PAC summons ex-CJP Saqib Nisar for explanation on Dam Fund

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s (NA) Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday summoned former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice (r) Saqib Nisar.

Committee Chairman MNA Noor Alam Khan remarked that the ex-CJP was a controversial figure. “Rs14 billion were spent on advertisements on the ‘Dam Fund’, while only Rs9 billion could be collected,” he said. MNA Birjees Tahir said the PAC wanted to know as to why the money collected for the Fund had not been spent for the avowed purpose. “We are not threatening judges after all,” he remarked.

The PAC summoned the Supreme Court (SC) registrar for briefing on the Fund. PAC chairman said that whenever government officials were summoned, they went to the court against the summons.

During the hearing of Tayyaba Gul sexual harassment case, when the PAC chairman asked National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Aftab Sultan where the NAB DGs of other provinces were, he replied that the bureau was currently faced with financial constraints; therefore he asked them not to come. “However, if I fail to satisfy you, I will direct them to appear before the committee,” he said.

MNA Noor said angrily that the NAB officials violated the constitution. “Truth is that we have failed to get the answers to our questions from the anti-corruption watchdog officials,” he said.

Responding to a question by the PAC chairman about the NAB officials’ assets, the bureau chairman said details of these assets were submitted to the Establishment Division. “And these are made public only when there is an inquiry against an official,” he informed.

MNA Noor said it was unfortunate that the NAB had not drafted its rules during 23-year period of its existence. The NAB chairman told him that the rules would be finalized soon.

Speaking on the occasion, MNA Sheikh Rohail Asghar said that politicians’ assets were not hidden from the public eye. “And when you submit details of your properties to the Establishment Division, there is no harm in making them public,” he said, adding, “When you don’t show your assets despite our continuous insistence, it amounts to an insult.”

An exchange of hot words took place between the PAC and NAB chairmen when the former told the latter that the committee’s insistence on showing assets was as per the constitution. “The NA body has repeatedly asked you to give these details. We wrote to you several times. But still the committee has not received your response as yet,” MNA Noor regretted. NAB chief replied that there was no change in his opinion on the officials’ assets. The committee chairman reminded him that nobody was above the law.