Record tampering case: IHC reserves judgement in Zafar Hijazi petitions

Hijazi asked court to quash FIR against him in case pertaining to tampering record of Sharif family’s companies

Rizwan Shehzad March 07, 2018
Suspended SECP Chairman Zafar Hijazi. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday reserved judgement on two petitions of the suspended Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Zafar Hijazi, in the case pertaining to tampering with records of the companies owned by the Sharif family.

IHC Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani reserved judgment on the petitions after the parties concluded their arguments.

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In one petition, Hijazi through his counsel had challenged the Special Court’s judgment of November 10, 2017 and had requested to set aside the trial court’s order and acquit him from the case.

Hijazi had filed an application under section 249-A (power of the magistrate to acquit accused at any stage) of the Criminal Procedure Code for summary disposal of First Information Report (FIR) which was dismissed by the court on November 10.

The special court Judge Irum Niazi had dismissed the application observing that there was sufficient evidence to proceed against Hijazi.

In the other petition, Hijazi asked the court to quash the FIR against him in a case pertaining to tampering record of the Sharif family’s companies. He said SECP officials – Maheen Fatima, Tariq Ahmed, Ali Azeem, Tahir Mahmood and Abid Hussain – were allegedly involved and have falsely blamed him to save their skin.

Hijazi sought nullification of FIR on grounds that it is illegal, suffers from jurisdictional error and has no legal effect.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had 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, 2o17.

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

Hijazi had pleaded not guilty after Judge Niazi indicted him under Section 420 (cheating), Section 466 (forgery) and Section 471 (using forged documents as genuine) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and section 5(2)(47) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

After the indictment, the special court of FIA had directed the prosecution to start producing evidence and witnesses to establish its case.

Later, Hijazi challenged the registration of FIR and the order of the special court and since then IHC was hearing arguments of parties involved in the case.

Hijazi’s counsel has been arguing that the allegations levelled against Hijazi were false and he never pressurised any SECP official to tamper with the record. His counsel added that other SECP officials had allegedly tampered with the record themselves and accused Hijazi of pressurising them to do so.

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Apart from Hijazi, other SECP officials were also made witnesses in the case by FIA.

Judge Niazi, who had granted bail to Hijazi had noted in her order that “it has yet to be ascertained if Hijazi pressurised his subordinates, or closure of the record in back dates was made with consensus by all of them.”

She added, “At this stage, a deeper appreciation of evidence cannot be given.”

However, the judge had said, a tentative look at the evidence showed that the closure note of back date was made after meetings and full discussions among SECP officials as these persons also signed the same likewise applicant.

“All of them are sailors of same boat,” the judge had stated in her order.

“Other than the statements of officers who signed the same alleged closure note in back date,” she said, “independent corroborated piece of evidence is needed.”


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