Ikram Sehgal’s Analysis Needs Better Disclosure

May 3rd, 2012 | By | Category: Jang, The News

Ikram Sehgal with Gen. MusharrafThis time last year, Ikram Sehgal wrote a piece for The News suggesting that the Supreme Court should give up trying to enforce the rule of law and consider that military intervention in government may be necessary. Today, The News published another piece by Mr Sehgal calling on the Chief Justice to consider trying another military dictatorship. While we respect Mr Sehgal’s right to support military coups and dictatorships and Jang Group‘s right to publish these views, we believe there is an important piece of information missing from Mr Sehgal’s columns – his business interests in the private security industry.

We noted a few years ago that Mr Sehgal had been praising US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and emphasising the need for Pakistan to accept the $7.5 billion US aid package known as ‘Kerry Lugar’ without informing the public that he had business relations with the American private security and logistics company G4S, formerly known as Wackenhut Corporation, which has contracts in Pakistan.

Actually, Mr Sehgal’s business interests go far beyond a simple association with an American private security company. He is Chairman of Pathfinder G4S, a company that owns defence and logistics businesses across Pakistan including the two largest private security G4S companies in Pakistan Security & Management Services (Private) Ltd and Wackenhut Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, SMS Couriers (Private) Ltd, Pathfinder (Private) Ltd (Trade and Countertrade); other companies in the GROUP are; First Select Pakistan (Private) Ltd, Energy and Resource Services (Private) Ltd (energy-related projects) and Dynavis (Private) Ltd (Group marketing and publications). SMS Land Development (Pvt) Ltd and SMS Construction (Pvt) Ltd.

Here is a clip of Ikram Sehgal himself explaining his business interests on the American talk show Washington Journal:

We applaud Mr Sehgal on his business success, which is truly impressive. And, whether or not we disagree, we respect Mr Sehgal’s right to personally believe that military coups and dictatorships are the best path forward for the nation. But we also believe that more disclosure is needed so that when Mr Sehgal is presenting his views, people are not misled into believing that he is qualified as a trained academic. Ikram Sehgal is first and foremost a businessman who makes his money from defence and security contracts, including contracts with foreign governments. Media groups promoting Ikram Sehgal’s views should disclose this information so that the public can judge his opinions based on all the facts.

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  1. Choosing Merit over Friendship by Ikram Sehgal October 09, 2001 http://www.mediamonitors.net/ikramsehgal42.html

    Lt Gen Mohammad Yusuf Khan, Chief of General Staff (CGS), and Lt Gen Mohammad Aziz Khan, Commander 4 Corps at Lahore were respectively appointed Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC), both promoted to the rank of General in keeping with their new appointments on Oct 7, 2001. General Pervez Musharraf’s tenure as COAS had expired the same day but his retirement as COAS could have created a legal imbroglio due to the Supreme Court (SC) Judgement mandating him by name to complete the democratic process before Oct 12, 2002. A five-day gap between Oct 7 and Oct 12, 2002 necessitated an extension without a time limit instead of the “one year” mandated by the Constitution.

    Gen Pervez Musharraf’s penchant for clearing the decks for battle and his timing thereof are both exquisite. Very much as he did immediately on taking over as COAS in 1998, he removed the weak links in his chain of command. In a way he has used one crisis to control the other. In choosing Lt Gens Yusuf (37th PMA) and Aziz (1st war Course) to supersede Usmani (36th PMA) and Mahmood (37th PMA), Pervez Musharraf made an agonizing choice as not only the leader of the Army, but as the leader of a country facing its gravest crisis since 1971. Mahmood has been one of his closest friends and a regimental colleague from 16 SP (Self-Propelled) Regiment (of Artillery). As Comd 10 Corps Mahmood led 10 Corps troops (111 Brigade) into the PM’s House (closely following SSG troops heli-lifted earlier from Mangla Airfield on orders of the CGS Aziz) on the fateful 12th day of October 1999. It was Muzzafar Usmani as Commander 5 Corps Karachi, who took over the Airport to allow the PIA aircraft in which the COAS was travelling, and which was dangerously low on fuel, to land. Usmani has again been his close friend and colleague for many years, first as a student and then fellow instructor in both Command & Staff College, Quetta, and the National Defence College (then at Rawalpindi). Yusuf was probably the odd man out of the loop in Multan on the fateful day as Aziz as the CGS masterminded the counter-coup which brought Pervez Musharraf back as COAS and de-facto ruler of Pakistan. But when it came to replace Aziz (who needed experience as a Corps Commander) he chose Yusuf as CGS, arguably the CGS-slot is the most powerful in the Pakistan Army after that of the COAS, particularly because the elite SSG Brigade plus is under his direct control. Aziz was the one who denied control of GHQ to the new team hastily selected by then PM Mian Nawaz Sharif’s COAS-designate Lt Gen Ziauddin Butt. Some feel that putting Aziz (who is junior to Yusuf) as Chairman JCSC means that he is being kicked upstairs, unfortunately they are ignorant of the many changes in the JCSC’s working that Pervez Musharraf has brought about in the two years of his incumbency, bringing the Armed Forces into an integrated command as envisaged in the creation of JCSC in 1976, 25 years earlier, at least in military minds if not in the political one of late PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who invented it more as an anti-coup device.

    Mahmood has always been a good professional soldier with a good reputation throughout his career. As DG ISI he stayed very much in the background as it should be and never threw his weight around as other DG ISIs before him. He is from my alma mater, Lawrence College, Ghoragali as is Amjad (formerly DG NAB), both quite insignificant characters as schoolboys. Generally they have been clean except when putting their “Gallian” classmates (and chums) either into various lucrative slots (mainly square pegs in round holes), targetting people like Khalid Aziz (Additional Chief Secretary NWFP) just because he gave them a tough time in school as “Head Boy” and lastly, protecting some blacksheep friends better known for being drug smugglers, for extortion, etc. Unfortunately Mahmood is a GT Road warrior, ie he has never heard a shot being fired in anger, having no combat experience at all. In a news analysis “HARES AND HOUNDS” on Sep 15, 2001, I had said, quote “The decisions require both combat knowledge and maturity, Musharraf is thus out on his own, most of his immediate colleagues lacking war experience. Experienced combat commanders down the line must be chosen in the operational line-up, history has shown that commanders with battle experience tend to be far less bloodthirsty than paper tigers, they will also be far careful in the employment of their own troops to keep down own casualties”, unquote. Again the President has shown merit counts for something in posting Lt Gen Ehsan, formerly DG MI, who was only recently posted as Comd 11 Corps at Peshawar, as DG ISI.

    Muzaffar Usmani is an acute personal disappointment. Personally very fond of him I, got upset with my good friend and 34th PMA coursemate (and fellow Gallian) Maj Gen (now Retd) Malik Saleem Khan when he held up Usmani’s wearing of the rank despite his being approved as Maj Gen. Before that my close friend Ambassador Brig (Retd) Saeed Ismat, SJ had spoken of about an incident in Saudi Arabia where he felt Usmani would have been sent home on adverse report. As Comd 5 Corps in Karachi Usmani seems to have gone quietly berserk. Mullah Umar in Kandahar could not have held a bigger court than every evening in the Corps Comd’s official residence of 20 plus odd green-turbaned persons. While one commensurates with him for his personal problems (and which could have been a catalyst), he has also much to answer for with respect to Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Karachi, among them the imperial largesse of allotting of an amenity plot to a favourite, who promptly sold it for Rs 14 million (mentioned in my note for Maj Gen HUK Niazi, SJ in the Defence Journal August 2001 issue). Just before Sep 11, I had written on Sep 8 in THE NATION in an article entitled “ROADMAPS AND MR FIXITS”, quote “Pervez Musharraf must make the Presidency more powerful, keeping national security and accountability with the President. In the process he has to ensure that the Armed Forces does not get tainted by corruption of any kind, those who have shown any inclination must be retired now. A few black sheep cannot be allowed to tar and feather the entire khaki community on the strength of the regimental tie. Those GT Road warriors must be sent home”.

    Earlier on Sep 1 in “SOLDIER AND GENTLEMAN”, quote “Three years into his COAS-ship, two years into his CE-ship and several months into President-ship has shown Pervez Musharraf to be really sincere about doing something solid and tangible for the country. The majority of his choices of close aides have been good but the choices have ranged from the likes of the late GA on the one side to at least some who are the virtual pits. Unfortunately public perception is very fickle, it rarely focuses on all the good done in the world, it homes in on evil. As a keen student of history Musharraf cannot afford that all the good he has done for their country is “interred with his bones, only the evil lives after him”, to paraphrase Shakespeare in Marc Antony’s funeral oration for Julius Ceaser. The President must see to it that he does not allow his place in history to become hostage to those who put their own individual selfish gain beyond that of the country. Ask Mian Nawaz Sharif about the indispensable Saifur Rahman! In the end such “loyalty” can become an albatross around the leader’s head,” unquote.

    Let me also quote from Aug 25 in a ” A TIME FOR DECISION”, “Continuity demands that Pervaiz Musharaf see out his full five year term as President starting from the day he leaves the office of Chairman Joint Chief of Staffs Committee and COAS. As President he still remains the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Unlike Ziaul Haq who manipulated his subordinates appointments to remain in power, Musharraf is a self-confident product of his colleagues’ aspirations for a better Pakistan. Does he need to hang onto various jobs out of a prime motivation of his own security? If am not mistaken about the man’s character he will not allow his colleagues and so-called friends to influence him to manipulate things very much as the late Ziaul Haq did, instead he will boldly follow the full transparent route in processing the sanctity of appointments and tenures thereof in the Armed Forces. And in the appointment thereof he will chose professionalism over friendship, particularly when there is doubt with some reason about character and integrity. The country’s interests must supercede the regimental tie. Pervaiz Musharaf and the country are both at a symbolic crossroads of sorts, the nation’s supreme interest demand some sacrifices on his part. For the President, a man who has every reason to be confident about his own destiny, there is no choice, he has to choose the country over both friendship and self-interest. While Gen Pervez Musharraf must continue as President, he must appoint people with merit to the posts he vacates. Country over self is what patriotism is all about” unquote. Most probably it is not a fact but my ego would like to believe that possibly Pervez Musharraf may have been listening.

    For 50 years, we have been looking high and low, far and wide, for a selfless national leader. We went to the extent of importing somewhat of a Jinnah look-alike in Moin Qureshi from the US for 3 months (famous last words as Caretaker PM in 1993, “I will permanently settle in Islamabad”). The only man at the highest level before Pervez Musharraf who put country before self was our Quaid. A few hours before the new Army appointments were announced, my friend Jalil Tareen, very impressed with Musharraf’s performance, asked me, “is Musharraf the man we have been looking for?” and I replied, “the future crucial appointments in the Army will show clearly if he is that person”. When a person rises to a level where he forsakes his personal preferences in the national interest, he is definitely someone special. Pervez Musharraf went the route of merit over friendship, answering this question quite unambiguously in word and deed. Even he can never estimate what he has done for this country in fulfilling his destiny and becoming odds-on favourite to become the particular leader that this country has been searching for in vain for over 50 years.

    Mr. Ikram Sehgal is Publisher and Managing Editor of Defence Journal (Pakistan).

  2. The news item you have printed is obviously for a motivated reason, even than I thank you. One need not guess where it emanated upon. I take this opportunity to correct some facts.

    (1) I am in the security services business but not in the Defence Procurement business more than 25 years ago since 1987. Details of why I left this “business” has been written by me in the Dedication of my book “Everything under the Moon” published in 2007 (page IX to XIII).
    (2) My company SMS had the contract for the US Embassy and the Consulates since 1987 to 2007. I purchased 50% of Wackenhut Pakistan Private Ltd in 2007 from G4S, it now the contract from 2007 to 2012. In the meantime my company SMS, which is purely a 100% Pakistani company, has again won the US contract in competition with more than a dozen companies. You are welcome to compare SMS with other companies. I am now in the process of purchasing 50% of the balance shares from G4S and making Wackenhut 100% Pakistani.

    (3) I admire Hilary Clinton as a person and have praised her in print. I do disagree with her occasionally, particularly with respect to Pakistan and Afghanistan. You have re-produced such views of mine at least 30 times in my articles on this subject.

    (4) I am shocked you should give the wrong impression that I supported the “Kerry Lugar” Bill wholesale. I did support the economic portion but very vehemently wrote against the military part because it infringed on Pakistan’s sovereignty. This is on record. (Please read my self-explanatory article “JUST SAY NO” of Oct 30, 2009 which you re-produced in Nov 2009).

    (5) As for as supporting military coups are concerned, please do read all my articles carefully. There is a difference between military intervention (with or without the Supreme Court’s approval) and military takeover. I have been always against takeover Pervez Musharraf started very well but three years into his rule he and Pakistan both were in trouble, the civilian technocrat govt he brought in had mixed potential, from the mediocre to the brilliant, from the committed to the self-serving, but they did perform adequately in turning the country around. Please do read my article of June 29, 1995 “Why do Martial Laws fail?” When the country’s very existence in danger, can we rule out military intervention?
    Whoever wrote the piece on me mixed fact with fiction very cleverly, attempting to make lies into a fact. There is one person we all know who is a past master at creating wrong preceptions. He has been under some real pressure lately but this shows he is now in good health and coming back to his usual form of being one of the most blatant liars in this world. Only he can smile blandly while confidently lying through his teeth!
    Best Regards
    Ikram Sehgal

  3. “QUOTE”

    Is This Story About Ikram Sehgal True ?‏ 04-Jun-2011, 05:28 AM http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?68358-Is-This-Story-About-Ikram-Sehgal-True-%E2%80%8F

    Ikram Sehgal is an ex-army officer.His father was also a retired Colonel who had commanded 2 East Bengal Regiment that was raised prior to 1950.The mother of Ikram Sehgal was from Bogra where as his father was from Punjab.While I was watching a talk show, Ikram sehgal had claimed that he was the first Pakistani POW to have escaped from the Indian Camp.He is now running a well-entrenched security company SMS (probably joined now by Wackenhut), acquired a reputation of a Defence Analyst and is rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty in our land of the pure.The fact of the matter is that he was not a POW but had defected to India.This is what Lt Gen (R) Kamal Matinuddin has written on pages 251-252 in Chapter 5- Military Action of his book Tragedy of Errors while covering East Bengal Regiments Rebel.

    “2 East Bengal Regiment

    2 East Bengal Regiment at the old palace at Joydebpur had been split into companies and platoon.A company was at Tangail, another at Mymensingh, one platoon of the third company was at Rajenderpur, and one platoon at Ghazipur.Its task was to enforce law and order.
    The battalion was commanded by Lt Col Masaudul Hussain Khan an officer hailing from East Pakistan.The second-in-command was Major K.M.Safiullah, also a Bengali officer.Safiullah, recalls with pride that after March 1, (when the national assembly session had been postponed) he no longer felt obliged to remain loyal to the West Pakistan officers.He decided to support the Awami League and awaited orders from Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman.He goes on to narrate that after that date 2 East Bengal began to secretly join the movement od non-cooperation.When the city hoisted black flags on Pakistan’s national day Safiullah recalls that in his heart of hearts he was not opposed to the fluttering of black flags on a day when he used to proudly display the crescent and star on his housetop.

    On March 27, Major Safiullah told his commanding officer “We intend to go over to Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman you may go away if you wish or you are most welcome to join us.We can even tie you and leave you in one room to give the impression that you were not part of the mutiny. Lt Col Raquib, who had taken over from Lt Col Masaudul hasan, left the unit quietly as disloyalty was not what he had trained for. He was heard of no more.

    Safiullah concentrated 2 East Bengal in Mymensingh and took an oath of allegiance to Sheikh Mujib from his troops. He broadcast a message on his regimental frequency to all those who may have been listening. “I, major Safiullah of the East bengal Regiment, have taken up arms against the Pakistan Army. If you are a Bengali, wherever you sre, take up arms with whatever you have against the Pakistanis and begin an armed resistance to liberate your country from the colonial fetters of Pakistan’.He sent Captain Aziz-ur Rehman to haluaghat to establish contact with the Indian Border Security Force Aziz met the commandant of the BSF while Safiullah met Capt Biljeet and Lt Col sinha of the Indian intelligence. The response, says safiullah, to his request was favourable. 2 East bengal was joined by three retired officers. Major Qazi Noor-uz-zaman (2nd IMA course), Captain Mati-ur-Rehman and Captain Abdul Mateen.Safiullah claims that he was able to organise of 3,000 with eight officers including Captain Sehgal who had defected from the army aviation squadron.

    2 East Bengal began to ambush the Pakistani army around Mymensingh and in the vicinity of the Mahdopur forests which remained sanctuary for some time.They blew up bridges the most important being the Ranipur railway bridge across the river Ganges. The unit later moved across to India through Rajshahi, virtually intact.2 East Bengal had 4 West Pakistani officers and a few West Pakistani soldiers. All of them were killed by Safiullah’s men”.


  4. Asma Jahangir VS Ikram Sehgal – Debate on Establishment with Kamran Shahid on Awaaz – 1 (May 29, 2011) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPAd0jqQQvQ

  5. Asma Jahangir VS Ikram Sehgal – Debate on Establishment with Kamran Shahid on Awaaz – 2 (May 29, 2011) http://youtu.be/fc91x1ER6q4

  6. Asma Jahangir VS Ikram Sehgal – Debate on Establishment with Kamran Shahid on Awaaz – 3 (May 29, 2011)

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