The Supreme Court shot down all of the reasons given from the federation to keep the incumbent director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) after the government had once again refused to revoke the contract of FIA chief Waseem Ahmed despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that his reappointment is a violation of section 14 of the Civil Servants Act of 1973.
The legal team representing the federation appeared before a five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary in defence of Waseem Ahmad’s appointment.
Abdul Hafeez Pizada requested the court to revise its earlier order. Pirzada said that Ahmad has been rendered toothless since his orders are not to be obeyed in three major corruption cases being heard by the Supreme Court. The chief justice refused to accept the argument, stating that he is still in command of the agency.
The government then tried national security as an excuse for retaining Ahmad, which also did not go over well with the court.
“How can he be involved in matters of national security when the FIA is an investigative agency and does not carry out intelligence operations,” asked the court. By that logic, said the judge, it may be argued that every police officer may be overseeing issues related to national security.
Waseem Ahmad was given an extension by the government on the grounds that it was important for him to preside over anti-corruption cases which had progressed to an advanced stage of investigation to maintain continuity. The bench observed that if that were the case, he would stay on indefinitely.
The bench remarked that it was necessary to remove Waseem Ahmad to uphold the law and the Constitution. The government may appoint him against a post where he does not block the promotion of junior officers. The chief justice had earlier ruled that the decision to retain the FIA chief was discriminatory considering the fact that the services of other police officers reemployed on contract have been terminated.
Pirzada argued that the case had acquired new dimensions of ‘national security’ and the bench is still focusing on the enforcement of fundamental rights of life and property.
The bench summoned the secretary Interior and ordered him to present the summary before the court which had been issued to justify the retention of DG FIA. The secretary submitted that the document was classified. After scanning the document the bench observed that if this was an issue of national security, then no wonder the situation had spiralled out of control.
Earlier the court observed that there has been virtually no progress in the investigation of the Hajj scam. The bench stated that it was aware that FIA investigators were working under severe pressure. The DG is hindering the investigation of ongoing cases, said the Chief Justice.
The bench demanded to know where all the money embezzled in the Hajj scam had disappeared.
FIA officials asked for some time for identifying illegal channels through which most of the money transferred. The court observed that it was beyond the FIA’s competency to trace the record of monetary transactions which took place in Saudi Arabia.
The court also sought the list of pilgrims sponsored by the government and declared that it was an offence to perform Hajj at the nation’s expense.
The court adjourned the case till March 16.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2011.
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