ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday disposed of petitions filed by two close aides to former prime minister Imran Khan after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) gave an undertaking that their names had been removed from the no-fly list and they would not be harassed unnecessarily.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah was hearing the petitions filed by Shahbaz Gill and Mirza Shahzad Akbar after they were placed on the Provisional National Identity List (PINL), a temporary no-fly list.
The court advised the FIA to judiciously exercise its powers to dispel any wrong impression.
Deputy Attorney General Syed Mohammad Tayyab, representing the FIA, told the court that the agency did not harass anyone.
FIA says names removed from no-fly list, petitioners will not be harassed unnecessarily
He said the FIA director general had directed the relevant departments to proceed strictly in accordance with the law.
According to the FIA’s officials, Mr Gill and Mr Akbar had been accused of minting money through corrupt practices.
As per an FIA report, inquiries against them were based on complaints filed by two lawyers, Abdul Khaliq Thind and Farhan Kayani.
Mr Kayani accused Mr Gill of plundering millions of rupees through under the table deals of the Capital Development Authority. He stated that Mr Gill had earned huge amount from private housing societies by settling their matters in the CDA.
He pointed out that the former PM’s aide secured a farmhouse in the Intelligence Bureau Employees Cooperative Housing Society and was constructing a palatial building there. He said the known sources of his income did not commensurate with this asset.
The FIA told the court that Mr Akbar had left the country soon after his name was removed from the list.
The other names struck off from the list included that of former special assistant to the prime minister Dr Arslan Khalid, ex-principal secretary to the prime minister Mohammad Azam Khan, director general Anti-Corruption Establishment Punjab Gohar Nafees and FIA’s director Dr Rizwan.
The FIA report stated that the complaints against the two former aides were lodged with the agency’s Islamabad Zone on April 8 and their names were placed on the list on April 10.
As per the report, “two separate requests were received from the FIA Islamabad Zone on April 8, 2022, to place the names of petitioners on the list.”
It further stated that at night between April 9 and 10, an extraordinary situation arose in the country which necessitated extra vigilance from all institutions. Certain reports were received from credible sources that the petitioners and some other individuals might flee from the country. In this pretext and in the light of earlier requests/recommendations received from FIA Islamabad Zone, the names of the petitioners and other individuals were placed on the no-fly list.
The FIA accused Mr Gill of “accumulation of wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income through illegal means by misuse of his official position/authority from different housing societies and for settling their matters in CDA.”
Allegations against Mr Akbar were also similar in nature. The FIA is probing them under section 409 (criminal breach of trust) that may lead to life imprisonment, 420 (cheating), seven years imprisonment and section 5(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act for which the convict might get three years’ imprisonment.
Justice Minallah during the course of hearing inquired from the FIA officials under which authority they had placed the petitioners on PNIL.
The FIA replied that PINL was maintained in the light of the judgement of Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Though the counsel for Mr Gill requested the court for initiating an inquiry against the FIA officials for placing the name of his client on the PNIL, Justice Minallah observed that since the grievances of the petitioner had been addressed, the petition stands disposed of.
Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2022