‘Lack of evidence’: Banking court acquits Moonis Elahi in NICL scam

Published: October 22, 2011
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Moonis Elahi is cheered on by supporters after his acquittal by a banking court on Friday. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Moonis Elahi is cheered on by supporters after his acquittal by a banking court on Friday. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: The main accused in the multi-billion rupee National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam, Moonis Elahi, was acquitted by a special banking court on Friday, citing lack of “cogent and overwhelming” evidence.

A Punjab Assembly lawmaker belonging to Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), and son of former chief minister Pervaiz Elahi, Moonis had been accused of using political influence to force the state-owned NICL to buy land at highly inflated values. He claimed, however, that the case against him was a conspiracy to malign his family.

Earlier, Moonis had submitted an application for his acquittal before the court. The judge had reserved the verdict on October 15, and announced it on Friday.

“The application in hand is accepted and accused Moonis Elahi is acquitted,” the court’s order read. The order added that Moonis “be release forthwith if [he] is not required in another case.”

In its 11-page order, the judge held that the accused was not nominated in the first information report and the only evidence available against him were the confessional statements of Abdul Malik, manager of At-Tahur (Pvt) Ltd., and Khalil Ahmad, a banker.

Mere confession of an accused cannot be used against his co-accused for passing a conviction, unless it is corroborated with independent evidence, the court’s order read.

The court added that all bank officers had turned “hostile witnesses” and did not “utter a single word against Moonis” in their statements.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had alleged that an amount of Rs10 million was transferred from the account of Mohsin Habib Warraich, an accused in the NICL land scam, to the account of Khadim Traders on April 30, 2010. Muhammad Malik, manager of At-Tahur, a company owned by Moonis, withdrew that amount and handed it over to Moonis, the FIA added. The court said there was no direct or indirect evidence that the amount credited into the account of Khadim traders was ever given to Moonis.

The court also turned down additional director-general (DG) FIA Zafar Ahmad Qureshi’s plea that Moonis had gone abroad on several occasions with Warriach.

Qureshi had said that Warraich’s brother-in-law, Jabran Khan, and Moonis were director and chairman of Agro Tractors respectively, and that fact was sufficient to establish Moonis’ involvement in the NICL scam.

The court said that the prosecution has to establish the charges with “cogent and overwhelming evidence,” and convictions cannot be based on “mere presumptions.”

Regarding allegations of money laundering, the court observed that some attempts have been made by the FIA to establish that roughly Rs90 million have been credited in Moonis’ wife’s bank account and the amount was ultimately transferred into Mooniss account.

However, the court said, the issue of money laundering is beyond its jurisdiction and the FIA might proceed in the matter independently before the competent forum under anti-money laundering laws.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has fixed October 25 for the hearing of the NICL case by a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The apex court issued notices to the attorney-deneral, DG FIA and Qureshi in this regard, along with other relevant officials.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (77)

  • Raza
    Oct 21, 2011 - 4:06PM

    no surprises here…..

    Recommend

  • shuja
    Oct 21, 2011 - 4:10PM

    This is victory of the truth,which always prevails.Hats off to Moonis Elahi for his bravery as well as humility.

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  • bablu
    Oct 21, 2011 - 4:30PM

    Disgusting, ridiculous and what not. What was the point in filing a case where there was no written evidence ready for the unusually blind judicial system of Pakistan? Its a country where you can kill someone in a road accident and get away with 6 month sentence.
    Even better, you can kill people on road, have America on your back, get freedom in half an hour by paying diyyat with Pakistani money, and board a CIA plane back to Afghanistan. How convenient.

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  • Anserali Khan
    Oct 21, 2011 - 4:31PM

    So where did the NICL money go and who was responsible for plunder?

    One looses faith in the country and way it is functioning.

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  • Oct 21, 2011 - 4:35PM

    Lets see what Q-league does now. Recommend

  • Usman
    Oct 21, 2011 - 4:37PM

    Shame on the Bogus Judiciary.. Everyone knows he did it.

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  • R.Khan
    Oct 21, 2011 - 4:42PM

    No wonder there is so much corruption in Pakistan because you join the government & all cases against you would be dropped. Pakistan Zindabad.

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  • kala_bacha
    Oct 21, 2011 - 4:45PM

    Now what choudry will do? Our courts is the worse among all. This place even worse then any sasta bazaar. It can only happens in Pakistan where billionaire thugs walk off or he can becomes the president or law minister or the list goes on . At the end of day the ordinary awaam has to pay for there corruptions.Recommend

  • mariam.b
    Oct 21, 2011 - 4:52PM

    Hats off to the Independent Judiciary
    Recommend

  • Fasih Ali Khan
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:07PM

    Strange It Is …. How did they overcome their Bias ?

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  • Aamir
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:09PM

    Great job by our Judiciary; set free every person who plundering public money. Recommend

  • Imran
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:12PM

    And Mafahmat Wins

    Recommend

  • Maher
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:13PM

    A country with fail judiciary, fail govt., most corrupt politicians & incing on the cake SHAMELESS & FEELING-LESS people …. Thank you Allah for your AZAB,,,,Recommend

  • UMAIR
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:14PM

    Finally Mian Sahab has some internal talks with Chaudhrys and lil boy is FREE!

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:17PM

    Corruption Zindabad.

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  • Litmus
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:22PM

    … tough times like these, the countrymen needed something to laugh out loudly….. Ain’t there enough of disgust already or do we need more ?? All this was a stunt well done, these guys secured their votes..yet again. All this be labelled “ONLY IN PAKISTAN”

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  • bashir
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:23PM

    Each and every politician here is innocent. No one can prove any case against anyone. What about Amin Fahim who returned two crores when caught up in this case ?

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  • MAD
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:23PM

    I thought this would go on till march as leverage to keep PML(Q) in power. Now whats next.

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  • Ahmad
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:24PM

    PM Gillani Should pay him 20 Crore in compensation and damage to reputation for false incarceration and Karachi University should grant him Phd.

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  • M Rahman
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:29PM

    As a Pakistani, I truly fear that this next generation , who think they are born to rule us and have been well trained by their predecessors, will set new records of corruption that their predecessors could not even imagine. The older group was not that manipulative, but the masses were completely ignorant and that was system was there to stop them; that’s why they looted with both hands and still got away with it. But the new generation is much creative in thier corruption and won’t leave any traces of their corruption.

    No one to blame except us for bringing these people in power, turn after turn. Recommend

  • Imran
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:45PM

    Shame on PML-N, and the investigator, who was fabricating the case. It was always like the CJ LHC, Khawaja Sharif murder conspiracy.

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  • Realist.
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:54PM

    What can Court do when all of the witnesses deny the knowledge of where money went! :/

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  • Ahmad
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:56PM

    Justice Pakistani style..
    No comments.

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  • Adeel Ahmed
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:59PM

    So if he is not the culprit… who is? We want answers!

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  • Ayesha
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:03PM

    I cannot believe this guy is actually being let off the hook! The witnessed withdrew their statements against him and before we knew it other pieces of evidence were destroyed.

    This case has made a mockery of our justice system. Truly disgusting.

    I have lost the last shred of respect I had for PML-Q (not that there was much to start with)

    SUCH a blatant rape of justice! Recommend

  • Mohammad Ahmed Khan
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:04PM

    Should be wipe out this like Moammar Gadhafi – our system is not capable to stop the culprits.

    Really frustrating . . . . .Recommend

  • Chief "Saab"
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:04PM

    Just in time before the Senate elections. Partnership with PML-Q will enable PPP to get a strong position in the Senate.

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  • Danish Kamal
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:06PM

    Useless system

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  • Imran
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:09PM

    Justice prevails… Mr. Sharif, You can huff, you can puff. You can pamper judges, and investigators. In the end, justices prevails.

    I hope your followers will not attack the court in the backdrop of this.

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  • usman
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:10PM

    one of the reasons why the PML-Q joined the PPP led coalition government. it has already paid dividends. well done!

    @shuja: extremely funny comment. i hope that you are being sarcastic.

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  • Imran
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:14PM

    @Anserali Khan:
    “So where did the NICL money go”

    Ask Absconder-n-Chief, Anjum Aqeel. It was the case of mistaken identity. Sadly, some people wasted national money just for political mileage.

    Recommend

  • Lobster
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:21PM

    Shameless. Worst is that PPP government won’t challenge it.

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  • Mirza
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:23PM

    With all the interference and appointments by the SC, the whole thing was an exercise in futility. The independent judiciary has been working with PML-N and Sharifs. Looks like PML-N and Sharifs need their old pals in PML-Q in order to gain power. This is a meaningful decision and would have political implications. As far as the merit of the case goes, there is no corruption ever in Punjab, so why try anybody in their friendly courts?

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  • positive pakistani
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:24PM

    @shuja: are you of real??????

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  • anybodyagree
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:34PM

    above the law . . .!!!!

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  • Arsalan Ahmad
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:38PM

    weak prosecution and political blocks in always lead such people to walk away free in the end….more than judiciary the prosecution needs to be revamped and FIA should be depoliticizedRecommend

  • Niaz Hussain Shah
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:42PM

    Congratulaions to Supreme Court and its favourite enquiry officer Zaffar Quereshi.

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  • breitzer
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:42PM

    Shuja…People like shuja elect these inept people and then later cries…no light …no water—no job…lets run out of country and when they get out of the country they realize ohuuu it was my bad selection of leader which drowned me….

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  • Atif
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:46PM

    Disappointing. Another suspect goes safely through our helpless and pathetic judicial system. Everyone knows he was guilty but he is free again to satisfy his appetite once again with our very own assets. How poor helpless nation we areRecommend

  • Ali Mardan
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:48PM

    Not suprising but I am distressed with this decision. A man was sentenced to 4-years of imprisonment for being a bank defaulter of Rs. 600000, the news published in papers last day. One can see the obvious standard of justice in our country. People involved in embezzlement of millions of rupees are set free because of their political affiliations with ruling party and poor citizens of this country have to GST even on a toffee. They have no fear of Allah or judgement day.

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  • Saira
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:52PM

    no wonder why PML-Q joined PPP goverment …
    sigh ….
    it will come back to you Mr Ilahi … sooner or later , InshAllah

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  • just-my-piece-of-thought
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:56PM

    I dont know why everyone is saying free and unbiased judiciary. This system has not delivered as yet. No conviction regarding terrorists or the political culprits.

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  • Nakli pir
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:05PM

    The question arises : How did the money get into his account and then returned back to the NICL if he was not involved??

    Does this mean that it’s not only the politicians that are corrupt?

    We did back a free judiciary didn’t we? and now see what they did?

    All the burhahha about the FIA investigator , waste of awaams money and the list goes on was all a drama for the masses of Pakistan. Super show.

    Point is , we all know he did it, otherwise why did they arrest him in the first instance?

    What can we do about this? ….. NOTHING.

    There will be no change in this country if this goes on.

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  • pinky
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:34PM

    and all the hard work of zafar qureshi goes down the drain after his retirement :/

    waisay if it turns out that session court arrived at this decision of acquittal under political pressure then CJ would have to resign..coz Supreme court ordered the removal of DG rangers when a junior ranger killed sarfaraz shah…by the same token, any miscarriage of justice by lower court means that the lord himself should take responsibility and resign..
    his own logic not mine :)

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  • yousuf
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:40PM

    Pavitar Moonis Elahi..certified by the court of Pakistan.

    Should we cry or laugh?

    Papa Kiyani ..Please take notice

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  • Oct 21, 2011 - 7:41PM

    Huh :P I would use the ole’ facebook tactics here :
    Recommend This : If you knew this was gonna happen (LMFAO)

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:44PM

    Follow the money trail and you will find the truth

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  • Javed Shah
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:45PM

    PMLq alliance with PPP for saving the skin of one individual has paid off.

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:58PM

    Now he can join PTI. Imran is looking for clean and honest people like him.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Oct 21, 2011 - 8:10PM

    Only Allah knows if Moonis Elahi was innocent.

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  • Aftb Kenneth Wilson
    Oct 21, 2011 - 8:29PM

    Now what is next???? LHC wants to prove that there is no corruption in Punjab. This fight was between Two Economically Healthy Bulls so courts and prosecution authority is helpless. Yes, they are still active only against leaders of other provinces.

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  • Sun-Rise
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:51PM

    This is exactly the Corruption that is feeding the monster of Extremism & Public support for it.

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  • Parvez
    Oct 21, 2011 - 11:10PM

    The sessions court acquitting Monis Elahi does not mean that he is innocent – two totally different things.

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  • Haider
    Oct 21, 2011 - 11:51PM

    Sorry, Mr Zafar Qureshi, the judicial system of our country has let your valuable services down. This was coming, shame on the judiciary, shame on the people who are supporting Elahi!

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  • Cop lover
    Oct 22, 2011 - 12:50AM

    mm,,the news story itself altogether missed his name & only two comments mentioned zafar qureshi, the cop who locked horns with the political parties and apprehended this high profile suspect…are we amnesiac or what? though the case didnt proceed to his satisfaction, still we should thank our valiant soldier for daring to bring the scam out in the open…

    thank you Sir, you didnt fail, we failed to honour your legacy…

    Recommend

  • Rana Athar Javed
    Oct 22, 2011 - 1:03AM

    Carl Levin’s comments about ISI is no more than a parallel diplomatic pressure, in order to influence the outcome of the visit of top US officials. The continuity of rhetoric against Pakistan’s military and its security services is aimed to orchestrate a level of consistency in applying coercive diplomatic tactics, with a supplement of domestic political posturing of Democrats. A subdued response by Pakistan to such political pressure at the moment is but normal. The US needs help to arrange an honourable exist for its and NATO forces, and termination of Afghan conflict is seemed to be the short-term objective. Implicitly, a 911 Emergency call is made – asking Pakistani military & government to facilitate negotiation process with the Taliban and Haqqani Network. Pakistan needs to step up its efforts to assure its US counterparts that a leadership role for Pakistan in providing a “recipe for peace” is the key to regain territory of trust by both the US and Pakistan. There is no need to respond to every statement against the military OR ISI for that matter.

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  • Dr.Tahir
    Oct 22, 2011 - 3:17AM

    When prosecution and defense want same thing what can a judge do?? Jab mian beevi razi tou kya karega qazi??Prosecution was favouring Moonis in this case and hence the judge had no other option. Same modus operandi was established in other cases of PPP criminals in NAB hearings.
    He bought the justice nicely. Zardari had promised PML Q of the same verdict.

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  • Oct 22, 2011 - 6:46AM

    Monis Elahi was actually acquitted the day Zafar Qureshi Left FIA and handed over this case to hood winkers ! What a law and what a sway of constitution in Pakistan . A case which could not be justified since when ZQ was inquiring is just done in 20 days after him . Government has surpassed all norms of law and don’t know its repercussions !

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  • Aadi
    Oct 22, 2011 - 7:22AM

    This is what happens in Pak.

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  • Aftb Kenneth Wilson
    Oct 22, 2011 - 7:53AM

    @Haider: And Same to you Haider. There is an old saying “Look before your leap”. Got it.

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  • Siddh
    Oct 22, 2011 - 10:09AM

    Wonder if a common man had stolen a few thousand rupees???

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  • shuja
    Oct 22, 2011 - 11:36AM

    It is very unfortunate that many friends feel aggreived over the verdict.The courts are open for every one.Any body can knock the doors of justice.Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is there at least.

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  • Shahzad Faisal
    Oct 22, 2011 - 2:36PM

    Congratulations to all of you on the victory of Truth.Recommend

  • Syed Mashud Ali
    Oct 22, 2011 - 3:48PM

    For the critics of this decisions!

    First you were the critics of Moonis Elahi and was very supportive to judiciary and now when judiciary released Moonis Elahi after a fair trial you turn to the critics of Judiciary.

    For God sake stay at one side. Moonis Elahi faced the trial and no other politicians have these guts.Recommend

  • Muhammad Imran
    Oct 22, 2011 - 4:29PM

    Moonis Elahi critics overlook the fact that he is the only politician in our country’s political history who didn’t run away from the law and instead of the asylum seeking lot he decided to face the law. He by returning from England and courting arrest voluntarily and going through all the travails in the case has earned the respect of the youth.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Oct 22, 2011 - 8:46PM

    NAB,FIA and courts are full of kangaroos and BB was right when she said,lack of evidence and threats, keeping the terrorism and corruption alive.Long live the justice and the chief justice,

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  • Muhammad Jamil Jutt
    Oct 23, 2011 - 12:14PM

    Muhammad Imran is absolutely right. We should give Moonis his deserved accolades for facing the trial like a brave man. If he had stayed in England then I would have been his No 1 critic.

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  • LOK
    Oct 23, 2011 - 3:02PM

    What about the 320M which were traced back Moonis and his wife’s accounts? PML-Q should change the Q with M, they are now the PML-Maqrooz… maqrooz of Zardari, I have to admit that Zardari is a survivor, in that sense he is only impressive.Recommend

  • Hassan Isphani
    Oct 23, 2011 - 8:47PM

    I couldn’t agree more. Zafar Qureshi deliberately played in the hands of a lobby. This lobby which believes in “chartay suraj ko salam” now has no need of this retired bureaucrat. And has somebody wanted to know that if the size of the NICL scam was Rs. 6.5 billion out of which the young Chaudhry was only allegedly held responsible for a paltry 32 crores then why did the “farz ka mara” Qureshi not utter a word about the remaining Rs. 6.2 billion and neither mention the names of those involved.

    @LOK Zafar Qureshi didn’t provided any proof in his Challan.Zafar Qureshi’s duty was to just do the character assassination of Moonis Elahi and his family. There is was no transaction of 32 crores. It was just a allegation without which was not proved during a fair trial.,

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  • Abdul Rehman
    Oct 23, 2011 - 11:09PM

    Yep, that”s the victory of truth.

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  • Oct 24, 2011 - 1:23AM

    Moonis Elahi you are Great Leader for our nation we all with you. SACH kI JEET HAMISHA HUTY HA…..

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  • True Pakistani
    Oct 24, 2011 - 1:43PM

    @hassan isphani
    WELL DONE MR.QURESHI for recovering 2 BILLION out of alleged 2.75BILLION.

    Recommend

  • Multan
    Oct 25, 2011 - 12:39AM

    Pakistan ka Sab sy Masoom Tareen mazLoom Young-Boy!Recommend

  • Usman Shahid
    Oct 25, 2011 - 6:02PM

    Excellent bravery shown by Moonis …. Victory of Turth & Law… Cheers

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  • Maqsood Ahmed
    Oct 26, 2011 - 12:46PM

    Who says the judiciary has failed? Moonis Elahi’s acquittal decision is a living proof of the independence and neutrality of the judiciary. We should look at it as an end of a case which was based on fabrications with no concrete reality against Moonis.

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  • insider
    Oct 30, 2011 - 10:43PM

    was it not a case of preventing fia to reach the place of evidence at the cost of alliance bw pppp and pmlq

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  • Muhammad Azam
    Oct 31, 2011 - 2:57PM

    Moonis Elahi is innocent.

    I Love U.

    Moonis Elahi Zindabad.Recommend

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