SC orders inquiry into record tampering claim

* Court directs AGP to suggest course of action against IB for interference in Panama probe against Sharif family

SC orders inquiry into  record tampering claim

ISLAMABAD: The top court on Monday directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general (DG) to look into the matter of allegations pertaining to tampering with record of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and proceed in accordance with the law. The court also directed the FIA to also submit its compliance report in the matter.

Observing that an organised media campaign was being run regarding the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) proceedings, the top court directed the members of the JIT to concentrate on the probe without paying any attention to the media reports and submit its report within the stipulated 60 days in accordance with the April 20 judgement.

The Supreme Court directed Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali to assist the court in suggesting as to what action could be taken against the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for its interference in probe against the Sharif family’s assets. The top court also directed the IB director general (DG) to remain at court’s disposal as he could be summoned any time.

A three-judge implementation bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, also expressed displeasure over the conduct of the IB to influence the probe against the Sharifs by the JIT.

The bench was hearing the matter of hurdles and impediments faced by the JIT in the way of the probe.

The JIT members had alleged in a report that the country’s civilian intelligence agency was not only hacking their and their family’s social media accounts but had also kept a close eyes on their houses and family members. They further alleged that the IB collected CNICs of members from NADRA and then the same were provided to Hussain Nawaz.

The bench expressed concerns over the use of IB by the Sharif family for their private purposes and observed that the bureau had committed a crime, as its director general admitted that it gathered data of the JIT members in the garb of routine job and then ‘released’ it to the respondent, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz.

AGP Ausaf told the bench that the IB denied the allegations of hacking social media accounts, but “low-downs” were collected in accordance with the standard operating procedure.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked as to what law authorised the IB to collect low-downs, adding that keeping check on houses and family members was an “outright harassment”.

“Harassment of JIT members must be stopped forthwith, otherwise we will have to pass unpleasant orders,” remarked Justice Ahsan.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed asked the AGP whether there was any law prohibiting the release of information by the IB. The AGP would assist the court over measures and actions against the IB on the next date of hearing, fixed for today.