ISLAMABAD: In a unique case, two parliamentarians – who are also real brothers – have ‘gone into hiding’ after a lower court declared them declared proclaimed offenders (POs) for their alleged involvement in a mega monetary dispute.
A civil court in Rawalpindi has issued non-bailable arrest warrants of MNA Bilal Rehman and his brother Senator Hilal Rehman and their father Malik Abdul Rehman and uncle Naeem Jan. The MPs, who belong to Mohmand Agency, are not affiliated with any political party.
Apart from charges of fraud, the lawmakers are also accused of sheltering a criminal and his family in the Parliament Lodges for more than two years in a bid to prevent their arrest in the same monetary dispute, according to documents available with The Express Tribune.
The petitioner, Abdul Waheed Khan, submitted before Judicial Magistrate Asim Murtaza Cheema that he had paid Rs250 million to the two lawmakers, who, in return, promised him a Senate seat during the elections to the upper house of parliament held on March 3, 2012. “However, later they reneged on their promise,” he alleged.
According to the deal, the hefty amount -- paid in cash -- was to be refunded to Waheed one hour after the Senate election results if the lawmakers failed to secure a seat for him. The deal was cut in the presence of two witnesses.
“I got only four votes in the Senate elections… instead they [the accused lawmakers], showing ill intention, secured a Senate seat for Hilal Rehman... neither did I become a senator nor was I paid back my money,” reads a copy of his written statement available with The Express Tribune.
The petitioner also claimed that he had borrowed the money from his acquaintances who have lodged a legal case against him after he failed to return the amount. Resultantly, multiple cases were registered against him [Waheed] and presently he is in jail, facing trial.
The documentary evidence suggests that Rehman’s brothers sheltered Waheed, his wife, two sons and a daughter for over two years at a suite: 206-H in the Parliament Lodges.
The suite is allotted to Senator Hilal Rehman, who had authorised the issuance of entry pass for Waheed and his family’s stay. The pass was issued in the name of Nageena Shaheen, Waheed Khan’s wife, from 2013 to 2015, the documents suggest.
“I was told to remain tight-lipped on the issue and they would help me in the cases. They even helped me get pre-arrest bail in one case... and kept me and my family in the Parliament Lodges...,” says Waheed in his statement.
The civil court issued three summons for the Rehman brothers to defend themselves, but they did not show up. On September 19, Civil Judge Chaudhry Waqar Mansoor Baryar declared the two lawmakers proclaimed offenders and ordered the Rawalpindi Airport police to arrest the accused.
The Express Tribune made repeated attempts to approach the Rehman brothers for their side of the story, but their phones were switched off amid reports that the accused have gone ‘underground’ to avoid arrest.
Investigation Officer Yasir Abbas said: “This is a high-profile matter. The court has declared the two parliamentarians POs and ordered their arrest. The matter will be dealt with in line with due procedures, following instructions from the high-ups,” he said in a brief response.
Police sources said the authorities concerned would inform the Senate and National Assembly secretariats for the arrest of the two accused lawmakers.
“The whereabouts of the accused are not known. Their contact numbers are switched off. They could be staying in the Parliament Lodges. The police need to take officials in parliament into loop before taking any action and related legal requirements have to be met,” sources said.
Officials said Regional Police Officer Wisal Fakhar Sultan Raja has sought a progress report from the investigation officer in the case.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2016.
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