`Pak paid UK MP for promoting its Kashmir case`

Pak government paid British parliamentarian George Galloway 135,000 pounds for promoting its case on Kashmir, according to information provided to a Parliamentary panel.

Last Updated: May 11, 2011, 18:37 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan government paid British
parliamentarian George Galloway 135,000 pounds from a secret
fund for promoting its case on the Kashmir issue, according to
information provided to a Parliamentary panel.

The revelation was made yesterday when the Public
Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly or lower
house of Parliament examined an audit report.

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, who attended the meeting
of the PAC, said the issue could not be discussed before the
media present at the venue.

He said the audit report involved the Foreign Ministry`s
secret fund and should not be taken up at an open forum.

The PAC was informed that 135,000 pounds had been
refunded by Galloway, then a member of the British Parliament.

The amount was paid to him from the "Pakistan
projection fund" by the Pakistan High Commission in London but
it was never credited to the government account.

The audit report said the Foreign Ministry did not
provide an official record of the transaction despite repeated
reminders.

The PAC has questioned the use of secret funds on
several occasions.

Bashir told the panel that an in-camera session could
be arranged if PAC members were interested in learning the
specifics of secret funds used by the Foreign Ministry in the
past.

Yasmin Rehman of the ruling PPP, who was presiding over
the PAC meeting, accepted the Foreign Secretary`s contention
and said that the committee would not have been put the matter
on its agenda if it had known about the sensitivity of the
issue.

She advised the Foreign Office to inform the PAC in
advance about such issues so that in-camera meetings could be
held.

During yesterday`s meeting, the PAC also took up the
sale of the Pakistan Embassy complex in Tokyo at a price far
below the market rate, leading to a loss of six billion
Japanese yen, and the sale of Pakistan embassy building in
Jakarta without mandatory permission from the Foreign
Ministry.

PTI