News Analysis |
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar transferred the probe into Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former Federal Minister, Senator Azam Swati’s assets to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and the police on Tuesday.
CJP clearly stated that in case misdeclaration of assets is proven, the court will evaluate if he is qualified to remain a Member of National Assembly. It is important to mention here that the CJP was heading a bench hearing the case of IGP Islamabad transfer.
It is important to mention here that the CJP was heading a bench hearing the case of IGP Islamabad transfer.
The court was told that Mr. Swati had resigned from his post as per the directions of the august bench. “Swati has only resigned from the ministry, we are looking at this matter under Article 62 (1)(F) of the Constitution,” CJP replied to Swati’s legal team.
The court asked about the performance of the police so far in the case. The IGP apprised the court that an FIR had been registered but the court was not pleased with the progress and grilled the IG for his ‘inaction against Mr. Swati for misusing his power’. The top judge said, “We are sending this case to FBR, FIA, and police to probe into it and let the court know about the matter of misdeclaration and asserts beyond known sources”.
Case against Swati
The matter came under limelight when the CJP took a suo moto notice of the campaign being run on social media on the immediate transfer of Inspector General Police (IGP) Islamabad. According to media reports, Swati’s son filed an FIR at the Shehzad Town Police Station against several persons for allegedly letting their animals into the former’s fields. On being stopped, the suspects attacked the employees with axes and also snatched weapons from the security guards and held them, hostage, the FIR stated.
Soon after, the IGP Jan Muhammad was transferred; allegedly after he refused to take action on a complaint by Azam Swati’s son. Things became difficult for the PTI government when Pakistan Peoples’ Party Senator Mustafa Khokhar claimed on October 26th that the police officer was removed because he had refused to obey “illegal orders” of Federal Minister Azam Swati’s son.
Critics argue that the Prime Minister has not accepted the resignation of the Federal Minister so far. PM Khan is probably waiting to let the case end and just restore Mr. Swati.
A JIT formed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan held the lawmaker and his employees responsible for the altercation that took place at his farmhouse involving a poor man and his family members. The JIT was headed by Mr. Irfan Mangi, Director General National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and comprising members of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had begun its inquiry against Swati and visited his residence in Islamabad on November 7.
The JIT report, comprising five volumes, stated that the inquiry against Swati was linked to the situation that arose after the minister’s son had a case registered against a neighbouring family. It held Mr. Swati responsible for influencing the transfer of the former Islamabad IG in the aftermath of the altercation. After the JIT report, Faisal Siddiqi was appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court on action warranted against Mr. Swati.
Read more: SC says Senator Azam Swati should resign
Mr. Siddiqui informed the court that there was no legal precedent of the superior court to disqualify a parliamentarian under Article 62 (1) (f) on the misuse of authority; said article would not be applicable unless there is proven tax evasion. Hence, CJP decided to transfer the case to FBR.
Critics argue that the Prime Minister has not accepted the resignation of the Federal Minister so far. PM Khan is probably waiting to let the case end and just restore Mr. Swati. They also believe that since Mr. Swati’s involvement in the case has been proven and now it is up to the PM Khan to deal with Mr. Swati accordingly for misusing his authority.
However, interestingly, a private media channel reported that the transfer of IG was not influenced by Mr. Swati as it was already decided in September; a month before the incident of the altercation. The messages between PM Khan and Shahryar Afridi show the discussion about changing the IG Jan Muhammad for his ‘incompetence’. Unfortunately, the timing of transfer coincided with the Mr. Swati’s incident, making the transfer controversial.