NICL scam: Fired probe chief put back in saddle

CJP directs Justice Ghulam Rabbani to conduct a probe into allegations of government interference in the case.

Qaiser Zulfiqar August 08, 2011


As the government-judiciary tussle seemed to draw to a close, the Supreme Court has again reinstated Zafar Ahmed Qureshi as the lead investigator in the National Insurance Company Limited land scam.

(Read: Unnecessary confrontation)

The outspoken Qureshi, who has been restored to his post as additional director-general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), was suspended on July 4 by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, just days after the SC  ordered his reinstatement.

In a detailed 37-page judgment, the court has ordered that Qureshi resume investigation from where he had left off and complete the probe at the earliest. The team, which had been assisting him in the investigation, will join him unless he wants otherwise.

The court also ordered that no action shall be taken against Qureshi without the SC’s prior approval. The FIA director-general has also been issued a stern warning by the court against any interference in the probe being conducted by Qureshi.  On Monday, senior judge Justice Shakirullah Jan read out the verdict in the absence of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who is in Lahore for another hearing.

Quashing Qureshi’s suspension notification of 4.7.2011 and all other relevant orders, the court tasked Justice Ghulam Rabbani to find out the reasons that led to Qureshi’s suspension despite the court’s 1.7.2011 order to reinstate him. The court also declared that Qureshi is deemed to have been on duty as an official of the FIA following the court’s July 1 order.

The court said that Attorney-General Maulvi Anwarul Haq had failed to submit the prime minister’s stand on the issue and ordered Haq to submit a written statement regarding the positions of the prime minister and the interior minister.

The court also ordered the formation of a commission, headed by Justice Ghulam Rabbani, which will ascertain who is responsible for Qureshi’s suspension and an “anti-judiciary campaign” in the electronic media and present its report to the SC. The court’s deputy registrar Sajid Mehmood will be the commission’s secretary and will be assisted by the interior and information secretaries.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2011.

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