ISLAMABAD: The Minister for Law and Justice Dr Farogh Naseem and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability, Mirza Shahzad Akbar Wednesday denied allegations made by former director general (DG) of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Bashir Memon.
Talking to a private TV channel, former DG FIA alleged that he was pressured by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Naseem and Akbar to initiate a case against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
However, both the law minister and the PM’s aides denied the allegations.
Taking to twitter, the law minister refuted the “baseless allegations” levelled by Memon. I have never discussed any issue regarding Justice Isa with Memon. Azam Khan, Shahzad Akbar and Memon have never come to my office together”.
“Azam Khan has only come to my office once and that was all by himself only to discuss legal reforms,” he added.
Akbar also refuted claims of any such meeting about Justice Isa, calling the allegations ‘rubbish”.
“He was never called for any meeting with PM or myself on Justice Qazi Faez Isa issue, and there was no meeting with the law minister and him as he claims. Similarly he was never told to start any case against any specific individual,” he added.
“Only case referred to FIA was of sedition by the federal cabinet. I have instructed lawyers in personal capacity to initiate legal action for his slander,” he said.
Later in the day, Akbar’s lawyers sent a defamation notice worth Rs500 million to Memon terming his allegations as ‘false, politically motivated and absurd’ and demanding an unconditional apology.
The notice stated that Memon “without any evidence or factual basis blamed [Akbar] of pressurising you in an alleged meeting held at [Akbar’s] office and painted a false narrative as if [the premier’s aide] holds some malicious agenda against” Justice Isa.
It said that Memon’s “defamatory statements are only a continuation of a hateful media campaign which has been launched at the behest of those criminal and corrupt elements which current government is trying to investigate and prosecute in a completely transparent, fair and neutral manner; through a judicial forum”.
The notice asked Memon to retract his statements within 14 days and issue an “unconditional public apology” via newspaper and electronic media along with paying Rs500mn as “compensation for causing irreparable damage to Akbar’s reputation.”
The former DG FIA alleged that he was first called to the Prime Minister’s Office where the premier told him he was a very good officer and to have strength.
“At the time, I was not aware of the nature of the case and whom I was to proceed against [and] that it would concern a judge of the apex court,” he claimed.
He said that he was taken to Shahzad Akbar’s office where it was revealed he was to proceed against Justice Isa. Later, he also allegedly visited the law minister’s office. “Naseem was also convinced that a case should be made against Justice Isa and asked me to play a role.”
Memon said he tried to explain how this was not possible as Justice Isa was a Supreme Court judge. “This is the job of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and it has the constitutional authority. It does not fall within the FIA’s terms of reference (ToRs).”
He claimed that the ministers still tried to convince him to proceed. “I gave examples from the law and the constitution, which in their opinion was the incorrect interpretation but then I had to put my foot down,” he added.
“How can the FIA and the police, which is a law enforcement agency, do something that is illegal and especially that which concerns a judge of the apex court,” he recalled.
When asked on what grounds Naseem wanted to proceed against Justice Isa, Memon said that money laundering. “Their stance was that it was my mandate. My opinion was that the SJC [supreme judicial council] could do this, or it could ask us to proceed, but the FIA could not do this at the government’s request,” he added.
He stated that he had also consulted with his legal team, which had supported his decision.
When asked whether FBR official Ashfaq Ahmed, who Memon claimed was also present during the meetings, was convinced on filing a case, the former FIA DG said: “Whether it warrants a case or not is another matter. I didn’t have the powers and I was of the opinion that this would go beyond my ToRs.”
He stated that the FBR official was of the opinion that he could proceed against Justice Isa. “I told him to go ahead [but asked] what do you get out of it? What are you doing with yourself”.
Commenting on Ahmed’s denial of any such meeting taking place, Memon said: “I say let’s have an open inquiry. Two to three years have passed since this happened, you can verify the dates.”
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021