Memo controversy: Panel ‘concerned’ at sacking of 3 FIA experts

Published: January 10, 2012
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Experts had assisted in major investigations of last three years, not served show cause notices.

Experts had assisted in major investigations of last three years, not served show cause notices.

LAHORE: 

The head of the judicial commission investigating the ‘Memogate’ controversy has expressed concern over the government’s decision to sack three forensics experts of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes a few days ago.

Speaking at Monday’s commission hearing, Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faiz Isa questioned how the FIA could operate its forensics wing without the experts. Sources in the NR3C, as the Centre is known, said it had become “dysfunctional” since the sackings.

The termination letters, dated January 6, were issued by the project director of the NR3C with the Interior Ministry’s approval.

Shahid Nadeem Baloch, the project director, confirmed that the three experts as well as an office superintendent had been sacked recently. He said the sackings had no connection with Memogate, but did not say why their contracts were terminated. They had not been served show cause notices.

The termination letters were issued to Sarafraz Chaudhry, the NR3C regional coordinator posted at FIA Headquarters in Islamabad; Abdul Ghaffar, a forensics expert recently transferred from Lahore to Karachi; Muhammad Irfan Qureshi, a forensics expert recently transferred from Islamabad to Lahore; and Saif, an office superintendent in Islamabad.

The forensics experts have assisted in more than 50 investigations, including high-profile cases such as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, attacks on Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf, the abduction of Shahbaz Taseer, the Mumbai attacks, and several financial fraud and cybercrime cases, according to FIA records.

One of the three served as the FIA’s focal person for liaison with intelligence agencies to obtain call data records and SMS data from more than 10,000 mobile phone numbers in connection with investigations over the last three years, said FIA sources.

One expert deleted data from the computers of President Asif Zardari’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar and PPP leader Babar Awan, after they complained that someone had hacked into their email accounts and was sending messages from their accounts concerning the controversial memo, before the Supreme Court took up the case.

The sources said that the government did not like the FIA experts as it believed them to be close to Zafar Qureshi, the FIA official who investigated Moonis Elahi in the National Insurance Company Limited scam, and Tariq Khosa, the previous director general of the FIA who was initially chosen to head the commission by the Supreme Court.

They said that shortly after the announcement of Khosa’s appointment, an intelligence agency intercepted a call made by the then FIA director general to one of the forensics experts. “The call showed to the government that Khosa had close ties to the official,” said the sources.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Aamir
    Jan 10, 2012 - 10:03AM

    This is really an important issue and the timing coincide with the events happening. Are we following any rule or is it democratic dictatorship???

    Recommend

  • Ishrat Salim
    Jan 10, 2012 - 2:53PM

    Reply to Aamir….very true…this govt is ” democratic dictatorship “….Recommend

  • Saleem
    Jan 10, 2012 - 4:34PM

    FIA has Three forensics experts. Now when memogate commission asked government to provide forensics experts all three were declared incompetent and sacked. It will be naïve to think that it was a mere coincidence when one the expert was recommended for Tamgha-i-Imtiaz.

    Recommend

  • DB
    Jan 10, 2012 - 8:41PM

    To protect their own rule, PPP will go to any lengths to destroy Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • butt jee
    Jan 10, 2012 - 11:19PM

    PPP Government cannot afford to have honest and independent minded officers in FIA or NAB. Even the Auditor General they have appointed is man of dual nationality with shady record of service. Crooks and cronies have a bright future, particularly if they also have the Multan connection, as long as Zardari / Gilani group is in power.

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  • F Khan
    Jan 11, 2012 - 8:37PM

    when god want to make some one fail he first make him mad…..this is the most incompetent, ineffective and corrupt government in the history of pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Truth
    Jan 11, 2012 - 9:18PM

    War on PPP has just begun. Civil society, judiciary and army should join hands to stop this corrupt govt.

    Recommend

  • Shahbaz Khan
    Jan 11, 2012 - 9:32PM

    More evidence there is very little room for development for honest, conscientous and capable professionals in Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • talhah
    Jan 19, 2012 - 12:16AM

    It so unfortunate to see how these people are running the government. Honest and capable people are being treated like this. If they cant respect judiciary, anything is can be expected from them…
    Recommend

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