IHC hearing brings forth case of spying network

Published August 6, 2021
This file photo shows the Islamabad High Court. — IHC website/File
This file photo shows the Islamabad High Court. — IHC website/File

ISLAMABAD: A spying network working for a foreign intelligence agency has been traced and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has so far arrested nine suspects from the network, of whom two are seeking post-arrest bail from the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The matter came to light when Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC heard the case on Thursday and adjourned the hearing until Aug 10.

According to the court’s documents, the accused were involved “in spying activities in the Ministry of Defence Production”.

In a similar case, the IHC had in June dismissed the post-arrest bail petition of a senior official working on the Chinese desk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was “spying for Russian intelligence”.

FIA arrests nine persons working at the defence production ministry for stealing, selling secret information

Syed Qalb-e-Abbas is a BS-18 official of the Ministry of Planning and Development and was working at the foreign ministry on deputation.

The court dismissed his bail petition because he was facing charges of leaking sensitive information and had been booked under sections 3 and 4 of the Official Secrets Act.

The accused in the present case have been charged under the same sections of the Official Secrets Act, besides sections 34, 109 and 409 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The court record shows the accused were serving and retired officials of the Ministry of Defence Production, or private contractors dealing with defence-related purchases, and were involved in stealing secret information and sharing it with the agent of a foreign intelligence agency.

The accused who have been arrested so far are Safdar Rehman, Tafzeelur Rehman, Mohammad Waqar, Mohammad Ashfaq, Mohammad Tahir, Mujtaba Hussain, Mohammad Ashraf, retired Lt Col Irfan Hameed Kiani and Ahmed Kiani.

As per the court’s documents, after getting a tip from intelligence agencies, FIA arrested an ex-employee of the Directorate General of Defence Purchase, Ministry of Defence Production, who was planning a meeting with “a diplomat/foreign intelligence agent with the intent to communicate and deliver secret information/documents prejudicial to the safety and interest of the country”.

In time it was revealed that the accused were in the business of selling information to a foreign spying agency. FIA also recovered cash and mobile phones from the accused.

Initially an FIR was lodged against three persons, namely Safdar, Tafzeel and Ashfaq. However, following disclosures made by them the other accused were also arrested, including military contractors Lt Col Irfan Kiani and Ahmed Kiani, the owner of Core Corporation (Pvt) Limited.

The Core Group, which deals in military and defence projects in the energy sector, claims having collaboration with various manufacturers in Asia, Europe and the Americas in brands, commodities, technology and infrastructure.

As per the allegations, Lt Col Kiani and his son Ahmed have been receiving secret/confidential documents from one of the accused, Safdar, so that the same could be provided to a foreign agent. FIA recovered confidential documents related to defence purchases and defence production from their custody.

Some electronic devices/gadgets were also recovered that have been sent for forensic analysis, say the court papers.

Lt Col Kiani and Ahmed, who have both been confined to the Adiala Jail, filed the post-arrest bail petition in the IHC.

Appearing on behalf of the federal government, Additional Attorney General Qasim Wadud filed an application that stated the government intends to place some highly sensitive information on judicial record.

He requested for an in-camera hearing so that the government could easily present its stance in the case.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2021

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