Prime Minister Inspection Commission a dormant body
Prime Minister's Inspection Commission (PMIC) has become a redundant organisation for all practical purposes as it is not being utilised to check corruption and mismanagement in numerous mega projects. The PML-N government did appoint a grade-22 officer, Muhammad Ahsan Raja, as chairman of the PMIC but practically the institution remains ineffective owing to some inexplicable reasons.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014
A government official told Business Recorder on Friday that the prime minister has not referred even a single case for inquiry and inspection to the commission since he assumed his office in June last year. "It is in the interest of bureaucracy and politicians to keep the institution toothless," he said, adding that if the PMIC becomes a vibrant organisation the corruption in different public and private departments could be checked effectively.
The PMIC is governed by Martial Law Ordinance number 58 of October 31, 1978, which is protected under Article 270-A of the Constitution with approval of eighth amendment to the constitution made in December 1985. The PMIC, under the rules, is bound to present a progress report to prime minister fortnightly. The institution could not initiate an inquiry or investigation into any cases until the prime minister gives approval to the PMIC in writing.
Malik Amjad Ali Noon, former chairman of the PMIC, told Business Recorder that he wrote a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shortly after he assumed his office, informing him about the corruption reports but the PM office did not respond. "The PMIC can act as ears and eyes of the prime minister if it is made a vibrant institution," he said, adding that if monitoring of all important and mega projects is handed over to the commission, the intervention of judiciary in affairs of the executive can also be curtailed.
During the PPP-led coalition government, the commission produced a total of 51 reports on different mega projects and unearthed the embezzlement of millions of rupees funds but the prime minister never ordered action on these reports. Some mega projects that were extensively monitored by the commission during Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani's tenure included Neelum Jhelum Hydro Power Project, Mangla Dam raising, Layari Expressway, Lowari Tunnel, Expanded Programme of Immunisation and Evacuee Property Trust of Pakistan.
Noon said that the commission under its supervision even produced comprehensive reports on a number of other important national issues. "We produced inclusive reports on sui gas and power theft, shortage of fertilisers and spiralling inflation. We also suggested effective steps to the prime minister to overcome these problems but in vain," he said.
Suggesting some steps to make the institution vibrant, he said the institution should be aided by National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency, Anti-corruption department and police; so that all important projects involving billions of rupees should be monitored effectively. Noon remained chairman of the commission for four years and worked diligently to check corruption and mismanagement in different institutions, but the then government did not support him.
"I resigned from my position as the prime minister seemed helpless in dealing with the bureaucracy," he said, adding the PPP-led coalition government could have avoided the wrath of Supreme Court of Pakistan if it had initiated action against corrupt officials in line with the commission's reports.
Noon said the PMIC, under the rules, can even slam a negligent government official into jail for eight months if he/she does not cooperate with the commission to carry out investigation into any project. The PMIC should be made proactive in monitoring the public-funded projects and checking corruption and embezzlement, he suggested. Chairman of the commission Muhammad Ahsan Raja could not be reached for his comments.