JIT photo leak may have been ‘inside job’

ISLAMABAD: A member of the joint investigation team (JIT) constituted to probe allegations of money laundering against the family of the prime minister could have released the CCTV image of Hussain Nawaz from his appearance before the probe team.

Insiders privy to developments told Dawn that a JIT member or their support staff, which have been requisitioned by their attached department, could have been involved in the leak.

In addition to the photograph, a copy of the summons issued to the PM’s elder son was also circulated on social media and was released after Hussain told the media on May 28 – his first appearance – that he was only given 24 hours to appear before the JIT.

Investigator says JIT report may not be treated as ‘charge sheet’

The summons, however, proves otherwise and shows that he was given ample notice.

A top investigation officer told Dawn on condition of anonymity that certain quarters may have orchestrated the leak, which had made the case “more complicated”.

“Since the investigation does not fall within the domain of the Supreme Court and is being carried out at on borrowed premises, it becomes difficult for investigators to control all variables,” he said.

“I don’t think that in such circumstances, the investigation’s findings can be used as a charge sheet against any specific person; they may be referred to an accountability court as a reference,” he speculated.

This, he said, would open the doors for another round of litigation.

Political parties, however, have their own views on the leaks from the JIT.

According to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) spokesperson Shafqat Mehmood, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government is deliberately leaking such information to get sympathy from the public at large.

He said that while the JIT was successfully conducting its investigation, the government was trying to malign the team and also putting the Supreme Court under pressure.

However, PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry maintained that his party had shown the utmost respect for the judiciary and accepted all its decisions, despite having legitimate reservations.

He said that the Federal Judicial Academy, where the JIT had established its secretariat, was an autonomous body not under the control of the federal government.

“We want this leak investigated as much as anyone, since rival parties are using them to humiliate the prime minister and his family”, he said.

The JIT has also completed half of its specified term, but it may not be able to furnish a final report within the stipulated time period despite the apex court’s strict instructions.

The JIT is supposed to complete its report before July 5. However, there may actually be even less time available to investigators since Eid holidays will hold up progress at end of this month.

This will allow the team hardly any time to compile the evidence and statements it has collected since May 5 and submit those to the Supreme Court in the shape of a final investigation report.