The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has barred the Securities and Exchange Commission Pakistan (SECP) from taking action against the official blamed for ‘leaking data’ related to the family business of Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information, retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa.
IHC Chief Justice, Athar Minallah, also objected to the presence of SECP counsel, Shahid Anwar Bajwa, during the proceeding.
Justice Minallah inquired the reason for his presence as the court is yet to decide on the maintainability of the appeal and no notice has been served.
Advocate Bajwa replied that he attended the proceedings on the request of his client who had instructed him to receive the court notice.
To this, Justice Minallah asked:
How could you be so sure that we will issue a notice to SECP at this stage? This conduct confirms the apprehensions expressed by the petitioner.
The Chief Justice then asked the counsel if he believed in across-the-board accountability of every citizen?
I am sure the prime minister was not aware of this since he believes in accountability.
The IHC top judge remarked that prima facie these companies are related to Asim Bajwa. Justice Minallah said that making such information public is a pre-requisite of accountability.
It is beyond comprehension as to why a regulator was taking interest in this matter, the judge noted.
The petition filed by SECP’s additional director of market surveillance department, Arslan Zafar, was eventually taken up by the court.
Justice Athar Minallah then asked the SECP to stop departmental proceedings against Arsalan Zafar but asked him to submit a reply to the show-cause notice by October 12.
The court also issued a notice to the exchange commission and sought a detailed report on the next hearing.