In yet another case of blatant corruption by a Pakistan Army officer the Core Commander of Gujranwala Lieutenant General Asim Munir demanded Rs. 90 crore extortion money from the chief executive officer of Master Tiles, one of the largest companies of Pakistan that employs over ten million people.
Lt. Gen. Asim Munir had earlier held the plum positions of DG ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and DG Military Intelligence.
Last year in February, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had castigated ISI for its the inept handling of the 2017 Faizabad sit-in that catapulted the hitherto unknown Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) to limelight across Pakistan. Lt Gen. Asim Munir was the director general of ISI at the time of this judgement. Ironically, Maj Gen. Faiz Hameed who was the deputy of Lt Gen Asim Munir at ISI and in charge of ISI’s internal security wing also faced heat in this judgement but was promoted as Lieutenant General and took over the reins of ISI from Asim Munir.
Lt. Gen Asim Munir was unceremoniously shunted out from the plum job of ISI’s director general and had to move on as the Corps Commander of Gujranwala, thereby earning the dubious distinction of being ISI chief for the shortest period of time. Asim Munir is now nearing his retirement and in order to make a quick buck like other Pak Army officers he contacted Sheikh Mahmood Iqbal, the chief executive officer of Master Tiles, and demanded ninety crore rupees.
Aghast at this blatant demand of extortion from the Corps Commander of Gujranwala, Sheikh Mahmood Iqbal, CEO Master Tiles wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi, dated June 5, 2021, describing all the details of his meeting with Lt Gen Asim Munir and his subsequent demand of Rs 90 crore extortion money.
“Lt Gen Asim Munir sent a message to me by a staff member Colonel Ehtesham last Thursday morning that he wanted to have lunch with me. I left a meeting with Japanese importers and went to the cantonment to meet him (Asim Munir). I was offered good food, salmon fish cooked with broccoli and olive oil, among other delicacies. As we sipped black coffee with luxurious Cuban cigars Lt Gen Asim Munir said that he had found out that the executive range of our bathroom tiles was being smuggled to the Central Asian nations of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan through the Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan. He then said that billions of rupees was being lost in the form of taxes to the national treasury. Of course, all of this was a conspiracy to trap me,” wrote Sheikh Mahmood Iqbal, CEO of Master Tiles in his letter letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi.
“… they seized two of our company trucks from Peshawar at the Afghan border… this seizure was carried out in a similar fashion like the anti-narcotics force grabbed fake 20 kg heroin from Rana Sanaullah’s car, who is a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Noon). Asim Munir told me that in politics, business and espionage operations, perception is more important than reality, and if a perception gets etched into people’s mind that Master Tiles is involved in smuggling then our share price would tumble at the stock markets. I asked Lt Gen Asim Munir in a trembling voice as to what did he want from me. It was then the vileness of the whole world came to his little dirty eyes,” said Sheikh Mahmood Iqbal in his letter to PM Imran Khan.
“Lt Gen Asim Munir said that he wanted five million seven hundred thousand dollars which is equivalent to ninety crore rupees in Pakistani currency. Asim said that if I transfer the money to his Macau bank account then he would help me smuggle tiles to Central Asia as the Core Commander Peshawar has been his batchmate and roommate…,” explained Sheikh Mahmood Iqbal in his letter.
“…if at all, in order to save my business, I agree to give this kind of money to Lt Gen Munir, yet how long can we feed these fauji snakeletsAsim. They trample the constitution every time. Sometimes they torture journalists Asad Ali and Matiullah Jan, at other times through Papa Jones they set up a business empire funded by smuggling on the Pak-Iran border. I request you to help me with this issue, otherwise I will shift my whole business setup to Dhaka. But then you will have to manage one crore five thousand jobless people in Pakistan. After this incident, I have understood that a man loves his self-esteem more than his homeland. The vile Satanism and arrogance of power in these ugly eyes is unbearable. Sometimes when I am asleep, this anger wakes me up at night and I have to take water with aspirin,” said Sheikh Mahmood Iqbal, CEO Master Tiles in his letter to Imran Khan Niazi.