The Islamabad High Court (IHC) while hearing a case against former Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman Zafar Hijazi on Friday questioned why two SECP employees allegedly linked to record tampering in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case had not been named as co-defendants.
The SECP employees, Maheen Fatima and Ali Azeem, had accused Hijazi of coercing them into tampering with records pertaining to the sugar mills owned by the Sharif family after the Supreme Court ordered a case to be registered against the then SECP chairman following the July 2017 Panama Papers judgement that disqualified Nawaz Sharif from public office.
Subsequently, a special court of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) indicted Hijazi in the case in October 2017.
IHC Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani today heard a petition filed by Hijazi to get himself exempted from the case on the basis that the allegations levelled at him were from a period preceding his assuming of the office.
“Zafar Hijazi was appointed the SECP chairman on December 17, 2014, whereas both the money laundering and investigation-related allegations against him are from before he was appointed,” his counsel argued in court.
“The two people who accused Zafar Hijazi couldn’t provide any evidence against him, and the same duo later became witnesses against him,” his counsel maintained, adding that the prosecution’s case is “based on dishonesty”.
The court was reminded that the witnesses — Fatima and Azeem — had accused Hijazi of coercing them into tampering records.
“In that case, those two should also be nominated as defendants in the case,” Justice Kayani responded.
Justice Kayani asked Assistant Attorney General Chaudhry Haseeb to ask the FIA why the two witnesses and others accused had not been named as co-defendants in the case.
The case proceedings were adjourned till February 22.