ISLAMABAD: Federal Instigation Agency (FIA) Director General Waseem Ahmad has been advised to step down voluntarily by the Supreme Court for his failure to complete an investigation into the multi-million-rupee ‘Hajj Scam’ despite a lapse of two months.
“If you cannot investigate the high-ups who allegedly embezzled millions of rupees then you should voluntarily leave the office as you already got an extension last month,” a seven-member bench of the apex court said.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry headed the bench, which rejected the FIA report on the ‘hajj scam’ while hearing a suo motu case regarding the alleged corruption in hajj arrangements last year.
The chief justice questioned the DG FIA over his team’s failure to record the statement of key accused Zain Sukhaira, who was allegedly involved in the multi-million-rupee corruption and who is also a close friend of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son Abdul Qadir Gilani.
During the course of proceedings, the CJP also directed the Ministry of Religious Affairs to provide 700 Riyals as compensation to pilgrims who arranged their own accommodations or those who faced poor arrangements during their stay in Saudi Arabia.
Ahmed admitted that charges had been levelled against Abdul Qadir Gilani for embezzling millions of rupees in the hajj scam.
“Two sitting members of the National Assembly, Imran Shah and Bilal Yasin have levelled these allegations against the prime minister’s son,” he explained.
Former Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi’s counsel Sardar Latif Khan Khosa informed the court that former federal minister for science and technology Azam Khan Swati should not point fingers at Kazmi as he had no solid proof against him.
However, Swati’s counsel Afnan Karim Kundi requested the court to direct the FIA to record prime minister’s son’s statement, as well as the statements of Interior Minister Rehman Malik and State Minister for Religious Affairs Shagufta Jummani, to broaden the scope of investigation.
Kundi further informed the court that Farooq and Abdur Rahman – two Pakistani citizens living in Saudi Arabia – wanted to record their statements but the FIA team failed to do so.
Kundi surprised the judges when he told the court that Sukhaira worked with the ministry of information technology and was allegedly involved in corruptions worth Rs20 million.
Justice Ramday observed that the FIA lacked the required abilities to probe the matter and added that their officials were reportedly being pressurised by key officials allegedly involved in corruption.
“If the FIA team cannot investigate the matter properly then it should hand over the case to the government otherwise the court will issue its own order,” the chief justice observed. The court adjourned the hearing till January 11.
Meanwhile, in a press briefing Swati accused the prime minister of embezzling billions of rupees while calling him the most corrupt politician in the history of Pakistan.
“Both ruling chiefs – Zardari and Gilani – have brought a bad name to the state in the eyes of the world through their corruption,” he said.
He also requested the Supreme Court to remove the DG FIA as he is a close aide of Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who gave him an extension.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2011.