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July 27, 2012

Judicial commission had cleared Punjab CM’s aides

July 27, 2012

ISLAMABAD: In the midst of the growing centre-Punjab political tensions as the nation inches closer to the next general elections, chief minister Punjab’s key bureaucratic aide and his trusted confidante Dr Tauqir Shah as well as PSO Talha Burki have been booked in a much serious sedition case for the crime they never committed.
Although, a high-level judicial commission, led by respected Chief Justice of Balchistan High Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa, neither found Dr Tauqir involved in the baseless Special Branch report about the murder conspiracy of the Chief Justice LHC nor recommended any criminal proceedings against him or any other person but still the FIA, on a complaint from the interior ministry, has reportedly booked Dr Tauqir and others in a sedition case.
The commission, which had submitted its report some 19 months back, had clearly fixed responsibility on the then Special Branch chief Col (retd) Ehsanur Rehman, Director Shahid Mehmood and Constables Ijaz and Azam of the Special Branch for having collectively conspired to produce and put forward the intelligence report knowing that it was false and fabricated.
Interestingly, despite the direct involvement of these Special Branch officials in the preparation of the “fabricated” report, which was reported by The News, the commission did not even recommend any criminal action against them.
The commission also did not find any link between the Special Branch (which conspired and fabricated the intelligence report) and Dr Tauqir Shah, who was then the principal secretary to the chief minister Punjab.
The report reflected negatively on Dr Tauqir for the reasons (i) that he had shared the information with The News, and (ii) that he had taken one Talha Burki, a PML-N worker, with him to meet the then Lahore sector in-charge of the ISI Brig Zia to ascertain the authenticity of the Special Branch report.
The commission in Dr Tauqir’s case recommended, “For taking Mr Talha Burki,

worker of a political party, with him to meet with Brigadier Zia when Secretary Shah had gone to discuss a highly sensitive matter, and for releasing to the media the report, which even at that time was doubted by all concerned, Secretary Shah acted in haste, displayed immaturity and appears to have been politicking. The competent authority may therefore not post him to a sensitive post and may also consider taking disciplinary action against him.”
Dr Tauqir is a hardworking, competent and upright DMG officer but has been made controversial and politicised for having been trusted by Mian Shahbaz Sharif as the most important member of his official team during his present as well as past tenures as chief minister Punjab. Despite holding the key post in the Punjab, his career remained spotless but he has now been implicated in a sedition case by the federal government for the latter’s political grudge against the Sharifs.
Although, the commission has criticised Shah for taking Talha Burki with him to the ISI brigadier, Talha, despite being a private person, has been serving the chief minister as his personal staff officer. He though does not draw any salary, has been working after being notified as CM’s staff member for the last four years. The commission was perhaps not told but Talha has been part of the chief minister Punjab’s meetings with even President Asif Ali Zardari. He also has been attending meetings of the CM Punjab with the security bosses on the law and order and security issues.
About Dr Tauqir’s action of sharing the Special Branch report with The News, the commission trusted the words of Brigadier Zia against the words of Dr Tauqir Shah. Dr Tauqir Shah, according the commission report, had said: “Brigadier Zia had told him that it might not be bad idea to release the report to the press because by doing so the conspiracy becomes public and might be thwarted.”
When the commission confronted Brig Zia, he said: “No, I did not so advise him (Dr Tauqir Shah).” The commission said that Shah released the report to the press despite the fact that Brig Zia had told him that he did not believe in the veracity of the report.
Even in case of Talha Burki, the commission did not recommend any action as he had nothing to do with the whole affair but was only discussed because he had accompanied Dr Shah in his meeting with Brig Zia to discuss the conspiracy. However, the FIA has also booked him in the sedition case.
The commission was appreciative of the role of the Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif, who though in the latest interior ministry-FIA move is the real target, while handling the Special Branch report. The commission report said that Col Rehman though tried to exploit the rivalry of the PPP and PML-N (by producing fabricated and false report about the conspiracy), on the contrary “it was the chief minister of Punjab who acted with caution and prudence and directed Secretary Shah to have the report verified by ISI.”
The commission report observed that the apparent objective of the report was to malign and defame persons associated with the PPP or the PPP itself and to pit the Punjab government against the federal government but clearly concluded that Col Rehman, Director Mehmood, Constable Ijaz and Constable Azam had collectively conspired to produce and put forward the report knowing that the same was false and fabricated.
Instead of recommending any criminal actions against them, the report recommended that the employment of Col Rehman be immediately terminated and he should not be employed in any public position or responsibility. In case of Director Mehmood, Constable Ijaz and Constable Azam, the report said disciplinary action in accordance with the applicable law should be initiated against them.How the interior ministry or the FIA reached the conclusion to fix Dr Shah and Talha Burki under the section charges is not reflected in the commission report.

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