Executive-judiciary tussle may reignite next week

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The government’s moves to ‘sabotage’ the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam investigation by one tactic or another are likely to invite a fresh row between the executive and the judiciary at the next hearing of the case in the Supreme Court, scheduled for the upcoming week.
As the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s Additional Director General (DG) Zafar Qureshi is going to retire on September 30, for which the Establishment Division has already issued a notification, the government has sent FIA DG Tehseen Anwar Shah to Germany on an official visit so he can avoid the next hearing, which is likely in the next week.
Earlier, Qureshi had sent a letter to the Supreme Court registrar voicing concerns over the lack of cooperation from Interior Secretary Khawaja Siddidque Akber and the FIA DG in the NICL scam case. Qureshi, who heads the investigation team of the NICL scam case, had submitted fortnightly report to the apex court regarding the investigation of the scam, in which he mentioned that contrary to the court’s orders neither the interior secretary nor the FIA DG were lending him the required support in probing the multi-billion rupee scam.
Shah, the FIA DG, had earlier rejected the Supreme Court orders to work under his subordinate Qureshi, and had resigned from his office. The government, however, did not accept his resignation. A source in the government told Pakistan Today that Shah’s resignation from the position was a calculated move by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) to kill time till Qureshi’s resignation.
“The top functionaries of the government kept their lips tight on Shah’s resignation for three to four weeks until recently, when Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced that his resignation had not been accepted. Through this maneuver, the government killed many weeks which otherwise could have led to a major breakthrough in the NICL case,” said the source.
Now, he said, a few days ago the FIA DG had left the country to avoid assisting Qureshi in the investigation. Shah would return from Germany on September 30, after Qureshi’s retirement, he added. Sources said Qureshi had submitted a comprehensive report to the Supreme Court in which he stated that because of the lack of cooperation from the interior secretary and the FIA DG, he would not be able to submit the complete challan against the accused in the trial court on September 26.
Ever since he resumed his duties as additional DG on the apex court’s orders, Qureshi has faced one obstacle after the next in pursuing his line of investigation in the high-profile scam case, in which one of the accused is Moonis Elahi, son of Senior Minister Pervaiz Elahi. A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Ghulam Rabbani had told the FIA chief to associate himself as a team member with Qureshi’s investigation team.

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