KARACHI, July 11: The Federal Investigation Agency was on Wednesday restrained by the Sindh High Court from arresting Makhdoom Amin Fahim, a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party and federal minister, in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam case without the court’s order.

A division bench comprising Justices Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Salahuddin Panhwar was seized with the hearing of the federal minister’s petition against his involvement in the scam.

The bench also directed the respondents “not to humiliate the petitioner without due process of law and not to arrest him without permission of this court till next date of hearing” and fixed the matter for July 26.

The federal minister, represented by Advocate Rasheed A. Razvi, impleaded the interior secretary, FIA director-general, regional director and the deputy director of the FIA Crime Circle, Karachi as respondents.

The bench issued notices to the respondents and the federal law officer for the next hearing.

His counsel submitted that the petitioner was a renowned political figure of the country and Sajjada nashin (caretaker) of Dargah Ghous-ul-Haq Hazrat Makhdoom Sarwar Nooh at Hala and had millions of followers.

He stated that Mr Fahim had an unblemished political background and was falsely and with mala fide intentions involved by the FIA officials in the FIR (21/2010) registered at the Commercial Bank Circle on Nov 22, 2010.

The counsel submitted that his client was neither named in the FIR nor was he mentioned as an accused in the charge-sheet filed in the trial court.

He stated that the petitioner was being charged with the appointment of then NICL chief Ayaz Khan Niazi and purchase of 10 acres at Korangi on exorbitant prices, thus causing colossal losses to the national exchequer.

Advocate Razvi submitted that the rules and procedures were followed by the ministry of commerce and two other names besides Ayaz Khan Niazi were recommended for appointment as the NICL chairman and the appointment was made by the prime minister after considering the recommendations by the competent authority.

He submitted that the petitioner and family members had obtained a loan facility from a private bank and in order to repay the outstanding amount, a mortgaged property in DHA phase VI was sold to Zafar Saleem, also a co-accused in the NICL scam, for sale consideration of Rs72.5 million.

The counsel said that his client had received a partial payment of Rs41 million from Zafar Saleem, but the execution of the property sale could not be fulfilled due to his tragic death in an air crash and the received amount was returned to his legal heirs through cheques.

He submitted that a lawsuit in respect of such property was disposed of by the court by consent order of the parties.

According to the FIA, a sum of Rs900 million reached a joint account of Khalid Anwar Khan and Khawaja Akbar Butt, while the real owner of the amount was Zafar Saleem, a former national athlete and director-general of the Sindh Workers’ Welfare Board, who died in the plane crash on July 28, 2010.

The counsel submitted that the FIA officials were harassing and humiliating the petitioner.

Apprehending the arrest of his client, the counsel prayed to the court to direct the respondents not to harass, humiliate and arrest the petitioner.

Updated Jul 11, 2012 10:31pm

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