ISLAMABAD: A joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court to probe into an ongoing money laundering case has set up its secretariat in Karachi on Thursday.
According to media reports, the JIT members agreed on setting up the Secretariat in Karachi instead of Islamabad.
The reports further stated, “Following their decision, the Secretariat was established in Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) new building in Gulistan-e-Jauhar area of the metropolis.”
On September 6, FIA’s Additional Director General (Economic Crime Wing) Ehsan Sadiq was appointed as the head of the JIT by the apex court.
The other members of the JIT include Brigadier Shahid Parvez of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Muhammad Afzal of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), NAB Islamabad Director Noman Aslam, Majid Hussain of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Tax Commissioner Imran Latif Minhas.
The JIT, its members and members of the FIA have been directed not to provide the media with any information regarding the investigation.
Moreover, Pakistan Rangers have been tasked to provide adequate security to the team. This has been done to address the DG FIA’s apprehensions regarding the JIT’s security.
The apex court had given the following mandate to the JIT:
The JIT shall set up its Secretariat at a place convenient to it; the JIT shall have all powers relating to inquiries and investigations including those available in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908; National Accountability Ordinance, 1999; Federal Investigation Agency Act, 1974 and the Anti-Corruption Laws, etc; all executive authorities or agencies in the country shall render assistance and provide support to the JIT in its working, if required; the JIT shall submit periodic reports before this court qua the progress made in the investigation on fortnightly basis under sealed cover for examination; the Additional Director General, FIA, who shall head the JIT may co-opt any other expert who may in his opinion be necessary to complete the investigation in an effective and timely manner; First report of the JIT shall be filed within a period of 15 days from the day of its formation.
The case will now be heard in the Supreme Court on September 24.
Earlier this week, while hearing a suo motu case regarding a delay in the FIA probe into the case, the SC had deliberated over the formation of an investigation team but said that it would only be constituted once the defence and prosecution lawyers conclude their arguments.
The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and Faryal. Zardari’s close aide and prominent banker Hussain Lawai was arrested by the FIA on July 6 in connection to a multi-billion money laundering scam. Moreover, Taha Raza was also arrested in connection with the same case.
It was also reported that warrants were issued for suspects absconding in the case, including Namar Majeed, Aslam Masood, Arif Khan, Naseer Abdullah Hussain, Adnan Javed, Mohammad Umair, Iqbal, Azam Wazir Khan, Zain Malik, and Mustafa Zulqarnain.