Khadim Rizvi is a 'corrupt individual', ISI notes in report to SC

Agency had submitted report after apex court sought details of religious party leader's source of funding

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ISLAMABAD: A report submitted to the Supreme Court by the country's premier intelligence agency has described Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of the religious party behind the Faizabad sit-in last year, as "a corrupt individual" with an his unsatisfactory reputation.

But, according to the 46-page long report submitted to the Supreme Court by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Rizvi's living style "seemingly matches his income".

The report regarding the sources of funding of Khadim Hussain Rizvi and the Faizabad protestors was submitted to the apex court after it took notice of anti-judiciary remarks during the weeks-long protest and the subsequent blockades of roads in the twin cities. A two-member bench of the court, headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, heard the case Monday.

According to the ISI's report, Rizvi collected over 10 million rupees before the sit-in, and registered madrassah's (seminaries) along with the group collected the donations.

The report termed Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali as a 'selfish opportunist,' who has been involved in fundamentalist religious activities.

People were asked to either participate in the march or submit 300 rupees per person, the report stated, adding that Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Pakistan Muslim League – Zia (PML-Z) leader Ijaz ul Haq, and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Ulema (religious scholars) wing provided support to the protesters.

Six lawyers and three trade union leaders also aided the protestors, who are said to have stolen electricity from a power pool of the Capital Development Authority (CDA). The demonstrators also used a standby generator of the CDA, noted the report.

Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) Sheikh Hameed, an analyst of a private television channel, was also named in the report for providing help to the protestors, whereas the owner of a private television channel was said to be providing food to the demonstrators.

The Punjab government made no attempts to stop the protestors and police was neither capable of, nor willing to stop the provision of food to the demonstrators.

The report noted that the lack of communication between police officials in the twin cities became the reason of the November-25 operation against the protestors.

The federal government did not freely contact the organisers of the protest and the representatives of ISI facilitated communication between the government and protestors.

The report said that performance of all agencies was satisfactory, however, the police's special branch coverage of the protest was limited while the Intelligence Branch remained inactive throughout the duration of the protest.

The ISI noted in the report that it was asked to play 'complete part with authority', and the minutes of a meeting held at the prime minister's office were also part of the report submitted to the apex court.

The intelligence agency, in its report, stated that it had observed some anti-state activities, the details of which would be provided to the FIA on demand.

Khadim Hussain Rizvi during the Faizabad sit-in on November 27, 2017 – AFP

SC bench dissatisfied with report

Expressing dissatisfaction with the report, Justice Isa remarked that the bench, at the last hearing, had inquired from the agency to inform it of the source of Rizvi’s funding.

The court inquired from the deputy attorney general (DAG), who submitted the report on behalf of the agency, how he can be satisfied with the agency’s report and expressed surprise that the agency is unaware of Rizvi’s source of income. Justice Isa remarked that he fears [for the country] after reading the report.

“He [Rizvi] destroyed property worth billions yet no one knows what he does,” Justice Isa remarked during the hearing.

Justice Isa asked what about Rizvi’s profession, wondering if he is a businessman, cleric or does something else.

He observed further that it is difficult to make Pakistan but easy to destroy it.

The court also suggested that it can conduct an in-camera hearing if a sensitive issue is involved.

Directing the DAG to re-submit the report through the attorney general’s office, the hearing was adjourned for two weeks.

ATC directs police to arrest, produce Rizvi, Qadri 

Moreover, on Monday, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) ordered the arrest of Rizvi and Afzal Qadri and other absconding suspects in the Faizabad sit-in case.

During proceedings of the case, the ATC directed that Rizvi and Qadri, along with other absconding suspects, be arrested and presented in court on April 4.

On March 5, the ATC had declared Rizvi, Qadri, Maulana Inayat and Shekih Izhar as absconders in the case for failing to appear before the court after repeated summons.

The ATC also stated that if the accused were not produced in court within the next 30 days, they would be declared proclaimed offenders.

Workers of the religious party had protested against the government at Faizabad Interchange of Islamabad for around three weeks in November last year, bringing the capital to a standstill.

The religious party had protested against an amendment in the Elections Act, 2017, which was later reversed by the government, and ended its protest after an agreement was reached with the government, which included the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid.