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Islamabad IGP transfer: JIT report concludes Swati misused his office, was given 'special treatment'

Updated November 29, 2018

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Azam Swati, a member of the ruling PTI, was accused of playing a role in the transfer of former Islamabad Inspector General of Police Jan Mohammad. ─ File photo
Azam Swati, a member of the ruling PTI, was accused of playing a role in the transfer of former Islamabad Inspector General of Police Jan Mohammad. ─ File photo

A joint investigation team (JIT) report on the Islamabad police chief's transfer ─ submitted in the Supreme Court on Thursday ─ has concluded that Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Azam Swati misused his office and was given special treatment by authorities.

Swati, a member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), was accused of playing a role in the transfer of former Islamabad Inspector General of Police 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 former IGP'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 up Swati’s guards.

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

The JIT report, which was submitted to the Supreme Court today, deduced that Swati, by virtue of his post, "wielded his influence and prevailed upon the authorities by misusing his office and profile, leading to the arbitrary and discriminatory treatment to the private citizens i.e. Niaz Muhammad family, at the hands of police."

The JIT report observed: "The police since inception of the occurrence did not hold the investigation in a just and fair manner. In view of the above circumstances, actions and inactions by the Police pursuant to the FIR, one can easily conclude the deliberate negligence of police officials, in proceeding with the investigation. Infact the police has colluded with the Swati family in furtherance to their designs."

Additionally, the JIT report said that Swati "was given special treatment by the relevant authorities".

The JIT also found that senior police officials, after an initial probe, "left the investigation to be handled by the juniors". According to the report, as per the assertions of certain police officials, once they came to know that it was a "matter of ordinary nature" they "eased to the extent that they did not bother to know the subsequent developments undertaken by their juniors at the Police Station".

The report observed that these statements were contrary to their own observations before the JIT, where they stated that the deputy inspector general Operations and the senior superintendent police Operations accompanied Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi to Swati's farmhouse "on the next date of occurrence".

The JIT report also concluded that the stated position of Swati family and their domestic help regarding the Niaz Muhammad family's cow grazing on their land had "no basis whatsoever", and added that it was a "false, concocted, fabricated, inconsistent and factually incorrect" position.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar questioned how poor and disenfranchised individuals had been given threats, and said he had asked the JIT to ascertain whether there was any case against their treatment.

The SC subsequently summoned a reply from Swati on the report, and the top judge asked for the minister to be summoned to court by 4pm.

His lawyer, Ali Zafar, told the court that Swati was in Vienna attending the International Atomic Energy Agency Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology.

CJP Nisar questioned if ministers of this sort should be appointed, and noted that the charges against Swati could be framed around Article 62(1)(f).

Zafar told Justice Nisar that Swati would return on Dec 3, and said he would prepare a response a week after his return.

The chief justice wondered what the lawyer was doing since it was "an important issue", to which Zafar responded that it would take him some time to prepare the reply.

"Why not call the minister back from his trip?" CJP Nisar asked. He then called the affected family to the rostrum and informed them that the court is fighting for their honour.

He said he had heard the family had reconciled with the minister and remarked: "We don't believe in such settlements. Who gave you the right to settle?" he asked.

The court summoned a reply from Swati on the JIT report and ordering copies of the report to be given to all the parties, adjourning the case until next Tuesday.