JIT report on leaked image raises more questions | Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: The joint investigation team (JIT) probing Panama Leaks case revealed on Monday that the leaker of Hussain Nawaz’s image was a staffer (name not disclosed) at Federal Judicial Academy, who was later sent back to his parent department.

The leaking of the image was a unilateral act of an individual who did not express, imply or implicit consent or acquiescence of any member of the JIT, stated the report, raising many questions about identity of the individual and motive behind this act.

“Immediately upon becoming aware, on June 5, 2017, of the circulation on social media of the said image of the applicant [Hussain Nawaz], the JIT initiated a comprehensive probe and within twenty four hours of the same had not only identified the culprit, but also submitted its report there on to the SC. The individual was removed from assigned duties and reverted to his parent department. The department has confirmed the department inquiry has been completed and appropriate disciplinary action taken against the individual,” read an-eleven-pages report submitted with the apex court.

The Supreme Court on a plea of Khawaja Haris, counsel for Hussain Nawaz, ordered JIT head Wajid Zia to submit a detailed report on an image of his client leaked on social media last week. Mr. Haris requested the court to form a commission to investigate the matter accordingly. But the JIT report stated, “in view of the fact that the JIT submitted its report on the matter to the court is submitted with utmost respect that the prayer of the applicant seeking a judicial inquiry into the same matter is wholly unwarranted.”

The voluntary submission of conclusive report on this incident to the SC well before the filing of plea establishes the bona fides and integrity of the entire JIT, the report continued to reveal that “it is also demonstration of the JIT’s unwavering resolve to conduct and complete investigation in accordance with the directions of this court and consistent with the highest standards of due process, propriety and professional ethics in spite of the impediments continuously being placed in its path.”

The inquiry report submitted before the bench also gives the factual background to the unauthorised dissemination for the said image and the apparent motive of the person who is responsible for the same. The inquiry has conclusively established that the circulated image of the applicant is not actual video footage of any interview of the applicant, read the report. It is still image likely to be photograph or screen shot taken from one of the only two monitors connected to the video camera in neither the interview room of the JIT nor the premises of the Federal Judicial Academy. The image relates to the proceedings of JIT conducted, it added.

The JIT report continued to read: “Mr Hussain refused to answer any questions put forth by the JIT on that day on the pretext that the matter is sub-judice before this court and requested the JIT to summon him on another date. A proper report was initiated by the JIT in this regard. A totally contrary and false scenario – of full cooperation of Mr Hussain – was, however portrayed before the bench during the hearing.

In view of the preliminary submissions above along with the fact that the JIT submitted complete report of its inquiry into the appearance of the image of the applicant in the public domain to the court with twenty-four hours of becoming aware of the same, the contents of paragraph 10 of the CMA have no force relevance or substance. It was submitted that maxim quoted in the last sentence of the paragraph reply has no relevance or application in the present context.

Seeking permission to have counsel presented during recording of statements by the JIT, all with the underlying and ultimate objective of frustrating the investigation being conducted in compliance with the judgment of this court in the Constitution Petition No.29 of 2016, read the report.

The inquiry conducted by the JIT has also established that the dissemination of the said image of the applicant was the unilateral unauthorised act of an individual, who did not express, imply or implicit consent or the acquiescence of any member of the JIT. The allegations and insinuations of the applicant to the contrary in the CMA are, therefore, baseless, conjectural and un-substantial.

In view of the fact that the JIT submitted its report on the matter to the court on May 5, 2017, it is submitted with utmost respect that the prayer of the applicant seeking judicial inquiry into the same matter is wholly unwarranted.

Contrary to the assertions and claims in the CMA, the video recording of interviews by the JIT is also not otherwise unprecedented. In fact, actual video clips of the proceedings of various other JITs have surfaced in the media in the past. Moreover, to the knowledge of the JIT, such video recordings have not been expressively prohibited in any statute or any judicial pronouncement of any superior courts of Pakistan, not to the date has any restraint been imposed by this court in-spite of being aware of this practice.

It is, therefore, submitted that recording of interviews being conducted by JIT is not only unexceptional but also necessary and appropriate in the specific context and circumstances. It is therefore submitted that the contentions of the applicant are not based on merit but also tainted by the ulterior object of impeding members of the JIT from freely and independently carrying out the investigation, concluded the report.

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