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HVK Archives: Benazir ran secret drive against J&K , says BBC

Benazir ran secret drive against J&K , says BBC - The Times of India

PTI ()
June 28, 1998

Title: Benazir ran secret drive against J&K , says BBC
Author: PTI
Publication: The Times of India
Date: June 28, 1998

Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto allegedly ran a
secret campaign on Kashmir from the Pak high commission in
London, draining huge funds to "woo" British lawmakers for toeing
Islamabad's line on the issue, a BBC report said.

"Former Pakistan high commissioner to U.K., Wajid Shamsul Hasan,
was given access to hundreds of thousands of pounds from the so-
called Pakistan Projection Fund for this secret campaign," BBC
reported on Thursday, alleging that maverick labour member of
Parliament George Galloway was the "kingpin" in the project.

Correspondence between Mr Galloway and successive prime ministers
Ms Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif on the channelling of funds for
creating a "national lobby on Kashmir'' among members of the
British Parliament, was displayed as evidence in the documentary
shown in the prime time Newsnight programme.

Ms Bhutto, at one instance, had allocated 547,000 pound sterlings
to enable Mr Galloway publish a pro-Pakistan newspaper called
East , which had Mr Galloway and Mr Hasan as the founding member
and a fellow director, the report said.

lie revelations are likely to cause a major embarrassment to the
Labour government, particularly the minister of state in the
foreign and Commonwealth office Derek Fatchett, who has started a
dialogue with pro-Pakistani Kashmiri groups here.

Newsnight quoted former editor of East Nadene Ghouri, handpicked
by Mr Galloway himself, as admitting, "I was working with Mr
Galloway from the beginning and was aware of lots of documents
floating around, lots of cheques, bank accounts for the lobby
work on Kashmir." In the summer of 1996, the report added,
leaflets were issued at political rallies asking for donations to
be sent to a box number with Mr Galloway's London address.

Newsnight has also obtained documents signed by Mr Galloway
acknowledging the receipts of one cheque for 50,000 pounds and
another for ten thousand pounds on behalf of the "National lobby
on Kashmir."

These events would create similar ripples in the House of Commons
as the Commons standards and privileges committee last year
registered its concern after Mr Galloway admitted receiving
50,000 pounds from the opposition parties in Saudi Arabia. "The
committee had accepted reimbursements for expenses. Even so they
reported their disquiet about his financial dealings with Saudi
opposition, Newsnight said.

To a poser from BBC to Commons standards and privileges committee
what their reaction would he to a member of Parliament receiving
50,000 to 60,000 pound sterling from foreign government, the
spokesperson of the committee said, e have to observe caution
on foreign funding of MPs, it has to be declared and proper
receipts kept of expenditure.

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