The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) on Thursday issued its Search and Seizure Rules 2019. The rules are part of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirements to document the economy and expand Pakistan's tax base.
According to the rules, the investigating officer may enter any property after obtaining requisite permission. The officer is required to prepare an inventory of seized documents, electronic evidence in the presence of the occupant. Also required is a seizure memo on the spot and a case diary which records all steps taken by the investigation team.
The search needs to be carried out in the presence of two witnesses who can be any incumbent of the property and in their absence, any SECP officer other than a member of the investigation team can be a witness.
The SECP officer can take local police assistance for affecting the search and may call other administration agencies for assistance.
Where resistance is expected, the investigating officer can obtain search-warrants from the concerned Magistrate. The officer is also entitled to break any door, window or vehicle in order to seize any movable property. Owners of lockers are required to open them and failure to do so can result in the locker being broken. The investigating officer also has the right to search individuals.
During the course of the investigation, the officer may access, seize and secure electronic devices and require any person to provide passwords to open the devices.