ISLAMABAD: A sub-committee of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting was informed on Monday that the National Accountability Bureau and Rangers were not cooperating with Sindh police in an inquiry related to leaks of testimony of undertrial prisoners.
The sub-committee was informed by Sindh Police’s Additional Inspector General Sanaullah Abbasi and Karachi East Deputy IG Dr Kamran Fazal that their department had nothing to do with the leaked videos.
Officials of the interior ministry said Sindh Rangers were not responding to the queries in this regard.
The response infuriated the convener of the sub-committee, Imran Leghari of the PPP, and Talal Chaudhary of the PML-N.
They expressed displeasure over the absence of the interior secretary from the meeting and warned him of legal action if he did not show up at the next meeting of the committee.
An official of the interior ministry said they had written a letter to the director general of Sindh Rangers and a reply was awaited.
DIG Kamran said two investigation officers of the police had given statements on oath that they had not recorded any video of former minister Dr Asim Husain during his 16-day remand. They had said that prior to this Dr Asim had been in the custody of Rangers and NAB officials.
Mr Abbasi told the committee that police had written a letter to Rangers and NAB, asking if they had recorded any video statement of Dr Asim during the period he was in their custody.
“No reply has been received yet either from the Rangers or NAB on the issue,” he said.
Dr Kamran said Sindh police had filed an application in a court, seeking access to Dr Asim to ascertain when and where the leaked video had been recorded.
He said the next date of hearing of the case was Sept 17 and expressed the confidence that the court would grant police permission to interview Dr Asim to investigate the matter.
“The main issue is why we do have such leaks related only to political persons,” Mr Leghari regretted.
When Talal Chaudhry asked if the video recordings of the accused were a legal requirement or they had been made illegally, the police officials did not reply.
The Sindh police were directed to submit a detailed report on the issue on Sept 26.
Mr Leghari said that the committee would write letters to NAB and Rangers for cooperation with Sindh police in the case, otherwise it would take action under the rules.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s Chairman Absar Alam said there was nothing illegal for airing such testimony, provided it was not fake and did not contain foul language barred under the Code of Conduct.
“If there is anything illegal that is with the other end — either making of such video recording or leaking it to the media — but airing it is allowed under journalistic ethics,” he said.
Published in Business Recorder, August 30th, 2016