ISLAMABAD, Dec 19: The Supreme Court expressed dismay on Wednesday over the pathetic performance of Motorway and Punjab police and their failure to arrest former chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) Tauqir Sadiq despite a prior tip-off.
The appointment of Sadiq, a close relative of PPP Secretary General Jahangir Badar, as Ogra chief was declared illegal by the apex court on Nov 25 last year. The National Accountability Bureau estimated that during his tenure as chairman the petroleum sector suffered a whopping loss of Rs82 billion.
Sadiq is currently at large. And NAB officials, Islamabad police, Punjab police and its anti-terrorism cell and Motorway police have had no clue to his whereabouts for three to four months. Some reports suggest that he has fled the country. The court again ordered the three police departments to make a joint and coordinated effort to arrest the former Ogra chief and produce him before it on Dec 26.
“It is a matter of concern for us that the Punjab police at the highest level of the inspector general and the officers deputed by him heading the Anti-Terrorists Cell (ATC) have not been able to trace the whereabouts of an accused whose coordinates are available publicly,” regretted Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, who heads a two-judge bench hearing the case.
“Concern arises as if the Punjab police and the ATC are unable to trace and arrest a known person, there is a little hope that an unknown terrorist will be arrested,” he observed.
NAB’s deputy director and investigating officer Waqas Ahmed Khan vented his frustration before the court and said the Punjab and Motorway police had recently been tipped that Tauqir Sadiq, along with Jahangir Badar, was travelling on the Motorway. They were even chased by NAB vehicles but they could not match the speed of the car carrying the accused.
He alleged that the Motorway police had done nothing to check the vehicle and arrest the accused, whereas the Punjab police were not extending any cooperation to NAB.
On Nov 12, the NAB deputy director had complained before the court about the leakage of information while narrating the Oct 7 incident when Sadiq fled just half an hour before a police party headed by him raided his farmhouse in Lahore where he was hiding.
But Motorway Inspector General Zafar Abbas Lakh said the record maintained by the Motorway police had no proof or evidence about the entry or exit of any such vehicle from any interchange or point on the day mentioned by NAB.
The Motorway police, he said, usually caught four to five robbers a day along with the stolen vehicles.
The IG Motorway was snubbed by the court when he said investigations should also be handed over to the Motorway police if NAB could not take responsibility for anything.
“You are really not concerned with finding out an accused,” Justice Khawaja said and asked NAB officers to proceed with under the bureau’s law against those who were providing shelter or protecting the accused. “Today Rs80 billion of the nation’s wealth has been lost, tomorrow Rs800 billion will go out, but nobody will be moved,” he observed.
The IG Motorway apologised for his utterances.
Inspector General of Punjab Haji Mohammad Habibur Rehman assured the court that every efforts would be made to nab the accused.
“We should seriously consider disbanding police by asking citizens to hire the services of private security firms for their protection,” Justice Khawaja observed.