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Military officers not to be part of JIT: CJP

14 August, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar Monday suggested a joint investigation team like the one formed for Panama Papers to probe a case involving laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts.

However, the chief justice made it clear that military officers would not be part of the proposed JIT in the matter, as the apex court wants to include officials who are expert in investigating white collar crimes.

As the hearing of the corruption case involving Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur resumed, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Bashir Memon told the apex court that at least Rs 6 billion were transferred through 15 fake accounts. Billions made through bribery were also transferred through the same method, he added, to which Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked the senior FIA official to not pass such statements. “Don’t label them as corrupt people,” Justice Bandial said.

On the other hand, Shahid Hamid and Ayesha Hamid, counsels for Omni Group chief Anwar Majeed, Abdul Ghani and Zulqarnain, also strongly reacted to DG FIA’s statement. “This is media trial and his statement will be tomorrow’s headline. Such things are prejudicing the case,” Ayesha Hamid said. Shahid Hamid also protested Memon’s statement and said the official should provide evidence of corruption before passing such statements. However, the bench stated that it all depends on their explanation about the transfer of money through the alleged fake accounts. “Onus of proof is on you,” the CJP remarked.

Earlier, when the counsels for the accused urged the apex court to refer the matter to a trial court, the CJP said that the SC has unparalleled and unmatched power to give any direction under Article 184(3) for complete justice. In light of this power, the chief justice said, the top court can also quash the challan submitted by the FIA before the special court in this case.

However, Justice Bandial observed that regardless of the order passed, it would be done as per law. He added that the court has no power to pass any order in violation of the law. Shahid Hamid also requested the bench to grant additional time to Anwar Majeed and others with regards to their appearance before the court. The bench accepted the request and instructed the accused to appear before the court on Wednesday.

Farooq H Naek, counsel for Faryal Talpur and Asif Ali Zardari, said his clients were ready to join the investigation and also apologised on behalf of the party over the incident wherein party workers abused the chief justice. “The PPP always respects the judiciary,” he said.

The court directed Sindh police IG to take departmental action against police officers who have been found guilty of harassing the witnesses. “The courts are providing justice, however, impediments are being created,” the CJP said.

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