Monday, October 3, 2022

SC orders removal of Bilawal, CM Sindh, Naek’s name from ECL, JIT report in fake accounts case

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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, on Monday directed to strike off the names of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and former president Asif Ali Zardari’s counsel Farooq Naek from the Exit Control List (ECL) and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report pertaining to the fake bank accounts case, ARY News reported.

Advocate Faisal Siddique appeared before a three member bench headed by CJP Nisar on behalf of the JIT.

During the hearing, Justice Nisar questioned the role of Bilawal in the case and why his name was included in the JIT report and ECL.

“What wrong did he do to come to Pakistan. Why has this innocent kid’s name on the ECL? Did the JIT put him on the no-fly list to defame him,” said the CJP. “He is merely carrying forward the mission of his mother.”

The chief justice reprimanded the JIT for placing provincial lawmaker Shah’s name on the ECL. “It should have seen first that he is the chief executive of a province. He was defamed with the [government’s] ECL move.”

Further on, Zardari’s counsel Naek, said the JIT report was utterly biased. “Let us avoid commenting on the report,” the CJP said, adding that the probe had revealed some real insight in the case.

“In my opinion, the fake accounts unearthed during the probe were all subsidiaries, and their roots are connected to the Omni Group tycoon,” the CJP said. “The matter should be investigated further.”

He also said the Omni Group ‘gobbled’ three banks. “This case opened on an information shared by a police officer in Karachi but I wont tell his name.”

Counsel of Omni Group, Muneer Ahmed Bhatti, relayed to the court that the people put on ECL by the JIT also included a name of a deceased person.

“The attorney general had already explained the government’s stance on the ECL,” responded the CJP. “You shouldn’t distract the course of proceedings.”

Questioning the sources of Omni group chairman Anwar Majeed’s wealth, Justice Ejaz ul Ahsan asked Bhatti to apprise the court about the number of mills owned by his client.

Towards the end of the hearing, the court ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to conduct a thorough inquiry into the case and wrap it up within two months.

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