The attorney general’s letter to the National Accountability Bureau seems to have struck a sour note with the chief justice’s son who has penned his own counter-argument to the bureau.
Attorney General Irfan Qadir had written a letter to NAB asking it to initiate a probe into an alleged financial scam involving Dr Arsalan Iftikhar and a real estate tycoon. Qadir had also suggested including the FIA in the investigation.
However, in a six-page letter written to the NAB chairman – a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune – Dr Arsalan expressed serious reservations over the conduct of the attorney general, and his distrust in NAB and the FIA to carry out investigations into the matter.
In his letter, Dr Arsalan, through his counsel Sardar Ishaq, termed Qadir’s move of writing the letter “biased”. It was a mala fide intention on the part of the attorney general to suggest a joint investigation team of his own choice, transgressing the limits set by the apex court, he added.
“… the attorney general has no authority to dictate as to which agency or authority shall carry out the investigation or to impose upon the NAB chairman for constituting the JIT…,” the letter stated.
It claimed that the apex court in its June 14 order directed the attorney general to “set the machinery of the state in motion” to investigate the matter, but Qadir crossed his limits by writing the letter.
Dr Arsalan’s letter further stated that Qadir has no authority to hold meetings with the NAB chairman, the law and interior secretaries or the Islamabad IG in connection with the inquiry of the case or over its progress once the state machinery is set in motion.
It added that Qadir cannot summon a fortnightly progress report as was directed in his letter.
According to the Supreme Court’s June 14 order, the attorney general may refer the matter to a concerned investigation agency for an impartial and effective probe into the case. As per the terms of the order, he cannot assume the role of the investigator, the letter added.
The letter also questioned the attorney general’s authority to suggest the inclusion of FIA officials and termed the move mala fide intention to settle scores with the chief justice.
According to Dr Arsalan’s letter, Qadir held personal grudges against the chief justice since he was removed as a judge of a superior court and later as the prosecutor general of NAB by the Supreme Court.
Qadir’s bias is evident from his conduct with the apex court’s judges and personal remarks against Chief Justice Chaudhry, the letter added.
When contacted, Attorney General Qadir said, “God knows better what’s in my heart. But, I’ll make it clear that I’m not biased”.
He clarified that he intended to reach out to the state machinery to initiate an inquiry into the case, as was directed by the court.
Dr Arsalan skeptical of NAB, FIA’s impartiality
The chief justice’s son also suggested to NAB Chairman Fasih Bukhari that it would not be appropriate for him to undertake investigation into the case due to his close relationship with the real estate tycoon. He also pointed out that Bokhari’s daughter is an employee of Bahria Town.
Moreover, the letter raised questions over the impartiality of the FIA chief in carrying out investigations into the matter.
Arsalan’s counsel citied that FIA Director General Fayyaz Laghari was earlier serving as the Inspector General of Police and was ordered to be removed by Chief Justice Chaudhry as he was impeding investigations into the Sarfraz Shah murder case.
Counsel Ishaq confirmed sending a letter on behalf of Dr Arsalan to NAB and said that he believes his client’s case does not fall under NAB purview as, according to the law, the bureau can only probe matters that involve public money.
He said the matter under consideration was related to two persons and Riaz had so far failed to provide any substantial evidence in support of his allegations.
When asked what sort of inquiry will be acceptable to his client, Ishaq said, “We want that this inquiry should be held by impartial persons of credibility.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2012.
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