CJP orders FIA to unfreeze Bahria Town, MDA’s bank accounts

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–Top judge says FIA exceeded authority by freezing accounts when it was only supposed to monitor them

–Justice Nisar rebukes Bahria Town for not changing name despite court’s order

 

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to unfreeze the accounts of Bahria Town and Malir Development Authority (MDA).

The top court issued these orders while clarifying its earlier stance banning the transfers and trading of the under investigation properties of Bahria Town Group in light of a joint investigation report (JIT) in the fake bank accounts case.

During the hearing, Bahria Town’s lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan told the court that private banks have sealed his counsel’s accounts upon orders of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), which has caused a hurdle in the timely payment of salaries to Bahria Town’s employees as well as other development work.

He added that MDA’s accounts have also been frozen. Upon this, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar clarified that the court had only ordered FIA to monitor their bank accounts, not “exceed its authority” by freezing them.

Referring to a case pertaining to private school fees, he remarked that similar orders were issued then for 27 schools but FIA began to shut down schools.

Then, Justice Nisar inquired of Ahsan why his client was yet to change “Bahria’s name”, even after court orders when a period of six months was given for that.

“Have the six months not passed yet?”, he questioned. Ahsan replied that the process is underway.

“I so wish that I change Bahria Town’s name right now,” Justice Nisar replied.

In 2015, a sessions court in Rawalpindi had barred property tycoon Malik Riaz from using the name “Bahria” for his housing society. In 2018, the same court had rejected his appeal seeking the brand name.