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SC hearings on JIT report from 17th

July 11, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will begin hearings on the report submitted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the Sharif family’s alleged money laundering from July 17.

After receiving the JIT’s report on Monday, the apex court bench consisting of Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Hassan adjourned the matter until next Monday, indicating that the same bench would continue hearing of the case until its conclusion.

The six-member JIT, headed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia, brought the investigation report, along with two large cardboard boxes marked ‘Evidence’, before the bench.

The bench also issued contempt of court notices to the publisher, editor and reporter of English daily The News for “distorting the court order”, and ordered them to submit their replies within seven days.

FIR registered against SECP chief; court issues contempt notices to newspaper, seeks record of PML-N leaders’ speeches

The bench expressed its annoyance with a reporter, who called a member of the Panama Papers case bench in connection with a story.

According to Justice Ejaz Afzal, Ahmed Noorani, a reporter for The News, called him and sought his comments on a story headlined: ‘SC directed ISI to look after JIT’s affairs’.

“How can a reporter dare approach a member of this court?” the bench observed.

Besides, the court directed the JIT to disclose identity of the individual who leaked a photo from Hussain Nawaz’s first appearance. On Hussain’s plea for the constitution of a commission to probe the leak, the bench left it to the federal government, observing that federal government has the discretion to probe this issue, through a commission or otherwise.

The bench also sought transcripts of all speeches made by Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, the PM’s Special Assistant Asif Kirmani, and PML-N MNA Tallal Chaudhry over the past two months.

When Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Fawad Chaudhry chimed in, saying that the court had omitted mention of Rana Sanaullah, Justice Saeed wryly observed that the bench “has also omitted your name”.

Earlier in the day, the JIT members held a final meeting at the Federal Judicial Academy (FJA), which served as their secretariat for two months, and reviewed the final report before presenting it to the court.

On Monday, the bench asked the JIT to vacate the FJA premises within 10 days. It also directed the federal government to ensure the safety and security of six investigators until further orders and also ordered their respective departments not to take any adverse action against them.

FIR against SECP chief

Also on Monday, the FIA registered a criminal case against Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Zafarul Haq Hijazi for tampering with records related to a company owned by Sharif family.

FIA sources confirmed that the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) had registered an FIR against Mr Hijazi under Sections 466 (forgery) and 471 (using forged documents) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947.

FIA Deputy Director Tahir Tanvir is the complainant in this case. The JIT had alleged that the SECP chairman had altered records related to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills. On June 19, the Supreme Court had directed Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali to refer this matter to the FIA.

An investigation team, headed by the FIA’s Maqsoodul Hassan and consisting of three other officials, submitted their report to the Supreme Court on July 8, which found the chairman guilty of altering the records in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

The FIA submitted the 28-page report to the apex court, endorsing the JIT’s allegation. On Monday, the three member bench directed the attorney general to ensure the registration of an FIR against Hijazi on the same day.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2017