ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Monday directed Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government authorities concerned to provide prompt assistance to the National Accountably Bureau (NAB) to apprehend former the Ogra chairman from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, heading a two-member bench, which heard Tauqir Sadiq’s arrest case, ordered the FIA, the Interior Ministry and National Accountability Bureau to bring Tauqir Sadiq to Pakistan before the expiry of his detention period on February 14 in United Arab Emirates (UAE). The bench also sought a report from NAB Prosecutor General KK Agha on the efforts made by the anti-graft body during the period from January1, 2013, to date for Tauqir Sadiq’s arrest.
During the proceedings, the bench was told that the Cabinet Division had issued a letter to the NAB chairman to keep the Establishment and Cabinet divisions informed by submitting fortnightly reports in the instant matter.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja ruled, “The letter is most alarming because it, prima facie, shows interference in the functioning and status of NAB as an independent investigator and prosecutor.” The court was told that Tauqir Sadiq was detained in Al Wathba Prison in Abu Dhabi for 15 days ending on February 14, 2013, which was extendable to 30 days.
The bench directed NAB to take immediate steps to obtain warrants/orders from a competent court for the purpose of bringing Tauqir Sadiq back from UAE before his detention period was extended.
The NAB prosecutor general told the bench that Tauqir Sadiq was not a UAE citizen, saying after cancellation of his passport by the Pakistani authorities Sadiq was residing in UAE as an alien. He further said the UAE authorities had been asked to deport the former Ogra chairman, but deportation differed from extradition. He pointed out Pakistan and UAE were not signatories to extradition pact, so bringing him back to Pakistan would take some time.
Admonishing the authorities engaged with the current matter, the bench said, “There is nothing on record to indicate that any request at an official level through the right official quarters has been made by the government of Pakistan to the Government of UAE, seeking deportation of the absconder (Tauqir Sadiq). The court observed diligent efforts needed to be made to bring Tauqeer Sadiq back from UAE. The bench directed NAB to act with alacrity and independently of government, the cabinet division or the prime minister and adjourned hearing of the case till February 18.
“It is a matter of concern that there are documents on record which show that an expeditious route seeking deportation has not been pursued; instead the government authorities are thinking of extradition which can be a lengthy and time-consuming process,” the court said.
The NAB PG was directed to submit in the court a report with necessary documents/correspondence showing the efforts made since January 1, 2013, to show the efforts made so far in to apprehend the absconding accused.
Online Adds: The Supreme Court has ordered that former OGRA Chairman Tauqeer Sadiq should be deported back to Pakistan before his detention in Dubai expires on 14 February.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja observed the court would determine what legal action should be taken against the persons who facilitated Tauqir Sadiq to flee from the country.
He further remarked that no doubt Tauqir Sadiq’s name was on ECL, but it seemed he was roaming freely. “If we see the official record, we come to know that Tauqir Sadiq is present in Pakistan as per the documents of the Immigration Department,” he said.
FIA Director Legal Azam Khan told the court passports of Tauqir Sadiq were got revoked on January 2, 2013, and all the countries were informed through Interpol that Tauqir Sadiq was wanted by Pakistan.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaj observed when and how this request was sent to UAE authorities by FIA. The documents should be shown to the court wherein it was stated that passports of Tauqir Sadiq had been cancelled, he further remarked.
NAB investigation officer Waqas told the court Tauqir Sadiq would perhaps leave UAE on February 14. “We had contacted the UAE authorities after which Tauqir Sadiq was arrested. Now then UAE authorities have changed their stance and Dubai authorities have told us that Tauqir Sadiq will be deported. But when we arrived in Pakistan we were told that it was a matter of his delivery and not deportation, he added.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja observed "We had already said that Tauqir Sadiq would perhaps never come to Pakistan.”
Amicus curiae Khawaja Haris told the court the interior ministry had contacted the Dubai authorities. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked, “What immediate steps were taken to bring Tauqir Sadiq back.”
Amicus curiae Khawaja Haris said a letter was written by the Cabinet Division to the NAB chairman on January 11, 2013, asking NAB to update the prime minister about this case.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked what reply was given by the NAB to the Cabinet Division. Investigation Officer Waqas told the court that the NAB gave no reply. Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked it was surprising that a letter of such nature came, but it was not in the knowledge of the NAB prosecutor general.
NAB Prosecutor General KK Agha told the court he gives legal opinion if it is sought by the NAB chairman and he does not interfere in the matter on his own.
The court directed NAB to present a detailed report on the efforts made on its part from January 2 to date to apprehend Tauqir Sadiq.
The hearing of the case was adjourned till February 18.