New FIA chief meets PM as ‘sidelined’ predecessor resigns

DG FIA Dr. Wajid Zia calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan at Islamabad on 2nd December, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The newly-appointed director-general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Wajid Zia, who shot to fame for heading the Joint Investigation Team that probed NAB references against former premier Nawaz Sharif, called on Prime Minister Imran Khan here on Monday.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar, who was also one of the key players in Panama Papers case, was appointed Minister of State for Interior. He will hold the dual charge of the special assistant and the state minister.

On the occasion, Mr. Khan said that fighting organized crime including corruption, cybercrime, economic crime, immigration-related crimes, and money laundering, as well as carrying out across-the-board accountability, was the plank of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government’s agenda.

The new FIA chief assured PM Khan that he would do his best to serve the country with commitment.

Dual charge

Meanwhile, Shahzad Akbar will hold the dual charge of SAPM and the state minister. The PM tasked him to reorganize FIA to make it a vibrant organization to curb money laundering and other transnational crimes.

Mr. Akbar’s appointment may slash down the powers of federal interior minister retired brigadier Ijaz Shah.

Talking to Dawn, Mr. Akbar said the PM wanted to address the issue of money laundering with special reference to Financial Action Task Force (FATF) [an international body on anti-money laundering] and therefore he had been tasked to focus on money laundering, anti-corruption, and other related crimes.

He said during his liaison with other powers like the United Nations and Switzerland on money laundering, he had observed that the FIA required restructuring to tackle the issue of money laundering.

Mr. Akbar said he had also asked the PM that for improving the performance of FIA, the government would have to give some incentives to FIA officials. “For example, a constable of the FIA is getting the salary of Rs35,000 while the same constable in NAB gets Rs80,000 monthly pay,” he added.

Mr. Akbar said he would soon present the FIA’s restructuring plan to the PM for approval.

Earlier, the prime minister in a meeting with the recently promoted officers said their promotion was based purely on merit.

Mr. Khan said Pakistan stood at a crucial juncture of history and the bureaucracy would have to work hard. “Our country, which was exemplary in terms of governance in the 60s, is lagging behind other countries in the region today for various reasons. Today political leadership and bureaucracy have to determine the future of the country. It requires new thinking and good governance,” he said, adding that they should fulfill their responsibilities as Jihad and national duty.

Pakistan had immense resources and manpower, he said, adding that in the past 15 months, foreign investors had expressed keen interest in every sector of the economy.

He said international organizations had acknowledged the improvement in the economy. To strengthen the economic stability, the bureaucracy should play an integral role in the welfare of the government and the people, he added.


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