Elmo caught with his hand in the cookie jar!

Rafi peer

The Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop has been allegedly found involved in financial misappropriation of millions of dollars received as a part of the USAID-funded project, Pakistan Children’s TV (PCTV).
Reliable sources told Pakistan Today that USAID has already issued notifications regarding the suspension of aid for the programme meant to educate Pakistani children, over ‘severe’ irregularities.
According to the details, the USAID pledged $20 million to the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop (RPTW) which was the sole recipient of the aid while it worked in collaboration with Sesame Street, US.
The project to be initiated with the aid received was to educate the country’s children through entertaining puppet shows broadcast through TV, radio and outreach programmes over a period of four years. Children were to be taught basics such as counting, alphabets, ethics and cleanliness.
Rafi Peer was supposed to complete 78 fresh episodes of the programme ‘Sim Sim Hamara’ in three years, starting from 2010. Currently, however, only the first season has managed to come on-air, while other major portions of the programme, including the radio and outreach programmes have not even been touched.
Sources privy to the development revealed that lack of proper planning, mismanagement and financial irregularities have all been rampant throughout the project leading to an initial delay of a year and a half and finally the suspension of aid, as USAID has already notified the RPTW that it will not fund the programme after September 30.
The RPTW, on their part, have also issued notices to their employees informing them about this development.
Sources claimed that the initial delay in commencing the programme was a result of the ‘inefficiency’ on the part of the Rafi Peer Theatre in coming up with a proper script acceptable to Sesame Street, which was a partner and would approve the script as many of the puppets were its patents. They also said the project amount got revised to $10 million due to certain reasons.
“The delay was only the tip of the iceberg and paled in comparison to what followed. The Peerzadas turned the project into a family affair, awarding all key posts to close relatives, who drew hefty salaries in millions of rupees despite the fact that the programme was mired in delays,” said a source working in the programme.
According to details, Faizaan Peerzada was the chief of the company, Sadaan Peerzada was appointed the programme director, Usman Peerzada the production director, Imran Peerzada head of content, Tasneem Peerzada the senior writer, Sadaan’s wife Mirela the senior creative manager, Sadaan’s daughter Yamina Peerzada was first hired as the creative manager and later as a puppeteer when her contract ended. Sadaan’s elder daughter Alina Peerzada was working as the operations director and Sadaan’s ex-wife Dur-e-Sameen was hired as the set architect.
The sources further alleged that ‘severe’ misappropriations have been committed in procurements, adding that the facilities and money meant for the project have been used to pay off personal debts. “The SUVs provided by USAID for the project were in personal use of the Peerzadas while USAID money was used to pay off their personal as well as Rafi Peer’s debts,” they said.
“The Rafi Peer Theatre had not given salaries to its employees for the past eight months. When they got the USAID contract, they not only settled the salaries, but other dues to the tune of million of rupees to different companies they were indebted to,” the source said. “The entire procurement process is fishy as the tenders were all faked. The theatre would select only those vendors who would ‘accommodate’ them.”
The source added that Rafi Peer also paid off old debts, such as paying around Rs 15 million to Channel Tech for technical equipment. Moreover, expensive security systems were installed at their houses in violation of the contract.
In a very recent incident, Rafi Peer’s owners had their land evaluated for renting it out for the project by their own consultant who estimated its value at a rate much higher than the market value.
The official also alleged that the music contract, like all others, was also given to a ‘blue-eyed’ artist, neglecting renowned musician Meekal Hassan who also took part in the bidding.
A senior official working on the programme said on the condition of anonymity that the misappropriation of money was bad enough without the Rafi Peer Theatre neglecting to broadcast any content.
The contract included radio and outreach programmes as well which did not even take off, as they did not hire anyone for the purpose, the source said, adding that a team of experts was supposed to visit rural areas to educate children on various themes through puppet shows. “These programmes were also to be dubbed in regional languages to be telecast throughout the year across the country,” the official added.
The official stated that the RPTW administration has been offering various ‘attractions’ to the USAID officials concerned for turning a blind eye to the ‘looting spree’, because such blatant misuse of US taxpayers’ money would have been ‘impossible’ in such a strict financial discipline.
When approached, Rafi Peer spokesperson Faizaan Peerzada first refused to comment but then hastened to add that “the information regarding suspension of aid is nothing more than a rumour”.
On the other hand, the US Consulate’s information officer said the USAID’s participation in the programme was concluding on September 30 by mutual agreement of USAID and the Rafi Peer Theatre workshop, which would have received $10 million by then.
“This does not mean that the ‘Sim Sim Hamara’ programme will end… it just means that the USAID participation in the programme has concluded. USAID constantly reviews programmes to make sure they are efficient and have maximum impact,” she said, while refusing to comment further on the issue.



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117 Comments

  1. aloneinlonelyplanet said:

    thats the true face of these Bhutto-fan "elite" class Jialas! They keep on dismissing the common man as a fundamentalist yet they, themselves, are the biggest corruptentalists and have only confused the Pakistanis and thats it!! They keep on calling forces of moderation & peace such as PTI as Taliban Khan yet never care to give a damn to their own fundamentalism ….. corruption i.e. !!

  2. Grazar said:

    This is so sad, even the so called creative types are in it for the money…

  3. rabia said:

    its like a shattering of something crystal clear and laughing. even sesame street couldn't survive Pakistan:(

  4. aryanazlam said:

    That is their real face. I wonder Samena Pirzada is not seen in the show

  5. Rabbit said:

    A slap on the faces of so-called liberals.

    • Naeem said:

      This only a "SLAP" there were some who wanted to blow these liberals with bombs, remember two terrorist bomb blasts on two occasions on the festivals conducted by RPTW,

    • MMMMM said:

      How does being a liberal have ANYTHING to do with this! This is tragic, whether it comes from a mullah, a non muslim, a middle class person, or a high society elite! Being a reformist or a liberal has NO relation to this. Seriously, mourn the corruption of this country's people and stop classifying them and bringing in other issues that aren't related.

  6. Farhan Shah said:

    this Peerzada brothers are all alike. find out how many services they have received from suppliers and how many of these suppliers remain unpaid. They are frauds and nothing more. Sorry USAID…you're no match for these puppeteers

  7. azharali said:

    who ever gets a chance he makes money.whether he is a jidge or general or sprotsman or actor or religious scholars. but problem is that v only blame politicians

  8. shoaib said:

    welcome to the Islamic republic. we lie, cheat, steal, murder and rape. but we say our namaz and do our haj so it all forgiven and we are good and righteous.

    • Ahmed HM said:

      The Peerzadas don't do all that I think. I saw an interview of one of the Peerzadas when he was telling about the 2005 quake (and he said kai he was having his breakfast but all of a sudden he realized it was Ramadan).

      So don't bring My beloved islamic Republic of Pakistan in it …

    • Usman Masood said:

      Oh my, really? I do not understand the constant criticism namaz is given<3 Why drag it into everything?Must.display.my.contempt.for.religion.at.all.costs!

      Anyways, no we dont say our prayers.

    • Abid said:

      Lets not be so negative, I agree with Ahmed & Usman, Namaz is not a part of this.

      Its the top brass which once is completely wiped out, we the rest of people will be fine. Hang each bhutto & its jialas.

  9. Aminullah Chaudry said:

    The Peerzadas started their cheating with the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation of Punajb (TDCP) with Sameena playing a lead role. Nawaz Sharif let them off the hook.

    • belligerent1 said:

      Respected Sir ,,,,,, TDCP IS A GOVERNMENT WHITE ELEPHANT…… i suggest you to go through the case please ….. i had studied the whole thing in detail while my law, case study project ….. Rafi PEER WAS innocent :-) SERIOUSLY ..

  10. Activist said:

    All fake acquisitions shameless article with out any evidence .. people should appreciate such a nice program played twice a week for children, its a culture now in our country to blame and finger point each other !! The credibility of this author is doubtful ..

    • Yamin said:

      I have no knowledge abt this program. I came to know first time from this news item. But I m sure this article is false, becoz in Pakistan, especially in Lahore there r so called Rightist elements who unleash their propaganda against any progressive efforts.

      • aloneinlonelyplanet said:

        hey Activist! Why dunno u shut ur mouth & think about ur BiBi & Zardari! U Jiala!

        • belligerent1 said:

          u guys should use UR H.E.A.D before criticizing any one …… Zilat or Izat Allah Kay hath may hay .. hum comment karnay walay ya kisi ki bhi izat uchalnay walay kon hotay hay ……. try to admire positive things ,,plz and cum up with facts and evidences ……

  11. Hafiz Shah Ali said:

    This was expected from Rafi Peer Theatre gang.
    They cheat at the drop of hat and submit fake/false invoices.
    I suggest to USAID do their forensic audit

  12. Akbar said:

    I guess this is now becoming Pakistani Culture to criticize on good things. I have seen the show and really liked it a lot. At least they were helping the children to learn something by sitting home, other than the stupid news about politicians and bomb blasts. If the author has written so many things about the Project, i wish if he would have backed it up with the help of some evidences.

  13. Naeem Ahmed Bajwa said:

    One sided story, it look more like some disgruntled insider or professional rival venting his anger. I would like to hear RPTW side of story instead. Remember RPTW is singularly responsible for numerous cultural festivals, they have added colour and life to this city, in the times when we were/are besieged by brigades of bigots.

  14. rorolia said:

    Quite depressing.

    The official stated that the RPTW administration has been offering various ‘attractions’ to the USAID officials concerned for turning a blind eye to the ‘looting spree’

    Interesting. VERY interesting :D

  15. Nawab said:

    Ok guys, if USAID is ending the grant with "Mutual consent" that means both parties are clean and …quiet understandable, grow up journalist!look for a better story, you can't fool people like this and i can't find any single paper printing something inline with this news story??? The articale also says Sesame Street will continue tau phir ye baki sb bullshit kya hai.. band karo yaar awam ko bewakoof banana…NICE WORK SIMSIHAMARA and keep the fine work going, you are making the most lovely show in Pakistan's history and these hypocrites will keep roasting! :)

  16. Naeem said:

    Why is it assumed that what ever is written here is a divine truth,let us have Peerzadas side of story, before we start condemning them.
    For heavens' sake, why be so ungrateful, remember all those music and puppet festivals by RPTW. What pleasure and fun filled evening we have enjoyed at Peerus, listening to Sushila Raman and Shah Jo Rag and Sain Zahoor, Bauls of Bengal and many others.

  17. Sara said:

    Sad to sit back and see the support Rafi Peer Theater Workshop has in this country, for an organization who has dedicated over 30 years to provide culture and entertainment to the people of Pakistan. all our children today have seen puppets and have experienced the pleasure of seeing them thanks to this family who believe so strongly in what they do. I am very proud of this Family and their never ending strength to remain committed to what they do best. this is surely alarming as one never hears anything but good things about the Peerzada's but i would need a lot more evidence to be convinced this to me sounds very baseless and plotted !

  18. belligerent1 said:

    oh just read that article….. i dont know wat to write even …… am just thinking from my child hood till now .. as a child when ever i want to have some fun i used to watch puppet shows by Rafi PEER , when i was in college …. we all participated in Rafi peer youth / theater music festivals and it was the only festival /competition we used to wait every year , throughout four years of our university ,, then comes music .. sufi festivals …… and this was the only platform i believe who promote Pakistan sufi music all over. . . when i last visited Pakistan only source of attraction for my kids was Rafi peer Puppet museum , great work by peerzadaaz, my kids use to watch sim sim hamara songs daily on you tube. which is still a great source of learning for my kids .am still shocked that how could someone ignore there 40 years of hard work … its my humble request to the respected Mr. journalist ..please avoid planted news ….. try some other way to gain name.. please young man stop cheating urself …..

  19. belligerent1 said:

    planted news fake.. bad journalism …

  20. anonymous said:

    Why does everyone have the knickers in a twist about this alleged story?! There are unsavory things that have happened in the past. We need to wait for the Peerzada side of the story.

  21. belligerent1 said:

    oh God just read this whole thing ….. i grw up.. watching fun time , Participated in Rafi Peer youth festivals/competitions , enjoyed Rafi Peer sufi music festivals in alhamrah … even my kids daily watch songs of the grt shahkar Sim Sim Hamara . . . my Kids always insisted me to visit puppet museum ……. plz my dear journalist brother u should think even once before writing this article. . . they ev spent their lives to serve Pakistan … and a part from the moral side …. the article is really weak providing no evidence…..

  22. belligerent1 said:

    i grw up participating , watching listening … Rafi Peer Puppet shows youth festivals, sufi muic, dramas , paintings puppets ….n now my kids are enjoying WATCHING sIM sIM hMARA the only educational children programme..endless CONTRIBUTIONS BY rAFI peer .. plz stop discussing this yellow journalism very bad mr. journalist

  23. Naeem Ahmed Bajwa said:

    A fortnight back one of them told me that USAID people are going back, for they are curtailing all their activities in Pakistan, for the reason which are not directly connected with RPTW. They are leaving all the Studio and studio equipment here in their possession so that SIM SIM could be produced by RPTW on their own.

      • wow said:

        The USAID has reduced its presence in Pakistan from 140 projects to 35…these cannot all have been cancelled because of corruption, i don't think. There is far more at play here than this publication is bringing to light.

  24. Aisha Malik said:

    What a piece of shoddy journalism. These sources need to back up their claims with evidence or this article could be strong grounds for a potential law suit.

    • Umar Aziz KhanUmar said:

      If it were grounds for a lawsuit, the Pirzadas would have already sent a notice. They have been caught with their pants down and egg on their face.
      But let's leave them and talk about you. If it is indeed shoddy journalism, point out where it is. Because, as I see it, this report seems to have crossed the I's and crossed the T's.

      • aloneinlonelyplanet said:

        this nation has become sick of Jialas & pseudo-liberals like u Ayesha !! Why dunno u leave this country once and for all? Even ur beloved prime minister has now suggested that too!

        • Aisha Malik said:

          No wonder you are alone on the planet because I bet no one can tolerate you for more than a millisecond.

  25. Jalal Salahuddin said:

    way to go brothers! i am up next!

  26. Naeem said:

    Someone giving vent to his Jealousy, so they need to be heard on this issue, let us hear their side of story before passing our judgments. Remember… RPTW brought us Bauls of Bengal, Sushila Raman, Sain zahoor, Shah jo Rag,

  27. belligerent1 said:

    After the detailed discussion with lot of my other friends and journalists basically USAID limited its activities in Pakistan and from out of 140 projects they have cut short it to just 32 projects withIN Pakistan .. the reason may be Natto Thing as u all know …..so its part of life u win u loose….. they have stopped the programe after two good years and .. AND the Good News is that SIM SIM hamAra will continue with RPTW.

    • farazeh said:

      that is true. USAID is cutting down its projects majorly…

  28. belligerent1 said:

    Many thanks to this family who believe so strongly in what they do…… seriously ….. it was just some professional rival venting his anger ……. we all luv to see peerzadaz work for generations n generations

    • imran said:

      no one dislikes them for their work over generations; it's just that they shouldn't have looted the aid meant to educate our children!

  29. Fariha said:

    It is sad that when any orgnaization or person is start doing the good work particularly for the people of Pakistan miscreant eliment in the ssociety try to sabotage. The eligation seems to be personal enmity with the sponsors. The allegation seems to be of personal enmity with the sponsors, rather than facts based on the substance. Reporter prefers to spent more space on allegations from anonymous source and writes few words on the USAID clarifications about the suspension of the program and even lesser words on the sponsors’ response on his enquiry which is surprising

  30. Lone Wolf said:

    why are people defending thieves? Get me the other side of the story… until then i totally believe all that this article states because its really not rocket science coming up with a childrens PUPPET SHOW!! A year and a half delay is more than enough to raise eyebrows… shame on all of the people that are blindly defending corrupt individuals simply because they have some sort of twisted complicated connection to them…

    • Samina Malik said:

      Hey Lone Wolf ever heard of innocent until proven guilty? Shame not on people who are defending the peerzadas but in fact shame on you for believing malicious opinion based articles that have not backed up their claims. Please quote any valid source in this article that has been named.
      Bottom line: RPTW was awarded this project purely on merit, because they have the most experience in the field. Please name any other company that has the same experience as RPTW. And as such they have done wonderfully, and you would know if you had watched the show. I can vouch for it because my children watch it. I don't think the Peerzadas even need to pay heed to such allegations, they should let their show speak for itself.

    • farazeh said:

      …well it took India two to three years to come up with a puppet show for children completely on the lines of Sesame Street …and that too with Sesame Street working full time with them and even providing them with the puppets!!! For Sim Sim Hamara even the puppets were made in Pakistan by the RPTW! This project was started in July and Season 1 was on air in a few months!!! So hows that for rocket science!!!
      Its not about any "twisted complicated connection"…its simply about being intelligent and sensitive enough to discern between petty gossip/slander and truth!!!

      • aloneinlonelyplanet said:

        I wonder ladies what will you say about Kalian! The amazing puppet show under Farooq Qaiser with Uncle Sargam & Boota was produced with minimum possible funds 20 years back! The program continued for several years! I mean, 20 million USD is hell lot of money!! Even 6 million USD is way too much! Typical blockbuster dramas like Humsafar usually have a PKR 1 crore budget!! The problem is with all of this pseudo-liberal Jiala mentality! These pseudo-liberals, the Pirzadas included, coz of their extremist belief in looting, plundering & corruption can never deliver! They can only confuse the nation and thats it!!

  31. shadowstate said:

    the only people doing good work in the country is coke studio it seems we shoud just get everything done by them instead of trusting these thiefs to do anything for us.. disgusted by ths story

    • belligerent1 said:

      For your very kind information ..plz visit Rafipeer.org there u would know who initiated coke studio my dear …… RPTW…. Coke studio was purtely Mr. fAIZAAN PEERZADA'S idea..

      • aloneinlonelyplanet said:

        hey belligerent1, why dunno u admit u r a Jiala! Go remember ur Bibi, Bhutto & Zardari & let us wait for the electricity to come in!

  32. Pakistani said:

    Just pathetic I mean the quality of comments.Why is it that such shady news comes up in this paper only? Point to ponder.

  33. farazeh said:

    pure and utter nonsense! The "source" of this information seems to be someone who was laid off for his/her own misappropriations/indiscipline/lack of competence and has now published such slander to get back at the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop and the project. Sim Sim Hamara was a breath of fresh air and an amazing educational program for the children of Pakistan. BRAVO RPTW and Sim SIm Hamara ! Keep up with the good work and dont let such petty slander bother you. We have a tendency of putting down people who do good work for society because we ourselves are solely concerned with and involved in our own personal and selfish agendas for which we will employ the vilest means if need be!

    • shazadda said:

      the state department, for your kind information, has made it public that the aid was suspended over charges of financial misappropriation. i am sorry if it broke your heart!

      • aloneinlonelyplanet said:

        unfortunately, for these Peerzada-Jaialas, it was US Aid hence they cant do anything! If it had been Supreme Court of Pakistan, they would have brought out Bhutto's 1979 trial and all that historical crap to justify that Courts have always remained against these Pseudo-liberals!! as if these shd be given a blank cheque for corruption!!

      • Horrified said:

        they only said this after this careless paper printed all these lies. they have been discussing the closing of the project since january due to USAID's own downsizing in Pakistan. 140 projects have been reduced to 35.

        This would have been known if you journalists actually learnt to do their jobs and CHECK FACTS!

  34. Samuel Javed said:

    Seems the admin of the paper/website is keen to keep comments criticizing RPTW but not ones in their support ; until anything is proven the fact remains these are mere allegations and seemingly the work of petty and jealous individuals angry at being overlooked for key positions. a pity.

  35. Concerned Citizen said:

    The Peerzada family has worked hard for the promotion of Pakistani culture and keeping alive our folk traditions for generations now. People should look at their body of work and services to the nation before making baseless accusations on the back of what seems to be a premeditated attack on an honest effort to educate our children.

  36. farazeh said:

    …moreover the project Sim Sim Hamara was given to the Rafi Peer Theater Workshop as a company and not any one Peerzada. So when the RPTW has been operating and been run by all the Peerzada brothers/family for years as a company then why should they all now not be involved in the project SIm SIm Hamara? The allegation that the family is involved seems utterly baseless and illogical! Pakistan Today as a forum for news dissemination and sharing should be more responsible and should verify information before publishing such slander about someone!!!

  37. beenasarwar said:

    Disappointed at this shoddy, one-sided libelous reporting. Kya mahal banaye hain Peerzadas ne? Everyone knows they always work as a family (btw Durre is not Sadaan’s but Faizaan’s ex wife). This is speculative writing based on anonymous sources – probably someone they fired. Dawn at least had the decency to include the Peerzada's views: "Faizaan Peerzada… denied the corruption allegations. He said the US ended its participation after providing $10 million because of the lack of additional available funds."

    • Elmo said:

      Beena Sarwar, how can you call the report speculative and one-sided when it clearly quotes Faizaan Peerzada as having denied that the US was terminating the funding. From the report it is quite evident that he was given a chance to explain the matter but he chose to call it 'a rumour'. Now he's saying that the US was ending its partnership because of lack of funds…who do you trust now woman? What a shame they have brought on Pakistan!

      • belligerent1 said:

        oh dear Mr. Elmo … by the way that was all fake …… whole fake article,,,,, n fake statement quoted by the journalist……how could u forget 40 years of their services and believing this young journalist …. mr. elmo this is Rafi Peer who promoted u through the first season to the pakistani children…..by sim sim hamara .. this will continue ….. by RPTW.

    • Samina Malik said:

      Dear (who ever you are hiding behind Elmo's name) Please stop using Elmo as a mouth piece for your hatred. Maybe your puny little brain cannot imagine how people are misquoted right left and center. And above all of that maybe you can't grasp when things are taken out of context. Perhaps when Mr. Faizaan Peerzada made his comment, it was just rumor and gossip just like this article is at the moment. But now that it is certain he has passed a statement confirming it.
      Stop speculating and stop basing your opinion on biased reports that are not substantiated and start using your brain.
      Sincerely
      someone who actually cares about Elmo and is not just using a lovable puppet to take out personal frustrations.

  38. Cookie Monster said:

    Looks Like it was Open Sesame for the family. They should rename it Peerzada Street.

    • Samina Malik said:

      Looks like someone is a little jealous!

    • belligerent1 said:

      i think if it would be peerzada street that programme would be much more popular than saseme……

  39. Abdul Qadir said:

    the horror… either way, how about them apples?

  40. Rano Usman said:

    Whoever has written this article is reporting as if Sesame Street is the first venture in which the Peerzada family is working together. The world is witness to the Peerzadas (AS A FAMILY) holding international festivals for decades, presenting artists from all over the world. We are very proud of the RPTW for upholding the culture and tradition of our land. Bringing the likes of Saieen Zahoor to the forefront long before they signed the contract with Sesame Street. The fact that a professional organization like USAID awarded this contract to RPTW is a recognition of their services. Therefore this article stating that the Peerzadas "TURNED the project into a family affair" is a false accusation far different from the reality of the situation. While this remains as the only reality on ground of their contributions the questions is: Is USAID a blind organization that doles out millions of dollars without any checks and balances???

    • shazadda said:

      plus, the US state department has confirmed that the aid was suspended over charges of financial irregularities. so it pretty much says it all doesn't it??

      • aloneinlonelyplanet said:

        hey Rano Jiala, how about remembring Farooq Qaiser, the Kalian fame !! Thats was a massive hit puppet show as well that probably took less than a million rupees to get produced! Peerzadas have eaten up USD 6 million with little boots ont he ground!! Also, this time u have US Aid at the front! May be you can blame Pakistan Army for that or may be ISI as some "Mullah" inside ISI has forced US Aid to suspend ur aid!!

  41. Umar Aziz KhanSagheer said:

    What a silly internal inconsistency!
    You say the USAID isn't blind. But then why did they suspend the program?
    You either trust the USAID's judgment or you don't. Please decide.

  42. Ashamed said:

    This is why Pakistan is such a waste of land. People need to realize that corruption can only take them so far before they're caught. The Peerzada family has been known for promoting art but who really cares when something like this comes to light. The issue here is that the corruption has finally caught up to them and now they are running for the hills….

    PLEASE MY PAKISTANI BROTHERS AND SISTERS – STOP CORRUPTION IN YOUR COUNTRY AND TRY TO MAKE PEOPLE LIKE THIS AN EXAMPLE —-SEND THEM TO JAIL!

    • belligerent1 said:

      just like your name u should be ashamed of wat uev said …….. u r believing on a fake report of some unknown journalist who is just earning cheap publicity .. oh my God .. this is a common ailment of our nation .. that they always believ wat outsiders say…. tplease pass your comments before confirming …. there i s not even a single evidence or a piece of paper by Us governement for the corruption ….. please ur head

  43. aloneinlonelyplanet said:

    excellent job Pakistan Today! i can bet 100% that Express Tribune & DAWN NEWS would never have reported this news! SO much for the "impartiality" of the pseudo-liberal English (confused) Pakistani Press!

    • iqbal said:

      yes they deserve this credit because no other english paper could dare write a word against rafi peer however severe the corruption may have been…i don't know what's the reason for this silence, but yes Pakistan Today done it!!

  44. belligerent1 said:

    there is a silence coz article is fake… and journalist just want to earn cheap publicity by this yellow journalism . i am shoked how could any one 4get Rafi PEER'S 40 YEARS OF SERVICES.. REALLY S.A.D……actually Usaid is cutting short its activities in PK ..so like other 100 projects it has been closed.. … and on the other hand please support your artists they are real ambassadors of our country .. plz stop humiliating ur people…. it seems like that its a big political plot against pakistan…///// kindly use your head…..

  45. Symbol said:

    USAID should go back. they are not doing anything useful any way/

    • belligerent1 said:

      shame on u guys u r ignoring someones 40 years of hardwork and believing this plot against Pakistan and your artists.

  46. Fanoo said:

    Baseless article with no evidence whatsoever… such yellow journalism should be punished

  47. Mr T said:

    Sounds like some employee got pissed… foolish article

  48. Azam said:

    So Peerzada is also a Haramzada, interesting.

  49. belligerent1 said:

    Mr. Azam shame on u …. u dont ev etiquettes….. izat or zillat Allah kay hath may hay … may or aap kon hotay hay is tarah kisi ki izat uchaltay huye …. chahay wo koi bhi ho ….. jo ilfaz aap apnay say baroon kay liye use kar rahay hay .. sharam ani chahiye apko apnay aap per…..Azam MEAN BARA admi ..but u sounds so cheap…. i am sorry

  50. Feroze M said:

    Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop is a very well reputed company and I've grown up seeing Rafi Peer Festivals and other puppet activities and I thoroughly admire their work and efforts towards arts, and culture towards our country. In 30 years there has been no allegations how come suddenly some thing came up out of no where? We shouldn't see just one side of the picture. There is other side too which I'm sure is good and clean. I definitely show my support for Peerzadas and their work and would love to see them clean soon and expect more great work from them. But they should definitely be given a chance to prove and say what they have. Peace!

  51. hina said:

    below is the press conference which was held after the news http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZxsh4c-Bjg

    come on people its just allegations for now, let them be proved first, We can't judge and comment someone who has done a lot of work for their country just like that. It's not right.

  52. activist said:

    Our culture peculiarly honors the act of blaming, which it takes as the sign of virtue and intellect. For God sake people open your mind ..

  53. HKhan said:

    MEDIA LEG PULLING & PETTY VENDETTAS
    Having grown up watching the Rafi Peer Puppet shows and spending my adolescence enthralled at the World Performing Arts Festivals, I was incredibly disturbed by the recent allegations towards the RPTW and their alleged ‘misappropriation of funds’.
    I thought to myself how a family, an organization, that has brought so much to the people of Pakistan, through such trying times, in the face of all kinds of odds and often at great personal risk to themselves, could suddenly jeopardize such an important project as the Pakistan Children’s Television Project. It made no sense.
    So I did a little bit of digging myself and was quite horrified to realize that this entire media feeding frenzy, this petty witch hunt was the very worst kind of media leg pulling, for the most basic premise of the Pakistan Today article, that began this whole anti RPTW feeding frenzy was utterly and completely without truth.
    There are in fact NO ALLEGATIONS OF ANY KIND BEING LEVIED AGAINST THE RAFI PEER THEATRE WORKSHOP BY ANYONE. USAID has not committed or informed the Pakistani organization of any investigation or suspected misconduct and the reasons for the early withdrawal from their original commitment are in fact, the scaling down of their presence here in Pakistan due to political instability and frayed ties between the two countries. So if this most basic fact were untrue, it means everything else is just icing on the flawed cake.
    It would I think behoove USAID to speak up for their partner organization, I have worked with a USAID funded project and know from experience how closely they monitor the spending and how involved they are in each and every approval and procurement request. If one is accusing RPTW of financial misconduct one is also bringing into question the ethics and role of the USAID and the part they played in this project.
    There were many other factual inaccuracies in the afore mentioned article as well as a great deal of outright lies and concocted allegations. It shocks me how the journalists that have followed this article have not bothered to verify or substantiate the claims of this first article and makes me sad to think how lacking are the basic journalistic principals in our media.
    Furthermore the response of many people who have read these one sided views is so shocking, why are we so eager to believe the worst of our own people?
    The Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop has spent more than 30 years in service to this country through thick and thin, they have provided culture, education and entertainment to thousands of Pakistanis, many of whom are from underprivileged classes and have no other recourse to these things. It has been the organization that has represented us internationally in such a positive light time and again and that has now brought Sesame Street to our kids…why then are we so eager to turn against them? With no proof, no credible sources, no verification of facts…just a petty article written by a sloppy journalist and published by a careless paper with an axe to grind and we have all jumped on the band wagon of condemnation.
    Surely such an organization has earned more from us? Surely.

  54. Unbelievable said:

    Some Facts

    1. Recently USAID head Rajiv Shah was in Pakistan and decided to bring down the number of on ground projects from arnd 140 to 35. If the project has been closed down it should be seen in this light.
    2. The allegation of the family running the project sounds extremely absurd. When USAID floats a tender for a project, all those contractors wishing to bid for it submit a technical proposal. The technical proposal must include key positions and names of the people holding those positions. USAID knew every well who they were awarding the contract to.
    3. All procurement processes are regularly monitored and audited internally and externally by USAID, had there been some malpractice it should have been caught by USAID in the last 2 years.
    4. The issue of cars being driven for personal uses does not constitute corruption and projects are not closed down on such issues as even if such a practice is taking place it is hard to substantiate as corruption for auditing purposes.
    Finally i believe we all should count the positives it is creating. As my colleague mentioned yesterday in this day and age when young children can speak better english than urdu, his daughter suggested they name a newly adopted cat as haseen-o-jameel rather than an english name. I think that's a beautiful effect sim sim hamara has had.

  55. wow said:

    wow so comments have to be approved by the admin, so the admin chooses what they wish to show the world that people are saying about…well…the admin??? now thats fair and unbiased reporting people

  56. Sadia Bajwa said:

    This is in response to the Pakistan Today news tem that appeared on the 6th of June 2012 entitled "Elmo caught with his hand in the cookie jar!" written by Umair Aziz alleging that the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop has been "found involved in financial misappropriation of millions of dollars received as a part of the USAID-funded project, Pakistan Children’s TV (PCTV)". Aside from its most clever title, the article is in my view a piece of writing that reflects the sad state of journalism in Pakistan. Here yet another case that shows that in Pakistan free press is evidently not built on the foundations of responsible journalism. Should objectivity not be paramount? Or is it all about a catchy title and a good story. The sensationalism of a story should not trump the author's responsibility to give the reader ALL the sides of the story and a real sense of how valid or confirmed certain 'facts' really are. ertain comments (see Naeem Ahmed Bajwa) have been deleting from the news item's page as they contradict or at lease question the assertions made therein. This seriously puts the credibility of the Pakistan Today in doubt!

  57. Sadia Bajwa said:

    I also criticize those of my fellow readers who blindly and passively consume 'news' and 'stories' instead of using their god-given ability of critical thinking! I for my part, would like to hear the RPTW side of the story. I would also be interested in knowing who this reliable/credible source is: a disgruntled ex-employee perhaps? Furthermore, I would like to know more about this "anti-fraud hotline" that is so often mentioned and what the legal procedures concerning the verification of any allegations that are communicated through such hotlines. And most striking of all, is it not a huge coincidence that such allegations become public at exactly the same time as the US is cutting aid in many sectors in Pakistan due to strained relations between the two countries. (See http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-… ). If one looks at the USAID website, one sees that the congressionally approved funds for the PCTV (Sim Sim Hamara) project are 10 Million. 10 Million had already been declared the cutoff point before this whole business of corruption allegations began. The lack of available funds was stated as the reason for not continuing.

  58. Sadia Bajwa said:

    In German one says "Glück im Unglück" (Luck in 'unluck') which idomatically translated means "a blessing in disguise." Aid ideally should not lead to aid dependency, rather it should lead to the capacity of the recipient to stand on its own feet. The RPTW I am confident will be able to continue Sim Sim Hamara as a locally funded project and will continue to imbue it with the kind of high quality that all their cultural ventures have been characterized with to date. Lahoris need only think back heyday of the amazing International Puppet Festivals, the Sufi Music Festivals, the Youth Festivals to name a few when these events lit up the Alhamra Cultural Complex in the 1990s and early 2000s. In the post 9/11 environment, the space for such cultural activities has shrunk drastically, but the RPTW did not bow down adversity. It has remained committed to the arts and continued hosting cultural events, albeit on a smaller scale. The quality of the PCTV Sim Sim Hamara is testimony to their expertise in the field of event management, art direction and production, puppeteering, theatre and acting. And this brings me to another point: the allegation of nepotism.

    The Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop was founded by the five Peerzada brothers in 1974 in memory of the great Urdu playwright Rafi Peer. It was founded by a family and has remained a 'family business' over the years. It is the brothers' great fortune that their children, now young adults, have discovered their own passion for the arts and have been so instrumental in continuing the family tradition, not least through the work of the RPTW. Just to name two examples: Aléna Peerzada (daughter of Sadaan Peerzada) has been working for the RPTW since over a decade and is an integral part of it, having directed numerous events over the years. Yamina Peerzada (d.o. Sadaan Peerzada) who was in the position of creative director and is now a puppeteer for PCTV, is a puppeteer, actress, and artist by profession (see http://sonyarehman.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/quest…. Aléna and Yamina and other members of the Peerzada family are part of the RPTW because they share with the founding brothers the same dream, the same commitment and most importantly the necessary talents that they have honed over the years into full-fledged professional qualifications. They were working for the RPTW in some form or another before USAID came along, whether fully employed or on project basis, so the question is not why were they 'given' jobs in the new project, but rather 'why should they not have been'? The company that had won the bid to produce the show, was naturally going to fill the new vacancies with it own RPTW expertise first (be it of the Peerzada creed or not!). For example, as far as the puppeteering positions go, there were auditions: Yamina is a puppeteer, she auditioned, she was good for the part, should she have been discriminated on the basis of her familial roots? The history of RPTW's success is testimony to the fact that all those working for RPTW whether carrying the Peerzada name or not are highly qualified in the field of the arts and cultural event management and promotion. That is why USAID picked RPTW for the PCTV project in the first place.

    Finally, a press conference was held yesterday (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZxsh4c-Bjg) in which Usman Peerzada stated that RPTW would be more than willing to allow an independent auditor to go through their account books so as to dispel any doubts about the integrity and efficiency with which it has gone about executing this project. ('The Nation' on the press Conference, 6th June 2012) http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-

    Let me end with a politically most incorrect joke that the most of you have probably heard before and can most probably be applied to any nationality – the last time I heard it the German – Russian – Hungarian version:

    "Lucifer takes a revision in the Hell
    - Near the first cauldron there is a board with the following title: „Forbidden to climb out!”
    Lucifer asks the lil’ devil about the board.
    - Master, the Germans are in this cauldron. They are proficient people, they keep the rules, and won’t climb out.
    By the second cauldron, there is an armed guard instead of the board.
    - These are the Russians – says the lil’ devil. – If one of them tries to climb out, the guardian with the machine gun force them back.
    Everything is OK by the third cauldron too, but Lucifer raises his eyebrow:
    - I don’t see neither a board nor a guard here. What’s going on here?
    - Master, no need for either. The Hungarians boiling in this cauldron, if one of them tries to climb out the others will pull him back."

    The Pakistanis are the Hungarians…..

  59. Sadia Bajwa said:

    I criticize those of my fellow readers who blindly and passively consume 'news' and 'stories' instead of using their god-given ability of critical thinking! I for my part, would like to hear the RPTW side of the story. I would also be interested in knowing who this reliable/credible source is: a disgruntled ex-employee perhaps? Furthermore, I would like to know more about this "anti-fraud hotline" that is so often mentioned and what the legal procedures concerning the verification of any allegations that are communicated through such hotlines. And most striking of all, is it not a huge coincidence that such allegations become public at exactly the same time as the US is cutting aid in many sectors in Pakistan due to strained relations between the two countries. (See http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-… ). If one looks at the USAID website, one sees that the congressionally approved funds for the PCTV (Sim Sim Hamara) project are 10 Million. 10 Million had already been declared the cutoff point before this whole business of corruption allegations began. The lack of available funds was stated as the reason for not continuing.

  60. Mediaman said:

    Dear All

    Please watch this. A discussion by Juggan Kazim and Usmaan Peerzada at a morning show.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbs89id94EE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeG5OMgDJrg

    Please spread it guys. We should not take any crap from stupid and fake allegations any-more. It's the time to open our eyes and see what (so-called) "they" don't want us to see. Tell them we're grown ups now and refuse to accept these allegations without evidence. I think it's more of a jealousy factor that Sim Sim Hamara (A Pakistani version of Sesame Street) appeared to be a huge success and seemed to be an amazing quality program for the children of Pakistan for the first time that it was nearly impossible to match the standards so it's a way to defame not only Peerzada (who have not only done great things for arts and culture in Pakistan for Pakistan but for the children and artists all over the Pakistan) but also Pakistan. Everybody should ask for evidences guys and that's the most sensible way to take it up.

    Also find below the discussion by Hasb-e-Haal on Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop. Shows how articles like the one above are a perfect example of framing organizations into false, baseless allegation which lack evidence.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5q2ZpOII1E&fe

    Here’s the press conference which came out after the allegations and Peerzadas have asked for the same evidence people have been asking all over these comments.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZxsh4c-Bjg

    Peace!

  61. Shafiq Butt said:

    The question must be howPoor Pakistani can be saved from such "ART Dedicator to donos" who called themselves as RPTW. Peerzadaz are like Mughal kings Courtiers who have eaten billions in the name of Art and Culture.
    I must say US AID must also taken all money back which is around $ 10 Million as this is also US citizens taxpayers money and not which US consulate has paid to Pirzadas. Peerzada are known to offer many things to Donors for the corruption they do in the name of Art. Hope citizens will look into this with an open eye. Its time to look into theindignious culture of people with more creative and deep eyes.

  62. Naina said:

    If I know t.he peerzada family and I know them very well all I can say is that they have been in this field since 32 years starting from the scratch in Karachi,worked so hard worked really honestly,and everyone in PAKISTAN knows THIS ATLEAST,their alhamra annual festivals have been doing so well in lahore,, who would suddenly believe that they would be CORRUPT, WELL tHIS is a SABOTAGE! ! !U.s and Pakistan have STRAINED relationship and that's the reason for all allegations to ALL established institutions, GOT IT PAKISTANIS? ? ?

  63. Saba said:

    Durre Sameen is NOT Saadaan Peerzada's ex-wife ! Get your facts right before posting nonsense like the rest of your news, without any verification i.e.

  64. Danyal Omar said:

    And these names implicate what exactly?

  65. aloneinlonelyplanet said:

    i can 100% attest without asking u that u r a Bhutto Jiala!

  66. wow said:

    I do know that USAID had informed RPTW of their withdrawal of funds long before this story broke and that there was not mention of corruption or fiscal misappropriation. the USAID presence in Pakistan is being slashed from around 140 projects to 35…
    also having worked with USAID i know that the procurement, purchasing, HR and auditing is closely monitored by USAID EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. there is no spending or movement without their approval. Basically they are closing shop in Pakistan and not wanting to say that they are running away from their commitments. easier to cry fraud, specially when someone else has cried it first. Also to date there has been ABSOLUTELY NO MOVEMENT TOWARDS AN INVESTIGATION RPTW HAS NOT EVEN BEEN NOTIFIED THAT THERE MAY BE NEED FOR ONE. as i said before the audits are done in close collaboration with USAID and both internal and external auditors, there is no room for corruption

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