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July 18, 2017

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Past JITs made tall claims but proved nothing

Past JITs made tall claims but proved nothing

ISLAMABAD: A perusal of some important Joint Investigation Team (JIT) reports shows that these reports are full of tall claims, wild allegations but usually have no evidence whatsoever, thus their standing in the court becomes zero.

The JIT report declaring Dr Asim Hussain as “Jet Black” category terrorist and of committing Rs462 billion corruption and holding Ajmal Pahari responsible of 100 murders just to sensationalise things are the classical examples in recent days.

The JITs generally consist of representatives from top institutions of law enforcement agencies, including ISI, MI, IB, Police, Rangers, Special Branch of Police and experts of relevant fields. However, their findings are never termed perfect and most of the time they prove exaggerated as their reports are not based on any conclusive evidences but they but they mostly rely on speculations, hearsay and statements which can be altered anytime. It is pertinent to mention here that previously all the JITs were formed only to probe against those who have been leveled charges of terrorism which is entirely different. 

The JIT exaggerated or levelled wild allegations against Dr Asim Hussain, the former petroleum minister, but at the end of the day nothing could be proved in the trial court till to date. The end result is known to everyone that Dr Asim has not only been released on bail by the court but he has also left the country.

The JIT, which was represented by members from Rangers, Karachi police, Counter-Terrorism Department, ISI and MI, had given their unanimous findings against Dr Asim. When it presented its report against Dr Asim, it had jolted the country as the magnitude of the allegations was so high. According to JIT findings Dr Asim was involved in more than Rs460 billion corruption and he was involved in aiding the terrorists and had cordial relations with target killers and religious terrorists hence termed as “Black” category terrorist.

The JIT in its report alleged Dr Asim of money laundering and presented details of illegal money transactions from Pakistan to abroad, including 207 cash transaction reports (CTR) and one suspicious transaction report (STR) reported by banks and Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and also gave complete and comprehensive details of more than three dozen foreign companies for which as per list of tie-ups - NBP, agreement signed off dates fall during last a few years of PPP regime. The JIT also alleged Dr Asim of laundering of proceeds of crime (kickbacks & commission) from 2008 to 2012 abroad and within Pakistan. 

Following are details of companies, their country, and agreement sign off dates:

1- Dollarco Exchange, Kuwait, May 18, 2006; 2- Kuwait Asian Intl Exchange Co, Kuwait, August 3, 2005; 3- Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Company, Kuwait, September 13, 2009; 4- Oman Exchange Company, Kuwait, March 5, 1980; 5- Al Mouzaini Exchange, Kuwait, December 31, 2014; 6- Oman & UAE Exchange, Oman, April 10, 2009; 7- Hamadan Exchange, Oman, June 18, 2014; 8- Doha Bank, Qatar, January 27, 2014; 9- Merchantrade Asia, Malaysia, Feb 27, 2012; 10- Al Ansari Exchange, UAE, Feb 10, 2010; 11- Al Falah Exchange, UAE, Sep 5, 2005; 12- Al Ghurair Exchange, UAE, Sep 20, 2010; 13- Al Rostamani Exchange, UAE, Oct 1, 2011; 14- Habib Exchange Co LLC, UAE, Nov 12, 2007; 15- Orient Exchange, UAE, May 3, 2011; 16- Sharaf Exchange, UAE, Feb 20, 2013; 17- UAE Exchange, UAE, Nov 1, 2007; 18- Universal Exchange, UAE, August 1, 2011; 19- National Exchange Company, UAE; 20- Belhasa Global Exchange, UAE, Feb 20, 2015; 21- AN Express, the UK, Dec 11, 2009; 22- Dollar West Ltd, the UK, December 2, 2009; 23- Arab National Bank (ANB), KSA, Sep 23, 2007; 24- Bank Al-Bilad, KSA, April 21, 2010; 25- National Commercial Bank (NCB), KSA, July 20, 2010; 26- Samba Financial Group, KSA, Aug 1, 2011; 27- Al Amoudi Exchange, KSA, March 10, 2011; 28- Al Raihi Banking, KSA, October 3, 2010; 29- Bank Aliazira, KSA; 30- Placid NK Corporation, USA, Dec 3, 2012; 31- Ezremit Limited, Global, Sept 1, 2011; 32- Transfast, Global; 33- IME (M) SON BHD, Global, Nov 15, 2013; 34- Express Money Limited, Global, Nov 28, 2010; 35- RIA Financial Service Limited, Global, Jan 16, 2012;and 36- Western Union, Global.

As per the JIT report which alleged Dr Asim of illegally appointing approximately 250 persons in the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), illegal gas connection to Ziauddin Hospital, illegal appointment of Zuhair Ahmed Siddiqui for getting illegal benefits, appointing his brother-in-law Khalid Bin Shaheen in the NBP as group chief of home remittances who himself was facing charges of illegal transactions to the UAE and approximately Rs291 billion were paid in unauthorised payments under the head of price differential claims in the PSO. 

The JIT also found out that soon after Abraaj Group took over the KESC in 2008/2009, Dr Asim pressurised the management of the SSGC to allow KESC (now K-Electric) to enjoy full liberty and the KESC was then involved in gas theft and causing loses of billions of rupees to national exchequer (up to Rs62 billion as receivables of the SSGC).

According to the JIT, Dr Asim also refused in totality to record LPS of the SSGC in its books right from 2010 to date (approx Rs31 billion). The JIT also found out that Dr Asim was involved in many malpractices in the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and registered various medical colleges against the procedure and by taking kickbacks. 

However, despite all these allegations not a single allegation has been proved against the former federal minister till to date despite the fact he remained in police custody for more than a year. This is the reason he has not only been released by the Sindh High Court on bail but he has also left the country. 

Similarly the JIT report on Ajmal Pahari had created a stir in the country when the report revealed that Ajmal Pahari confessed to committing 111 murders. However, later he was released by the court because nothing could be proved against him despite his on-camera confessional statement.

The Sindh government had constituted a Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) consisting of the representatives of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Special Branch (SB), Sindh Rangers, and the Crime Investigation Department of Sindh Police to interrogate Pahari, who was described as a “high-profile dreaded terrorist”.

The JIT in its report claimed that during the interrogations, Pahari had confessed to having killed 111 people in Karachi on the alleged instructions of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) top leaders. The revelations made in the JIT report were so grave in nature that even Chief Justice of Pakistan (Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry at that time) took notice of it and directed IGP Sindh to present a report to him. However, later he was released by the Sindh High Court as nothing could be proved against him despite such serious allegations.

Senior legal expert Salman Akram Raja, while talking to The News, said the JIT constituted to probe Panama Papers case contains exaggerated facts and figures just to create sensationalisation.  He said the miscellaneous application of Ishaq Dar which he submitted on Monday against the JIT findings explains perfectly how the JIT exaggerated things.

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