LAHORE - Federal Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan has directed the FIA director general to accelerate investigations into mega scams in government institutions like Employees Old Age Benefit Institution (EOBI), Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), Trading Corporation of Pakistan, Islamabad new airport, Oil and Gas Regularity Authority (Ogra) and Pakistan State Oil.

A letter has been issued to the officers concerned with the direction to complete investigations into these cases within six weeks, sounding a warning that action would be taken against those who fail to do the job in stipulated time.

An FIA officer said after this warning from the minister, anxiety had gripped the FIA officers concerned. An investigator, seeking anonymity, said, “We were advised by the FIA DG a month back to accelerate the process. We are updating the DG office regularly in this regard. Since the matter is sub judice, the Supreme Court has issued instructions not to harass the accused till further orders,” he said.

It is worth mentioning here that the FIA Lahore is dealing with two cases, ETPB and EOBI. An FIA officer said, “We have registered seven FIRs in the EOBI case and four inquiries are under process, but as the Supreme Court has stopped FIA from harassing the EOBI accused, we cannot issue even a notice to them until and unless the matter is decided by the court.” He said two FIRs were registered against Eden Developers while PTI leader Aleem Khan and his family members were nominated in an FIR.

In the ETPB case, the Supreme Court of Pakistan nullified the land sale agreement between Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).

The court directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to complete investigation into the case and submit a report to the registrar office. It also ordered appointment of the Evacuee Trust Property Board chairman.

“According to the Constitution, the land of the trust cannot be sold, nor can it be exchanged with any other land,” the court observed.

In a suo motu case regarding sale of ETPB land worth billions of rupees, the three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had declared the agreement void, ordering criminal proceedings against ETPB Chairman Asif Hashmi and others. The chief justice had observed that the ETPB had entered into an illegal agreement.

The FIA has also been directed to accelerate investigation into the treason case against former president Pervez Musharraf and present a report as soon as possible. He said Musharraf's name was on Exit Control List and would not be removed till the court’s decision.

The minister said absconders would also be brought back from abroad with Interpol’s help and all the cases would be decided on merit irrespective of political affiliations.

He said the government wanted to ensure a fair and transparent system in every public organisation. ‘Awareness and Protection System’ would be launched in collaboration with FIA and National Accountability Bureau to check corruption in government organisations.

The officers engaged in the ETPB and EOBI cases included Assistant Additional Director Bsharat Shehzad, Deputy Director Khawaja Hammad and assistant directors Jameel Ahmad Khan, Khalid Anees and Khurram Saeed Rana.