— Punjab ACE DG Dr Hussain Asghar appointed as new JIT head
LAHORE: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday appointed a new head for the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed to probe former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s role in a case pertaining to the transfer of Pakpattan shrine’s land in 1985.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, while heading a three-judge bench, had appointed National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) Director General Khaliq Dad Lak to lead the JIT, however he excused himself from the role citing personal reasons.
Following this, Chief Justice Nisar named Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Director General Dr Hussain Asghar as the new JIT head tasked to probe the case.
Earlier, the SC formed a JIT to probe the case pertaining to the transfer of Pakpattan shrine land in violation of a court order when he was the chief minister of Punjab.
A three-member bench headed by CJP Nisar heard the suo motu case regarding transfer of 14,000 kanals of Pakpattan shrine land to Dewan Ghulam Qutab in 1985.
The former premier is accused of ordering the withdrawal of notification of Dec 17, 1969, and allegedly allotting Auqaf land to Qutab in violation of a high court order when he was the provincial chief executive in 1986.
The apex court had established a three-member JIT to probe the allegations against the former PM. The JIT will be headed by National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) chief Khalid Dad Lak, with one member of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) each.
In the last hearing, Nawaz had expressed his reservations over being probed by a JIT but his counsel on Thursday told the CJP that his client “agreed for the formation of a JIT”. At this, the chief justice remarked that Nawaz Sharif “is taking the risk of JIT”.
He then constituted the JIT and summoned its head in the next hearing, while ordering the probe’s terms of reference (ToR) to be finalised within a week.
During the last hearing on December 4, the CJP had offered Nawaz Sharif to propose which institution should investigate the charges against him.
“What is your opinion of your written stance on the matter?” the judge had asked him, to which the former PM had replied: “This is a 32-year-old incident. I don’t remember any such order being passed.”
“Let’s form a joint investigation team (JIT),” the chief justice suggested. “Mian sahab is wary of joint investigation teams,” he added.
“My experience with JITs has not been good,” Nawaz Sharif responded. “Make something other than a JIT.”
“We do have to probe the matter,” the chief justice reminded the ousted premier. “The reputation of the former two-time chief minister and three-time prime minister must be cleared.”
“Let’s make you the judge then,” Justice Nisar commented. “You can look into it and tell us within a week which institution should be called upon to investigate the matter.”
The SC took up a review petition against the land dispute which had been decided by the apex court back in 2015.