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JIT formed to investigate ‘attack’ on Asad Kharal for pursuing billions of rupees corruption cases

JIT formed to investigate ‘attack’ on Asad Kharal for pursuing billions of rupees corruption cases

LAHORE: Senior Journalist Asad Kharal informed police that he was attacked for pursuing important cases of billions of rupees corruption in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Supreme Court.

He said Punjab police shared these details with chairman of the standing committee on human rights Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar in a report.

Furthermore, the police are conducting geo-fencing of the place of the incident with the help of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and Intelligence Bureau. A joint investigation team has also been formed to probe the matter following directives from the Punjab government. The JIT comprises Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI) and CTD officials.

Khokhar told media that the report has been received and it will be shared with the committee members in next meeting in Quetta on June 11. The committee would ensure continuous oversight of the matter.

Meanwhile, senior journalist and anchorperson Asad Kharal had registered an FIR under Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act against unknown assailants who attacked him near Allama Iqbal International Airport in wee hours of June 6.

Asad Kharal is associated and contributes to Customs Today. His investigative journalism strength has enabled Customs Today to unearth many huge mega scams in customs department including Rs 1,000 billion green channel scam. It cannot be ruled out that he was attacked by ‘corrupt mafia’ of customs or smugglers of green channel due to his recent complaint on Rs 1,000 billion customs green channel scam published in Customs Today as the Chief Justice has taken notice of his appeal and complaint and called for reply from the concerned quarters within 10 days.

According to details, Asad Kharal survived an assassination attempt in Lahore on 6th June and he is under treatment at the Services Hospital. According to an office order 3509/Principal of Services Hospital, a special medical board is constituted to examine Asad Kharal who is admitted in the hospital and suffering from badly injured with multiple severe injuries of head and arm and requiring special management. The medical team comprises: Prof. Dr Qazi Saeed, Prof Dr. Rashid Saeed, Prof Dr. Ali Raza Hashmi and Prof Dr Rana Muhammad Arshad.

In his FIR, Asad Kharal had demanded formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to identify the assailants. He said about 10 attackers were riding three vehicles and they were armed and had covered their faces and hands. “I do not want to lodge a case because the police cannot take action against them. I will lodge a case if a high-level joint investigation team (JIT) is formed, comprising people from intelligence agencies besides the police. The JIT can be effective only if Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar heads it,” he added.

He said he had neither enmity with anybody nor it was an incident of robbery. “They wanted to frighten me. They attacked me because I had sensitive information about corruption cases of Rs500-1000 billion per case in my USB and phones. I wanted to present them to the Supreme Court and the NAB.”

“Such tactics cannot scare me from my duty of public service and patriotism. The mafia can also target the chief justice and the NAB chairman and I advise them to step up their security. I have concrete evidence of corruption and the chief justice should summon me to his chamber to hear me,” he observed.

Asad Kharal is presently chief analyst and anchorperson at BOL. He is host of the famous TV program ‘Ab Pata Chala’. Asad Kharal is considered one of the most experienced and best investigative journalists of Pakistani media industry and had worked on several exclusive inside stories throughout his journalism career. During his around 20 years of journalism career, he had successfully worked for more than 2000 investigative stories for the print and electronic media of the country. He had also associated with several leading media groups of Pakistan including Express Tribune, Dunya Television and ARY News.

He has also an honour of winning “Investigative Journalist of the Year” award in 2003. Asad Kharal was co-hosting a program named “Andar Ki Baat” on ARY News. He had also written six books on different topics and worked for Chicago Sun Times and The Guardian as a freelancer.

Asad Kharal is also chairman of Tehlka News and Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJ). He is also associated and contributes to Customs Today. His Investigative Journalism strength has enabled Customs Today to unearth many huge mega scams in customs department including the Rs. 1,000 Billion green channel one.

It is pertinent to mention here that recently Asad Kharal repeatedly published full page appeals to the Chief Justice of Pakistan in Customs Today newspaper on the Rs. 1,000 Billion mega scam of green channel. Big names like Mobilink and QMobile are reported to be involved in the mega scam. Last Friday 1 June 2018, he appeared at the Supreme Court and filed complaint along with the copies of the appeals. He also filed two more complaints. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took notice of all three complaints and called for reports from relevant quarters within 10 days. In a letter dated Tuesday 5 June marked as Immediate/urgent, the court asked FBR chairman for reply and sent copy to the Chairman NAB for information and necessary action. On the very next day of this letter in the wee hours of June 6 Asad Kharal was attacked by ‘masked men’ near Allama Iqbal International Airport.

Asad Kharal has been active in unveiling many mega scams and corruption cases where big and powerful individuals, bureaucrats and political personalities are hooked. However, Asad Kharal is yet to accuse anyone of the attack.

Customs Today team condemns the brutal attack on the senior journalist Asad Kharal. Customs Today stands for security for all journalists and media persons in Pakistan. It is unfortunate that Pakistan has been ranked 139th out of 180 countries in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index maintained by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Pakistan should be an entirely safe place for all media persons.