ASIAN EXPRESS- Exploitation of Power at the Expense of the British Taxpayer

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By Majed Iqbal- I was once told that if you went to Pakistan and wanted to strike a conversation with someone whilst travelling on a bus or a coach or in a restaurant, all you have to do is start talking about any one of the following topics – cricket, religion or politics.

But the fact of the matter is that if you wanted to strike up a conversation with an unknown British Pakistani stranger – it’s the same golden rule.
In the last few weeks, hundreds of Pakistanis in Britain have had something to say about the former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf’s campaign to galvanise support from city to city in Britain.

All this is in preparation for his re-entry into Pakistani politics via the launch of his new political party named the ‘All Pakistan Muslim League’. The 67-year-old retired General and former Chief of Army Staff has stated that he will contest the next elections in Pakistan due to be held in 2013, although he hopes to return from his self-imposed two-year exile in Britain before then.

ABUSING THE BRITISH TAXPAYER

Like Musharraf, other Pakistani politicians have sought the safety of Britain, at the expense of the taxpayer and using the emotions of Pakistanis here in the UK to achieve their political agendas.

Using the security of Scotland Yard can cost up to £25,000 per day, something that not only Musharraf has had the comfort of.

Altaf Hussain, the Leader of MQM (Muttahida Qawmi Movement) has been in Britain since 1992 after seeking political asylum, and still resides in London. He has been co-ordinating all activities of his party sitting in his front room and even addresses rallies held in Karachi via live phone calls transmitted over speakers.

Hussain has 24-hour electronic surveillance with local police keeping a ‘tight watch’ of his house and has properties amounting to £1,000,000, despite claiming that he left Karachi with just a small house and a motorbike to his name.

In 1997, Nawaz Sharif, with an estimated net worth of some £877million (figures from 2005), had quite aggressively toured, met and congregated with the communities in Britain to encourage large donations from hard-working British Pakistanis using the sentimental card of “Mulk Sawaaro – karz utaaro” (sort out the country – pay off the debts). He was asking Pakistani’s living here to invest into their ‘homeland’.

In 2002, after Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf amended Pakistan’s constitution to ban prime ministers from serving more than two terms. Nawaz Sharif went into exile to London and then later Dubai and continues his party’s activities.

In 1999 after nineteen corruption charges, a combined net worth with her husband Asif Ali Zardari (now the 11th and current President of Pakistan) worth over £4billion (2005), Benazir Bhutto bought a £4million estate in Surrey for her exile. She used the services of the British authorities for almost a decade up until she returned to Pakistan and faced assassination.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF HECKLED

After touring London and Birmingham, Pervez Musharraf arrived in Manchester, earlier this month, to promote the launch of his very own new political party and to lay down his cards to save a ‘troubled Pakistan’.

A packed hall of around 2,000 people, with free entry tickets waited eagerly at the Sheridan suite for Musharraf’s arrival. After a musical start with positive images of Musharraf’s vision for Pakistan under his new party, the ex-President had barely began to speak when a protester shouted, causing pin drop silence in the huge hall: “Musharraf, you are a traitor! Your democracy and  dictator-ship have failed.”

Another seven protesters stood up, one by one accusing Musharraf of corruption whilst in power, the failure of democracy and that Muslims in Pakistan were still waiting for a real change for the country. For over ten minutes, with live international broadcasting still steaming, the conference hall began buzzing as people began to agree and disagree with what was happening.

PROTEST AGAINST MUSHARRAF

Dr Sohail, one of the protesters commented to the Asian Express about the events at the conference in Manchester. He said: “To be held to account was a new experience for Musharraf, and he was clearly hustled. He began to defend himself aggressively – a sure sign of a treacherous ruler.”

Protests were also held outside the conference hall by those opposing the return of Musharraf to Pakistan politics.

Responding to Musharraf’s claims during the conference that these protesters had either been paid or sent by an opposition party to intentionally disrupt the meeting, Sharif Hafezi, one of the protesters told Asian Express: “The claims that we were paid to protest against him are complete nonsense and shows how he conducts his politics.
“Rather we sincerely believe in the removal of the corrupt  system that simply produces the type of leaders such as Zardari, Musharraf and Sharif”.

It was discovered that many people attending were curious to hear what Musharraf was now proposing after his 9-year tenure in which he exiled two opposition party leaders, made vulnerable innocent Pakistanis during the War on Terror. There is also speculation that he allowed damaging dictates by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) on Pakistan’s economic policies.

SHOCKING

An ICM poll commissioned by BBC Asian Network in April this year found that only four in 10 Asians planned to vote in the British General Elections 2010.
It’s shocking then that Pakistani’s living here in Britain are involved with supporting campaigns of the very same political figures that have failed Pakistan before, yet fail to get involved with the country they are contributing to, living, benefitting and working in.

What’s even more shocking is that Pakistani politicians seeking asylum and/or in exile are able to continue their political agendas whilst out of the country and get away with it. Ever heard of the saying ‘firing a cannon on someone else’s back?’

If the personal net worth figures quoted of previous statesmen and their individual corruption charges hold true, is it any surprise really that Pakistan continues to continually fail prosperity?

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