LONDON: Bashir Memon, the former head of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), has revealed that Imran Khan, the former prime minister, and his principal secretary Azam Khan repeatedly pressured him to use both legal and illegal methods, such as torture and anti-terrorism laws, to coerce Islamabad businessman Mian Nasir Janjua into making a false confessional statement against Maryam Nawaz, the senior vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), in judge Arshed Malik video scandal.
The FIA’s former director general said he refused to obey illegal orders from the former premier and his principal secretary. Memon said that Imran Khan was furious after Maryam in July 2019 held a press conference with other key PML-N leaders and released a video of former accountability judge Malik confessing that he was blackmailed and put under pressure by the establishment figures to convict Nawaz in the Al-Azizia case before 2018 general elections in order to pave the way for Imran Khan to become the prime minister.
Memon went on to say that after the press conference, it was planned in the PM House that Janjua, who was a 30-year-old trusted friend of Nawaz and owner of renowned corporate giant MIDJAC, should be made the main culprit since he was a businessman and would be an easy target to become an approver against Maryam and senior PML-N leadership.
Memon said that powerful bureaucrat Azam Khan from the PM House regularly insisted that Janjua should be forced to turn against Maryam and other PML-N leaders; he should say that he (Nasir Janjua) had blackmailed Judge Arshed Malik to record his confessional video which was used by Maryam at the press conference.
Memon said that he was passed these orders against Mian Nasir Janjua during his meetings with Imran Khan in the PM House and Azam followed up for action against the MIDJAC owner in WhatsApp messages. “I have a WhatsApp message from Azam and can show you how furious Imran Khan was that Mian Nasir should be turned against Maryam and everyone who did the press conference should be fixed too. They asked me to register anti-terrorism case against Nasir Janjua, but I said this is not right. Azam and former PM Imran Khan used to call me to the PM House for this purpose.”
The confessional secret video was recorded by another PMLN leader in April 2019 in Rawalpindi and Lahore where the judge, who died during the Covid lockdown after reportedly falling victim to the virus, had met him and told him that he felt guilty after convicting Nawaz on false grounds because he was put under pressure and blackmailed or he would be made an example.
The former FIA boss said: “From PM House, Azam Khan used to dictate the FIA what to do about Mian Nasir. I told him he was an innocent man as he didn’t blackmail anyone and the FIA investigation had established that Nasir Janjua didn’t have any role in the Arshed Malik video scandal but Azam Khan from the PM House insisted that at any cost Nasir Janjua should give a confessional statement against Maryam that she was behind the whole scandal and that it was on her orders that the accountability judge’s video was recorded.” Memon revealed that Imran Khan and his principal secretary believed Mian Nasir Janjua was the “weakest link because he was a businessman and had big stakes, wouldn’t take a stand and turn into a witness if torture was used on him. They asked me to torture him but I refused. Then they asked me to do his judicial custody.”
Memon revealed that the FIA had investigated Mian Nasir Janjua from all aspects before and particularly during his physical remand by the FIA investigation JIT but not even a single incriminating evidence was found against him on any of the alleged charges. He was proven innocent, which is why he was discharged from the case by the FIA on 7 September 2019 and the court also agreed and approved the FIA’s discharge report.
Memon said he told them and the Supreme Court that the FIA investigation findings mentioned that both Nasir Janjua and Maryam had no link with the video scandal as no evidence was found. “They had no relation with the judge’s 2003 objectionable video which was found in his own house. I told them that Arshad Malik’s video of 2003 was genuine, very old, obtained from the VCR device and didn’t have anything to do with Janjua or Maryam.”
The former FIA head said that the FIA submitted its report to the Supreme Court of Pakistan but the judges took no interest in the fact-finding of the scandal. “If the SC had taken interest and heard from us about the findings, I believe Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification would be proven wrong immediately at that time; this would also be proven that Nawaz Sharif’s sentencing was wrong; Judge Arshad Malik would be dismissed and Mian Nawaz Sharif would have been acquitted.”
Memon said: “After his discharge, Azam Khan and Imran Khan were furious with me. I have WhatsApp messages from Azam Khan regarding the same. The prime minister was jumping up and down and saying why you have released Mian Nasir, who is one of the most influential and trustworthy men of Nawaz. He told me that rather than his release, I should have done his judicial to Adiala Jail so that we may have managed to torture him to become an approver. I had refused. Later, they involved the Islamabad Police and managed a false kidnapping FIR against Mian Nasir.”
Nasir Janjua was arrested by the FIA sleuths in September 2019, weeks after Maryam held the press conference. He remained inside for some time, forced and tortured to become an approver against Maryam and other PML-N leadership, but he refused.
After the investigation, the FIA submitted a discharge report to the court that not a single piece of evidence and incriminating material was available on the record. Resultantly, accused Mian Nasir Janjua and others were discharged from this case and released. However, he remained in deep trouble. He left Pakistan in January 2020 abandoning his business empire. Imran Khan referred to Mian Nasir Janjua’s London Rolls Royce when mentioning how Nawaz used to roam around in London. For over three years, Janjua remained in London by the side of Nawaz and they were pictured together often. Nasir Janjua served as Honorary Council General for Kazakhstan since 1998. The PTI government cancelled his diplomatic status influencing Pakistan’s Foreign Office in October 2019. Janjua has never spoken publicly about his ordeal. This week Nasir Janjua ended his self-imposed exile of three years and now he is back in Islamabad. This correspondent tried to contact Azam on his cell number but he was out of reach. It’s understood he is out of Pakistan.