One phone call & Shehbaz was arrested: Case of political pressure in Pakistan

Reports reveal that former DG FIA Bashir Ahmad Memon tendered his resignation after being pressurized into incriminating key opposition leaders with fabricated evidence. The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is yet to comment on these allegations, circulating in the media.

Pakistan

Reports reveal that Bashir Ahmad Memon, former Director-General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has had to tender his resignation in fear of unceremonial dismissals, days before his retirement was due.

Sources, as circulating in the media, reveal that Memon tendered his resignation to express his discontent with the “illegal” directives issued by the top government officials with regards to the arrests of key opposition leaders.

Last Friday, Wajid Zia, famous for his investigations with regards to the Panama Leaks, replaced Memon as the DG FIA.

Former DG FIA Resigns

Reports suggest that Bashir Ahmad Memon, a BS-22 police officer known for his strong character and dignity, tendered his resignation as an “expression of displeasure”. Memon had cultivated a reputation of landing in trouble for saying no to the orders of the power elite in the government.

During the PPP regime, Memon had been unceremoniously removed by then-President Asif Ali Zardari from the post of DIG Hyderabad over his refusal to compromise in an investigation against Zardari’s stepbrother, Muzaffar Tappi.

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Under Memon’s leadership, FIA discovered evidence incriminating Zardari in the fake accounts case. It is interesting to note that Memon belongs to the same area as Zardari, and the latter was also his senior at the Petaro Cadet College.

Soon after his appointment as the DG FIA in August 2017, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, then Prime Minister, ordered him to refrain from putting an MQM MNA on notice for an ongoing investigation of money-laundering. Memon refused his cooperation and garnered Abbasi’s respect, who urged him to take measures to improve the FIA.

When Imran Khan formed his government, Memon believed that political pressure would become a thing of the past, but reports suggest that he was constantly pressurized for “fabricating cases” against opposition leaders.

Reports added that the incumbent government was dissatisfied with the FIA’s performance, particularly when the FIA informed the Supreme Court of its failure to find tangible evidence against Nawaz Sharif and other PML-N leaders.

Reports suggest that the FIA was also urged to provide evidence against Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and others. Memon refused to proceed with any inquiry without tangible evidence, however, when the PTI-led government failed to have Shahbaz arrest through the FIA, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was given this responsibility.

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This began a cycle of NAB being lauded for its achievements in the anti-corruption drive, while the FIA was repeatedly reprimanded for its lack of cooperation. However, as NAB began undertaking more investigations, the pressure on the FIA faded. However, when PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz held the press conference of the infamous video scandal involving an accountability judge, the FIA came under pressure once again to arrest the key PML-N leaders who attended the briefing.

The Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf leadership has yet to comment on these allegations circulating in media, however, Pakistan is familiar with the culture of political pressure from the political elite. The history of Pakistan stands witness to the fact that the process of accountability has always been used as a tool of political victimization and pressurization for political parties to settle their scores and eliminate their rivals.

However, Prime Minister Imran Khan has come into power with a justified and highly acclaimed mandate of bringing back the looted wealth of the nation. Opinion makers and intellectuals remain conflicted with regards to Bashir Ahmad Memon’s performance as the DG FIA, while many accuse him of dragging the cases piled against former leaders and the corrupt elite.

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