Hajj corruption case: Another head rolls as govt-judiciary impasse continues

Published: July 26, 2011
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The chief justice warned Ahmed that
if he failed to produce the notification by the end of tea break, he would be sent to jail for defying court orders. PHOTO: TMN/FILE

The chief justice warned Ahmed that if he failed to produce the notification by the end of tea break, he would be sent to jail for defying court orders. PHOTO: TMN/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The apparent impasse between the judiciary and the government has cost another bureaucrat his job.

After stern warnings from the Supreme Court, Secretary Establishment Sohail Ahmed issued on Tuesday a notification of reinstatement of Hussain Asghar as Director Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and lead investigator of the Hajj corruption case.

However, soon after issuing the notification, Ahmed was removed from his post by the government.

Ahmed had taken over as secretary establishment earlier this month after Abdul Rauf Chaudhry was relieved of his duties. However, he lasted only 20 days, and was made Officer on Special Duty – the bureaucrat’s equivalent of being thrown into punitive limbo – by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

When a five-member larger bench, headed by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, resumed the hearing of the Hajj corruption case, the secretary establishment submitted in writing that it was beyond his jurisdiction to issue the notification of reinstatement of Ashgar since he is a grade 21 officer.

The chief justice, however, remarked that the court had already issued the directives; therefore, under Article 190 of the Constitution, he is bound to obey the order. He warned Ahmed that, if he failed to produce the notification before the court by the end of tea break, he would be sent to jail.

After the tea break, the secretary establishment as well as Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq presented the notification of reposting Asgher to the post of Director FIA.

The court also noted the absence of Director General (DG) FIA. The chief justice ordered DG FIA Tehsin Anwar Shah to appear before court in person on Wednesday (today) and assure the court that Ashgar has resumed the investigation of the Hajj scam.

The chief justice further observed that Rs460 million have been reimbursed to the effected pilgrims from the national exchequer but the looted amount in the scam is yet to be recovered.

Hussain Asghar reinstated

Following the issuance of the reinstatement notice, the chief justice ordered DG FIA on Tuesday to reinstate Asghar and his team.

Asghar had served as investigation officer in the Hajj corruption case, successfully indicting the then Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi for charges of money-laundering and corrupt practices in Hajj arrangements last year. However, he was transferred to Gilgit-Baltistan as Inspector General of the police in the middle of the investigation.

Although the Establishment Division did not name Asghar’s replacement, sources in Gilgit said that it was likely that Deputy Inspector General Police Amjad Hussain would be appointed IGP Gilgit-Baltistan. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHABBIR MIR IN GILGIT and HAIDER NASEEM in ISLAMABAD

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • H.A. Khan
    Jul 26, 2011 - 1:07PM

    Do the same for NICL scam……

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  • syed Imran
    Jul 26, 2011 - 2:07PM

    I am sure Asghar Hussain will face the same fate as of Zafar Qureshi, as the government is hell bent to protect the corrupt/corruption

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  • Karim
    Jul 26, 2011 - 2:14PM

    This news item further suggests that officials are transferred to GB as a punishment?

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  • Shahid Malik
    Jul 26, 2011 - 3:58PM

    CJP wants to appoint all Prosecutors/Investigators of his choice and then sit on judgement. Worse than a kangaroo court! We need to learn more about all he did to favour his son starting right from his unmerited admission to Medical College till todate. His patron, Nawaz Sharif also got her daughter admitted to Medical College without merit. Another SC Judge’s daughter is studying at Bolan Medical College on the lone seat allocated to AJK domicile. The Judge belongs to Quetta but her daughter’s domicile from AJK was arranged by her loving father. What a shame!!!

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  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 26, 2011 - 6:48PM

    Since when has the Govt ever respected this judiciary???
    Its a joke to have such situations to even arise in any responsible nation, let alone an so called Democracy !!
    Perhaps one should reconsider word Democracy in realtion to Pakistan !!!

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  • shoaib
    Jul 26, 2011 - 9:17PM

    Shaid very rightly pointed that it is unique court which want to appoint prosecutors at its will and without hearing defendant already declared it convicted through its very vocal remarks. It is unfortunate that present CJ is heavily relying on the support of one media tycoon and a big political leader. Our senior lawyers should come out openly and save the institution of Supreme Court which is being misused by our honorable Chief Justice to forward his personal agenda of assuming the powers of Chief Executive. Those people who think CJ is popular among masses are misguided. Ask any person from SIndh and you will know that CJ is the most unpopular person and people here think him as the continuity of prejudiced judges like Molvi Mushtaq. If we go in past, his own character is far from ideal. He himself taken oath under PCO and show no character when his own brother judges likes of Justice (R) Wajeehudin decided not to take oath under PCO.

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  • shadi
    Jul 27, 2011 - 4:20AM

    @ shahid and shoaib

    You literally have to be blind to think that CJP is trying to act like a moulvi here. He is following the constitution and the law of the country, if it was any other country, any other well developed first world country, the pm would have had to face serious consequences. Even in India, our neighbouring country the government cant dare interfere with the judiciary. PPP only wants to save its own hide by getting moonis elahi free so that chaudhary pervaiz elahi and the rest of the PML Q clan stay in government.

    People like Iftikhar Chaudhary are a breath of fresh air in our country which is being governed by incompetent and selfish leaders. We MUST support the judiciary only then can the corrupt and incompetent can be held accountable and only then can we have a prospering and stable Pakistan.Recommend

  • shadi
    Jul 27, 2011 - 4:22AM

    oh and also, the police land scam, under which PML N mna Anjum Aqeel was arrested had been started by the SC as well. Every progress made and ever person arrested was on the order of the SC, hence i really dont see how any one can accuse them of being bias.

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  • Rashid Khan
    Jul 27, 2011 - 5:10AM

    The CJP should resign and allow the next senior judge to preside over the bench because he is increasing being viewed as a controversial figure.
    Notwithstanding the fact that the supreme courts is doing a good job of curbing corruption but its efforts are not making any headway primarily because the government is stooping low and using the provincial and ethnic card. A showdown between the judiciary and government will create a fissure in society.
    As an individual, the CJP he has no one but his own past conduct to blame for an image that fails to match his exalted office. I refer to the manner his son was admitted in the Medical College in Quetta, landed a job in the provincial Health Department followed by his induction into the Police Academy. His penchant for unnecessary protocol and pomp when he assumed the office of CJP was one reason for alienating many and highlighted at the time of his ouster from office by the military dictator.
    It so happens that the corruption cases being viewed in the Supreme Court are government centric and allow the PPP government to play up the Sindh card. Consequently, simple minded people of the Sindh province consider the court to be biased. They question why there are no references against the Sharifs in these courts.
    Although, the CJP is a Punjabi settler in Baluchistan, and viewed as beneficiary of the quota system whose career in the judiciary was fast tracked on the basis of domicile, many opine that he retain ‘old ties’ and overlooks slights by his clansmen the famous provincial law minister with perpetual dark shades.
    For the good of the state of Pakistan, the CJP should step aside so that judgments and decisions by the courts addressing corruption are viewed as fair and impartial becasue it will remove the ground for the government to exploit the provincial and ethnic card.
    We as a nation seem to forget that it’s the institution that matters not personalities. Men may come and go but institutions remain and should be strengthened.

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  • IJAZ
    Jul 27, 2011 - 8:24AM

    I think we should focus on the corruption of the government which is at peak in the history of the country. It is our collective duty to save the country and should take the stand against the government inspite of it to become the viewers. Here we have not yet the independence from these landlord and feudalords. I plead to the educated true pakistani, for God sake forget your favouritism and idealism and just come forward with the truth and sense of merit and tackle these political parties and political leaders which are in the form of the dictator.
    It’s time to become rational not having the idealistic approach towards the politicians. we should say wrong to worng things and similarly we should say wright to wright things which is scarced in the country. From military to police, from president to common land lord or feudal lord, each and every person is living here according to “might is wright”.

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  • Truth Seeker
    Jul 27, 2011 - 8:55AM

    @Rashid Khan:
    keeping in view the enormity of the problems and polarisation of society; for the good of the state, it should be divided into 180,000,000 states so that every one is happy.

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  • sunny
    Jul 27, 2011 - 8:57AM

    @Shahid, shoib, rashid and shadi
    You guys are right to some extent. In a corrupt country like ours such things happen for sure but a murderer and a thief cant be given the same punishment. do they?????

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  • Incredible
    Jul 27, 2011 - 9:44AM

    Pak has a limited trained “crooks” so that they are not fired forever but transfered.

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  • Sajjad
    Jul 27, 2011 - 10:04AM

    well at least one bureaucrate have shown courage even at cost of his career.

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  • syed Imran
    Jul 27, 2011 - 2:01PM

    @ All those who are opposing the CJ are infact either a party to corrupts or corrupt by themselves.
    If this CJ was not there, many of the institutions would have either collapsed/ written off and anarchy would have been the order of the day.

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  • Aafiyat Nazar
    Jul 27, 2011 - 3:44PM

    Hussain Asghar has for the first time in the Histroy of Gilgit-Baltistan made transparent appointments in the police department during his short tenure, which was lauded by the large segment of society, except those in power. Naturally such a transparent man cannot be tolerated by any corrupt regime, especially in investigation team of mega corruption. Wish Hussain Asghar all the best for his transparency and curse on those who support corruption.

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  • Aafiyat Nazar
    Jul 27, 2011 - 3:59PM

    I endorse Mr. Syed Imran’s Comments and I too feel that those who are talking against CJP must be either from groups or parties who want to undermine the court to save their ugly faces from corruption charges.Recommend

  • FZ
    Jul 27, 2011 - 4:14PM

    no one is pure in this land of ours. almost all of us have paid a bribe once in our life. does that make us as bad as the accused in these massive scandals – i think not. so please the smear campaign against the CJ

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