The National Insurance Company’s (NICL) financial fraud case, a thorn between state institutions, led to the resignation of yet another Federal Investigation Agency director-general.
Tahseen Anwar Shah - the third DG FIA to exit this year - tendered his resignation during Supreme Court’s hearing on the NICL scam case on Wednesday. The court, however, said that the resignation should be sent to the authorities concerned. Soon after, Shah sent his resignation to the Ministry of Interior.
Shah said he was resigning because on Tuesday the Supreme Court had directed the director-general to assist the lead investigator in the scandal, Additional Director Zafar Qureshi. Shah said he could not work as a subordinate to a junior officer.
(Read: SC cancels leaves of FIA investigators)
In response, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said it was his professional obligation to help in investigations and that if he wants to resign he should send his resignation to officials concerned.
“Until the court order stays, I am not going to work” Anwar Shah told The Express Tribune. He added that it was both “illogical and unacceptable” for him to work under the supervision of a junior officer.
Besides the chief justice, the three-member bench in the suo motu case comprises Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Ghulam Rabbani.
In pursuance of the court’s previous order, Shah presented all files before the court and handed them over to Qureshi. He said that a case has been registered against persons who spread rumours about a bomb in FIA’s Lahore office. The DG FIA, however, said he did not know who locked the building.
(Read: Bomb hoax keeps Zafar Qureshi from resuming probe)
Khawaja Hammad, assistant director of FIA Lahore said that on the directives of Waqar Haider, the director of the Agency’s Lahore chapter, the building was locked, preventing Qureshi from entering his office. Hammad said he was pressured by higher authorities to do so. Hammad was directed to submit his written statement, while Haider was told to file a reply on Hammad’s accusation.
Denying Hammad’s claims, the FIA’s Lahore director said he was in Islamabad on August 13, and the assistant director was accusing him to save himself.
The Supreme Court’s order was violated by locking the FIA building, the chief justice said. Babar Awan informed the court that he was representing Moonis Elahi and requested the court to sideline Qureshi from NICL investigations. “I have faith in all team members except Zafar Qureshi,” he said.
If anyone thinks that Qureshi will retire next month and investigations will be stopped, they are mistaken, the chief justice said, adding that he will continue to work on investigations even after retirement.
Meanwhile, the court directed the DG FIA to conduct an inquiry into the bomb hoax and extend maximum cooperation to Zafar Qurashi. The hearing was adjourned for an indefinite period.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2011.
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