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No travel restriction on Zulfi, NAB tells court

Updated December 04, 2018


Prime minister's aide Zulfi Bukhari is being investigated for owning illegal assets. — File photo
Prime minister's aide Zulfi Bukhari is being investigated for owning illegal assets. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The National Accounta­bility Bureau (NAB) on Monday stated before the Islamabad High Court that special assistant to the prime minister on oversees Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari can go abroad since he faced no travel restriction for the time being.

A division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had taken up a petition filed by Mr Bukhari seeking removal of his name from the Exit Control List.

The bench directed NAB to submit a list of documents required from Syed Zulfikar Ali Bukhari, aka Zulfi Bukhari, to complete the probe into his alleged illegal assets case.

NAB special prosecutor Imran Shafiq informed the court that Mr Bukhari was not cooperating with the investigation team and did not submit the documents related to his companies in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) which the investigators had sought from him.

Prosecutor says PM’s aide isn’t cooperating with investigators

He said the NAB chairman had on Oct 5 granted Mr Bukhari one-time permission to visit abroad since he had expressed his inability to produce some essential evidence which he needed to obtain from abroad. However, Mr Shafiq added, Mr Bukhari had never availed himself of this opportunity, and so for the time being he was not subject to any travel restriction and the petition against placing him on the ECL had become infructuous.

When Justice Kayani inquired about this fact from Mr Bukhari’s counsel, he said the petitioner had just learnt this fact as the bureau never formally communicated this to his client. The counsel added that the law never permitted the investigation agency to place anyone on the ECL during the course of inquiry.

Rebutting the report submitted by NAB that alleged Mr Bukhari never cooperated with the investigation team, the counsel argued that his client not only responded to each and every notice but also managed to provide the investigators documents related to his offshore companies.

The bench then asked the investigation officer which documents he required from Zulfi Bukhari to conclude the probe into his assets. The investigation officer was not well prepared and said that he could respond to this question after examining the relevant record.

The bench expressed displeasure over the NAB officer’s response and reminded him that being investigation officer he should know the list of documents Mr Bukhari had submitted.

Mr Shafiq assured the court of submitting the required details on Tuesday (today).

Subsequently, the hearing of the petition was adjourned.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2018