Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Minister for Science and Technology, Azam Khan Swati seems to be in deep trouble as American authorities have handed over important documents to a joint investigation team (JIT) probing him, with claims damaging to the repute of the politician.

The JIT has received an important letter from US Department of Homeland Security which alleges that Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf Senator Azam Khan Swati falsely represented himself as an American national in the United States of America in 2000 and 2001.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement International Operations, through Embassy of United States Islamabad, responded to Pakistani authorities probing Mr Swati’s case and contended that Swati falsely represented himself as a US citizen.

“The record of proceedings reveal that on November 12, 2000, while in B-1, non-immigrant visa status, you completed a form L-40 in personal history sheet with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission indicating that you [Mr Swati] are a citizen of the United States. The file also includes a copy of your Voter Registration Address confirmation card. While in E-2, non-immigrant status, again you [Mr Swati] represented yourself to be a citizen of the United States by voting in the May 2001 City of Port Arthur Election. But you [Mr Swati] falsely represented yourself to be a citizen of United States of America after September 30, 1996; you [Mr Swati] are statutorily ineligible to adjust your status to a lawful permanent resident. Therefore, your application must be and is hereby denied. There is no appeal to this decision,” stated US authorities.

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The letter has been clubbed with the JIT report about the misuse of authority of the PTI lawmaker who is under investigation after his employees were found responsible for a clash with a poor family in Islamabad; Islamabad’s IGP had also lost his job in the same matter.

The US Embassy in Islamabad has not confirmed or denied the letter, however, its presence with the JIT report might mar the future of the legislator.

The letter, available with Geo News, has yet to be officially confirmed by the apex court. The JIT sought multiple details about Swati, who according to investigators was denied visa by American authorities in 2010 and then in October 2018 because he allegedly misled Texas authorities during his business dealings in the US in late 2000 and 2001 accordingly.

Reacting to the letter, Swati, expressed that he had contested that case and visa application was subsequently approved from USA in October 2018.

“On my interview for visa, consulate needed additional documents to issue a green card. I never faced any proceeding regarding my business, bank accounts, credit cards and I have been a tax-payer since 1979 till today,” Swati added.

“All my tax-paid money is coming out of my bank account and my company’s account to my bank account here and I do not have any regular business here. All my expenses are being paid, including travelling, lodging, clothing and medical, by my American credit card and by US tax laws it is not tax deductible. I have good size social work here. So I am among only a few of those public servants[s] who bring their money to Pakistan,” the minister observed.

Swati, however, fell shy of responding to whether he falsely represented himself as a US citizen.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan had observed that Swati misused his powers seeking an explanation from him under Article 62 (1)(f), which sets the precondition for a public office holder to be “sadiq and ameen” (truthful and honest).

The top court also questioned the government’s decision to keep Sawati in his position under Article 62(1)(f) and in any extreme case, Swati might be disqualified by the supreme court in days to come.