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June 20, 2017

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SC warns govt depts to remain within limits

SC warns govt depts to remain within limits

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday warned the government departments to remain within limits and stop harassing the JIT members or it will issue a strict order in this regard.

A three-member special implementation bench on PanamaLeaks verdict, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, directed the DG Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate the JIT allegations that the chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) had tampered with the Sharif family’s business record.

The two other members of the bench are Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsen. The court also took exception to the conduct of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and harassment of the JIT members in the name of collecting lowdowns on the JIT members and asked the attorney general to assist it on Tuesday (today) under which law the IB was collecting details of the JIT members.

The AG was also asked to inform the court as to what action should be taken against the IB. The AG was also asked to inform the DG IB to get ready, as he could be summoned anytime. He was also asked to advise the government departments against forcing the apex court to pass any unpleasant orders.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen observed that every day the government’s representatives attack the JIT and the apex court on various news channels and the court will soon issue an order in this regard.

Justice Ijaz observed that the JIT had leveled serious allegations against the SECP of tampering with the record which need to be probed. He said the media and the government were running an organised campaign against the JIT but ‘we will not remain silent and have already made it clear that we do not care if the sky falls or earth crumbles and will go by law and the constitution.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed asked the attorney general if tampering with record was not a crime. “We are showing restraint but would not allow anyone to play with the institutions,” he added.

The judges directed the JIT to work according to the objective given to it by the Supreme Court in the designated time frame and "stop looking here and there." Attorney General Ashter Ausaf however submitted that the SECP had denied the allegations leveled by the Joint Investigation Team.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan however observed that the court thought that the attorney general would play his constructive role. “But you have straightly stated that all the allegations are wrong,” Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan told the AG.

“I did not give my view point in the reply but the institutions against whom the allegations were leveled by the JIT”, the attorney general replied. Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed however asked the AG if he was representing the government.

The attorney general also informed the court that the process of show-cause notice issued by the NAB to Irfan Naeem Mangi, one of the JIT members, had been halted. Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing until today (Tuesday) with direction to the attorney general to assist it today (Tuesday) under which law the IB was collecting details of the JIT members besides informing it as to what action should be taken against the IB over charges levelled by the JIT against it.

It is pertinent to mention here that in pursuance of the allegations leveled by the JIT against the SECP, the Ministry of Law and Justice, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Federal Board of Revenue and Intelligence Bureau (IB), the court had sought a reply from the attorney general.

During the last hearing on Friday, the attorney general submitted his reply, containing the replies of the SECP, the Ministry of Law and Justice, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Federal Board of Revenue and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in addition to the view point of the Prime Minister’s House.

All these institutions as well as the Prime Minister’s House had vehemently denied the allegations. Likewise, DG Intelligence Bureau Aftab Sultan in a separate letter submitted to Supreme Court last week confirmed that information on the JIT members was gathered because of the high-profile nature of Panama Papers case.

In a two-page letter submitted to the top court on June 17, Sultan said how the lowdowns were leaked was a matter of political concern and the issue was already under investigation. In its earlier response, the IB had denied allegations of hacking the Facebook accounts of JIT member Bilal Rasool or his family.

Online adds: PTI lawyer Fawad Chaudhry told the court that specific things relating to the JIT were being leaked out. He said the case proceeding were underway in the Supreme Court but headlines were being published in an English newspaper.

He said one newspaper had announced the verdict adding it was giving bad image to the public. He prayed the SC to make the newspaper’s headlines part of the record. Upon this, Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that he had also read the news. He said it seemed it was the verdict of the ICJ adding that such news had nothing to do with the SC matters.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen said not only specific things but everything was being leaked out. He said the JIT had given solution of these problems. He said serious allegations had been leveled and the court will issue an order in this regard. The court asked the JIT members to pay no heed to the media and the people and focus on their task.

 

 

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