SC orders IB to probe axing of two ASIs -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

SC orders IB to probe axing of two ASIs

Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD, November 10 2005: The Supreme Court has directed the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to hold a detailed inquiry into removal of two officials from service for unlawfully raiding the bureau office of Turkish daily Zaman International in December 1999.

Led by Justice Sardar Raza, a two-member bench remanded back the cases of Assistant Sub-Inspectors Azhar Zahoor and Ghulam Mukhtar Haideri to the department with the direction to keep them suspended till completion of inquiry within three months.

These officers had moved the court against the Federal Services Tribunal (FST)’s order of converting their dismissal into removal from service.

The court, however, dismissed the government’s appeal against the FST decision of stopping two increments of a third officer Mohammad Tanvir Alam also involved in the same crime.

Bureau chief of Zaman International Halit Esendir, had filed a complaint on December 1, 1999, stating that a group of five persons raided the bureau office of the daily and asked the foreign staff to show them their work permits, provide a complete list of foreign staff members, list of visas and copies of their passports.

They also checked the passport and visa of Halit Esendir and seized the visiting cards of Maj (retd) Dr. M Ali, a consultant, and Fakharur Rehman, the reporter of the paper.

The IB officers also inquired about Ms Sureyya, the principal of Pak-Turk International College for Boys, Islamabad, and searched the entire office. Though unarmed, these officers allegedly threatened to abduct the staff if they did not cooperate with them.

However, they ran away in different directions but were arrested at the police picket when Dr Ali informed the bureau chief about the raid.

Later the Intelligence Bureau show-caused these officers on December 14, 1999 charging them with forming a gang of criminals in the bureau to indulge in activities like extortion, hurling threats and receiving illegal gratification.

Meanwhile, the FST in its order of converting dismissal of these two officers into removal from service had also mentioned about serious complaints against ASI Azhar Zahoor, who along with four accomplices, all drunk and armed with firearms, forced their entry into the house of one complainant and not only undressed themselves in front of the ladies but also resorted to dancing and abusing them over a financial dispute.

Deputy Attorney General Nasir Saeed Sheikh during the hearing told the court that these officers had no legal authority to search the bureau office of Zaman in Islamabad since they were deputed at the agency’s office in Rawalpindi.
Source: Dawn