act.

PM Nawaz visits Gilani House to garner support on Panama leaks

Clause 5 grants complete immunity to foreign currency accounts holders against any inquiry from the Income Tax Department about the source of financing of foreign currency accounts. The balances in the foreign currency accounts also remain exempted from levy of wealth tax and income tax and compulsory deduction of Zakat at source. It also ensures complete secrecy. Even the central bank cannot impose restrictions on these accounts.

However, in December 1999, then president Muhammad Rafiq Tarar promulgated an ordinance to bring an amendment that withdrew immunity from inquiries to citizens of Pakistan residing in Pakistan in respect of any balance in new foreign currency accounts opened after December 16, 1999.

In 2001, then military dictator Pervez Musharraf promulgated the Foreign Currency Accounts Protection Ordinance, ensuring complete protection to foreign currency accounts holders. Tax officials argue that their hands are tied under the 1992 act and the 2001 Foreign Currency Account Ordinance.

Similarly, Section 111 (4) of the income tax law is facilitating whitening of illegal money through foreign remittances. According to rough estimates, one-fifth of about $19 billion foreign remittances are domestically generated black money that is being whitened under Section 111-4 of the Income Tax Ordinance.

Pakistan cannot prosper without eradicating corruption, says Imran

In the presence of these legal lacunas, no judicial commission can establish anything against any accused named in the Panama leaks, according to tax experts.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 30, 2016 at 7:32am

#Pakistan overtakes #India for money stashed in #Swiss bank accounts


This is the first time in the last three years that the funds linked to Pakistan in Swiss banks have exceeded that of Indians.
In case of China, the total funds declined from CHF 8.16 billion to CHF 7.4 billion. A number of other major countries also saw their funds falling in Swiss banks amid a global clampdown against the erstwhile banking secrecy walls in the Alpine nation.
The money of US clients in Swiss banks fell to CHF 195 billion in 2015, from CHF 244 billion a year ago, though the same for the UK clients surprisingly rose from CHF 321 billion to CHF 345 billion.
However, these official figures disclosed by SNB do not include the money that the foreign clients of Swiss banks might have kept in the name of shadow entities or shell companies.
Also, these figures do not indicate towards the quantum of alleged black money, which has been a matter of a major political debate in various countries including India and Pakistan.
As per the SNB data, the total funds linked to Pakistan in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of CHF 3.43 billion in the year 2001, but has come down considerably since then.
By 2013, it fell to as low as CHF 1.23 billion, the lowest since 1996 since when this data is available. However, it has risen by 6 per cent and 16 per cent during the last two years 2014 and 2015, respectively.
In case of India, the quantum of such funds has fallen in the last two years. 


Comment by Riaz Haq on September 26, 2016 at 8:20pm

Rich #Pakistanis Love #London, #NewYork, And #Dubai More Than #Karachi via @forbes #Pakistan


Pakistan’s rich love London, New York, and Dubai more than Karachi – when it comes to investing and partying with their money, that is.

That’s according to the former director of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Pakistan, Marc-André Franche. 

“You cannot have an elite that takes advantage of very cheap and uneducated labour when it comes to making money, and when it is time to party it is found in London, and when it’s time to buy things it is in Dubai, and when it’s time to buy property it invests in Dubai or Europe or New York. The elite needs to decide do they want a country or not,” Franche stated in an interview last month with the Business Recorder.

Franche’s comments come as Pakistan’s equity markets have been rallying, beating neighboring Indian and Chinese equity markets, as discussed in a previous piece here.

To be fair to Pakistan’s elite, investing in a country with such high corruption levels is almost an impossible task. Pakistan is ranked 117 in the Corruption Index, well behind neighboring India–see table.

Still, the attitude of Pakistan’s elite towards their own economy raises serious questions about the sustainability of the recent equity market rally, and the wisdom of foreign capital pouring into Pakistan, either in the form of investment or official assistance, when the money of rich Pakistanis heads in the other direction. 

Investors who have been following frontier markets long enough have seen this show before – in Nigeria, Peru, and Colombia, as one commentator in a previous piece I did on Pakistan observes. I would add Argentina, which has been a frontier market several times in the past, to the list – as well as the Philippines, Mexico, and so on.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 12, 2017 at 12:55pm

The Donald Trump Gold Rush
Frank Bruni
Frank Bruni SEPT. 9, 2017


Sean Spicer lasted a mere half-year as the White House press secretary, but that was plenty long enough to mortify himself. He began with that kooky, laughable lie about the unprecedented size of President Trump’s inauguration crowd, and things didn’t pick up much from there. A punching bag for the administration, he became a punch line for much of America.

But who’s laughing now? Upon exiting his job he apparently had his pick of posh lecture-circuit agents, one of whom told Mike Allen of Axios that Spicer scoffed at the suggestion that he might be worth only $20,000 to $30,000 per speech, which is what other former press secretaries made. So he’ll presumably be bagging more than that for his first gig, scheduled to take place on Monday in front of an audience of investment bankers in Manhattan.

Oh, the juicy fruit of even an ephemeral fling with our fruitcake in chief. Ask Anthony Scaramucci. He was sent packing after just 10 profane and ignominious days as the White House communications director, and what do you suppose he did? Change his name and enter the political equivalent of witness protection? Retreat to a monastery for prayerful atonement until the shame dissipated?

No. The Mooch did not rechristen himself the Pooch, nor was there any penance. In lieu of a priest he found himself a publicist — a Hollywood bigwig whose list of clients includes the “Flip or Flop” star Tarek El Moussa, the singer Barry Manilow and the Jet Blue flight attendant who grabbed two frosty brews and waved a feisty adieu as he opened a mid-plane hatch and slid to freedom. Dignity lays little claim to many of the aides still in Trump’s employ. Why should it govern those in exile?

Corey Lewandowski, too. He didn’t have a particularly luminous résumé before Trump, and his year at the helm of Trump’s campaign was filled with fits of temper. He was even brought up on charges — later dropped — of manhandling a female journalist. But none of that hampered the swagger with which he opened his access-peddling, swamp-situated venture, Avenue Strategies. “A typical boutique lobbying firm might charge $10,000 to $15,000 a month,” my colleague Nicholas Confessore wrote about Avenue in The Times Magazine recently. “Avenue sometimes asked for as much as $50,000 a month.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 17, 2018 at 8:05pm

Abraaj's Naqvi gave $20 million to #NawazSharif via middleman Navaid Malik for approval to sell #KElectric to #Shanghai Electric. “This document is explosive in the wrong hands. Abraaj and K-Electric shouldn’t be named in the document" #Pakistan https://www.wsj.com/articles/private-equity-firm-abraaj-raised-bill... via @WSJ

Around the same time, Abraaj was looking to sell its stake in K-Electric Ltd., the electricity provider to Karachi. Mr. Naqvi tried to secure the cooperation of Pakistan’s then-prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and his brother Shehbaz, offering a $20 million payment to businessman Navaid Malik for his help in getting it, according to company emails and people familiar with the situation. The government owns a stake in K-Electric and its approval would be required for the sale to go through.

Shehbaz was “willing to give a strong endorsement” of the deal to Chinese bidders, Mr. Malik said, according to an October 2015 email to Mr. Naqvi from Abraaj partner Omar Lodhi. Mr. Malik said it was “important for him to share every detail with the brothers and get their blessings as well as their instructions as to how this money should be distributed,” such as “a portion to charity” or “a portion to the election fund kitty,” Mr. Lodhi wrote in the email.

When Mr. Naqvi emailed Mr. Lodhi about the $20 million contract for Mr. Malik in June 2016, he wrote, “This document is explosive in the wrong hands.” Abraaj and K-Electric shouldn’t be named in the document, he wrote: “Keep it generic.”

“Noted,” Mr. Lodhi responded. Mr. Malik didn’t respond to requests for comment.


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