ISLAMABAD – Former Managing Director Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) Adnan A Khawaja and former head of Intelligence Bureau (IB) Brig (Retd) Imtiaz Ahmed were arrested from the courtroom on Tuesday on the order of a three-member bench of Supreme Court.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary, Justice Tariq Pervaiz and Justice Ghulam, was hearing a suo moto notice on the reported appointment of Adnan Khawaja as chairman OGDCL by the government.
The apex court also ordered seizure of the properties of both the men and rejected Adnan’s bail plea. The court ordered Adnan Khawaja to submit a fresh surety bond in the SC while Brig Imtiaz had been asked to submit the bond in Lahore High Court within three days. Both the men were later shifted to Adiala Jail.
The Chief Justice asked Khawaja how did he obtain the posts – Managing Director OGDCL and chairman National Vocational & Technical Education Commission (NAVTEC) despite the fact that he, as NAB convict, was disqualified to assume such a post for ten years.
Khawaja was disqualified for a period of ten years from seeking or being elected, chosen, appointed or nominated as member of any public office, any statuary or local authority of government of Pakistan or granted any financial facilities in the form of any loan by any government bank.
It’s worth mentioning here that in the wake of the suo motu notice taken by the apex court and the subsequent revelations in the media, the government had cancelled the appointment of Adnan Khawaja as chairman OGDCL, only a day after he assumed the charge.
Appearing before the bench, Raja Aamer Abbas, Additional Prosecutor General NAB, informed the court that as per directives of SC he had obtained details from the Central Jail, Rawalpindi, according to that convict Brig. (Retd) Imtiaz Ahmad had already undergone sentence of 4 years, 5 months and 14 days whereas remaining part of his sentence is 3 years 6 months and 16 days, if fine is paid.
Brig (Retd) Imtiaz was sentenced in the NAB Reference No. 21 of 2000 for 8-year RI along with a fine of Rs 70,00,000 under Section 382-B Cr.P.C. by the Accountability Court, Rawalpindi, on 31.07.2001. He was released from jail on bail by the Lahore High Court vide order dated 08.06.2002 passed in Cr. A. No. 1096-M of 2002.
Similarly, co-accused Adnan A Khawaja was sentenced to 2-year RI with a fine of Rs 200,000 under Section 382-B Cr.P.C. by the Accountability Court, Rawalpindi, and out of his total sentence, he has already served 1 year, 1 month and 8 days, including the remissions, whereas the remaining portion of his sentence is 10 months and 22 days, if fine is paid.
After promulgation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance both Brig (Retd) Imtiaz and Khawaja claimed benefit of the same and ultimately vide judgment dated 04.12.2008 passed by the Islamabad High Court, they were acquitted of the charge. But the NRO was declared ultra vires in the SC judgment on December 16, 2009 as a result of that their acquittal was set aside.
During pendency of the appeal filed by Adnan A Khawaja before the High Court, his sentence was suspended by this court vide order 06.02.2002 passed in Cr. Appeal No. 22 of 2002 on furnishing surety bonds.
After getting acquittal from the Islamabad High Court vide judgment dated 04.12.2008 Khawaja was appointed as Chairman NAVTEC. After the declaration of NRO ultra vires of the Constitution vide the judgment dated December 16, 2009, he continued to perform his functions as chairman NAVTEC, although he was debarred from holding any public office for a period of 10 years, in terms of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.
Not only this, on September 07, 2010, he was appointed as Managing Director OGDCL. Therefore, in pursuance of the information so communicated widely, his case was taken up and it was noticed that he is enjoying the position contrary to the judgment of the Accountability Court and when the notice of the matter was taken by this Court, the competent authority of the government of Pakistan rescinded the notification of his appointment.
The Chief Justice said that it was moral duty to relinquish the job after the judgment. Raja Amir said that even the High Court judgment he was debarred from holding any government post.
Justice Tariq Pervez remarked, “After December 16, 2010 judgment you both – Khawja and Brig (Retd) Imtiaz – should have got the bail on fresh surety bonds, but that did not happen.”
Khawaja said, “My legal advisors had asked me not to worry and do not need to apply for fresh surety.” Brig (Retd) said, “I was not aware that the NAB case would revive after the SC judgment.”
The court observed that unless fresh surety bonds are not furnished their bail could not be extended. Therefore, police were ordered to take them into custody and send them to jail.
Ismail Qureshi, Secretary Establishment, has furnished the explanation, which would be considered on the next date of hearing.