Bone of contention: CJ questions top auditor’s appointment

Published: August 26, 2011

After a failure to reconcile the matter, it seems the govt will now bring its own version of the bill with dissenting notes by the PML-N. PHOTO:AFP

ISLAMABAD: The recent appointment of a new auditor-general has become a simmering point of contention for the government – the latest quarter raising questions being none other than the Supreme Court.

A day after being lambasted by National Assembly Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who also chairs the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Gilani said on Thursday that he has also received a letter from the Chief Justice of Pakistan on the issue.

“I have received a letter in which some points have been raised on some unspecified complaints. We will respond to it,” Gilani told journalists at an iftar reception at the Prime Minister House.

Later, he confirmed that the letter was from Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Prime Minister Gilani appointed Akhtar Buland Rana to the post of auditor-general two days ago. He replaced Tanvir Ali Agha, who had earlier resigned amid a controversy (an acting auditor-general was appointed in the interim period).

(Read: PM promotes friend, props up chances of top auditor’s post)

The prime minister had promoted Rana, who is reported to be a close friend of the premier, to grade-22 (the highest rank in the civil service) a few weeks ago so that he could qualify for the post. The Auditor-General’s office conducts random audits of accounts of public sector institutions. Its reports are taken up by the powerful parliamentary watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee.

The government insists that the appointment of any person to the key post is the sole prerogative of the prime minister.

Gilani defended his decision over the appointment, saying that the official was a “person of integrity and the senior-most officer in the Auditor General’s office.”

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan currently heads the PAC in accordance with the Charter of Democracy – an agreement signed between the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and opposition Muslim League-Nawaz two years before the 2008 general elections.

Nisar is opposed to Rana’s appointment and has dissolved the sub-committees of PAC in protest. Gilani claimed that he has voluntarily abdicated his authority to promote any official from grade 21 to 22 after the Supreme Court gave some ‘observations’ in this regard.

Now a full board headed by the prime minister decides such matters, he added.

Accountability bill

To a question about complaints of rampant corruption in the government, Gilani said he had been hearing these accusations since he entered politics, and successive governments, including the military regimes, failed to overcome this problem. Gilani said he held a meeting with President Asif Zardari recently to accelerate the pace of work on new accountability laws, which, he said, would be tabled in parliament soon.

The government intends to set up a national accountability commission to replace the Musharraf era National Accountability Bureau. A bill has been pending before the National Assembly’s standing committee on law and justice for over two years but it has not been finalised because of differences between the two major parties, the ruling PPP and the opposition PML-N, over some clauses of proposed legislation.

After a failure to reconcile the matter, it seems the government will now bring its own version of the bill with dissenting notes by the PML-N.

Commenting about corruption charges leveled against his son Abdul Qadir Gilani, a member of the Punjab Assembly, and Moonis Elahi, the son of former chief minister Punjab Pervez Elahi, the prime minister said that the court had absolved his son since the accuser failed to establish the charges while case against Moonis was still pending.

Indiscriminate action  in Karachi

Gilani said the decision to carry out a ‘surgical operation’ against outlaws through police and Rangers in Karachi had unanimously been taken by the Sindh cabinet, and the federal government was fully supporting the provincial government in this regard. He said nine troubled areas had been identified in the Sindh metropolis where “across the board operations will be conducted”.

Gilani skipped a question about the Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain’s demand for his resignation, saying: “Altaf bhai is a dear fellow. (We don’t mind) he can say anything.”

Press Secretary

Gilani evaded a question over reappointment of Akram Shehidi as his press secretary after he retired from grade-22 some time ago, saying he has not done anything illegal.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th,  2011.

Reader Comments (15)

  • Mirza
    Aug 26, 2011 - 8:14AM

    If the PCO SC and its CJ are making executive and prosecutorial appointments and challenging every new appointment by the govt then the SC should share the charges of corruption as well. In fact the PCO SC should appoint itself as the head of the state (the power of PM and president in one) on the basis that the govt is not following the advice of PML-N leader Nisar. Between Nawaz Sharif and PCO CJ, they have successfully hijacked the govt without even being a member of any assembly! Who needs elections to run the govt, not Sharif or CJ.

    Recommend

  • Awaiting Justice
    Aug 26, 2011 - 9:18AM

    Dispense Justice to Justice starved people from top to bottom . look down what is going on in in Districts courts within your terroritry .Insted of overlooking over every thing in the country.

    Recommend

  • H.A. Khan
    Aug 26, 2011 - 10:22AM

    Mr. PM people make institutions—why not appoint persons with ZERO controversy and who have competence.This will strengthen institutions.

    Why not set up a committee on senior appointments which should have representation from Government,opposition and civil service and they recommend Three names to the PM.

    Members of civil society want good governance.Please.

    Recommend

  • dar
    Aug 26, 2011 - 12:24PM

    Pliticians should not have the right to appoint anybody weather grade 6 or 22. Public service commission should have have this right, lock, stock and barrell , on merit and after a fair competition.

    Recommend

  • All BS
    Aug 26, 2011 - 1:47PM

    The reason why all criminals in government is that they can never be held accountable. We want independent appointments of prosecutor and auditors, no free ride to the corrupt PPP, PMLN, ANP, and MQM

    Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Aug 26, 2011 - 1:53PM

    I think the top bearer of argument MIRZA is paid by someone to grease the way of government for corruption. Just go to any street of Pakistan ask about the definitions of four words: Zardari, Gillani, Iftikhar choudhry and Good governance. So MIRZA sb. the time has been changed …. No one can put the dust to the eyes of ppl. Lets wait when it turn to Egypt, Libya, Syria like.
    In reply to your PCO and other accusation of CJ there is a line from Allama Iqbal;

    Hai aayan yorish e Tatar ke afsaaney se
    Pasban mil gaye Kaabe ko sanam khane se

    What the wrong has been done is cleaned with blood. Read History.

    Recommend

  • Imran
    Aug 26, 2011 - 2:25PM

    CJ is to be blamed for all the corruption in the country now, as all major appointments have to have his approval.

    Recommend

  • Fawad chaudhry
    Aug 26, 2011 - 8:32PM

    I am unable to understand under what law CJP wrote letter to President raising doubts on some appointment, the way SC is conducting itself its more a Panchayat then a constitutional Court. CJP must take stock of the situation,the whole judicial institution has cracked under the burden of SC the lower courts, magistracy even High Courts are brought to the point of non functionality, enough is enough now Tassadaq Jillani should take over as CJP so institution can be saved.

    Recommend

  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Aug 26, 2011 - 9:21PM

    What kind of Supreme Court is this? Cases are being heard and decided on the basis of political priorities rather than on the universal principles of justice. I don’t mean to say that the CJ should not hear corruption cases against the PPP politicians and government officials. But how comes that Shabaz Sharif is sitting as the CM of Punjab for more than three years on the basis of a high-court stay order? Supreme Court is doing selective justice–targeting politicians and officials on the basis of their political affiliations. Our CJ has made Supreme Court a kangaroo court. How would he expect others to respect the verdicts of the court when he has made it a forum for settling political scores against his opponents? Those who opposed his restoration are now openly being targeted in the court. Not a single case against Sharif brothers is being entertained by the court despite the fact that there are a number of cases pending against them. Does this mean that SC will dispense justice on the basis of political affiliations? CJ is behaving like a medieval king rather than a justice of the Supreme Court. I wonder who picked him to serve as the Supreme Court judge. Even martial law courts are better than this so-called Supreme Court.

    Recommend

  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Aug 26, 2011 - 9:22PM

    Do you think only the federal government corrupt? Are all officials of the Punjab government and politicians of PML-N honest and pious? Just do some research on cases pending against Sharif brothers and their cohorts? Why do the cases relating to bank loan defaults, Hudaybia paper mills, helicopter custom duty scam, illegal cover up of duty on the import of raw iron ore, extra-judicial killings by Punjab Police on the alleged orders of Shabaz Sharif and others escape the sharp eyes of our CJ?
    I am in favor of justice for all. Every corrupt politician, judge, journalist, bureaucrat and general must be taken to the task. Picking cases for selective justice will not do away the evils of corruption. Politicization of the country most sacred institution should be stopped and the persons who allowed it to happen, including CJ, must be held accountable.

    Recommend

  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Aug 26, 2011 - 9:23PM

    What about the case of Anjum Aqueel Khan who is involved in 6 billion land scam and who also broke jail and fled away? CJ would not take notice of him because he is from PML-N. He should have been tried in anti-terrorist court. Instead he has been granted bail and is walking free. According to our CJ, he is clean because he belongs to PML-N. Shame on selective justice…….

    Recommend

  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Aug 26, 2011 - 9:24PM

    Our supreme court has become a political party. Chief justice should apply for the registration of his new political party. I am not against eradication of corruption. Monis Elahi or whosoever involved in corruption must be punished according to the law of the land. But the way Supreme Court is handling this and other cases is seriously undermining the legitimacy and morality of the court. Our chief justice is not going after the corruption cases of Sharif brothers and others who seem to provide him and the Supreme Court the sort of political support which has tarnished the image of this great institution. Supreme court’s legitimacy and its ability to uphold the rule of law is based on moral high ground and the universal principles of justice not on cheap populism which seems to be driving the agenda of the court. I think our chief justice is damaging the institution of the Supreme Court more than anything else. He wants to be the judge, advocate and investigator at the same time, besides playing as a skilled politician.

    Recommend

  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Aug 26, 2011 - 9:25PM

    When justice is mixed with politics, it may make for an explosive material which would blow up the very foundations of justice, morality and equality of all citizens.
    All others are cronies and corrupt. Sharif brothers and company are angels who descended from heavens to serve the people of Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Aug 26, 2011 - 9:26PM

    So the CJ should take over the government and run it? There have been allegations of serious corruption on CJ as well. Just study Naeem Bokhari’s open letter and presidential reference sent to the Supreme Judicial Council in 2007 by former President Musharraf against CJ. The Supreme Judicial Council never investigated the allegations and just set aside the presidential reference (another case of selective justice). CJ twice took oath under PCO in violation of the 1973 constitution and should be charged with high-treason under article 6

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Aug 27, 2011 - 12:07AM

    @Ahmed: Thanks for pointing it our. Yes I have been paid and plenty rewarded by my God that I do not need to ask any human for anything. I am not looking for anything material from my poor mother Pakistan or Pakistani brothers. I owe all I have to my mother and God. You seem a good person, let me tell you a true incident.
    On my business visit to Delhi I went to Hazrat Nizam’s tomb. The supervisor there came to me and asked for some contribution for children education, lungar/meals, and prayers for my success. I gave a small amount for children education, lungar/meals. He asked me for my success and prayers, I told him I have not come to ask for anything but to thank God that I do not need anything more and am happy and thankful! Born bare hands and would go like that.
    @Fawad chaudhry:
    Very mature and true analysis according to the 1973 constitution. I am sorry and I fail to understand why people of Pakistan want to see another dictator in the form of SC CJ? He has no legal right to make any appointment and is supposed to provide fair and balanced trials when they “finally” come for hearing after the High Courts. However, CJ has made the SC a petty trial court and diminished the value of HC of all provinces. Why are they even called High Court anymore?
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

    Recommend

More in Pakistan