Original Articles

Plot to kill Justice Sharif found baseless – yet another loss for Ansar Abbasi and gang of Geo TV / Jang Group

Related Articles:

We look forward to the follow up story to the plot to kill Justice Sharif- by Chaudry Ahmad Khan and Ahmad Iqbalabadi

Special Branch Report to kill Khwaja Sharif “false and baseless”

The alleged Plot to kill Justice Sharif: A wishful thinking of Ansar Abassi – by Fawad Manzoor

The only plot there is...of plots in Islamabad

Ansar Abbasi gave us a perfect eidi on 11th September, 2010 with a report titled “Plot to kill Justice Sharif Unearthed”. The report had talked about the plans to kill Khwaja Sharif and by doing so, the PPP would achieve the following according to our dearest Ansar Abbasi:

(i) Getting rid of CJ LHC Khwaja Muhammad Sharif;

ii) Embarrassment to government of Punjab in judiciary;

iii) Discredit the PML-N government in the eyes of public, media, lawyers etc; and

iv) Pave way for enforcing Governor Rule in Punjab by propagating that the government has failed to check terrorism in an effective manner.

 The whole report was considered baseless with it being termed yet another storm in a teacup. The government installed a commission to investigate the matter with a Director FIA, Zafar Qureshi, conducting the investigations. Now that Rauf Klasra has left Jang Group for Express Group, he is unearthing various investigative reports which would just not find due coverage in Jang and The News. According to Rauf Klasra, the report that has been placed with the government considers the intelligence report on the plans to kill Khwaja Sharif as “unverifiable”.

BTW, Zafar Qureshi is a darling of Jang Group of late because of his refusal to fall in line on investigations related to National Insrance Corporation scam. I wonder if he is now going to be portrayed as a villain by Ansar Abbasi and his gang.

Now I can proudly say “Sharam tum ko nahee aati!

 

LHC chief justice threat report ‘unverifiable’: FIA

ISLAMABAD: Not a single shred of evidence nor any credible statement by key witnesses could be obtained by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) inquiry team which was probing an intelligence report which warned of a possible attack on the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court, Khwaja Muhammad Sharif. In a 449-page fact-finding report authored by Director FIA Zafar Qureshi, it was disclosed that the earlier intelligence report on the subject was “unverifiable.” The FIA inquiry report was submitted to the PM House and the Supreme Court on November 2 duly signed by Qureshi, who had earlier been assigned by the government and the SC to conduct the investigations. After going through the full contents of the FIA fact-finding report, in which 41 officers and others were interviewed, it becomes crystal clear that the alleged plot to kill Khawaja Sharif was virtually a storm in a tea cup.

The author of the report, FIA Director Zafar Ahmad Qureshi hit headlines again last week when he was posted out of the FIA for refusing to fall in line despite the federal government’s pressure on him to let a few influential persons involved in a Rs1.4 billion land purchase scam in the National Insurance Corporation, off the hook.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary too had expressed his confidence  in Zafar Ahmed Qureshi keeping his reputation in view.

It may be recalled that on September 11, a report was published in The News that the Special Branch had unfolded a plot to kill the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court.  Amidst the ensuing hue and cry, an inquiry was ordered on the allegation carried in the newspaper report that three key government officials were behind the plot.

FIA Director Zafar Qureshi said in his report that the FIA inquiry team could not find a single shred of evidence into the alleged plot to kill the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court. Key witnesses related to this intelligence report refused to record their statements despite several requests. Special branch officials also kept changing their statements, thus raising serious doubts about the authenticity of the intelligence report reportedly issued by the Punjab Police’s Special Branch.

The newspaper report had identified a special cell created in the Punjab Governor House by the plotters who allegedly had hired killers who were likely to make an attempt on life of CJLHC on his visit to his ancestral house. But even the origin of the Special Branch report now seems in doubt.

The FIA said that no verifiable official record, proof of dispatch of the alleged report by the office of the Additional IG Special Branch has been made available thus there could be no scrutiny by the inquiry committee. However, the CM Secretariat has verified receipt of the said report through official correspondence. Thus, it is yet to be ascertained as to whether the intelligence report is an official document of the special branch Punjab or otherwise. The mere fact that such a report was received by CM secretariat does not confirm its official status. The CM secretariat has not provided any documented evidence to-date in support of their claim that the same report was received from the office of the Additional Inspector Special Branch.

The FIA report said it did not find any clue about the involvement of the alleged four proclaimed offenders, arrested by the Punjab police on charges of plotting to kill the CJ LHC.

An interesting and somewhat misleading revelation is the contradiction of facts in the first statement given by then Additional IG of the Special Branch, Retired Colonel Ihsan Rehman. In his initial statement on the eve of September 15, he strongly and unequivocally denied knowledge or generation, existence or issuance of any such report either by him or by his subordinate staff.

However, in a supplementary statement only a few days later on September 20, he admitted having knowledge of such a report claiming that it was drafted by Shahid Mehmood, Director (R&A) Special Branch on the basis of information received from the intelligence section.

Rehman then tried to clarify the anomaly in his statement by stating that his initial statement pertained to a signed document.  The report observed that this variation in his statement raises serious questions on why the existence of a report on a critically sensitive subject was initially denied.

The FIA inquiry report said the confusion created by two conflicting statements of Colonel Ihsan was further complicated by the statement of two officers who were mentioned by Ihsan in his supplementary statement with regard to their role in generation of the said report.

Shahid Mahmood, Director (R&A) Special branch and Sub Inspector Shakeel Hassan, were named as vital to the generation of the report.

But Shahid Mahmood, in his initial statement denied of any knowledge of the said report. However, in a supplementary statement one week after his first statement, he recalled a hand-written piece of paper provided to him by the Ihsan, which he converted into a typed document and handed it back.

Shakeel Hassan, Sub Inspector  Incharge of the Intelligence Cell of the Special Branch said he was asked by Ihsan, then additional AIG, to inquire whether two individuals namely Babar Sindhi and Rana Pomi were criminals or not. That is all he recalled with reference to the matter under inquiry. He solemnly swore to have not provided any information to Shahid Mahmod or the provision of any such information by his intelligence cell pertaining to these persons or the generation of the report under question or any other meeting conducted in this connection. He also denied having knowledge as to who, other than Special Branch, could have generated such a report.

The inquiry report said, notwithstanding the fact that the source of the report could not be identified, the committee strived to verify its contents owing to the sensitivity of the matter. The newspaper report had alleged that the source has disclosed that Governor Punjab Salman Taseer and a federal minister were jointly working on a plan to eliminate the LHC CJ  and had tasked Dr Fakhrudin Chaudhary, secretary information PPP Punjab and Babar Sindhu to forge a gang of criminals in Lahore.

The fact finding report commented that this and other similar allegations regarding involvement in the said assassination plot were incorrect as no substantive evidence on the matter could be found.

The report said another allegation was levelled against one Riaz  that three of criminals used to take refuge in his house. But, the inquiry report said that now a report by the SP CIA suggested that Riaz could not possibly do what was alleged. Allegations were also directed against police officials pertaining to official patronage to criminals and alleged bribery for illegal release. However, the fact finding report said that no credible evidence was found in this regard.

The inquiry committee report says that the intelligence report, notwithstanding its questionable status, carried enough substance to warrant prompt action by both the Special Branch Punjab and CM secretariat. But the inquiry said that an unwarranted delay on the part of officials to bring a “matter of grave importance” promptly to the CM’s notice could have borne drastic consequences. It said a matter of such immediate nature should have been brought to the notice of high officials without any delay, which was not the case.

“The inquiry committee could not build on authenticity of the intelligence report on a very critical matter pertaining to the higher judiciary. This, in the absence of both a reliable source and credible evidence made available to date, the inquiry committee is constrained to prima facie consider the alleged report titled ‘Plot to Target and Eliminate a High Value Personality’ as un verifiable document,” the 449 page reported concludes.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2010.

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Ahmed Iqbalabadi

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  • Salmaan Taseer said that he had asked Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to form a judicial commission to investigate the allegations of a murder plot against the Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice.
    The report certainly is ‘unauthentic’ and a mere ‘conspiracy’ against PPP. The leaked memo, said to be issued by the Special Branch, was a plot against democracy. Pakistan is going through a rough patch, and making this report public was an attempt to destabilise the federal government. The former head of Special Branch, Colonel (retired) Ehsanul Haq had denied any knowledge of the report. I don’t understand why Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif’s silence on the issue. The chief minister has suspended officials over small issues in the past, so why has he not taken any action against those responsible for this leak. The CM must clarify whether the report was leaked with his consent since Shahbaz Sharif’s secretary was responsible for the leak.

  • FIA points to Punjab govt’s suspicious silence

    by Rauf Klasra

    ISLAMABAD: Director Federal Investigation Agency Zafar Ahmad Qureshi has disclosed to the Supreme Court that he was being maligned by the Punjab government because he had the gall to summon top civilian aides of the Sharif brothers to record their statements for a probe into the alleged plot to murder the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court.
    On the orders of the Supreme Court (SC) and Ministry of Interior, Qureshi was appointed inquiry officer in the probe into the alleged plot to assassinate Chief Justice Lahore High Court (LHC) Khawaja Muhammad Sharif. Qureshi had submitted his findings to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary, and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on November 2 regarding the assassination plot. The 449-page report said that, despite interviewing and investigating 41 officers/officials, the FIA could not find a single clue to establish the authenticity of the alleged “source report” issued by the Special Branch Punjab regarding the assassination plot, which was the basis of a story appearing in The News on September 11.
    The inquiry report also revealed how Sub Inspector Shakeel Hassan, a cancer patient, was tortured, threatened and then offered a bribe to fall in line and confess before the inquiry commission that he had issued the source report. Hassan, however, did not oblige.
    The report said that the Punjab government did not cooperate with Qureshi in his investigations or interviews of top officers of the Punjab government that were working closely with Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif in different capacities. In fact, these officials were barred from giving their testimony in the case.
    The FIA had sought interviews with these officials because their testimonies could have provided vital clues to uncover the source of the assassination plot report.
    The FIA report claimed that the chief security officer of Nawaz Sharif also refused to appear before the inquiry commission to record his statement. The officer was approached because it was revealed that the Special Branch had also sent a copy of the alleged assassination plot to the former prime minister.
    The FIA inquiry report makes it clear that several reminders were sent to top guns of Punjab government but no response was received. The report also said that five reminders were also sent to the chief secretary Punjab requesting him to ask concerned officers to appear before the commission to record their statements to verify originality of source report issued by the Special Branch Police, which had created a storm a few months ago.
    Dr Syed Tauqir Shah, secretary to chief minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, and Ahmed Raza Sarwar, additional secretary/PSO to CM Punjab, were also summoned through the chief secretary Punjab for recording of their statements, but neither appeared. The staff at the office and residence of Rana Maqbool Ahmed, secretary prosecution, refused to receive the summons. SP CIA Umar Virk, SP Sarfraz Virk and DSP Fayyaz Ahmed were also summoned but did not appear.
    Exchange between FIA and home dept
    Even more interesting than the noncooperation is a letter written by the Punjab home department’s additional secretary in which he levelled serious allegations against Qureshi.
    The letter states: “your requests to relevant information sought has been provided within the ambit of supreme court decision. During this period, all relevant officers of special branch and Punjab police have joined the investigations as and when required by the inquiry officer and have extended the full cooperation. Your insistence that officers mentioned in your letter of October 9 should appear before you in connection with the inquiry, is only compatible with your ingrained bias that you harbour against the government of Punjab, on account of the fact that you were removed DG Communication Punjab because of your involvement in politics and open interference/participation in the election campaign of your brother during the by elections of NA-68 Sargodha held on August 5. The fact that contents of all your letters addressed to government of Punjab, though marked confidential, are simultaneously displayed in the media, further established that same are motivated by an urge to malign and embarrass Punjab government and its officers, rather than bonafide reasons. It is therefore, evident that insistence on appearance of officers of the chief minister secretariat before you is motivated by bias and does not fall within the scope of inquiry mandated by the fact.”
    In response to this letter, Qureshi replied to the home department that he was never posted as officer on special duty as mentioned in the letter. He was transferred from DIG Telecommunication to another post. Afterwards, he requested through proper channels to be placed at the disposal of federal government. In response to his request, he was relieved of his duty on July 8. He wrote that he has been a thoroughly professional police officer and never either misused or compromised his official position nor let anyone else misuse his office.
    Qureshi said he did not have any grudge and had not been motivated by any bias as he is merely complying with the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan dated September 20.
    Qureshi reinstated on SC orders
    Director Federal Investigation Agency Zafar Ahmad Qureshi was reinstated on the orders of the Supreme Court.The director of the FIA had been removed from his post last week after he conducted investigations into a Rs1.4 billion National Insurance Company land scam, and refused to yield to pressure exerted on him from Islamabad to let some big guns off the hook. However, keeping his honesty and reputation in view, he was reappointed on the SC’s orders.
    Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2010.

  • FIA report contradicts Punjab police claims

    Babur Sindhu, accused by Punjab police in the LHC CJ assassination plot, says provincial top guns behind bogus report.

    ISLAMABAD:

    The Punjab police’s inquiry report into the alleged plot to assassinate Chief Justice Lahore High Court Justice Khawaja Mohammad Sharif has suffered a dent to its credibility.

    The report, which has been handed over to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and has also appeared in the media, does not contain a statement of the very man the Punjab police claim was the ringleader of the alleged plot – Babur Sindhu. The Punjab police report – prepared by a four-member inquiry team led by DIG Mushtaq Sukhera – claims that Sindhu is absconding and could not be located to pinpoint his role in the alleged plot, suggesting that he is untraceable.

    However, contrary to this assertion, a 449-page inquiry report by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), conducted on the orders of the Supreme Court, has a 10-page written statement by Sindhu, who appeared, in person, before the FIA in Karachi. The FIA report had already been handed over to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as well as Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

    In fact, more interestingly, the FIA report also contains a statement that charges the DIG Sukhera-led inquiry team with “torturing, threatening and bribing” a sub-inspector, who they wanted to be the fall-guy in the case. The team is said to have pressed Sub-Inspector Shakeel Hassan to ‘confess’ to having issued the source report regarding the alleged plot to assassinate Justice Khawaja Sharif.

    A cancer patient, Shakeel, in his written statement before an FIA inquiry commission, claimed that he never issued any such source report – and added that, for denying his role, he was now facing threats from his superiors, who wanted him to own a bogus report which he neither authored nor saw.

    Director FIA Zafar Ahmed Qureshi in his inquiry report has already concluded that, despite investigating and interviewing 41 people during two months of inquiry, the alleged source report of the Punjab police’s Special Branch was not a “verifiable” document and as such no plot existed to kill Justice Sharif, as reported in The News on September 10.

    Moreover, the alleged ringleader of this plot, Babar Sindhu, in his written statement said that he was deliberately mentioned in the bogus report at the behest of Punjab government to malign the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the eyes of public, media and judiciary. He claimed that the top guns of Punjab government were behind this intrigue – which created a storm a few months ago.

    The FIA report confirms that Sindhu not only joined investigations after an inquiry was ordered by Supreme Court of Pakistan, but also cooperated with the inquiry team and faced counter questions in the light of his handwritten statement.

    The source report of the alleged plot claimed that Babar Sindhu was brought from Karachi to Lahore to assassinate Justice Khawaja Sharif, and was now absconding from the authorities. However, Babar Sindhu, in his statement in FIA inquiry report, claimed that he had not even visited Lahore over the last nine months.

    In his statement, which has also been attached with the FIA report already submitted to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Sindhu’s strongly denies any link with the reported plot to assassinate Justice Khawaja Sharif, the Chief Justice of the LHC. Sindhu stated that he was an ordinary worker of the PPP and that his party respected the judiciary and the story was published as part of a campaign to malign the PPP and its workers, and that top authorities of Punjab were behind the bid.

    He also said that this was not first time that he had become a target of a conspiracy. Back in 1999, he said, he was offloaded from a Dubai-bound plane on the excuse that his passport had some problem, though, he said, he had a valid UAE resident visa. Later, he continued, he was told that he had been arrested on charges of motorcycle-snatching. After three days of detention, he was released. But, he further added, he was again arrested – this time on charges of killing Justice Nazim Siddiqi and his son, though he had nothing to do with that either. Two accused had already been booked in the Justice Nizam murder case – but they were both declared innocent and, instead, his name was put in the charge-sheet, he said.

    Interestingly, that happened while the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz was in power in the centre and in Sindh – like they currently are in Punjab.

    Back then, Rana Maqbool was appointed IG Sindh along with infamous inspector Naveed Saeed. He continued to appear in court for 12 years to clear his name from Justice Nizam case until he was acquitted on July 29, 2010, by a special court in Karachi as not a single witness could be produced in the court against him.

    Regarding the current case, in which he is said to be a part of the alleged plot to assassinate Justice Khawaja Sharif, he said that he had faxed his denial to the Jang newspaper regarding his involvement, saying that he had not even heard of the people supposedly involved in the alleged plot. He stated that he was running his business in Karachi for the last eight years, had a registered company that was paying proper tax to the government and was also a member of the chamber of commerce.

    Regarding his last visit to Lahore, Sindhu stated that he was in the city in Decemeber 2009 for a case hearing. He further stated that, for the last eight months, he was in Karachi to contest his case and anyone could get obtain records from the court in Karachi about his regular attendance.

    Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2010.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/76646/fia-report-contradicts-punjab-police-claims/