ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has requested the Supreme Court to reject the report filed by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) against him in a matter pertaining to illegal allotment of the Waqf property attached with the shrine of Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Masud Ganj Shakar in Pakpattan Sharif.
In its report, the JIT had recommended initiation of criminal proceedings against some people including then Punjab chief minister Nawaz Sharif who in 1986 had ordered withdrawal of a notification of Dec 17, 1969 and allegedly allotted huge lands of Auqaf around Pakpattan to Dewan Ghulam Qutab in violation of a Lahore High Court order.
The JIT, headed by Hussain Asghar, filed its report in the Supreme Court on Jan 15. Subsequently, the court ordered the former PM and the Punjab government to furnish their respective comments on the report. Earlier on Dec 4, 2018 the former prime minister had appeared before the SC to answer the allegations and clear his position about the allotment of 14,394 kanals of the Waqf property attached with the shrine.
Reply submitted in court highlights Auqaf administrator’s proposal for return of summary to CM office
In response to the JIT report, Mr Sharif alleged that Mr Asghar implicated him in his zeal by completely ignoring the fact that the particulars of the notification as mentioned in the summary alleged to have been originated from the CM office did not tally with the particulars of the notification that was actually withdrawn by the Auqaf department. Thus, as a matter of fact, no order or summary originating from the then CM’s office bears the reference number or date of the notification as claimed by the JIT, according to the reply filed through senior counsel Malik Mohammad Rafique Rajwana.
The statement also deplored that a copy of the JIT report was not provided to the respondents on Jan 15 when it was filed in the court and not even during the next three days. The defence counsel said efforts made to obtain a copy of the report from the relevant branch of the court (i.e. the Editor of Paper Book Branch) remained unsuccessful. The JIT copy was finally made available to the respondents on Jan 23, the counsel regretted.
The reply highlighted the JIT report claim that Punjab Auqaf Administrator Kaleemullah had proposed to his high-ups that the summary be returned to the CM secretariat for clarification, as the notification number and date in Dewan Ghulam Qutabuddin’s application and the purported approval alleged to have been accorded by then chief minister in the summary prepared in this regard by Syed Javed Iqbal Bokhari did not match with each other.
However, the then Auqaf chief administrator overruled the proposal and took upon himself to order the recall of the notification of acquisition of Dewan Qutabuddin’s lands. But the effect and obvious implications of this communication between the Auqaf officers and the then chief administrator were totally ignored by the JIT without any justification while writing the alleged unilateral and one-sided report against Nawaz Sharif, the court was informed.
The statement claimed the JIT report failed to provide any cogent evidence to corroborate the alleged connivance of the then CM with the Dewans and how it benefited Mr Sharif. Thus, it added, Mr Asghar concluded without providing any evidence that Mr Sharif had been involved in the misappropriation of Auqaf department land.
The JIT recommended initiation of criminal proceedings against ex-secretary to CM Punjab Syed Javed Iqbal Bukhari, legal heirs of Dewan Ghulam Qutabuddin, Sajjada Nasheen Darbar, assistant administrator of Auqaf department posted in Pakpattan between Dec 17, 1969 and Aug 28, 1986 and other relevant officials of the Auqaf department. The report asked to involve in the criminal proceedings then patwaris/ circle revenue officers and other relevant officers of the area where these irregularities and illegalities had been committed.
Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2019