ISLAMABAD - The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has undergone a major reshuffle with the posting of its new Director General Wajid Zia who shot to fame as the head of joint investigation team (JIT) that probed alleged Panama Papers scandal against then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

The federal government in a major shake-up has removed two additional director generals of grade 21 and four grade 20 zonal directors of FIA besides posting out its many officers of 19 scale belonging to the Police Service of Pakistan. All have been asked to report to the Establishment Division, immediately, replacing with the fresh lot.

On November 29, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government had appointed Zia, a grade 21 officer of police service as the new head of FIA — the federal government’s premier investigation agency — while replacing Bashir Ahmad Memon. Memon is a grade 22 officer of police service and is set to retire in the third week of this month after reaching age of superannuation.

Zia took charge of his office on last Monday and later held a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar.

Many senior officers replaced with the fresh lot

The official sources in FIA informed that this has happened for the first time in the agency’s history that such major reshuffle has been made the same day when a new DG FIA was appointed and before he took charge of his office. In the past, such transfers and postings used to be made on the recommendations of new DG following he takes charge of his office. In FIA, newly appointed FIA chief usually brings his own team to probe important cases of corruption, financial crimes and human smuggling besides others.

According to the separate notifications of transfers in FIA and issued by the Establishment Division on November 29, Dr Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Khan, Additional DG (Headquarters) and Ahmad Mukarram, ADG (Immigration), both grade 21 officers of police service were removed and asked to report to the Establishment Division with “immediate effect.”

Similarly, Muhammad Wisal Fakhar Sultan, Director FIA Zone Islamabad; Muhammad Waqar Abbasi, Director Lahore Zone; Tariq Chohan, also director of the Lahore’s another zone; and Akhtar Hayat Gandapur, Director FIA Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Zone; were posted out of FIA and were asked to report to the Establishment Division. All were grade 20 officers of police service.

The grade 19 officers of police service who were transferred from FIA include Mansoor-ul-Haq Rana, Flt. Lt. (retd.) Qaiser Bashir Makhdoom, Mohibullah Khan Mandokhail and Muhammad Kashif.

On the other hand, Faisal Ali Raja and Irfan Ali Baloch, grade 20 police officers of police service, have been transferred and “their services have been placed at the disposal of FIA, under Interior Division, with immediate effect.” Mr Raja was working at National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and Mr Baloch was posted as deputy inspector general of police in Sindh.

In addition to that, Umar Riaz, Abdul Ghaffar Qaisrani, Abdul Qadir Qamar, Athar Waheed, Waqar Hassan, Capt (retd.) Jawad Qamar, Muhammad Shahzad Asif Khan and Atif Ikram, all grade 19 officers of police service, have been transferred to FIA.

Riaz was serving in National Police Academy, Mr Qaisrani in National Highways & Motorway Police, and Mr Qadir Qamar, Mr Waheed, Mr Qamar and Mr Khan and Mr Ikram were serving in Punjab. Mr Hassan was posted in Gilgit Baltistan.

On November 29, the outgoing DG FIA Mr Memon had resigned from his years’ long police service as a mark of protest against the federal government’s decision to remove him “unceremoniously” while he is close to retirement. Mr Memon was also asked to report to the Division immediately.

It is not yet clear whether the government has accepted his resignation or not.

In his resignation letter sent to the secretary Establishment Division, the former DG FIA said, “It is usual courtesy in official working not to post out any officer nearing retirement. I have been denied this courtesy which in my opinion is an expression of displeasure towards me.”

“Aforementioned in view, I tender my resignation from service,” he said.

Since September this year, Mr Memon was on leave in one way or the other and he had resumed work only few days before his removal.

In the end of September, the federal government had sent Mr Memon on a 15-day leave over his alleged poor performance in investigation of key cases including the judge video leak scandal. Before this, he was already on 7-day leave and since then, he was made redundant for this position.

Memon’s immediate junior in FIA — Dr Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Khan — had been given acting charge of the post during the leave period.