Justice (r) Azmat to head Broadsheet investigation

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz Thursday said Justice (r) Sheikh Azmat Saeed, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, has been appointed chairman of the inquiry committee constituted to investigate the Broadsheet matter.

The minister revealed this during a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, chaired by Javed Latif, MNA.

The inquiry committee has been constituted by federal cabinet on the recommendation of a ministerial inquiry committee led by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz. The committee has been tasked to investigate the Broadsheet matter, fix the responsibility on those who had illegally benefitted themselves, and submit its report within 45 days.

Meanwhile, Chairman National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting Javed Latif on Thursday summoned the chief of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), saying he must explain as to why the UK-based firm Broadsheet was paid-off billions of rupees. “Pakistan had to pay billions just because of one institution’s fault,” Latif said, and expressed displeasure over the pay-off of the huge sum from the national exchequer to the foreign firm.

Latif noted that the country had to face embarrassment due to the Broadsheet saga. “Chairman NAB must tell under which government’s tenure did it happen,” he said.

During the meeting, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said the NAB chief should not be summoned to give an explanation. “The committee may summon everyone involved in the transactions if it wants to get an explanation from the NAB chief,” he maintained. However, Latif said the government shouldn’t give an impression as if it was defending the NAB chief.

The minister said there is no point to summon the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman in the committee at this time. He said as per terms of reference of the inquiry committee, responsibility would be fixed and its details would be shared with the committee. Moreover, he said, the matter does not come in the domain of the committee.

Shibli Faraz opined that at a time when an inquiry committee is working, summoning the NAB chairman in the committee can create confusion.

Later, terming the decision to summon NAB Chairman by National Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting as ridiculous, Shibli said the opposition is utilizing all available platforms to pressurise NAB. Talking to media persons at Parliament House after attending the meeting of the committee, he said the prime minister has already constituted an inquiry committee to investigate the persons, characters, ministers and lawyers involved in the Broadsheet case and report within 45 days. The opposition’s main objective is to get political mileage from the Broadsheet saga, he said, adding that the inquiry committee has been tasked to investigate every aspect of the issue. He recalled that the Broadsheet issue did not surface during the tenure of PTI but it started in the year 2000 and culminated during PTI’s tenure.

Minister for Science and Technology, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) government will utilize all available resources to bring Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan. The ruling party would avail all options for ensuring presence of the former prime minister. The people have given votes to PTI for recovery of money looted by leaders of opposition parties during their tenures, he added.

The minister said that political parties particularly Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, have damaged the governance system and now, asking the ruling party to improve it.

Commenting on Broadsheet scandal, he said a committee has been formed to collect details. He said that final report will be presented to the prime minister within forty-five days.

On the recommendation of the ministerial inquiry committee led by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz, the federal cabinet had on Tuesday constituted a committee headed by a former judge of the Supreme Court or high court to investigate the Broadsheet scandal, fix the responsibility on those who illegally benefitted, and submit its report within 45 days. Addressing a press conference, Senator Shibli Faraz said the committee would comprise one representative each of Federal Investigation Agency and Attorney General of Pakistan, besides a senior advocate to be nominated by the prime minister.

He had said the Broadsheet verdict was based on facts about the corruption stories of previous rulers. It contained the details of corruption of loot and plunder committed before year 2000, but another inquiry is required to look into the wrongdoings done after year 2000, he added.

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