Friday, October 2, 2009

Is PAC about to be duped today?

By Rauf Klasra

An inquiry report into proposed dubious purchase of three conventional submarines worth $1.5 billion from Germany for the Pakistan Navy - intentionally or unintentionally - has quietly withheld some important information, particularly the financial aspects of the whole deal from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is taking up the issue in its meeting Tuesday.

The report is being taken very seriously in the official circles of the PAC in the background of recent French court observation that 11 engineers working on a submarine, were killed in Karachi, reportedly after some Pakistani political personalities of the ‘90s were not paid the “commission” in the whole deal. One official said the PAC members might also try to know the so far hidden facts behind the shocking observations given in the French court.

Meanwhile, in a bid to discourage the PAC, the Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) has told the PAC members in writing not to give weight to the ‘scandalous’ media reports about the submarines deal with Germany or France.

“There may have been press reports on the submarine sales by German/French manufacturers in their respective national media in the past. The same may continue even in the future as these companies are in competition in this field,” the MoDP report shifted the blame on the manufacturers.

The report was sought from the Pakistan Navy after a PML-Q Senator Jamal Leghari had blasted the proposed deal in the Senate in one of its last meetings.

Talking to The News from DG Khan, Jamal Khan said, “We should not forget that how quite recently French court had connected a top Pakistani politician with the killings of engineers in Karachi on the issue of non payment of some commissions in the deal.” He said he had still information that some top guns of the present government were still busy in earning some kickbacks in the deal.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Lt Gen Athar Ali was said to have been quietly ordered by President Asif Ali Zardari to go to the USA to give a briefing to Americans on certain important aspect of war on terror and requirements of the Pakistan Army. General Athar was supposed to appear before the PAC on Monday but he has excused and dashed to Washington.

According to available official copy of the inquiry report prepared by the MoDP, just an ordinary overall review of the whole deal has been given in two pages report for PAC consumption. The report has been written in technical language and the PAC members would find it difficult to comprehend the deal.

PAC Chairman Ch Nisar Ali Khan had sought a report and briefing from the MoDP on the issue of acquisition of conventional submarines for the navy.

The report neither gives the required details of total cost of these three submarines nor tells why the German manufacturer was given preference over the French.


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