–Shahzad Akbar says all 172 suspects placed on no-fly list in view of JIT’s report to SC
–PPP’s Saeed Ghani lambasts ‘double standards’ of accountability
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar on Thursday refuted claims that the fake accounts case joint investigation team’s (JIT) recommendation to include 172 suspects on the Exit Control List (ECL) was a mala fide move.
Speaking to senior analyst and Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami in 92 News’ programme ‘Ho Kia Raha Hai’, he said that the suspects were placed on the no-fly list in view of a report submitted by the JIT in the Supreme Court (SC).
He said that the JIT had been formed by the top court and comprised officials of both the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as well as the National Accountancy Bureau (NAB).
“The names were included to the ECL in light of the letter that the probe team had submitted to the SC. In it, the JIT had stated that facts revealing the involvement of certain individuals are being dug out and a few accused have already fled the country.”
Akbar was reacting to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Saeed Ghani’s statement that the JIT had bypassed its jurisdiction by recommending names to the no-fly list. Ghani had said that only FIA and NAB could’ve recommended the inclusion of suspects’ names to the ECL whereas the JIT had no authority to do so.
“Had the apex court have any reservations, it could’ve ordered removing all 172 names from the list,” Akbar added.
Speaking of the federal cabinet’s reluctance to remove PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s name from the ECL, he further said that the government was bound to follow the orders of the top court; however, no written order had yet been issued in this regard.
The premier’s advisor added that the cabinet was also considering to go into review against the decision. “Going into a review is a constitutional right and the move will be made in light of the JIT’s findings to prevent any culprit from fleeing the country.”
Akbar also rejected the impression that striking an NRO with the troubled Opposition members was on cards.
Earlier in the same programme, PPP leader Saeed Ghani lambasted the NAB for its “double standards” of accountability.
“The bureau has been providing relief to ministers facing probes, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, while tightening the noose around leaders of the Opposition,” he said.
Under such circumstances, the anti-graft watchdog chief’s “accountability for all” statement just wasn’t enough, he added.
“Compare the severity of Aleema Khan’s case with that of Bilawal. One has been summoned in a case from when he was a year old while the other has been slapped a fine by the SC for hiding her assets.”
He asked as to why Aleema had not been summoned to explain when and how she purchased those offshore properties.
“If former premier Nawaz Shari’s sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz can be held accountable, so should be Aleema for being the sister of a public office holder,” Ghani said.