The Steel Mills and the Judiciary Crisis

The News reported on Sunday that former chief of the Steel Mills Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum, in an interview with Geo News, disclosed that differences between Musharraf and deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry cropped up over the privatisation of the Steel Mills:

The ex-Steel Mills chief said when the case was being heard by a full court of the Supreme Court, President Musharraf called him (Justice Iftikhar) and asked as to what kind of remarks he (Musharraf) was hearing from him, adding the case should be decided in a manner that it does not cause any loss to the country. To this, Justice Iftikhar said, “You shouldn’t worry. I will decide the case in the best interest of the country.”

The next day when the Supreme Court judgment in the case came, it was totally against the expectations of the president. It was then that a row between the president and the then chief justice ensued.1

Khaleej Times has a similar report:

[Qayyum] said that former premier Shaukat Aziz was afraid he would be tried on criminal charges after Supreme Court annulled the privatisation of the Steel Mills citing gross irregularities.2

Today, The News has an article about a statement made by the People’s Workers Union (PWU) Pakistan Steel (CBA) President Shamshad Qureshi who said that Gen Qayyum’s allegations were false and that he was fully involved in the privatization of the organization and was the front man of Pervez Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz during that period.3
Parvaiz Elahi took things a step further and blamed it all on Shaukat Aziz:

Commenting on the action of November 3, he said it was Shaukat Aziz responsibility. He said that he came to know about the issue of deposed Chief Justice through television and afterwards Shaukat Aziz also called him about the issue.4


1 Ex-chief of Steel Mills spills the beans. The News. May 25, 2008.
2 Aziz was afraid he could be tried in Steel Mills case. Khaleej Times. May 26, 2008.
3 Union challenges Pakistan Steel Mills ex-chairman’s claim. The News. May 26, 2008.
4 Aziz responsible for judges’ issue, says Elahi. The Post. May 26, 2008.

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