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Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Islamization of key positions and the repeated humiliation of Hindu intellectuals in Fiji flies in the face of PM Bainimarama’s defense

In our previous article, we exposed the blatant takedown of Hindu intellectuals in Fiji and the practice of slamming them with false cases [1]. In reply to that article, Fiji’s Prime Minister Bainimarama upheld the secular credentials of Fiji, saying there is ‘equal opportunity for all’ in Fiji irrespective of ethnic or religious identity [2]. However, the stuffing of key positions in the Fijian government with Muslims and Pakistani-origin people undermines such claims.

Simultaneously, the takedown of Hindu leaders and intellectuals, often coinciding with Diwali and the involvement of Pakistan in the conduct of the elections with allegations of fraud itself manifests a pattern that is way too concerning. It smells of Islamization. Coupled with the fact that allegations of corruption amounting to billions of dollars are rife, it fits into a pattern that can lead to the compromise of the Fijian nation itself. 

Ever since Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum won the support of Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama by helping him to win elections allegedly with the help of Pakistan, he has embarked on an ambitious Islamization drive. Because the Muslim population in Fiji is small, he has carefully chosen a path where key positions in the government have been stuffed with Muslims without assuming outright power. Even Pakistani-origin professionals have been called in to help in that effort. A case in point is Saud A Minam, a former citizen of Pakistan who was vying to be the CEO of Fiji National Provident Fund. Presently the CEO of Fiji Development Bank, his Fijian citizenship remains quite controversial. It is said that rules were flouted to ensure that he gets the early citizenship of Fiji [3,5].

While a MOU between the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Fijian Chamber of Commerce, resulting in the formation of the Pakistan Fiji Business Council may appear business as usual, but when we couple it with the fact that the help of NADRA, a Pakistani company, with questionable past connected to terrorism, was asked to manage Fiji’s 2018 election system, a new paradigm and pattern emerges. Understanding the fact that Pakistan itself is on the verge of bankruptcy, the context sees something more than what meets the eye [6-9].

The literal stuffing of Muslims in key positions of power, vis a vis the systematic takedown of Hindu intellectuals, forces the Hindus to see a clear communal aspect to the entire development. This runs contrary to what Prime Minister Bainimarama has said in his response to the HinduPost article, where he says that “Fijians irrespective of religion, work together to build the country”.

As one looks at the appointments in key positions, one is aghast to see an outsized Muslim presence, despite forming only 5% of the population. While all these could have easily been seen as hard-working professionals making their way up in this multi-religious, multi-ethnic nation, the connections with Pakistan, questionable appointment of Pakistani nationals and alleged subversion of law to fast track citizenships raises doubts and concern.

Following are some of the key appointments made by Khaiyum as AG

1. Reserve Bank Governor [10]: – Faizul Ariff Ali. He holds numerous other board positions.

2. Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit [11]: – Razim Buksh

3. CEO of Fiji Accident and Compensation Commission [12]: Parvez Akbar

4. Fiji Broadcasting Commission [13]: – Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum – holds other various board appointments. He was the Chairman of Air Terminal Services (ATS) whereby he charged $5000 per day whilst workers were protesting during the strike in early 2018.

5. Lead Consultant and Accountant on any Foreign Investment in Fiji, aunt of Khaiyum [14]:  – Nur Bano Ali. There are allegations of corruption against her. For example, she was awarded a contract of $500,000, without any tender process, by her nephew Khaiyum, for the restructure of Rewa Dairy. When the Office of the Auditor-General highlighted this in their report, Nur Bano Ali cried defamation but she lost the case. She also allegedly supported the misdemeanors of male bosses against their female employees. In addition, Nur Bano holds the position of Chairperson of Fiji National University (FNU) Council and the Chairperson of Women in Business (Fiji) and also controls the Fiji Chamber of Commerce. Nur Bano allegedly also wields and misuses her tremendous influence and authority in the Fijian private sector.

6. CEO of Pacific Fishing Company [15-16]: – Saiyad Raiyum

7. Pakistani born Gul Fatima and the lawyer for Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum [17-19]. Gul Fatima leads the case where politically-motivated charges have been brought against Richard Naidu, one of Fiji’s top lawyers and a political rival of Khaiyum. Khaiyum brought up the trumped-up charges against Richard Naidu whilst Gul Fatima is representing Khaiyum in this case.

8. FICAC -Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption Commissioner [20]: – Rashmi Aslam

9. Most importantly the Supervisor of Elections in Fiji [21]: – Mohammed Saneem.

10. Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport ( Govt)  – Shaheen Ali

11. Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation – Rosy Akbar

12. Minister for Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Tourism [22-23]: – Faiyaz Siddiq Koya

13. Fiji Airways Executive General Manager – Shaenaz Voss. Shaenaz is allegedly the real boss in Fiji Airways who controls both Fiji Airways and Airports Fiji Limited.

14. Former Executive Chairman of Fiji Sugar Corporation (2011-2016) – Abdul Khan. Abdul Khan is alleged to have single handedly destroyed the sugar industry through corruption and financial mismanagement as he was getting $750,000 yearly salary plus rental free apartment in Denarau Nadi. He was both the CEO and Chairman of FSC which is a blatant conflict of interest. He was forced to resign after being exposed by NFP Leader Dr. Biman Prasad and Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry. Despite NFP Leader Dr. Prasad raising issues many times in Parliament about investigations against Abdul Khan, Sugar Minister Bainimarama always dodged and evaded the question. Khaiyum has protected Abdul Khan since he donated $200,000 towards FijiFirst Party [24].

15. Former Executive Chairman of Airports Fiji Limited – late Faiz Khan. He got around $800,000 in yearly salary and held numerous other board positions.

16. Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) Board Member – Mukhtar Ali. He’s a cousin of Khaiyum who resides in the United States of America. Imagine sidelining the locals, and appointing his cousin who lives overseas.

17. Mahmood Khan – Khaiyum’s uncle who used to reside in New Zealand holds the positions of University of the South Pacific’s Council Member, Board Member of Fiji Revenue and Customs Services (FRCS) and Board Member of Fiji National Provident Fund. This is a case of blatant conflict of interest. This is the same Mahmood Khan who was instrumental in trying to get rid of USP Vice Chancellor Prof. Pal Ahluwalia by campaigning against him. 

The Islamization of Fiji is continuing unabated. On one hand, the immigration from Pakistan, and on the other hand the official patronage being provided to Muslims and Islamic institutions. While attendance of politicians in any religious festival is a way to connect, the costumes of the people attending these events resembles a culture alien to Fiji [25-29].

On the other hand, when we consider the takedown and humiliation of Hindu intellectuals – selectively targeted, slammed with false cases, it will disturb any objective observer. It shows a sinister plot to disrepute the Hindu community. This is a ploy often implemented in many Islamist nations where Hindus have been hounded and marginalized, and left leaderless and disorganized. Pakistan is notorious for its Islamofascist state and society, where all minorities like Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Ahmadi, Shia are systematically persecuted. Is this the type of country that Fiji should be looking to engage and import people from?

Even Diwali day, the most important festival for Hindus, is being targeted and cases emerge where Hindu intellectuals had to stop their Diwali puja midway to comply with the government diktats.

Take for example, NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad. He was slammed with a false, fabricated, malicious case. The CID wanted to interview him on Wednesday. He requested a postponement by one day, saying that he be allowed to complete his Diwali prayers. The CID arrived in the morning, while he was doing his Diwali puja at home. He had to stop his puja and rush to the NFP headquarters where the CID was waiting [30].

Another Hindu intellectual who was dismissed on a Diwali day is Sharvada Sharma. In his capacity as the Solicitor-General for 10 years, he loyally served Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. When Khaiyum lost the initial court case that he brought against former SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula, he blamed it on Sharvada.

Critics believe that Khaiyum then made the following plan: First he used PM Bainimarama to demand Sharvada should resign. Sharvada refused to resign and resisted the bullying attempt. Next Khaiyum used Elections Supervisor Mohammed Saneem to lodge a complaint against Sharvada which got him dismissed. With links to Pakistan, people in Fiji see this as a case of the Islamist brotherhood ganging up against a Hindu. 

Sharvada was given the dismissal letter on Diwali day in 2021 last year when he was about to do his main pooja in the evening. Sharvada felt deeply humiliated being given the dismissal letter by Khaiyum’s men when he was about to do Diwali Pooja. Although Sharvada has filed a court case, the judiciary is seen as dragging the case continuously, which is against the 2013 constitution.

Under the 2013 constitution, only the Chief Justice and President can dismiss the Solicitor-General but in this case Khaiyum and Saneem got rid of a top devout Hindu like Sharvada. This points to how judiciary and justice system have all been weakened by Khaiyum and his cabal. [31-33].

Another example is Parmesh Chand. He was one of the best Permanent Secretaries in the Bainimarama Government. He also served as a PS in the late Laisenia Qarase’s government. As Permanent Secretary for the Public Service Commission (PSC), he worked under Bainimarama who was the Minister for Public Service Commission. Since Bainimarama knew nothing about the ministry, Parmesh handled the responsibilities of PSC and his ministry very diligently. He also regularly appeared on TV and in the media on issues relating to public service. This was before the 2014 elections.

After the 2014 elections, Khaiyum became the Minister for Public Service Commission. Subsequently, Parmesh Chand’s appearance in media and TV began to decline. Reliable sources confirm that Khaiyum continuously interfered with Parmesh Chand when he was only doing his duty. Khaiyum wanted all control under him and wanted Parmesh to do what he was told to do. Khaiyum also saw Parmesh as a threat because Bainimarama used to like Parmesh’s work.

It is alleged that Khaiyum then began to scheme against Parmesh by badmouthing him to Bainimarama. In 2015, media reports said that Parmesh had left the government but in reality, Parmesh was forced to resign by Khaiyum. Parmesh could not survive even one year under Khaiyum’s ministry. A top PS, and a Hindu, like Parmesh was forced out by Khaiyum because he was seen as a threat since he knew lots about public service and reforms. After Parmesh was gone, Khaiyum turned PSC into the Ministry of Civil Service and later destroyed the independence of the organization. Analysts says that the Civil service ministry now only does what Khaiyum orders them to do when previously it was an independent body [34].

Dr. Neil Sharma diligently served as one of the top Health Ministers in the Bainimarama Government from 2009-2014. After winning his seat in the 2014 elections, Dr. Sharma was not included in the cabinet by Khaiyum. Sources claim that Khaiyum was influenced by top FijiFirst donors not to give the health portfolio again to Dr. Sharma because he was strict when it came to food production and its quality.

In 2015, NFP Leader Dr. Biman Prasad brought a motion to Parliament whereby he called for an increase in health budget to address the rising Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) cases in the country. It was a very good motion and as former Health Minister, Dr. Sharma knew its importance and so voted in favour of the NFP motion. Then Leader of the House, Pio Tikoduadua (now NFP President) sorted this issue out with Bainimarama and all was okay since Dr. Sharma was asked to vote along party lines next time. But Khaiyum got angry and wanted Dr. Sharma out.

Bainimarama had no option but to listen to Khaiyum and on his demand, forced Dr. Sharma to resign. Feeling humiliated at his intervention being ignored, Pio Tikoduadua also resigned. Hence, it is believed that because of Khaiyum’s arrogance, FijiFirst lost two good and capable people like Tikoduadua and Dr. Sharma. [35].

There have also been severe allegations of institutionalized corruption under Khaiyum.  For example, buying of Aircrafts by Fiji Airways was mired in controversy with the formation of a Shell company Waqavuka Financing Limited. It was meant to facilitate the purchase of three aircrafts, but the details have been murky. Dr. Biman Prasad of NFP has asked for details of the shell company, transactions involved and has questioned the acquisition process [36].

Another questionable transaction is the sale of 44 % of Energy Fiji Limited to a consortium, Sevens Pacific Pte. Limited. The earnings of the sale, which should easily have been more than USD 200 million, was never transparent, raising the specter of massive corruption [37]. Even the acquisition of 75% of Grand Pacific Hotel by Fiji National Provident Fund from Papua New Guinea partners – National Superannuation Fund and CGA Properties Limited – in November 2018, also was not free of controversy [38].

Another disturbing fact is the attempt by Khaiyum to sever the umbilical cord of Fijian Hindus with Bharat (India). While every Hindu reveres the place they work as Karmabhoomi (land where they work and which sustains them) and does everything possible to make the nation strong, Bharat remains a Punyabhoomi (sacred land, spiritual home) for all Hindus. Efforts are on to remove pure Hindi from Fiji and replace it with locally spoken Hindi. This is being done through the Fiji National Radio such as Radio Mirchi under Fijian Broadcasting Corporation with the backing of Khaiyum brothers, namely Aiyaz and Riyaz. The goal here is to carve out a separate identity for the Hindus of Fiji and make them vulnerable and disorganized so that they are cut off from the global Hindu population [39-43].

Under the prevailing situation, as Fiji goes to the polls, for the betterment of Fiji, a corruption free government which is free of bias is one that is for the good of all Fijians. Voters can decide what kind of leadership can provide such ideal governance, something that Hindus refer to as ‘Ram Rajya’.

References

1)      https://hindupost.in/world/is-aiyaz-sayed-khaiym-engaging-in-jihad-against-hindus-through-the-patronage-of-the-fijian-government-and-with-the-help-of-pakistan/

2)      https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/bainimarama-slams-bigoted-article/?fbclid=IwAR1DqB_cJvQpRd6xRYnjJybswYXpKJ9wku2EB5Waepyd_jSw39px6azURMY

3)      https://www.fijitimes.com/mp-radrodro-quizzes-citizenship-status-of-new-ceo/

4)      https://www.fijileaks.com/home/pakistani-politicking-in-paradise-saud-minam-the-ceo-of-anz-fiji-says-he-is-going-now-where-for-he-has-bought-a-house-in-fiji-might-enter-politics-and-allah-permitting-become-fnfp-ceo-is-he-fiji-citizen

5)      https://www.fijivillage.com/news/Saud-Minam-appointed-as-the-new-CEO-of-FDB-xfr845/?fbclid=IwAR0dndt6pKYxAT7-4Hou6Xeewhqxm66nQjd86Ny65iU2UtJA_j-6u_4p0ZA#.YPDwaHjKfoY.facebook

6)      https://www.mcttt.gov.fj/keynote-address-by-minister-for-commerce-trade-tourism-and-transport-hon-faiyaz-siddiq-koya-memorandum-of-understanding-between-federation-of-pakistan-chamber-of-commerce-and-fiji-chamber-of-co/

7)      https://tribune.com.pk/story/933042/revealed-nadra-men-helped-terrorists-get-pakistani-identity-cards

8)      https://www.fijitimes.com.fj/no-terror-link/

9)      https://www.abc.net.au/pacific/programs/pacificbeat/pakistani-organisation-involved-in-fiji-election/8639384

10)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reserve_Bank_of_Fiji

11)  https://www.rbf.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/PR-09-Appointment-of-Director-FIU-04May06.pdf

12)  https://www.facebook.com/FijianGovernment/photos/ceo-of-accident-compensation-commission-fiji-mr-parvez-akbar-delivers-his-speech/1880638548635738/?paipv=0&eav=AfYsxhiyJrl4q42xyG_sSIEAH_JvcmNxHZ1C1tRZaC0qPlwOm2_C91yATcK3sHajBGQ&_rdr

13)  https://www.linkedin.com/in/riyaz-sayed-khaiyum-4273a728/?originalSubdomain=fj

14)  https://www.truthforfiji.com/february-2020.html

15)  https://directory.digital.gov.fj/organisation?orgId=55

16)  https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/business/pafco-suffered-2m-loss-in-2018/

17)  https://www.civicus.org/index.php/media-resources/news/5953-fiji-contempt-proceedings-over-highlighting-spelling-mistake-inject-climate-of-fear

18)  https://asiapacificreport.nz/2022/10/29/fiji-contempt-of-court-case-now-defence-lawyer-cited-over-kangaroo-rebuke/

19)  https://www.fijitimes.com/graduate-eyes-phd/

20)  https://www.fijivillage.com/news/Rashmi-Aslam-has-been-appointed-as-the-FICAC-Commissioner-8f4rx5/

21)  https://www.feo.org.fj/the-supervisor-of-elections/

22)  https://directory.digital.gov.fj/directory/organisation?orgId=29

23)  https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/bainimarama-slams-bigoted-article/?fbclid=IwAR2yjcltDCa62sMTH2GsK8gQOdH36CFXjNtdC4eC4p8iDKug8AZrY4-F1Jg

24)  https://www.fijitimes.com.fj/ex-fsc-ceo-investigation-is-ongoing/

25)  https://fb.watch/gU3QO7DuLK/

26)  https://fijisun.com.fj/2018/06/26/pakistani-community-celebrates-eid-ul-fitr/

27)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0yO0HvKbPg&t=59s

28)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JksoTN-8Y08

29)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6IWdK9vTvU

30)  https://www.fijivillage.com/news/Prof-Prasad-charged-with-two-counts-of-indecently-insulting-or-annoying-a-person-x4r85f/

31)  https://www.grubsheet.com.au/constitutional-crisis-erupts-fiji/?doing_wp_cron=1668109192.6373169422149658203125

32)  https://www.fijitimes.com/sacked-s-g-takes-legal-action-against-fijian-government/

33)  https://www.grubsheet.com.au/secrets-and-skeletons-the-inside-story/?doing_wp_cron=1668818229.4497570991516113281250

34)  https://www.fijitimes.com/2022-general-election-former-ps-in-pms-office-among-peoples-alliance-provisional-candidates/

35)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Sharma

36)  https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/parliament/nfp-calls-for-more-information-of-fiji-airways-and-waqavuka-financing-ltd/

37)  https://www.fijitimes.com/questions-arise-around-sale-of-efl-shares/

38)  www.fbcnews.com.fj/business/acquisition-of-gph-great-investment-fnpf/

39)  https://www.fijitimes.com.fj/chaudhry-questions-motive-of-radio-station/

40)  https://fijivillage.com/news/FBC-to-continue-using-Fiji-Hindi-on-Mirchi-FM-Hindi-Parishad-to-decide-on-their-next-step-59s2kr

41)  https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/409974/fiji-s-constitution-undermines-hindi-language-opposition-mp

42)  https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/mirchi-fm-using-fiji-hindi-from-today/

43)  https://www.fijivillage.com/news/We-have-no-connection-to-India-and-Fiji-is-our-home—Kumar-5f8xr4/?fbclid=IwAR0GjKbcSu4SigZGmL5sAONk72fKsFIJDbX6Sz4FosHQIcFj2LV9QB_6NYE

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