JIT holds Azam Swati, his employees responsible for altercation with 'trespassing' family

Published November 19, 2018
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Azam Swati. — File
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Azam Swati. — File

A joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court earlier this month to probe alleged abuse of power by Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati has held the lawmaker and his employees responsible for the altercation that took place at his farmhouse involving slum dwellers, an official close to the investigation told DawnNewsTV.

Swati, a member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), is accused of playing a role in the transfer of former Islamabad police chief Jan Mohammad — an allegation over which the SC had pondered taking action against him under Article 62 of the Constitution before forming a JIT.

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

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

Led by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Director General Irfan Mangi, the JIT, also comprising members of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB), had begun its inquiry against Swati and visited his residence in Islamabad on November 7.

The probe body submitted its final report on the matter in the apex court today.

The report, comprising five volumes, states that the inquiry against Swati was linked to the situation that arose after the minister's son had a case registered against a neighbouring family.

The report, which has not been released publicly, also raises questions regarding the transfer of the former Islamabad IG by the government in the aftermath of the altercation.

The SC had directed the JIT to probe alleged misconduct on the part of Swati, besides examining the minister and his children's assets and tax payments. The team was asked to present its report within 14 days.

The JIT had communicated with a number of people during the probe, and also included Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi in the investigation.

Alleged abuse of power

The alleged abuse of power on Swati's part had emerged following an altercation between his domestic staff and neighbours, whose cattle had reportedly ventured on the minister's farmhouse and caused damage to his property.

The altercation, coupled with the IGP's transfer, had caught the attention of the media as well as the apex court.

Talking to Dawn, Swati had earlier disclosed that the IGP was contacted on his mobile phone after making 38 calls and he promised action on his complaint against the neighbours. The next day, he had said, the IGP was approached again to get a follow-up and in response he replied: “No one has talked to you yet?”

On his attitude, “I lodged complaints with the prime minister, the Senate chairman, leader of the house and the state minister for interior,” the minister had said.

While this episode was unfolding, it had appeared that Swati's family may have been encroaching upon government land, following which the Capital Development Authority (CDA) issued Swati's wife, the owner of the property, a notice to remove encroachments and unauthorised construction from her farmhouse in 15 days.

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