ISLAMABAD - The government is all set to remove Zafar Hijazi from the post of Chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) after his arrest in record tampering case.

Sources in the Ministry of Finance informed that the government is considering giving acting charge of SECP chairman to senior commissioner of the department. The government would consider the names of senior commissioners Tahir Mahmood and Zafar Abdullah for the post of acting SECP chairman. Tahir Mahmood is one of the witnesses against Hijazi.

The sources informed that the government would soon issue a notification of Hijazi’s suspension. Rules of the SECP Amendment Act (2016) related to the appointment of commissioners stated that a commissioner charged with any crime would be suspended.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah said that the arrest of Zafar Hijazi is a testimony to his crime.

It also needs to ascertain that who was behind the criminal offence of record tempering, he said and added “Who was getting benefit from this fraud.”

He said that the incumbent government is not performing its duties well. “On the orders of Supreme Court, FIA has proved him (SECP chairman) guilty in its inquiry but no proper action was taken against him, as he is still chairman of the SECP,” he said. It seems from the facts that this negligence was being carried out under the supervision of the government, Shah argued.

The PPP might also submit adjournment motion in the National Assembly Secretariat to debate the matter.

The FIA on Friday arrested SECP Chairman Zafar Hijazi, after a local court turned down his bail before arrest plea in record tampering case.

Special judge central Tahir Mahmood conducted hearing of Zafar Hijazi’s plea to extend his bail before arrest request.

However, the FIA officials opposed extension in his bail saying that the accused should not be granted extension in his bail by the court.

Acceding to the FIA request, the special judge central rejected bail before arrest application of Hijazi. Later, the FIA officials took him into their custody from outside the courtroom.

Earlier, a single bench of IHC comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, on July 11, had granted transit bail to Hijazi facing the charges of tampering with the records of the Sharif family’s companies.

The IHC bench granted Hijazi the transitory bail till July 17 and directed him to approach the appropriate forum – the Special Court Central in this matter.

The FIA had lodged an FIR against the SECP chairman under sections 466 (forgery) and 471 (using of forged documents as genuine) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), read with Section 5(2)47 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, at the agency’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) in Islamabad.

Under these sections, the accused may face a jail term of up to seven years.

The FIA had registered criminal case against Hijazi on the directions of the Supreme Court after the bench had examined a report prepared by the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the Sharif family’s business dealings abroad.

It was June 19, when a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan had directed the FIA director-general to launch an inquiry into the allegations by the six-member inquiry panel that the SECP had tampered with the records of the Sharifs’ companies.

Subsequently, the top court had constituted a four-member FIA team to probe the allegations.

In its report, the JIT had alleged that the SECP chairman had altered records related to Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

In its investigations into this matter, the FIA had also endorsed allegations levelled by the JIT and found SECP chairman Zafar Hijazi guilty of tampering with record of Sharif family’s companies.

In this regard, the investigation team headed by FIA Director Maqsoodul Hassan submitted a report to the apex court on July 8th, which found the chairman guilty of altering the records in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

The FIA officials submitted the 28-page report to the apex court, endorsing the JIT’s allegation.

After registration of the FIR, Hijazi approached the IHC seeking a pre-arrest bail and succeeded in obtaining a transitory bail till July 17th.

Later, he was granted an interim pre-arrest bail until July 21st by Special Court Central, Islamabad and the plea for extension was dismissed on Friday.

As a result, the FIA officials arrested Hijazi in record tampering case.