Supreme Court maintains stay order against investigation: NAB disbands JIT in Dr Arsalan case
By: Hasnaat Malik
ISLAMABAD: Avoiding the impression of bias expressed by the chief justice’s son, the National Accountability Bureau has decided to disband joint investigation team (JIT) and conduct an inquiry by its own members into an alleged business deal between Malik Riaz Hussain and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.
NAB also told the SC that it had no objection if the court wanted to transfer the inquiry of Arsalan’s case to any other investigating agency. The court appreciated NAB’s proposal for ensuring fair and transparent inquiry in the case, however, it maintained its July 31 stay order.
A two-member bench of Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain is hearing a review petition filed by the counsel for son of the chief justice of Pakistan against the court’s June 14 order over the alleged business deal in an attempt to influence judicial process.
The court directed the petitioner’s counsel, Sardar Ishaq, to examine NAB’s offer regarding the formation of a new inquiry team and submit his response in this regard today (Friday).
During the hearing, NAB Prosecutor General KK Agha, appearing before the bench, said the petitioner had raised three principal concerns, which had come up in the court related to the inquiry team: the letter written by the attorney general on June 28; inclusion of the JIT’s two members – Islamabad SP Faisal Memon and FIA Director Nasrullah Gondal; and the CCTV footage that was placed before the bench on the last hearing on July 31.
In view of these reservations, the NAB PG said the bureau wanted to avoid the perception of bias, therefore it had removed Faisal Memon and Nasrullah Gondal from the inquiry team, and now the JIT ceased to exist.
He stated NAB had decided that inquiry in this matter would be conducted by its own officers as there was no serious allegation on the third member – Kausar Iqbal Malik, thus he would lead the new inquiry team. Agha further said he would submit written statement in this regard tomorrow (Friday).
During the proceedings, Faisal Memon submitted his reply over his alleged relation with Malik Riaz and the impression that he was giving Riaz a ‘protocol’ during the latter’s first appearance before the court on June 12. The bench, expressing its annoyance over the interior secretary for not submitting a report with his signature, directed him to appear today (Friday). Hearing was adjourned until today (Friday).