Chaudhry Muhammad Barjees Tahir
|Chaudhry Muhammad Barjees Tahir
چوھدری محمد برجیس طاہر
|Minister of States, Frontiers and Kashmir Affairs|
07 June 2013 – Incumbent
|Prime Minister||Nawaz Sharif|
|Federal Minister of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan|
01 June 2013
|Prime Minister||Nawaz Sharif|
|Preceded by||Manzoor Wattoo|
|Member of Parliament
17 March 2008 – 17 March 2013
15 Feb 1997 – 12 Oct 1999
15 Oct 1993 – 6 Nov 1996
9 Nov 1990 – 8 Jul 1993
20 April 1949 |
Sangla Hill, Punjab, Pakistan
|Alma mater||University of Punjab|
|Occupation||Member of Parliament|
Ch. Muhammad Barjees Tahir (چوھدری محمد برجیس طاہر: born 20 April 1949 in Sangla Hill) is a prominent national politician, parliamentarian and a Federal Minister of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan in the 2013 Sharif-led cabinet from Pakistan Muslim League (N). A key Member of Parliament in Pakistan and a lawyer by profession, he graduated with masters in Law and Political Science from the University of the Punjab.
He started his political career from Lahore as a student activist. Later on he was elected as a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan (MNA). He was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan for the terms of 1990–1993, 1993–1997, and 1997–1999, 2008-2013 and 2013 – present. At his tenure as MNA, many social, economical, educational and infrastructure developments were carried out in Sangla Hill and Sheikhupura. From 1990–1993, he served as Federal Parliamentary Secretary in the ministry of interior during Nawaz Sharif 1990–1993 government. Later he served as a chairman of standing committee of communication. He was also famous for conducting an inquiry concerning a helicopter scandal in 1998, in which former President Farooq Leghari and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto were interrogated for their alleged role. Moreover, he represented Pakistan on numerous occasions at UN, IPU (Inter Parliamentary Union) and other international forums.
After the overthrow of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) government in 1999 in a coup de'tat orchestrated by General Pervez Musharraf, he became one of the most vocal critic of the totalitarian military regime. He was arrested and harassed by the military regime on several occasions, and was also pressurised to join the PML (Q), the ruling party, but he refused and decided to stay loyal to PML (N). He was also an activist in the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD), and in 2004 he was the candidate for the Senate of Pakistan, a vacated seat by Shaukat Aziz who later became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Recently, he won in the general election 2008, from NA-135 constituency. His party PML (N) is campaigning for the establishment of democracy in the country and he is also a federal joint secretary of Pakistan Muslim League (N).
Chaudhry Muhammad Barjees Tahir is married and has three daughters and a son.
In 2008-13 Parliament, he served on four Parliamentary Standing Committees and one subcommittee:
- Information Technology Committee (Chairman).
- Housing and Works Committee
- Petroleum and Natural Resources Committee
- Subcommittee on LPG on Petroleum and Natural Resources Committee (Convener) 
- National Assembly's Business Advisory Committee
In 1998–1999 he was appointed by the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament to investigate the matter regarding the purchase of the helicopter. The case involves defrauding substantive sum of $2.168 million and $1.1 million public money. The record shows that the case was not pursued properly and diligently. FIR No 1 of 1998 was registered with Federal Investigation Agency State Bank Circle Rawalpindi on the complaint of Cabinet Division.
Thorough investigation was conducted by the committee headed by Chaudhry Muhammad Barjees Tahir and two other members, namely Faridullah Jamali and Jamshaid Ali Shah. During this investigation the committee chairman (Muhammad Barjees Tahir) summoned the former President Farooq Leghari and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto along with others and they were investigated. The case received extensive media coverage both inside and outside Pakistan. The recommendations of the committee, obtained from the file, are as under:
6.1: FIR may be lodged against (1) Malik Allah Yar Khan of Kalabagh (2) Zia Pervez Hussain (3) Dr M.A. Khan and criminal proceedings be instituted against them defrauding the government.
6.2: The amount of $2.168 million be recovered from Malik Allah Yar Khan, Zia Pervez Hussain and Dr M.A. Khan by attaching their properties etc. in Pakistan or abroad for this purpose. FIA may be directed to take steps to recover this money through Interpol, if necessary. Any banker or foreign national involved in this fraud may also be taken to task by the Federal Investigation Agency.
6.3: As Benazir Bhutto, she is clearly responsible for this loss to exchequer as major decisions in respect of this contract were taken with her approval or direction and passed on to Cabinet Division through former PS PM (Ahmad Sadiq). FIR may be registered against her for causing loss to state by misuse of her authority as PM, and criminal proceedings be initiated.
6.4: Farooq Leghari knows that his name has visibly come up in this case. He has tried to plead innocent. It is unimaginable that those operating in this scandal could have easy access to the top bureaucrats like Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and even to the Prime Minister herself without the backing and active support of the President. FIR against him must also be registered and criminal proceedings initiated.
6.5: As for the senior civil servants involved in the case, Ahmad Sadiq former PS PM, Humayun Faiz Rasul and Sahibzada Imtiaz former Cabinet Secretary, no action can be taken against them at this stage as they already stand retired/superannuated.
The case was further referred to the National Accountability Bureau in 2000–02 but no action was taken. In 2008, the case was closed under NRO issued by President Musharaf.
Privatisation of PTCL
The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on IT and Telecom criticised PTCL’s administration over its inability to fulfil obligations made to the government. On 20 December 2010, the committee met under the chairmanship of Barjees Tahir, at the parliament house to probe into the privatisation of PTCL. After hearing the officials of both the ministries, the committee declared that despite having outstanding financial portfolio, PTCL was privatised to an entity which did not fulfill contractual obligations despite the grant of concessions by the government.
On 1 Jan 2011, The Federal Minister for Privatisation Senator Waqar Ahmed Khan Wednesday revealed before the National Assembly that the privatisation deal of PTCL with Etisalat was not transparent and made in violation of rules and procedures.
“The part of the privatisation of PTCL was not transparent. It was made in violation of the rules and procedures, said the minister replied to a question, and later, the House referred the matter to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Privatisation for sin.
It was told to the House that the SPA is completed and the transaction was made without the privatisation of the Commission Council in confidence, adding that Etisalat 800 million U.S. dollars has kept the sport of land issue be transferred to the UAE-based company. Also, it was found out that around 3,500 properties were to be transferred to Etisalat which also comprise lands not even owned by federal or any provincial government rather either those are private properties are under litigation.
In June 2005, Etisalat $2.6 billion bid beat those of Singapore Telecom and China mobile for the purchase of a 26 per cent stake in PTCL, Pakistan’s telecom operator. Etisalat has management control with 26 per cent shares of PTCL, which was in 2006 for US$2.6 billion and is withholding $ 799,000,000 worth of initial payments to the Pakistani Government, part of the company’s 2006 properties with the acquisition in PTCL registered in name.
The Performance under control to Etisalat, PtCl wealth declined. For four years, before privatisation, profit after tax increased from approximately 18 billion to more than 27 billion rupees, which is the rate corresponding to 11 percent annually.
The committee expressed its reservations over the entire privatisation process and said, “it seems as if the previous government wanted to get rid of PTCL which was a profit earning entity at the time of its privatisation.”
The committee also expressed reservations over the exclusion of Telephone Industries of Pakistan from the privatisation process, which was a subsidiary of PTCL.
Matter is still under investigation by the committee under his chairmanship and house is waiting for the committee's report.
Sub-Committee investigation on LPG quota’s distribution
On 25 November 2011 National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources constituted a sub-committee to investigate distribution and grant of LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) quota among different companies.The sub-committee would comprise of Barjees Tahir as convener and Abdul Wasim and Syed Anayt Ali Shah, MNA as its members.
The LPG quota has been monopolized by certain companies and the committee emphasized upon the need that in order to breakout the hold of illegal cartels on the LPG quotas.
Meanwhile, the committee observed that grant and distribution of LPG quota is not in accordance with the regulation and justice due to which the majority grant of LGP is being made discriminately. Gross violations of rules and regulations have been made by the authorities in the allotment of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) quota in the last three decades. This has been stated in a report submitted by sub-committee which was constituted by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources.
“The Sub-committee said that those involved in shabby deals should not be allowed to go escort free and the responsible officers, persons, irrespective of their position and status in the society, must be taken to task”, the document revealed.
The report says the decision of the SSGC to set up an LPG extraction plant and awarding the contract to “the only one such pre-qualified bidder who even submitted the bid without a bid bond” seems to be lacking transparency and negation of rules.
It adds the OGDCL temporarily allocated LPG quota in the year 2004 to 15 companies without open bidding and the temporary arrangement continued for almost five years which is undoubtedly gross violation of rules and smacks of underhand dealings and corruption. The then management cannot go from its responsibilities and the ministry of petroleum and natural resources should be directed to initiate corruption cases against the then management in relevant courts with a view to nab the corruption mafia and to nip the evil in the bud.
The committee unanimously adopted the report which has directed the ministry of petroleum and natural resources to pursue the court cases vigorously regarding the misuse of powers in the grant of LPG quota prior to the LPG de-regulation period.
Matter is still under sub committee's investigation.
Banning obscene words and websites
The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on IT and Telecom under his chairmanship instructed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Telecom regulated authority in Pakistan to address the obscene words and websites issues. On 14 November 2011, PTA distributed a list of 1,695 "obscene" words (1,109 in English and 586 in Urdu) to mobile network operators and gave them 7 days to mandatory implement SMS filtering. Many of the banned words were expletives or sexual slang, but the list included medical terms (such as "athlete's foot") and other words (such as "Jesus" and "Budweiser"). Following widespread ridicule, particularly on social media, PTA backed down and promised more consultation on the final list of banned words.
The Standing Committee on IT and Telecom has summoned the PTA on its 30 November 2011 meeting for explanation.
- National Assembly of Pakistan
- Benazir Bhutto
- Farooq Leghari
- Sangla Hill
- "http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=90697&Itemid=9". Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- "Pakistan bans 'monkey crotch', 'Jesus Christ' and obscene words in text messages". MSNBC. 18 November 2011.
- "Can Pakistan Ban ‘Jesus’ and 1,600 Other ‘Obscene’ Words From Text Messages?". Mashable. 22 November 2011.
- "Pakistan's list of banned words met with ridicule". MSNBC. 19 November 2011.
- "Pakistan telecoms body delays ban on 'obscene' texts". BBC. 22 November 2011.
|Minister of States, Frontiers and Kashmir Affairs