There are many people in politics; establishments, military and business community who always try their level best to dominate in the field of corruption and dishonesty. Taqiq Aziz beaten all almost every other person in the decade as far as cleverness and fraudulence is concern. I am sure not many people know him as it is his one of the major tactics to succeed in the field of hypocrisy.
Tariq Aziz was a close-aide of Pakistani ex-President Pervez Musharraf, his advisor and the former secretary of the National Security Council. He resigned from the post of NSC secretariat when Musharraf resigned from presidency on 18 August 2008. A former income tax officer, he was a college buddy of Pervez Musharraf, since both of them went to FC College, Lahore. Because of his close proximity with the military coup-maker, General Musharraf appointed him as the political wheeler and dealer whose job was to “knock together a pro-military alliance.” He was aided by Major General Syed Ehtasham Zamir, the head of ISI’s political wing, in maneuvering/coercing a list of ‘loyal’ candidates, before and after 2002 general elections. The list of such politicians included former two-time chief minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, who fled Pakistan after the 1999 military takeover, but later was cleared of such crimes by anti-corruption agency NAB set up by the military regime, once Sherpao decided to support it. He was later made Minister of Water and Power and then the Interior Minister. Another such politician was Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat, a former Pakistan Peoples Party steadfast, who had been charged with defaulting on the repayment of loans from state-owned banks and had spent months in prison. He was then inducted in the pro-establishment Pakistan Muslim League (Q) and served first as the Interior Minister and then as Environment Minister.
During Benazir Bhutto’s government, he served Asif Zardari as the secretary/ advisor of environment agency.
A low-profile civil servant, Tariq Aziz was earlier principal secretary to Musharraf, and continues to be closely associated with the ‘Chief’. Despite the power he wields, he continues to be his old unassuming self. He was the only one among the inner circle who advised Musharraf not to go for the ill-fated referendum – a fact the President was man enough to acknowledge publicly. In short, Tariq Aziz has earned his boss’s complete trust.1
The reclusiveness of Hamid Javed, chief of protocol to Musharraf, seems true. The burly general was smart to use power while keeping himself in the background. The only time he got clubbed with Tariq Aziz in a controversy was when both of them showed interest in the regularisation of Islamabad’s zone four. MNA Faisal Saleh Hayat confirms that he lost his job as Interior Minister because he refused to budge before Tariq Aziz’s pressure to oblige.2
Ex Vice Chief Gen Yusaf claims that backchannel diplomacy with India spearheaded by Musharraf’s confidante Tariq Aziz was undertaken without taking army brass into confidence. Retired Lt Gen Shaukat Aziz who served as Musharraf’s CGS has now revealed that the boss used to take decisions unilaterally.
The two principal envoys— for Pakistan, a college classmate of Musharraf ’s named Tariq Aziz, and, for India, a Russia specialist named Satinder Lambah—were developing what diplomats refer to as a “non-paper” on Kashmir, a text without names or signatures which can serve as a deniable but detailed basis for a deal.
Shahid Aziz said Pervez Musharraf took most of the sensitive decisions without informing his corps commanders.He admitted that Pervez Musharraf, his COS Hamid Javaid and Tariq Aziz forced him to close down the investigations against Benazir Bhutto and when he refused to implement the orders, he was asked to resign from the NAB chairmanship in July 2007.
hahid Aziz reminisced, one day presidential aide Tariq Aziz ‘called me to say that the President had decided to close cases against BB and has asked you to make this happen. I refused and said I would better resign than closing these cases’.
‘Tariq Aziz called me up again to say that we have discussed and decided that if you don’t close the cases, you can resign. I asked who these ‘we’ who have decided so are.
Tariq Aziz said, Tariq Aziz, Gen Hamid Javed and Gen Kiyani (the then ISI chief). He, however requested that instead of destabilising the government through resignation, you (Gen Aziz) should go on a two-month leave on medical grounds and then resign.
’I obliged and tendered resignation on May 4, 2007, to be effective from July 4, 2007.’4
Benazir Musharraf Deal
NSC Secretary Tariq Aziz reportedly was one of the main players in the deal between Benazir Bhutto and Musharraf. He is the one who basically provoke Musharraf in such a deal.
Gen Pervez Musharraf was opposed to introducing the National Reconciliation Ordinance, but was forced by Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and then National Security Council secretary Tariq Aziz to change his view. Humayun Gohar (son of the late Altaf Gohar) said Musharraf was assuring the then PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto a fair trial and cooperation in getting her bail. However, he said, he agreed to issue the NRO under pressure from the president of the then ruling PML-Q and the secretary of the National Security Council.
The two leaders, he said, wanted Ms Bhutto to return to Pakistan as, in their estimation, her comeback would affect Mian Nawaz Sharif’s vote bank. These people, he said, had just no idea that the situation would take a turn which it did subsequently. According to him, then president Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were happy over the cooperation between Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto as both were regarded as moderates. However, vice-president Dick Cheney was against the deal as he believed that the PPP leader would not honour her commitments. Replying to a question, he said, the US had stopped supporting Musharraf after the assassination of Ms Bhutto. However, it was the army’s own decision that Gen Musharraf should quit power.5
Few people know that as the housing minister, Gilani had done him a big favour by allotting him a luxurious house in the F-6 Sector after relaxing the rules. This big house is still in the possession of Tariq Aziz, who is now serving as the secretary National Security Council (NSC), after his retirement as a bureaucrat.6
Quite interestingly, like a traditional politician in the habit of doing favours to applicants, Gilani himself had forgotten what he had done for this once low-profile bureaucrat in those days. But, ironically, Gilani, who was in the habit of not refusing any requests from civil servants, was reminded of this favour none other than Tariq Aziz himself during one of his secret visits to his (Gilani) dungeon at the Adalia Jail.
TA used to visit him in his capacity as the most powerful messenger of President Musharraf to make him fall in line. One night, Tariq Aziz had quietly whispered in the ears of the unbreakable Gilani that this was he who had actually allotted him the big house in F-6. It is believed Tariq Aziz had mentioned this decade-old favour of Gilani only to get his confidence to accomplish his “mission” of buying his political loyalties. He was giving the impression to Gilani that he was the man who remembered even small favours done to him many years back.
To fully understand the importance of this favour, it is required to first apprehend what an official residence means to a civil servant in Islamabad. A bitter joke that makes rounds in Islamabad is that it is easy to get a job not a government house. The first effort of any bureaucrat in the capital is to get a large residential house allotted in his/her name by hook or crook.
When Gilani was given the charge of the housing minister, Tariq Aziz had also got some relevant “sifarish” to influence Gilani for the allotment of a house in the elite area of F-6. A generous Gilani obliged the request and ordered the allotment of the house in the name of the civil servant, having little idea that one day the same bureaucrat would quietly come to visit him in the jail at late night to force him to betray his political leader Benazir Bhutto and join the Musharraf camp.
Gilani was usually visited by many messengers of the Presidency and Tariq Aziz was one of those frequent visitors. They all were very polite during their regular meetings with him at the Adalia Jail. But, as Gilani had refused to toe their line, they decided to use the stick. Gilani was put under serious pressure. Even, a raid party was arranged to conduct a raid on his jail cell from where his computer, CDs of movies, and mobile phone facilities were snatched though Gilani had claimed that the court had allowed him to retain those facilities. As it was not enough to harass him, a news item was got splashed all over the newspapers of Islamabad, giving an impression that the former speaker was involved in some serious crimes in his cell. The then superintendent jail Babar was used to harass Gilani by these top people.
Tariq Aziz, the former secretary of the National Security Council, who has kept a determined silence ever since Musharraf resigned, recently made a rare TV statement and said his former boss will not return to Pakistan. He did not say ‘soon or never’ but his statement meant not for many years at least, unless something changes radically.
Official Perks after Resignation
Tariq Aziz is anything but reclusive. He continues to relish official accommodation with all the perks that he enjoyed under Musharraf. He remains on the panel of Asif Zardari’s advisers, thanks for brokering the NRO, and has gladly passed on his whole gang of, among other assets, wheeler-dealers to the presidency.
There is no parallel to one person, Tariq Aziz, enjoying so much power in any government, dictatorships or otherwise. He flaunted arrogantly the extent of his power by which he could make or break ministers, party presidents, ministers, governors, bureaucrats, you name it. And he did make and break many on his whim. He made the Chaudhrys the supreme family of this country and then put them in the doldrums when he developed a liking for Hamayun Akhtar. This made the Chaudhry cry out about his being their one time manager. Stories of his pomp and shenanigans were known widely but no one dared to publish because there was a goon club to manage his media. He remains the President of Lahore Race Club where under him even the names of national heroes, the awardees of Nishan-i-Haider, were tarnished as trophies for what was more gambling than racing. Aziz is the Chairman of the Lahore Race Club.
Even, in 2010 (PPP government) Tariq Aziz is enjoying the luxuries and favors or it would be better to say much more luxuries and favors compared to Musharraf’s period. The only most vibrant reason behind it is that he was involved in NRO and deal with Benazir Bhutto. Apparently, the current government was born through NRO.
References: The News, Geo, Wiki