An article in our media recently exposed the blatant takedown of Hindu intellectuals in Fiji and of slamming them with false cases 1. In reply to the post, 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 filling 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 reeks 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 filled 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 early citizenship of Fiji 3,5.
While the 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, the fact that the help of NADRA, a Pakistani company, with questionable past linked to terrorism, was tasked to manage Fiji’s 2018 election system, a new paradigm and pattern emerge. Given the fact that Pakistan itself is on the verge of bankruptcy, this is something more than what meets the eye 6-9.
The appointment of Muslims in key positions of power, vis a vis the systematic takedown of Hindu intellectuals’ forces has a clear pattern. This runs contrary to what Prime Minister Bainimarama has said in his response to the Hindu Post 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 are 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 raise doubts and concern.
The following are some of the key appointments by Khaiyum as AG Reserve Bank Governor10 - Faizul Ariff Ali. He holds numerous other board positions.
Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit11- Mr Razim Buksh
CEO of Fiji Accident and Compensation Commission12: Parvez Akbar
Fiji Broadcasting Commission13- Mr. 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.
Lead Consultant and Accountant on any Foreign Investment in Fiji, aunt of Khaiyum 14 – Nur Bano Ali. There are allegations of corruption against her. She was awarded a contract of $500,000, without any tender process, by her nephew Khaiyum, for the restructuring of Rewa Dairy. When the Office of the Auditor-General highlighted this in this report, Nur Bano Ali alleged 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 misuses her tremendous influence and wields authority in the Fijian private sector.
CEO of Pacific Fishing Company15-16- Saiyad Raiyum
Pakistani-born Gul Fatima and the lawyer for Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum 17-19. When one has a Pakistani-origin defense lawyer, it invariably points to the Islamist leanings of Khaiyum. Gul Fatima also leads the case against politically motivated charges against Richard Naidu, who is 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.
FICAC -Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption Commissioner20– Mr. Rashmi Aslam
Most importantly the Supervisor of Elections in Fiji21 - Mohammed Saneem.
Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport (Govt) – Mr Shaheen Ali
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation - Rosy Akbar
Minister for Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Tourism 22,23 - Faiyaz Siddiq Koya
Fiji Airways Executive General Manager - Shaenaz Voss. Shaenaz is the real boss and a dictator in Fiji Airways who controls both Fiji Airways and Airports Fiji Limited.
Former Executive Chairman of Fiji Sugar Corporation (2011-2016) - Abdul Khan. Abdul Khan single-handedly destroyed the sugar industry through corruption and financial mismanagement. He drew $750,000 yearly salary plus a 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 this crook Abdul Khan since he donated $200,000 to FijiFirst Party24.
Former Executive Chairman of Airports Fiji Limited - late Faiz Khan. He got around $800,000 in yearly salary and held numerous other board positions.
Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) Board Member - Mukhtar Ali. He’s a cousin of Khaiyum who resides in the United States of America. Sidelining the locals by Khaiyum appointed his cousin who lives overseas.
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 Muslim institutions. While the attendance of politicians at any religious festival is a way to connect, the costumes of the people attending these events are culturally alien to Fiji 25-29.
On the other hand, the takedown and humiliation of Hindu intellectuals and slapping them with false cases is truly concerning. It shows a sinister plot to disrepute the Hindu community. This is a ploy often implemented in many Islamist nations where Hindus are sidelined. More importantly, Diwali Day is often being targeted forcing Hindu intellectuals to stop their Diwali puja midway to comply with the government diktats.
NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad was slammed with a false, fabricated, malicious case. The CID wanted to interview him on Diwali Day. He requested a postponement by one day 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 to attend CID investigation30.
Another Hindu intellectual dismissed on 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. So Khaiyum forced Bainimarama to demand Sharvada’s resignation. Everyone knows that Bainimarama is a bully and a thug. Sharvada refused to resign and resisted the bullying and thuggery of Bainimarama. Khaiyum used Elections Supervisor Mohammed Saneem to lodge a complaint against Sharvada leading to his dismissal. The jihadi brotherhood ganged 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. Although Sharvada has filed a court case, the judiciary is 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. Judiciary and justice system have all been destroyed by Khaiyum and his thugs 31-33.
Parmesh Chand 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 and continuously interfered with Parmesh Chand’s duties. Khaiyum also saw Parmesh as a threat because Bainimarama used to like Parmesh’s work. Khaiyum began bad-mouthing Parmesh.
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 who had expertise in 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. Civil service ministry now only does what Khaiyum ordered 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. Reliable reports confirmed 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. And top FijiFirst donors were only willing to adulterate food products with cheap ingredients which was opposed by Dr. Sharma.
In 2015, NFP Leader Dr Biman Prasad brought a motion to Parliament whereby he called for an increase in the 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 his boss Khaiyum and on his demand, forced Dr Sharma to resign. Bainimarama then told Pio Tikoduadua, the Leader of the Government, that his advice was worthless, and that he will only listen to Khaiyum. Pio Tikoduadua felt humiliated and resigned. Because of Khaiyum’s big ego and 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. The purchase of aircrafts by Fiji Airways was mired in controversy over the formation of a Shell company Waqavuka Financing Limited. It was meant to facilitate the purchase of three aircraft, but the details have been shady. Dr. Biman Prasad of NFP has asked for details of the shell company, and 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, estimated to be over USD 200 million was mired in 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.
Despite all this, even as Hindus to trying to chart their own course Khaiyum is trying to sever the umbilical cord of the Fijian Hindus with Bharat. While every Hindu treats the place they work as Karmabhoomi and does everything possible to make the nation strong, Bharat remains a Punyabhoomi 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 the global Hindu population does not come to their help 39-43.
Under the prevailing situation, as Fiji goes to the polls, the betterment of Fiji, a corruption-free regime, a regime 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.
Image source: Fijileaks
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