Musharraf, Aziz forced me not to resist UK petroleum deal: ex-minister


ISLAMABAD: Usman Aminuddin, former petroleum minister, has revealed that ex-president Pervez Musharraf and ex-premier Shaukat Aziz had forced him not to resist British Petroleum deal for buying Occidental Petroleum’s shares in Badin field.
While commenting on the petition filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan by Jamaat-e-Islami former chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed, he said Occidental Petroleum’s shares in Badin Gas Field were being sold at a throwaway price in 2002. However, he did not bow to the pressure and informed the top men of the country that if they kept insisting on it, he would tender his resignation as the minister of petroleum.
He said everybody in Pervez Musharraf’s team, including Shaukat Aziz and Privatisation Minister Salim Altaf, had personal interest in the deal. Usman Aminuddin narrated that it was his national duty to protect the interests of the state as an in-charge minister for petroleum.
Hence, he opposed in writing the sale of Occidental Petroleum’s shares in Badin field to BP at the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) meeting chaired by the then finance minister Shaukat Aziz in 2002 on the ground that BP’s offered price was just peanuts for such a valuable asset of oil and gas.
He added that CCoP meeting was followed by another urgent meeting next day in the presidency with Pervez Musharraf in the chair to convince him to change his earlier stance. He claimed he outright refused and told Pervez Musharraf that the deal of allowing BP to buy Occidental Petroleum’s shares in Badin field was against national interest and he could not be a party to any such move.
Then Tariq Aziz, principal secretary to Pervez Musharraf, and General (retd) Hamid Javed, came to him to convey him to withdraw a 26-page report opposing the deal, however, he refused to oblige flatly, he said. The former minister added that his report was available with the Finance Division for official consumption and the court could make it a part of the proceedings.