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May 30, 2017

Tale of Whatsapp caller and the Panama JIT

Top Story

May 30, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Using Whatsapp, a caller introduced himself as the Registrar Supreme Court and told the top bosses of the State Bank of Pakistan and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to include specific names in the panel to be forwarded to the Supreme Court's special bench for the constitution of JIT on the Panama case.

The caller gave the names of Amer Aziz to SBP and Bilal Rasool to SECP for their inclusion in these organizations’ respective panel of officers for the JIT on the Panama case against the prime minister and his children. According to one source, the caller also sought the name of Irfan Naeem Mangi from the NAB but it could not be confirmed.

Informed official sources confided to The News that these Whatsapp calls were made when the Supreme Court had sought two additional names from each of these organisations after not having been satisfied with their nominations included in the initial panel of officers.

This correspondent on Monday contacted the Registrar Supreme Court office but despite repeated calls could not talk to him to ascertain whether he was the caller or someone else had misused his name. An SMS message was also sent on his mobile number but that too did not get any response from the Registrar. A source, however, confirmed that these developments have been reflected in official files by some of the authorities concerned. 

Initially, as per the SC decision on the Panama case, all the concerned institutions including FIA, ISI, MI, SBP, SECP and NAB sent their respective panel of officers to the SC for the setting up of the JIT. 

The apex court, however, sought additional names from SECP, SBP and NAB. While these apex court directions reached the concerned departments, their top bosses were contacted through Whatapp by the caller. The caller, introduced himself as Registrar Supreme Court, and sought the inclusion of the names of Amer Aziz from SBP and Bilal Rasool from the SECP.

Questions were raised whether the caller was really the Registrar SC or someone else impersonating him. The NAB in its revised panel included the name of Mangi but the SECP and SBP forwarded their choice names ignoring the caller’s request.

Later, according to media reports, the SC rejected the nominees from SECP and the SBP for the JIT, which was being constituted to probe Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his sons' business dealings abroad.

According to the media reports, the special bench of the apex court had observed that it had rejected the names of officials nominated by the SBP and SECP because they did not meet the court's criteria. "We want honest and professional officials to be members of the JIT," an honourable member of the special bench was quoted as saying.

The court then directed the SECP chairman and the SBP governor to appear in the next hearing with lists of all officers of Grade 18 and above working in the two organisations. Following these developments, the JIT was constituted.