Farogh Naseem, Shahzad Akbar reject accusations of government trying to establish a case against Justice Qazi Faez Isa
Former director-general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Bashir Memon, on Tuesday reiterated allegations that Prime Minister Imran Khan and other members of the federal cabinet had directed him to file baseless cases against several opposition leaders as well as Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
Appearing on Geo News, he told anchor Shahzeb Khanzada that the prime minister had urged him to pursue cases against “corrupt” people before directing him to meet Advisor on Accountability Shahzad Akbar for further details. He claimed that Akbar had told him to file a case against Justice Isa, to which he had responded that this was not possible. To this, he claimed, he had been directed to Law Minister Farogh Naseem, who had met him alongside Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed of the Federal Board of Revenue.
Memon claimed Naseem had reiterated that there was a case to be made against Justice Isa, adding that the FBR had information that could form the basis for a money-laundering case. He claimed Naseem had further maintained that he would contest the case himself “as he said he had never lost a single case.”
The former FIA official said he had refused to proceed with the case and informed the people present—Naseem, Akbar, Principal Secretary to the P.M. Azam Khan, and Ahmed—that the rules concerning the judiciary’s internal affairs were clear and taking any action would not be in accordance with the terms of reference of the FIA. “I also consulted with the legal team [of FIA], which also held that my stance was right,” he added.
Detailing further meeting with the premier, Memon alleged Khan had repeatedly directed him to initiate corruption cases against leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), “especially Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Sanaullah, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Khawaja Asif.” He alleged that the Pakistan Peoples Party’s Khurshid Shah and Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar were also brought up, as were Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and PMLN leader Amir Muqam.
The former bureaucrat claimed he had informed the prime minister that police could only arrest suspects on the basis of evidence and inquiry but had been told to “just arrest them, we’ll make the case for it after remand.” He also alleged that after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, the prime minister had told him: “Look, this is loyalty. You couldn’t arrest [Shahbaz], but NAB did it in one day.”
Memon claimed that the government had wanted to lodge a terrorism case against Khawaja Asif, adding that this was not possible on the mere basis of someone holding an iqama, a legal work permit. He said he had differed with this, as the FIA would then have had to prove the terror charges in court.
Similarly, he said, the government had wanted a case of terrorism lodged against PMLN leader Maryam Nawaz over a press conference that lawmakers alleged had “terrorized” a judge. The government also wanted the FIA to lodge a terrorism case against Maryam over the basis of a picture of First Lady Bushra Bibi that had been posted on social media.
Noting that it was a “normal picture,” he said the government had directed him to link its posting to terrorism due to her status as the first lady. “I told them: ‘For God’s sake, whether it is the first lady or anyone else, where is it written [this is an act of terror]?’” he added.
Rejecting the impression that he favored the PMLN, Memon said the opposition party’s leadership didn’t even know him, as he had only met Nawaz Sharif while on protocol duty at the airport.
Kingdom vs democracy
The former FIA chief also reiterated claims he had voiced earlier of Prime Minister Imran Khan wanting to operate Pakistan on the pattern of Saudi Arabia under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “You keep citing the law, but the Saudi authorities do what the crown prince tells them to do,” he quoted the premier as telling him at one point. “I told the prime minister that Saudi Arabia is a kingdom whereas Pakistan is a democracy,” he said.
To a question on whether he was willing to stand by his allegations in court, Memon said that if he was summoned, he would certainly appear. “The Supreme Court can summon anyone anytime. If I am served summons, I will definitely go and share with them whatever happened,” he added.
Advisor Akbar rejected Memon’s claims in a posting on Twitter, claiming he would initiate legal action against the slander of the former FIA official. “Just seen absolute rubbish uttered by Bashir Memon on Shahzeb show. He was never called for any meeting with P.M. or myself on QFI [Qazi Faez Isa] issue, and there was no meeting with law minister and him as he claims. Similarly he was never told to start any case against any specific individual. 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.
Similarly, law minister Naseem branded the allegations “false and baseless,” adding he had never spoken to Memon about Justice Isa. He also claimed that Azam Khan, Shahzad Akbar and Bashir Memon had never come to his office at the same time.
Maryam Nawaz, meanwhile, urged the judiciary to take notice of Memon’s allegations and initiate a judicial probe to determine their accuracy.