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Senate Panel Stresses Need for Speedy Justice in HASCOL Corruption Case

The Senate Standing Committee on Interior took up on Friday the multi-billion rupees corruption scandal in HASCOL and stressed the need for expediting the probe into the case and devising a system to ensure speedy justice.

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A meeting of the Senate panel was held at Parliament House with Senator Mohsin Aziz in the chair. The meeting was attended by Senator Samina Mumtaz Zehri, Senator Fawzia Arshad, Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood, Senator Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti, and senior officers from the Ministry of Interior, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and the Punjab Police.

In the meeting, Chairman Senator Mohsin Aziz took up various Suo Moto notices. Besides, the committee also discussed the cases referred to it by other sources.

With reference to the multi-billion rupees HASCOL corruption scandal, the committee stressed the need for expediting the investigation into the case and devising a system to ensure speedy justice. It was of the view that the law enforcement and intelligence agencies must identify the assets of the accused and ensure that they are not disposed of or transferred.

The committee asserted that it was observed in most cases that after garnering a hefty amount, a settlement of five percent of the embezzled amount was made. “This must be strongly discouraged,” the committee emphasized. The committee stressed the need to disclose the names of big wigs involved in the case and put them on the Exit Control List. It issued directions for a detailed briefing in this regard within two months. The same decision was made in the case of financial bungling in the Caymen Islands against a major bank in Pakistan.

The FIA and the Punjab Police briefed the committee on the cases that were referred to them by the committee. They also informed the committee of the challenges facing them in terms of funding and scarce human resources. The FIA stressed the need for revamping the Agency in order to handle the pendency of cases. The committee emphasized that a mechanism to ensure timely reportage and case disposal must be devised.

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The committee was of the view that tenure security must be provided to ensure progress on cases as this was the only way to improve the system of justice in the country.

The committee also discussed the suicide case of a human trafficking suspect and expressed concerns over the possibility of custodial killing. It recommended an in-depth investigation into the matter.

About the case of the issuance of fake identity cards, the committee was informed that 103 aliens were identified. Besides, it was told, out of 41 nominated persons, 22 officials including 11 from NADRA had been arrested, and an investigation was being conducted. The committee was of the view that in such cases law enforcement must initiate crackdowns on facilitators.

The committee discussed the case of overstay of a Somalian national in Islamabad, and it was informed that her visa had been extended. The committee directed that details of the case must be reviewed minutely and a report be submitted.

In the Suo Moto case of the viral video of a dog attack on a poor balloon-selling boy that was initiated deliberately by the dog owner, the committee stressed that the case must be referred to the court was of the view that if no concrete development was seen. It was asserted that laws needed to be amended to ensure speedy justice.

Regarding the case of sectarian violence in Daska on a procession on the occasion of Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS), which was referred to the Committee by Chairman Senate, the committee listened to the stakeholders and watched the video. The Punjab Police identified certain issues that contributed to the attack. The committee was of the view that nobody could be left free to attack a human being in such a way. Amidst a high-security risk, the processions must avoid new routes to ensure remaining within the ambit of security forces assigned for this purpose, the committee stressed.

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The Punjab Police was directed to probe the case thoroughly and ensure that the accused were taken to task. The committee ordered an inquiry against the Station House Officer present at the attack site.

The committee considered the cases related to age-old animosities and stressed the need to beef up ‘human intelligence’ for proactive action.

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