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Tuesday Jan 08 2019

SC transfers Azam Swati's assets probe case to FBR

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday forwarded the probe into the assets of former federal minister for science and technology Azam Swati to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and remarked that if any mis-declaration is proven then the court will see whether he is qualified or not.

A bench headed by the chief justice heard the suo motu case of the Islamabad IGP’s transfer at the Supreme Court.

As the hearing went under way, Swati’s counsel, Ali Zafar, informed the court, “My client has resigned from his post.”

The chief justice, however, remarked, “Swati has only resigned from the ministry, we are looking at this matter under Article 62 (1)(F) of the Constitution.”

“Is Swati qualified to remain an MNA? His name is still appearing on the ministry’s website,” Justice Nisar added.

Turning to Islamabad IGP Amir Zulfiqar, the top judge asked, “IGP Sb, what have you done till now?” In response, the Islamabad IGP said, “We registered an FIR against Usman Swati, Najeebullah, Jan Muhammad, Faiz Mehmood and Jahanzaib.”

At this, Justice Nisar inquired, “You did not do anything against the main person behind all this? Did you do nothing about him because he is an influential person?”

“The IGP was transferred on just one phone call,” the top judge added.

Court Adviser Faisal Siddiqui then said, “The JIT has said that Swati did not have a role in the IGP’s transfer but the transfer was done the same day the IGP did not answer his phone.”

Justice Nisar then turned to the Islamabad IGP and said, “If you don’t want to provide justice to people then why are you the IGP? The poor were beaten up and we asked you to provide justice to them but instead you also got involved.”

“Amir Zulfiqar, my impression of you has been ruined,” the top judge further said. “Even the JIT report stated that the police gave special treatment to Swati.”

“We want to set an example that the rich and powerful cannot mistreat the poor. We will issued a notice regarding Article 62 (1)(F) of the Constitution to Swati as police will not register a case against him,” Justice Nisar said.

At this, the court adviser said, “The JIT report said that Swati did not declare two assets.” Justice Nisar added, “The JIT has suggested National Accountability Bureau (NAB) interference in some matters.”

“Is there any forum other than the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) where this matter can be forwarded?” the top judge asked.

At this, Swati’s counsel, Ali Zafar, said, “My client is facing a criminal case, the court can direct the police to conduct a trial.”

The chief justice, however, remarked, “The JIT report cannot be thrown in the trash basket.”

“The court can also order FBR to probe his assets and this matter can be forwarded to the ECP through the Senate chairman,” he added.

At this, the court adviser said, “If it is a mis-declaration case then an inquiry can be conducted regarding his qualification under Article62(1)(f).”

Following the court adviser’s suggestion, the bench forwarded the matter pertaining to Swati’s assets to FBR. “FBR will investigate in light of the JIT report,” the bench remarked.

“If any mis-declaration is proven then Supreme Court will see whether Swati is qualified or not,” the chief justice stated.

“We respect the Parliament. Along with collecting testimonies, the Supreme Court has complete authority to conduct trials,” the top judge added.

The hearing of the case was then adjourned till a report on the matter is presented.

The case

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice of Islamabad IGP Jan Muhammad’s abrupt transfer last month. The IGP was transferred on October 27 after he allegedly refused to take action on a complaint by the son of Federal Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati, regarding a fight over purported encroachment with a family at their farmhouse.

The apex court had formed a JIT to probe allegations of misuse of authority, misconduct and encroachment against the minister.

The Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice of the transfer of Islamabad IGP and suspended the transfer of Jan Muhammad but had to withdraw its order after he excused himself from performing duties as Islamabad IGP.


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