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ORGANIZED CRIME RESEARCH - AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 

The notes appearing below are incomplete.  Insha-Allah I am planning to expand them. They are drawn from previously published material and need to be rewritten and woven into a single article, so they make sense.

           ORGANISED CRIME RESEARCH

One complication to the whole matter of me living in Pakistan is that I wondered at the time if the harassment could be linked to research I did on organized crime while working as a journalist in Melbourne.

This is because there was an incident in Islamabad where someone tried to frame me for being a Communist.

I was puzzled by the incident and wondered if it was linked to my research in Melbourne because while I was working there as a journalist a colleague warned me that stories were being spread about me that I was a Communist.

At the time in Melbourne I knew the allegations were completely untrue and laughed the matter off, but they took on greater significance when I realised something similar was happening in Islamabad.

However, I must admit I was not the only one in Pakistan to be defamed by claims I was a Communist. Later, while working in Karachi, I interviewed a renowned filmmaker by the name of Mushtaq Gazdar for both Dawn – Pakistan’s most successful independent English newspaper - and MAG.

Gazdar was a well-known documentary filmmaker and had won various awards. The story I wrote for Dawn was about a documentary called The Killer. It highlighted the social effects of heroin addiction, focussing on the poor in Pakistan. It was published in Dawn’s Friday Magazine on December the 08th 1989. A copy of the story appears on my page headed Dawn interview Mushtaq Gazdar.

The story I wrote for MAG was about another documentary he had made about the lack of educational opportunity for girls. It was published in MAG on the 14th of June 1990.

What is not included in either story are off-the-record remarks Gazdar made that he had been accused of being a Communist – a slur he said on his reputation which had arisen only because he was trying to highlight social injustices in Pakistan.

At the time I said I would not publish his remarks because he feared retaliation, but it does not matter now because he is dead. He died on the 15th of November 2000. A copy of the story I wrote for MAG about his documentary appears on my pages headed:

·         MAG interview Mushtaq Gazdar – 1

·         MAG interview Mushtaq Gazdar – 2

·         MAG interview Mushtaq Gazdar – 3

·         MAG interview Mushtaq Gazdar – 4

Another reason I thought the harassment in Pakistan was linked to my research in Melbourne was because in Karachi I was told by someone that he had been told I was a paedophile.

DEFAMED

Needless to say I am not a paedophile – I have never touched a child wrongfully in my life – but the claim took on a sinister light because among other things before travelling to Pakistan I had been investigating allegations in Melbourne in the early 1980s that a senior Liberal Party politician was being blackmailed because he had been filmed having sex with a child.

The politician in question was Rupert Hamer, who was premier of Victoria from 1972 to 1981. Hamer did not like his given name, Rupert, and he was popularly known as ‘Dick Hamer’.

It was alleged that Hamer was being blackmailed after he was filmed having sex with a child in a hotel room in Pusan, South Korea, in July 1979. The claim was made that he had been set up by somebody in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States who knew about his predilection for extra marital sex.

Hamer had gone to Pusan to jointly open the Commodore Dynasty hotel with the local mayor. The Commodore Dynasty was part of an Australian hotel chain that was expanding into Asia.

However, I want to stress that the allegations were nothing more than just that – claims that could not be proven in court and as such as a professional journalist I abandoned the investigations. Suspicion is not enough and the making of unsubstantiated allegations can be extremely damaging.

None of the informants were willing to testify in court and my evidence about the matter was worthless in the eyes of any judge. All my knowledge about the matter was based on testimony by other people and as far as the courts were concerned that was not enough.

Unless I could produce the informants before the courts so they could be examined as to the truth or otherwise of their claims my evidence would be dismissed as nothing more than hearsay – “information received from other people which cannot be substantiated; rumour”.

A key informant, the late Morris Williams MLA, refused to testify in court and it was that decision that doomed the story from the very start.

Willams was a Liberal Party MP and that in itself tended to give credibility to his claims. It was not as if he were a member of the Opposition and as such his allegations could not be lightly dismissed.

Even though I believed the allegations to be true, it was all but impossible to make them public.

No editor worth his salt would have published a story based on anonymous informants.

If Williams was not willing to identify his source then the story could not surface in the public domain.

It could be argued that he could have used Parliamentary privilege to make the allegations public, but he had been severely censured by some members of the Liberal Party for having discussed the matter.

If he had used Parliamentary privilege and still refused to identify his source he could have faced even fiercer strictures and run the risk of being accused of spreading malicious gossip.

As it was Hamer's supporters claimed that those alleging he was being blackmailed - including Williams - were doing so only because they were opposed to the building of a casino in Melbourne.

They alleged the blackmail claims were malicious and had no foundation whatsoever.

At the time Hamer had been backing plans for the construction of a casino that had been proposed by a leading tax lawyer by the name of Garrick Gray.

Gray's dead now but while he was alive he was a formidable presence in the Hamer years and his determination to establish a casino carried a lot of weight in certain quarters.

However, that weight diminished when it became public that one of Gray's friends, Jeffrey Leo Patterson, had been linked to the mafia family headed up by Carlo Gambino in New York.

The revelation not only damaged Gray but also Hamer, who was already under fire from some members of his Party because of the tensions surrounding the allegations he was being blackmailed.

Gray's position was further weakened when it became known that he and Patterson used to play poker together at Nine Darling Street - reception rooms owned by Gray in South Yarra - and that on one occasion during a 'visit' by police Gray and Patterson had been found to be in the company of known criminals.

PROFESSIONAL

Note that I have used the words ‘professional journalist’ above, which is what I was in Australia. Even though I had held clerical positions and did casual work as a taxi driver to supplement my income, most of my working life had been spent as a journalist.

I had my first story published as a freelance journalist in The Age in Melbourne on the 19th of October 1968. It was headed ‘An actor’s dream’. Click on the link ‘The Age An actor’s dream’ to read a copy.

Another story headed ‘A LONG WAY FROM 3 QUID A WEEK’ was published in The Age on the 18th of January 1969. To read a copy click ‘The Age A long way from 3 quid’.

Because of my age I was too old for a cadetship and started my career in the media as a freelance. I was a sub-editor for much of the time, but also worked as a reporter.

The man in Pakistan who said he had been told I was a paedophile was the colleague of the Karachi Amir of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Syed Munawaar Hasan. I had interviewed the Amir for MAG, a popular weekly magazine that was published in Karachi. 

The interview was published in MAG on the 17th of May 1990. A copy of the story can be seen on my pages MAG interview Karachi Amir 1- 4. The links are:

·         MAG interview Karachi Amir - 1

·         MAG interview Karachi Amir - 2

·         MAG interview Karachi Amir - 3

·         MAG interview Karachi Amir - 4

Other stories I wrote for MAG include:

·         An interview with the Mayor of Karachi, Dr Farooq Sattar, headed ‘Water key issue facing Sattar’. It was published in MAG on the 12th of April 1990. Click the links 1-5 MAG Mayor of Karachi to read the story.

It is possible that the vilification and harassment of me in Pakistan had nothing or little to do with my research on organised crime in Melbourne - after all it could just be dismissed as a coincidence - but at the time I certainly believed that was what was at the heart of the matter.

The harassment of me that had started in Islamabad continued in Karachi. I had caught the bus from Islamabad to Karachi in late 1989 – from what I recall I arrived in that vibrant, bustling seaport in October.

I had decided in Islamabad that it was hopeless trying to settle in Pakistan. The persecution was too ongoing and on occasions too intense for me live there.

After I arrived in Karachi I contacted Dawn and was offered work as a freelance journalist. I wrote several stories for them. The first was:

Antiquarian books at risk KMC needs funds urgently. It was published in DAWN’s Friday Magazine on the 17th of November 1989.

Since DAWN was a broadsheet and I don’t have an A3 scanner I have scanned the story in two files.

The links to the story are:

·         DAWN Antiquarian books - 1

·         DAWN Antiquarian books – 2

Because at the time I suspected that the harassment was linked to the research I had done on organised crime in Melbourne I decided to write a story for Dawn headed ‘So, you don’t like Pakistan, eh?’ It was about some of the crime issues I had investigated as a journalist in Melbourne, including allegations that a Minister of the Crown, a man named Arthur Rylah, had murdered his wife Ann in 1969 and got away with it. The links to my pages carrying the story are:

·         So you don’t like Pakistan - 1

·         So you don't like Pakistan - 2

Other stories I wrote for Dawn were:

·         ‘Command performance at auction rooms’: 24 November 1989. To read the story click DAWN command performance.

·         ‘Drugs – a dirty word, a dirty war’. It was published in the paper’s Live Issues column on the 15th of December 1989. To read the story click DAWN Drugs – a dirty word, a dirty war.

·         ‘If you want to get steamed up – travel PR’. It was published as the lead story for Dawn’s Friday Magazine on the 30th March 1990. To read the story click DAWN travel PR - 1 and DAWN travel PR - 2.

Today I’m inclined to think I may have just been the victim of some racist people who didn’t like foreigners - that the attempt to frame me for being a Communist and the claim I was a paedophile were nothing more than coincidences.

On the other hand I admit that I still wonder about what came to pass, but have surrendered it all to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most High). He knows best.

The mere fact that I was a Westerner who had reverted to Islam was enough to make some people jump to the wrong conclusions.

I recall one man in Islamabad telling me that as a child he had been told by his parents that his enemies all had fair hair and blue eyes.

Even though I don’t have blue eyes in those days, in the 1980s, I had plenty of fair hair. The way he looked at me after relating his parents ‘warning’ left me in no doubt as to what he thought.

This man pretended to befriend me when I first arrived in Islamabad from Lahore where I had been staying. I was very ill with amoebic dysentery when I arrived in the capital. I had contracted it in Lahore. Being a Westerner my body wasn’t adjusted to the heat and conditions and I quickly fell sick.

When I first met him I thought he was being a good Muslim, showing concern for a sick traveller. Sadly I was to find out later it was nothing more than a charade and he was actually spying on me.

His spying would have been of no consequence except that on one occasion he misunderstood a comment I made and passed it on to someone, who I assume was in the intelligence services.

An innocent remark on my part had been completely misconstrued and as a result I was nearly beaten up.

I only escaped by lying when later in the day – or it may have been the following day, I’m not sure now - someone jumped out of a car in a menacing manner and demanded to know if I was ‘Yahya Abdullah from Australia’.

Realising I was at risk I said I was an Englishman and told them I knew Abdullah and had seen him not long ago at the Pomy Restaurant in Aabpara.

Thinking they were on the right track they immediately hopped back in their car and sped off in the direction of Aabpara.

What I have set out above are just some of the incidents that befell me. All I can say is that if you have reverted to Islam and you are hoping to find a Shaykh who will guide you rightly I would try to find one in Australia.

There are many pious Muslims in Sydney and Melbourne who can set you on the straight path in Islam – there is no need to go overseas to learn the religion.

Needless to say after what happened to me I would never go to Pakistan again. Whoever targeted me made it more than obvious that I was not welcome and I am simply too old to cope with any more distress or anxiety.

IMMEASURABLE DAMAGE

I will add this, whoever was responsible for the persecution and harassment of me did immeasurable damage. I suffer from an anxiety disorder, which given certain circumstances can be a nightmare that can lead to suicide.

I’ve had it since I was a young man. It was possibly triggered by arguments I had with my father over his treatment of my mother.

Whoever hounded me, turned something beautiful and good – namely the worship of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most High) – into something ugly and evil.

People like this can do enormous damage by poisoning others against Islam. It’s important to check your facts first before jumping to conclusions that are completely unjustified.

If it wasn’t for Allah’s mercy in sustaining me I could have turned away from Him. As it is I still believe He is the One and Only God and that His beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu alayhi wa-sallam - may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is His Messenger – the Last of the Prophets – but that belief is only due to Allah’s Grace.

Ian C. Calderwood LAKEMBA NSW 02 SEPT 23

FURTHER NOTES 

QUR’AN LESSONS

It was one of the Deobandi murids from the Chishti Tariqah who taught me to recite Qur'an. May Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the Most High) bless him and his family in this life and the next for his righteous conduct. A pious man whom I believe had only the best of intentions.

Sadly, I had to cut my ties with him and the other murids because while I was living in Islamabad I was repeatedly harassed by somebody and I feared that he could come to harm and I would be blamed.

The harassment on occasions was pretty severe. Among other things my name was blackened with lies. For example stories were spread that I was a Communist, a Qadyani, an imposter – a spy. None of these claims were true.

I come from a right-wing family, my father actually stood for parliament as a right-wing candidate in the 1952 state elections in Victoria. I have never been a Qadyani or Ahmadi – I utterly reject any claims that there has ever been another prophet after Rasoolullah SAW – and I most certainly am not an impostor or spy.

Later in Karachi, one brother even said he had been told I was a paedophile – a claim that was utterly false. I have never touched a child wrongfully in my life.

I was assaulted about half-a-dozen times – twice so viciously I had to flee for my life. Needless to say the assaults affected me, particularly one in Islamabad in which a policeman raised his rifle butt to hit me in the face because I was slow to produce identity papers.

I don’t doubt that the encounter was a set up. I believe that the policeman and another one were lying in wait for me as I was walking home from working at The Pakistan Times at Zero Point.

On realising that I was the target of a vicious attack I fled the scene and ran to the home of an Imam I knew who lived opposite shouting out for Allah’s help. If it wasn’t for the Imam’s intervention I could have come to serious harm or even been killed.

It was only by Allah’s SW Grace that I wasn’t shot in the back by the policeman as I fled to the Imam’s house.

On another occasion when I was living in Islamabad I went for a stroll one evening intending to walk from my flat at G7 Markaz to Aabpara to have a meal. It was a beautiful evening – warm and pleasant – so I thought that instead of taking the main road to Aabpara I would take a back road that led to the Rose Garden, which was opposite the shopping centre.

As I expected the road was deserted, but as I was wandering along enjoying the starlit sky I realised that a car was keeping apace with me a short distance behind.

I grew uneasy and stepped up my pace. The car picked up speed so fearing now that I may be about to be robbed I broke into a run. The car accelerated towards me so I ran off the road into the bush only to see as I looked back a hand appear from a back window with a pistol. The occupant then fired a shot into the air and the car sped off.

I do not know what the incident was about – whether it was just ruffians trying to scare me or something even more sinister – but it frightened me and left an indelible impression on my mind.  

Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the Most High) is my witness that I have told the truth to the best of my recollection about the above incidents –He well knows I would not lie about such matters.

I was comparatively new to Islam in those days and failed to appreciate the importance of placing my trust in Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the Most High), and in Allah alone (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the Most High) and nobody else but Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the Most High).

If I had taken that path in Islamabad I probably would have stood my ground, but I failed unfortunately and broke under the pressure of what really amounted on occasions to little more than persecution. Who was responsible? I don't know. I certainly have my suspicions, but in Islam suspicion is not enough. If you can't prove an allegation then you should remain silent.

In saying this, I want to stress that the harassment was coming from individuals whom I suspect had nothing to do with Islam – or very little. Judging by their behaviour they seemed to show little more than contempt for the teachings of the religion.

And, I stress it was only a few. I liked the Pakistanis – the ordinary people – the Shaykhs and the murids. They were good, righteous people and I was shown compassion and understanding by many.

I recall with nothing but affection the Imam at the mosque in Aabpara. His name was Ghulam Rasool. He showed true brotherly spirit in that he allowed me to live in the mosque on several occasions. May Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the Most High) reward him and his family in this life and the next for his piety, his mercy.

It isn't easy, when you are alone upon the earth, with nobody but Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the Most High) as your only Friend, Helper and Protector, to make such a journey.  

As such, please reader, don’t take my comments as being any reflection upon Pakistan, nor any reflection on Islam. It wasn’t the religion that was the problem, nor the vast majority of the people. Unless I am mistaken it was Shaitan and his friends and helpers.

For further details about my stay in Pakistan, please see my page headed ‘Living in Pakistan’.


Ian C. Calderwood LAKEMBA 02 SEPT 23