ISLAMABAD – Police authorities in Islamabad have registered a criminal case against former SAPM Shehzad Akbar, model Sophia Mirza and others for registering “false and vindictive cases” against businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor in the summer of 2020 when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was in power.
According to a copy of the FIR registered at Islamabad Secretariat Police Station, a case for criminal investigation has been formally registered against Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Sophia Mirza (whose real name is Khushbakhat Mirza), her sister Mariam Mirza, Maira Khurram, Umaid Butt and Ali Mardan Shah under Sections 420, 468, 471, 385, 386, 389, 500 and 506 of the PPC. The FIR has been registered for cheating, preparation of forged documents, extortion of money, defamation and criminal intimidation.
As per the FIR, an inquiry against Umar Farooq Zahoor and others was initiated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Corporate Crime Circle (CCC) Lahore on the application of his ex-wife Khushbakht Mirza that was considered a source report. The people named in the FIR have been accused of extorting money from Zahoor by registering false cases against him at FIA Corporate Crime Circle Lahore.
The FIR mentions the role of Shehzad Akbar who used the cabinet to run a campaign against Zahoor. The FIR says: “After the registration of the aforesaid criminal cases, Mr. Shehzad Akbar, the then Special Advisor to Prime Minister (PM) on Accountability, for illegal monetary gains, fraudulently obtained approval from the Cabinet under Section 188 CrPC 1898 by concealing the fact that the cases have already been closed at Switzerland and Norway. The applicant joined the investigation in the year 2023 and the Joint Investigation Team constituted for the investigation of the FIR No.36/20 and 40/20 after a thorough investigation reached to a conclusion that the allegations in the aforesaid FIRs are false, frivolous and concocted. Subsequently, the JIT FIA with the approval of the Board, submitted a Cancellation Report under Section 173 CrPC before the Competent Courts in both the FIRs. The Learned Court accepted the Cancellation Reports and allowed the cancellation of FIRs No. 36/20 and 40/20 vide Orders dated 29.04.2023 and 11.05.2023 respectively.”
The FIR says Sophia Mirza, who married Umar Farooq Zahoor in 2006, initiated a custody case against the applicant in order to blackmail him and extort money from him. It says, “Umar Farooq Zahoor also paid her a hefty sum of Rs10,00,000 in the year 2013 on the directions of the Honorable Supreme Court after which the Honorable Supreme Court decided the controversy once and for all. However, Khushbakht Mirza, in the year 2020, in connivance with Mr. Shehzad Akbar, the then Advisor to PM on Accountability and Umaid Butt and Ali Mardan Shah (officials of FIA) again started blackmailing the applicant in order to extort more money from him. Khushabkht Mirza then, with the help of the aforesaid persons, managed to get false criminal cases registered against the applicant and his other family members. The applicant was blackmailed, threatened and harassed."
Last week, judge Ghulam Murtaza Virk cleared businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor in two cases of money laundering registered against him by his former wife Sophia Mirza and Shahzad Akbar.
The judge acquitted Zahoor and cancelled two FIRs after the FIA informed the court that investigations had established the accused was not involved in fraud, money laundering and corruption.
Both cases were started in early October 2020 after Sophia Mirza approached the FIA Lahore Corporate Circle with Shahzad Akbar’s help, who got the cabinet to approve the investigations, over allegations of fraud and money laundering of around Rs16 billion by Zahoor and his brother-in-law Saleem Ahmad.
When registering the cases, Sophia Mirza used her name as a complainant Khushbakht Mirza to conceal her identity and the fact that Zahoor was her former husband and both were involved in a court dispute over the custody of their two teen daughters. Zahoor has publicly alleged that Sophia and her accomplices tried to extort money from him and when he refused they started cases against him using their connections in the PTI government.
The FIA told the court that during the course of investigation it was brought on the record that Zahoor not only denied the allegations but also produced a letter from Norway Police confirming the said inquiry was closed due to a lack of evidence. The FIA also produced another document of Oslo Police to the Public Prosecutor with the recommendation of dismissal of the case.
The judge ruled that the FIRs stand dismissed keeping in view the FIA investigation reports.
Pakistani currency remains largely stable against US dollar in the open market on February 27, 2024 (Tuesday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.4 for buying and 282.3 for selling.
Euro currently stands at 303 for buying and 306 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 351.5 for buying, and 355 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 76.7.
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