Petition moved against Sharmila Farooqui, her father’s eligibility

ISLAMBAD – Despite repeated reminders, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Deedar Hussain Shah has not submitted comments to the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the alleged disqualification of Sharmila Farooqi, adviser to the Sindh chief minister.
A well-placed source said for the past four months, the NAB chairman had “turned a deaf ear” to the SC order to submit comments on Sharmila’s disqualification decided in a plea-bargain case on April 28, 2001. The source alleged that NAB chief was using delaying tactics only to protect Sharmila. The Supreme Court directed the NAB chairman to submit comments regarding Sharmila’s disqualification within two weeks after hearing a human rights petition filed by one Aslam Siddiqui.
However, the NAB chairman failed to comply with SC orders. On October 12, 2010, SC’s Human Rights Cell director again issued a reminder, which the Deedar again failed to comply with. The director finally put the NAB chairman on notice to comply with court orders on or before January, 2011. Documents reveal that on April 12, 2000, Accountability Court No IV Karachi convicted Sharmila and her mother Anisa Farooqi and father Usman Farooqui on corruption charges.
They were sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment each. Later, the convicts filed an appeal before the Sindh High Court, which remanded their case for a re-trial on technical grounds. During the course of the re-trial, the convicts entered a plea bargain with NAB in order to avoid further conviction. Their plea-bargaining was accepted by the then chairman NAB and later approved by the Accountability Court No IV Karachi.
The accountability court in its judgment on April 28, 2001, declared Sharmila Farooqui, Anisa and Usman disqualified to be elected, appointed or nominated to hold any public office for 21 years. Notwithstanding her conviction, plea-bargaining and disqualification, Sharmila was appointed adviser to the Sindh chief minister, to enjoy not only perks and privileges of a public servant but also an extraordinary political clout.


NAB again fails to file reply in Sharmila case

ISLAMABAD: The NAB has again failed to file reply before the Supreme Court in a case against adviser to Sindh Government Sharmila Farooqi.

A man had complained to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that Sharmila Farooqi was a NAB convict and cannot hold public office for 10 years. In his application, he said that Accountability Court No 4 of Karachi ruled under a plea-bargain adjudication on April 24, 2001 in an accountability reference, filed against Sharmila and her parents, that she cannot hold any government office for 10 years under the NAB Ordinance.

On the plea, the CJ had asked the NAB on Aug 24 to file a reply within two weeks but NAB failed to respond in four months. Upon this the Human Rights Cell of the SC reminded the NAB on December 9 to file a reply by December 20, 2010. However, the Bureau failed to come up with any response.

The applicant had asked the court to declare the appointment of Sharmila Farooqi, an NRO beneficiary, as illegal and order withdrawal of all emoluments and privileges she got from the government exchequer during her appointment as adviser.


Sharmila and the media: Irresponsibility at its best

“Gang rape in Clifton” was a headline plastered across most newspapers today; while most news agencies protected the victim’s identity, English newspapers Daily Times and The Nation violated media ethics by publishing her full name, the area where she lived, the license plate number of her car and other details about the victim’s personal life.

Enter Sharmila Farooqui

During her media briefing, Information Adviser Sharmila Farooqui publicly named the victim and spoke of her in an apparently derogatory manner; it seemed that she had expected the victim to give her a full-blown account of the incident, and when that didn’t happen, the disappointed official thought it best to describe the girl as “hyper” and “batameez”. She proceeded to say that the little information she had obtained from the victim was “her (the victim’s) version” and that investigations were under way. Is it too much to ask that Farooqui show sensitivity and professionalism to a rape case? It seems that she arrived at the scene after succumbing to media pressure and spoke casually about the horrific incident, implying that the victim’s version was warped and inconsistent.

‘She lived with her boyfriend’

The police were completely out of line when they disclosed that the victim resided with her boyfriend – a statement that was published in a newspaper today. It makes me wonder if this media-police tag team is some deranged version of Batman and Robin that thrives on sensational news. One creates frenzy and the other leaps to the occasion and spews information that catalyses the media hype.

It is utterly shocking that this victim is being harassed by the media, who seems to be conducting a trial of its own. What is worse is that the girls involved have been accused of having loose characters and are being depicted as “call girls” who are involved in “trafficking women”.

Is this why some news agencies have disclosed their identities? A victim’s personal life should by no means undermine the gravity of the crime that has been committed. Farooqui and the irresponsible media persons should issue an apology to the traumatised victim instead of making her out to be someone with loose morals.

My question is this: even if she is a prostitute – doe she not have the right to procedural fairness and a fair trial?