SC issues notice to journalist to explain position | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

SC issues notice to journalist to explain position

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has summoned columnist and journalist Nazir Naji to explain his position for accepting Rs3 million from secret funds of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in 1998.

The notice has been issued to Naji to appear on October 10 after former director general of IB Col (R) Iqbal Niazi submitted his reply in a sealed envelope in the SC in a case initiated after Asad Kharal, a journalist, submitted an application in the apex court alleging that Naji was paid Rs3 million by IB upon orders of PM in 1998.

Ever since the issuance of notice to Col (R) Niazi by the apex court in misuse of secret funds, there has been a panic in the government circles and much has been happening behind the scenes.

Well placed sources told The News that Col (R) Niazi, before his appearance in the SC, was kept in a safe house of IB by the incumbent government, an act being defended by IB officials saying that it is a protocol to entertain an ex-DG IB.

Not only this, the sources said that a key figure of PML-N government met Col (R) Niazi and offered him not to spill the beans against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for misuse of secret funds from 1997 to 1999 including Rs3 million paid to Naji.

“Col (R) Iqbal Niazi was offered the posts of chairman National Accountability Bureau, coordinator National Counter Terrorism Authority etc by PML-N,” said the sources.They said: “The ex-DG’s meeting with the prime minister was scheduled twice but the PM was abroad due to Turkey and US visits.”

The sources said that Col (R) Niazi in his reply to SC regarding Rs3 million paid to Naji had narrated such facts that the apex court had to summon the columnist to explain his position which means the government’s offers could not stop Col (R) Naizi from telling the truth in the apex court.

The Supreme Court in its order dated 30-09-13 issued notices to the Attorney General, Col (R) Niazi and Naji. The order states that Col (R) Niazi had filed a sealed envelope in court which was opened and the office has been directed to keep the said confidential statement in Registrar’s Office in safe custody.

The order further says that application of Asad Kharal alleges that IB had paid Rs3 million to Naji. “Notice be also issued to the said journalist (Naji) for next date of hearing providing him opportunity of hearing. In the meanwhile, Col (R) Iqbal Niazi, former DG IB, shall also go through once again the application submitted by Mr Asad Kharal and furnish para-wise reply enabling this court to further proceed in the matter,” the order states. Documents available with The News state that in case CMA 4671/2012 in HRC 19/1996 Asad Kharal, a journalist, had submitted in the Supreme Court that “the IB had provided Rs3 million to Nazir Naji, a journalist who at that time was not only columnist attached to an Urdu newspaper but also remained government official in capacity of chairman Pakistan Academy of Letters, Government of Pakistan from 3-4-1997 to 22-10-1999. Currently he is an editor of an Urdu language newspaper. Saeed Mehdi, PS to then PM Nawaz Sharif on directions of prime minister called on then DG IB Col (r) Iqbal Niazi in Prime Minister’s Secretariat and conveyed the message of his boss (Nawaz) regarding provision of Rs3 million to the said journalist.

“Major (r) Farid Jadoon who was then personal staff officer to DG IB Niazi in shape of cash delivered said amount (Rs3 million) to the house of journalist. IB also managed to record audio and video recording of journalist’s confession. This recoding had been conducted by the Col Ehsanul Haq, the then provincial (Punjab) chief of IB in the presence of Col. (Retd) Iqbal Niazi.”

The IB has been confronting the SC by not providing the information regarding doling out Rs3 million from its secret funds to Naji despite passing of numerous hearings and then the court had to summon the then DG IB to bring the truth forth.

Such is the level of fear of the columnist in IB that the bureau was issued last opportunity by the SC on many occasions to submit report on Rs3 million given to Naji in 1998 by PM Nawaz Sharif from the secret funds but the bureau was ready to take the wrath of the apex court and its officers were ready to go to the jail in contempt of court primarily but did not want to invite the anger of the journalist.

On 26-08-2013 the Supreme Court summoned the then DG IB Col (R) Iqbal Niazi and Major (R) Farid Jadoon, the two characters involved in handing Rs3 million of secret fund to Naji, to explain their position.

The News