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Monday April 15, 2024

Islamabad police say no grounds to declare Umar Farooq Zahoor absconder

In a statement, the police said that the evidence suggested Zahoor was not in hiding when he filed an FIR at the Secretariat Police Station

By Murtaza Ali Shah
March 03, 2024
Image collage showing actress and model Sophia Mirza (left) and Umar Farooq Zahoor. — Photos by author
Image collage showing actress and model Sophia Mirza (left) and Umar Farooq Zahoor. — Photos by author

LONDON/ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Police have said that it did not find grounds to label businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor as an absconder, following an extensive investigation.

In a statement, the police said that the evidence suggested Zahoor was not in hiding when he filed an FIR at the Secretariat Police Station, Islamabad, against his former wife Sophia Mirza (Khush Bakht Mirza), Shehzad Akbar and others.

The Islamabad Police said: “Reports in the media surfaced that during the registration of the FIR, Umar Zahoor Farooq was an absconder. Upon investigation, it was revealed that Omar Farooq Zahoor was not an absconder at that time, nor at this time. A case was filed against Omar Farooq Zahoor in the FIA, for which warrants were issued. Those warrants were challenged by Omar Farooq Zahoor in the relevant court, upon which the court suspended the warrants.

“During the investigation upon the court order, it was revealed that the FIA did not issue any red warrants. It was found during the investigation that some officials of the FIA and Khush Bakht Mirza prepared fake red warrants. Upon this, Omar Farooq Zahoor submitted an application in PS Secretariat for the registration of the case upon which a case number 465 was registered. Since the investigation of this case was outside the jurisdiction of the police, the police dismissed the case and referred the matter to the FIA. After the dismissal of cases, Omar Farooq Zahoor again applied for the registration of the case. On this, a case number 156 was registered in the Secretariat police station regarding fraud and extortion.”

It merits mentioning here that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) this week nullified the FIRs filed by businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor against Sophia Mirza, attributing responsibility to the in-charge police officer at Secretariat, Islamabad, for unauthorised FIR registrations.

Lawyers of Umar Farooq Zahoor said the reports of the media claiming that Umar Farooq Zahoor was an absconder at the time of registration of FIRs against Ms Khushbakht Mirza and others is against the facts.

The lawyers said: “The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) got warrants issued against Umar Farooq Zahoor in FIR No. 343/20 at his back and without making him part of investigation. Umar Farooq Zahoor, upon learning about the said warrants, challenged the same before the Additional Session Judge, Lahore. The Learned Additional Session Judge vide Order dated 29.03.2021 was pleased to set aside the warrants being illegal and unlawful. The FIA challenged the said orders before the Honorable Lahore High Court in Crl. Misc. 25423 of 2021. The Honorable Court dismissed the aforesaid Petition vide its Order dated 08.09.2022 while holding that the warrants have been issued illegally and without fulfilling the requirements of law.

“Thereafter, the Federal Investigation Agency issued Red Warrants against Umar Farooq Zahoor on the basis of purported warrants issued in the FIRs No. 36/2020 and 40/2020. In order to ascertain the exact facts and to challenge such warrants in Court of Law, Umar Farooq Zahoor approached the Learned Judicial Magistrate and filed an Application for summoning of Report/Record of the aforesaid FIRs. It revealed from the Report/Record submitted by FIA that no warrants have been issued against any of the accused persons in the aforementioned FIRs. The Learned Judicial Magistrate disposed of the Application vide Order dated 04.06.2022 with the observation that no warrants have been issued against Umar Farooq Zahoor and any of the other accused in the aforesaid FIRs.”

The lawyers said: “Umar Farooq Zahoor was acquitted from the FIRs No. 36/20 and 40/20 by the Learned Judicial Magistrate vide Orders dated 29.04.2023 and 11.05.2023 respectively. After acquittal from the aforesaid FIRs, Umar Farooq Zahoor submitted a fresh application through courier to Police Station Secretariat Islamabad and accordingly an FIR No. 156/2023 was registered against Ms. Khushbakht Mirza and others for fraud and extortion of money. It becomes abundantly clear from the above-mentioned facts and record appended herewith that Umar Farooq Zahoor was not absconder in any FIR at the time of registration of FIRs No. 465/22 or 156/23 at Police Station Secretariat Islamabad.

“It is also matter of record that Ms. Khushbakht Mirza was herself declared absconder by Learned Judicial Magistrate vide order dated 26.09.2023 (Annex-F) while she kept appearing before the Honorable Court whereas it is a settled law that absconder cannot be accorded opportunity of hearing. It is also settled law that the FIR cannot be quashed in the cases wherein commission of offence is established from the content of FIR. Reliance is placed on 2021 SCMR 1486 wherein it has been held that if an offence has been committed prima facie, then ordinary course of trial before Trial Court should not be allowed to be defeated by resorting to quashing of FIR in the Constitutional jurisdiction of High Court.”