LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has issued a notice to the Punjab government regarding the submission of district government audit reports to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh directed Punjab chief minister and the governor among others to produce audit reports from 2013 onwards on a petition submitted by Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Mehmoodur Rasheed.
Abid issued directions to Punjab finance secretary, principal secretary, chief minister and the governor to produce the reports and make the PAC functional.
Appearing on behalf of the petitioner, Advocate Sheraz Zaka argued that the PAC had been dysfunctional since 2013 and the audit reports of the district government were not
being produced before the Punjab Assembly or before the PAC.
He further argued that the reluctance of the Punjab government to produce the audit reports were due to massive irregularities of Rs200 billion.
“It is taxpayer’s money and should be recovered through the PAC,” he said.
He contended that the auditor general of Pakistan under article 171 of the Constitution had submitted the audit reports of the district government before the governor, however, reports of the district government were not being provided to the PAC
“Instead, the audit reports of the district government accounts are in possession of the chief minister,” Zaka said.
He submitted that by making the PAC functional, the principles of good governance, transparency, accountability and democratic norms would be implemented.
The auditor general of Pakistan submitted his para-wise comments where he also stated that the audit reports should be produced as it will promote accountability of public functionaries.
An assistant advocate general also gave his undertaking to produce these audit reports before the PAC.
On Thursday, the judge allowed the petition and directed the respondents to produce the audit reports from 2013 onwards.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2016.