Now Reading: SECP Barred by IHC from Taking Action Against Official Who Leaked Asim Bajwa’s Data
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has been barred by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) from taking action against the SECP Additional Director – Muhammad Arsalan Zafar – who is under investigation in connection to data leaks related to the CPEC Authority Chairman and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information – retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa – and his family, till 12th of October.
Pertaining to the show-cause notice issued to SECP Additional Director Arsalan Zafar by the organization in connection with the recent “Bajwa Leaks”, a case was being heard by a single bench of Chief Justice IHC, Justice Athar Minallah. The case came to realization as the AD Arsalan challenged the show-cause notice issued to him by the SECP and declared the SECP chairman, the SECP secretary and the Inquiry Committee Chairman, Sadia Khan as respondents. Arsalan stated that he was sent on forced leave on September 9, besides getting his laptop seized.
The petitioner further claimed that he had also submitted a detailed response to the investigation committee on September 14. While Arsalan Zafar was directed by the court bench to submit a reply of the show-cause notice that the SECP issued to him, the IHC also issued a notice to the SECP. During the hearing, the regulatory body was ordered to file a comprehensive, detailed report of the petition and how many inquiries were conducted by it in relation to the leaked documents within the last five years.
“SECP isn’t an Independent Organization”
IHC Chief Justice, Athar Minallah, also raised an objection to the SECP counsel, Shahid Anwar Bajwa, being present during the proceeding. Justice Minallah questioned the reason for his presence as the court is yet to decide on the maintainability of the appeal and no notice has been served. “Why is the SECP taking interest in this case only?”, Chief Justice Minallah asked the regulator’s counsel. He observed that this over-interest in said case was evident of an effort of turning a non-issue into an issue.
“You have to tell so many things. These issues are of public interest,” the chief justice remarked, adding that accountability on a nationwide level is only possible when information is shared with the public and that he is sure the Prime Minister was not aware of this meddling since he believes in accountability, regardless if these companies are related to Asim Bajwa or not. Moreover, Chief Minallah stated that the very conduct of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and it trying so hard to be involved in the case showed that it wasn’t an independent organization.
Finally, the court issued a notice to the exchange commission and ordered it to submit a detailed report related to the matter on the next hearing.