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July 23, 2019

Ex-MPA Ziaullah Afridi’s application for acquittal


July 23, 2019

PESHAWAR: A special judge (Provincial) Anti-Corruption has given the final opportunity to senior public prosecutor to complete his arguments in an application filed by former MPA Ziaullah Afridi for acquittal from references filed by the now-defunct Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission during previous PTI government.

Special Judge (Provincial) Anti-Corruption, Ikhtiar Khan, provided the final opportunity to the Prosecution Department, directing it to complete arguments on the application submitted for acquittal by the former lawmaker from references made by the Ehtesab Commission. The court fixed September 3 for the next hearing of the case.

Ziaullah Afridi filed the application in 2016 at Special Court Ehtesab Commission under section 265K CrPC, but there it was not decided to due to long and undue delay and now it has been transferred to the court of Anti-Corruption, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with a reference after the abolition of Ehtesab Commission.

During the arguments, counsel for the applicant, Ali Azeem Afridi submitted before the court that there was no evidence either direct or circumstantial to connect the applicant with the crime.

It was also submitted that there was a proper mechanism in the Ehtesab Commission for approval of a reference and the reference against the former lawmaker was illegally and incompetently filed in 2016.

He submitted that there was no probability of the applicant to be convicted due to what he claimed was illegally filed reference.

The counsel argued that the allegations levelled against the applicant were belied by the documentary evidence because from

perusal thereof it was evident that it was the then KP chief minister, Pervez Khattak, who had imposed a ban on mining activities and lifted the same, therefore, the applicant cannot be penalized for illegal actions of the chief minister and thus be acquitted from the charges leveled in the reference.

The former Member Provincial Assembly Ziaullah Afridi was the PTI minister for mines and mineral development when he was arrested by the commission in July 2015.

Ziaullah Afridi was expelled from the PTI after levelled allegations against Pervez Khattak, now defence minister, after his arrest by the commission.

The KPEC had initially charged him with carrying out illegal postings, transfers and facilitating illegal mining in the province. Later, he was charged in two other cases.

He was accused of facilitating illegal extension in the lease of a lessee of the chromite mines in Charsadda and facilitating illegal mining of phosphate in Abbottabad.

It is pertinent to mention that the Deputy Prosecutor General Ehtesab Commission, Qazi Babar Irshad, in his arguments before the Ehtesab Court on December 4, 2018, in the application under 265-K CrPC had submitted that no cogent evidence/materials were available with the prosecution against the accused Ziaullah Afridi in the reference about illegal appointments/posting.

As per the minutes sheet of Prosecution Wing, Ehtesab Commission, submitted in the then Ehtesab Court issued on December 9, 2015, a meeting was also called for the flaws and deficiencies in the references made against Ziaullah Afridi.

In the minutes sheet, it was stated that the prosecutor of the case had stated that he had highlighted the legal flaws and deficiencies to the investigation team of the cases including Tangi Chromite, Mamakhel and illegal appointment case against Ziaullah Afridi and stated that these flaws could result in the failure of these cases before the trial court.