IHC wants officials named as co-defendants

Two employees accused ex-SECP chief of pressurising them into tampering with records

Rizwan Shehzad January 20, 2018
Two employees accused ex-SECP chief of pressurising them into tampering with records PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Friday inquired from a deputy attorney general (DAG) why two officials of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) were not made co-defendants in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills record tampering case registered against former SECP chairman Zafar Hijazi.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani directed DAG Chaudhry Haseeb to apprise the court why SECP officials, Maheen Fatima and Ali Azeem, who have actually been accused of tampering with the record, were listed as witnesses while Hijazi, who is allegedly accused of pressuring them to tamper the record, is standing trial alone.

The two employees had accused Hijazi of pressurising them into tampering with records pertaining to the Sharif family-owned sugar mills.

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The former chairman has filed a writ petition seeking quashment of an FIR against him as well as a criminal revision against an order of the trial, dismissing his application seeking acquittal from the case before the IHC.

On Friday, the court partially heard arguments from Hijazi’s counsel and directed DAG Haseeb to reply once counsels for Hijazi conclude arguments.

A special court had dismissed Hijazi’s application under Section 249-A (power of magistrate to acquit accused at any stage) of the Criminal Procedure Code for summary disposal of the First Information Report (FIR).

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Hijazi had alleged that a conspiracy was being hatched against him as there was no evidence to incriminate him, while noting that he had been granted bail based on the same grounds.

However, the special court judge, Irum Niazi, dismissed the application, observing that there was sufficient evidence to proceed against Hijazi.

On October 27, the special court had framed charges against Hijazi over tampering with record of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills owned by the family of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Hijazi had pleaded not guilty after he was indicted for cheating, forgery, and using forged documents, among other charges.

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After the indictment, the special court of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) directed the prosecution to start producing evidence and witnesses. However, testimonies could not be recorded as Hijazi had filed the application in IHC.

The FIA booked Hijazi on the directives of the Supreme Court, which was hearing a case against the Sharif family in connection with the Panamagate case.

The case was registered on July 10, 2017 and Hijazi was arrested on July 21. Hijazi has been on bail since August 8.

Previously, the counsel for Hijazi had argued that his client had become a victim of mala fide investigation by the prosecution, adding that the charges framed under the FIR were motivated by enmity, malice and ulterior motives on the part of the prosecution and the prosecution witnesses.

The counsel has argued in the petition that the allegations levelled against Hijazi were false and he never pressurised any official of the SECP to tamper with the record, adding that the officials had tampered with the record themselves and accused Hijazi of pressurising them to do so.

The court would resume hearing on February 22.

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