SC forms JIT to probe alleged abuse of power by Swati

Published November 3, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Police IG Jan Mohammad arrives at the Supreme Court for hearing in the case regarding his transfer.
—Online
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Police IG Jan Mohammad arrives at the Supreme Court for hearing in the case regarding his transfer. —Online

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe alleged abuse of power by Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati involving a physical showdown between his guards with a neighbour following the arrest of the opponent’s family members, including women and her children, and transfer of the inspector general (IG) of Islamabad police.

The JIT will comprise officers from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Intelligence Bureau (IB).

“We will also examine this matter in the light of Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution. We hold the parliament in high esteem but would not allow such abuse of official position,” remarked Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar while heading a bench which had taken up a case relating to transfer of Islamabad IG Jan Mohammad.

The court issued a notice to Mr Swati for misuse of authority, asking him to explain how could he continue to be a member of parliament.

The chief justice said the matter would be thoroughly investigated. “A parliamentarian has to be righteous. We will also see how Azam Swati accumulated assets, besides finding out who is behind him.”

Withdraws its order suspending notification for transfer of Islamabad IG

Referring to the arrest of a 12-year-old boy, his sister and mother, he asked: “Were they in a position to compete with Azam Swati? Are these the leaders who should be tolerated by us as judges?” He also asked what was the purpose of inserting Article 62 (1) (f) in the Constitution.

When Mr Swati’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar said that an incident had taken place, but the facts behind it should also be examined, the chief justice said that this was not the matter of incident, but the court had to see how the government machinery had been misused.

The chief justice also chided Barrister Zafar for representing a big gun and asked why his licence should not be suspended. The court regretted that this time he was representing a man who had misused his powers against a poor family.

Members of the victim family also appeared before the court and one of them said he was a poor man and his family became a victim of excesses. He said he was at a shop at the time of the incident, but a case had also been registered against him, adding that his wife and children had also been arrested.

However, he said: “I do not want to damage reputation of the country. I forgave Azam Swati for the sake of Allah.”

At this, the chief justice said: “You can forgive him if that suits you, but we will investigate the matter. Swati should own up to his wrongdoing.”

The court said it did not recognise a settlement by a jirga.

Barrister Zafar submitted an apology on behalf of the minister, but the court rejected it and said it would form a JIT to probe the transfer of the Islamabad police chief.

When the court asked IG Mohammad why a case had not been registered against Mr Swati, he said he was on a visit abroad.

The court asked the IG if he would like to continue under the prevailing situation.

“I am a uniformed person and part of a disciplined force. I will implement any order of the government,” the IG said.

At this, the court withdrew its earlier order of suspending the notification for removal of Jan Mohammad as Islamabad police chief.

The IG’s transfer took place after Mr Swati’s son had registered a case against slum dwellers allegedly trespassing on his family’s land. Five people, including two women, were arrested for trespassing on the land and beating Mr Swati’s guards up.

They were released on Tuesday after a day’s detention as police said a settlement had been reached between the minister and the detained family.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2018

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