FIA official investigating Haj scam transferred to Gilgit-Baltistan

Sources in the FIA said the Haj scam had reached the door of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat because appointment of Zain Sukhera in the PMS and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) was questioned during the investigation. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The government has transferred a senior officer of the Federal Investigation Agency and appointed him as Inspector General of Gilgit-Baltistan because his probe into the Haj scam was leading him to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat (PMS), informed sources told Dawn on Thursday.

The transfer of FIA’s Senior Director Hussain Asghar followed judicial orders which barred him from arresting the two main accused in the case, Ismail Qureshi, the former secretary of establishment; and Zain Sukhera, who is said to be a family friend of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and served as an adviser to the minister for information technology.

Mr Asghar confirmed that he had been stopped from investigating the case further.

“I have been appointed the IG of Gilgit-Baltistan and will assume the charge of my new office in a couple of days,” he said.

Mr Asghar is said to be one of the most dedicated officers in FIA and as the head of its investigation team, he had unmasked faces of several bigwigs allegedly involved in the Haj scandal.

According to some media reports, the Supreme Court had directed the Director General of FIA on March 25 not to arrest Ismail Qureshi till further orders and FIA officials had informed the bench that the High Court had restrained the agency from arresting the second accused, Zain Sukhera.

Several attempts had been made in the recent past to remove Mr Asghar from the Haj scam investigation. He was removed from the investigation of the scam in February soon after he had served a notice on the Prime Minister’s son, Mr Qadir Gilani, and raided the house of former minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi.

The prime minister’s son was accused of taking bribe for appointing Rao Shakeel as the DG of Haj operations and got a luxurious bullet-proof Land Cruiser jeep from Dubai.

However, FIA Director General Waseem Ahmed withdrew the order of Mr Asghar’s removal on Feb 16, apparently on orders of the Supreme Court.

“Former Secretary of Establishment Ismail Qureshi, who is on bail, was accused of appointing Rao Shakeel as the DG Haj Operations and promoted him from Grade 19 to 20 despite the fact that his educational degrees were fake,” a senior FIA official said.

Sources in the FIA said the Haj scam had reached the door of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat because appointment of Zain Sukhera in the PMS and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) was questioned during the investigation.

It was revealed during the investigation that Mr Sukhera, who has been accused of having fake education degrees, had served as a legal adviser in PMS and then in SNGPL from 2008 to 2010.

“We were trying to unmask more faces involved in the appointment of Sukhera in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat,” an FIA official said.

“Those who appointed the accused in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and SNGPL might also be involved in the Haj scam,” the official said. source

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