Ombudsman’s office being used to save a ‘journalist’ | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Ombudsman’s office being used to save a ‘journalist’

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: The office of the Federal Ombudsman is being used to pressurise Islamabad Police to favour an influential “journalist” detained in an alleged massive fraud case. Because of ‘journalistic’ influence, police were unable to take any considerable action against the powerful accused but when an FIR was registered following court orders, office of Ombudsman jumped in.

The episode has exposed the face and the ‘sacredness’ of profession of journalism and the institution of ombudsman in Pakistan.

A responsible officer of the Ombudsman office, however, while talking to ‘The News’, said that if any officer of the ombudsman was using influence, the Islamabad Police must not bow down before any such illegal pressure. He said the Ombudsman office can only intervene in any issue after a written complaint from any citizen is filed and without that any intervention is absolutely illegal. He said a stern action will be taken against those involved in pressuring police to favour the journalist in a case of criminal nature.

Senior officials of Islamabad Police told ‘The News’ that a ‘journalist’ Shoaib Bhutta and a citizen, Saeed, are partners in a recently made big hospital in Karachi Company Police Station area of Islamabad and Saeed is already in jail in four different cases of fraud for giving different bogus cheques to some individuals in connection with the hospital which were bounced.

A senior police officer confirmed to ‘The News’ that Shoaib Bhutta was arrested this week after registration of an FIR following court orders. The officer said that Shoaib visited the said hospital site one night, collected whole material, equipment and machinery and took them to his place. These things also belonged to other individuals.

Senior police officials told ‘The News’ that police were unable to help victims because of the journalistic influence of the accused at the earlier stage. However, when police registered an FIR following court orders and arrested Shoaib Bhutta on Thursday, one Ms Zaryab Mussarat, who is a deputy director in Federal Ombudsman and is wife of Shoaib Bhutta, started using office of the ombudsman to pressurise police to release her husband.

The officers said that police were under great pressure from three sides; some influential journalists, the ombudsman office, and the court orders for action against the accused in an outright fraud case.

When the responsible official of the Ombudsman office was asked by ‘The News’ about role of Zaryab Mussarat, he said whoever has used office of the Federal Ombudsman will not be spared and action will be initiated against all those involved .

Officers in Federal Ombudsman office reveal that Zaryab was an employee in the APP and working on attachment in the Ombudsman office. Some officers claim that case of Zaryab’s absorption in the Ombudsman office was also being considered. Officers said that Shoaib Bhutta, who was also appointed as member of board of directors of APP during the previous regime, got appointed many members of his family and friends in the state-owned news agency in violation of rules.

Some APP officials said that Zaryab was directly hired on a senior position in the agency and later was sent to office of the Federal Ombudsman.

The News