The Supreme Court on Tuesday assigned the assets-beyond-means investigation against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Azam Swati to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Islamabad police.
The court passed the orders while hearing a Suo muto case regarding the ‘unlawful’ transfer of former Islamabad police chief Jan Mohammad.
The police officer’s transfer took place after Swati’s son had registered a case against a family of slum dwellers for allegedly trespassing on his family’s land. Five people, including two women, were arrested for trespassing on the land and beating up Swati’s guards.
They were released after a day’s detention as police said a settlement had been reached between the minister and the detained family. The altercation, coupled with the IGP’s transfer, had caught the attention of the media as well as the apex court.
“We will not end the case against Azam Swati yet,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said today during the hearing, adding that the court would hear the case again once reports from police and other agencies were submitted.
Addressing the current Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammad Aamir Zulfiqar Khan, the top judge said that he had not yet registered a first information report (FIR) against the senator.
“You are still maintaining your loyalties,” Justice Nisar said as he directed the police chief to meet him in his chambers.
On November 19, the court-formed joint investigation team (JIT) had held Swati and his employees responsible for the altercation that took place at his farmhouse and allegedly transpired into the police chief’s transfer.
“Has the JIT report been thrown in the bin?” Justice Nisar asked today.
Swati’s counsel Ali Zafar apprised the SC bench that his client had already resigned from his post.
“He has only resigned from the ministry,” said the judge, adding that in the detailed judgment the bench will include their opinion on the matter from the point of view of Article 62(1)(f) ─ the same section that led to the disqualification last year of Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen.
“Is he eligible to remain a member of parliament now,” Justice Nisar wondered, noting that Swati’s name is still associated with the ministry.
Meanwhile, IGP Zulfiqar briefed the court on measures taken by his department, saying that a ‘challan’ has been filed against Swati’s son Usman as well as Najeebullah Khan Muhammad, Faiz Mahmood and Jahanzeb.
“Nothing was done against the person who manages the affairs,” Justice Nisar said. “Is it because he is a bigwig?”
He said that if the police chief did not want to provide justice to the people, “what are you the inspector general for?”
“The JIT report said that police made a special deal with the minister,” he said. “My impression of you has been ruined. “I’m trying to strengthen you, but you keep falling short.”
Amicus curiae Faisal Siddiqui said that according to the JIT, Swati had no role in the former IGP’s transfer but noted that the transfer was done the same day that he had failed to answer his phone.
Siddiqui, however, said that as per the JIT, Swati had provided misinformation about two of his assets. At this, the chief justice asked if there was any forum apart from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) where the matter could be sent.
Siddiqui said that action could be taken against the former minister through criminal law while disqualification proceedings could also be taken for concealing assets.
“One man is not ‘Sadiq’ (truthful) and ‘Ameen’ (righteous) so how can he be a member of parliament?” the top judge wondered.
Siddiqui said that Swati’s assets were not in line with his sources of income.
“Exceeding his authority was proven by [the] JIT already,” Justice Ijazul Ahsan said as Justice Nisar asked Swati’s counsel to opine how the case could reach its conclusive end.
“Tell us about the assets that are concealed,” the top judge said, to which Zafar suggested that the FBR could investigate it.
“A case should be registered against a person who misuses his authority and beats the poor,” the top judge reiterated.
Subsequently, the court referred the probe against Swati to the FBR and police.