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ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the parliament – a top parliamentary watchdog – on Tuesday summoned former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar to brief the committee about Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund which was established during his tenure as the top judge of the country.

The ex-chief justice, Nisar, had established a fund for collecting donations for Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams in July 2018 which was later joined by then prime minister Imran Khan, making it a joint venture to overcome the country’s water scarcity.

During a meeting of the PAC which was held here with Noor Alam Khan as its chairman also summoned the Supreme Court registrar to give details about the funds collected so far.

Noor, a dissident of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who has been handpicked as chairman PAC by the ruling coalition – at one point during the meeting – referred to Justice (retd) Nisar as “a controversial figure.”

The PAC member and the PML-N MNA Birjees Tahir claimed that Rs14bn was spent on ads against an overall collection of Rs9bn as he called for an explanation on why the funds were not used on the construction of dams.

“We are not threatening the judges, but want a briefing as is the donation collected through the account set up for collecting donation for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams fund,” he maintained.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, a member PAC belonging to the ruling PML-N, also insisted on a thorough probe into funds collected through the account.

Meanwhile, the issue of PTI chairman Imran Khan’s alleged misuse of the provincial government’s helicopters during his party’s past tenure in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa also came under discussion.

Imran is already facing a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) case on the same charges levelled in 2018 and had appeared before the NAB at its KP office.

“Imran Khan misused powers from 2013 to 2018 and used the KP government’s helicopter for a total of 156 hours. Over Rs70 million was spent on the chopper’s use,” said the newly-handpicked NAB chairman Aftab Sultan, adding that the watchdog was taking steps for the amount’s recovery.

The PAC chairman said that the recovery should not be from the KP provincial government but from those using the helicopter.

He told the NAB chairman to approach the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding the matter where the PTI chief is also facing a number of cases.

Sultan informed the PAC that 1,800 people had used the helicopter and permission for its use was given in 2012. He added that the provincial government needed to recover around over Rs300m in total.

The PAC ordered the NAB to recover the amount from Imran Khan and 1,800 other individuals.

In other matters, the PAC summoned a timeline of the Peshawar BRT case inquiry and the body’s chairman also enquired about the details asked regarding the assets of the NAB officers.

“If something is asked from the NAB, its people go to court. Your organisation commits constitutional violations,” Noor told Sultan.

In response, the NAB chairman said that the files regarding the disclosure of assets owned by the NAB officers were locked in the Establishment Division, adding that the “files are opened when an inquiry is to be made.”

PAC member Sheikh Ruhail Asghar said that details of politicians’ assets have been made public documents so there should be no problem in making public the details of assets submitted to the Establishment Division.

The PAC chairman reiterated his question that why details of the assets were not provided, to which Sultan responded he had the same answer.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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