KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) expressed dissatisfaction on Saturday over the non-submission of an inquiry report regarding corruption in the Sindh Coal Authority. It has now demanded all of the authority’s records to investigate embezzlement.
A two-judge SC bench comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Maqbool Baqar asked the Sindh government to submit a progress report accompanied by pictures of the project and the development work, if any. In his remarks, Justice Ahmed questioned in whose account the funds were being transferred to. He asked if they knew what Sindh’s reputation was across the country or whether he must tell them what he hears about the province in Islamabad.
Justice Ahmed said children were dying of starvation in Thar and asked how cold blooded the government was to embezzle every single penny. He questioned whether or not they loved their province, as corruption was rampant in Sindh.
The judge observed that there was nothing to eat in Sindh and there was also a serious dearth of education. The judge grilled Additional Advocate-General Sarwar Khan, asking him where the Rs10 to Rs15 billion had gone and to whose account it had been transferred. The court also observed that had this amount been spent on the people of Sindh, their fortunes would have changed.
Justice Ahmed said at least 50% of the funds are spent on people in other provinces, but not in Sindh. “Should we send this case to the National Accountability Bureau?” asked the judge, adding that the government was tearing Thar apart to dig out coal, plunging the district into poverty.
The Sindh government has turned a blind eye to everything, he lamented. The judge demanded that the government explain where the money has disappeared to within a month. “Tell us how many projects have been initiated and completed and how many funds have been generated,” he directed. The court also directed the Sindh government to inform it of the status of each project that is currently under way.
The apex court directed all medical colleges in the province to submit reports regarding their admission policies.
While expressing anger at the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) representatives, Justice Ahmed said that they have been handing out admissions in exchange for monetary benefits.
Health Secretary Fazlullah Pechuho presented two medical reports and informed the court that he had inspected the Sir Syed and Jinnah medical colleges. The court inquired why he did not include Ziauddin University or and Aga Khan University in his inspections. Justice Ahmed questioned what the PMDC was doing.
The judge further questioned the health secretary, asking what he will do with so much money. He said the kind of colleges you are establishing will produce the same quality of doctors. Justice Ahmed said the government is playing with human lives and this is considered a crime throughout the world.
He then asked the PMDC head whether he had any idea how many lives he can be held responsible for if this situation continues.
The hearing has been adjourned for 15 days.
The same bench also took up a case regarding parking oil tankers in Shirin Jinnah Colony and directed oil tanker owners to shift to the new terminal in Zulfiqarabad in 15 days.
The two-judge bench expressed its dissatisfaction that oil tankers were being allowed to enter the city. The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) lawyer informed the court that the oil tanker owners are not ready to go to the new terminal in Zulfiqarabad. They have threatened to go on strike, explained the lawyer.
Justice Ahmed observed that the tankers should be thrown out of the city with the help of the police. “Does the government lack will?” he questioned. The bench ordered that all oil tankers should be moved to Zulfiqarabad within 15 days with the help of the police and Rangers.
“If these people don’t leave, then we have the option of China. [We] will tell the federal government to talk to the Chinese government regarding oil tankers,” he warned.
The KMC lawyer said that while the terminal at Zulfiqarabad had been constructed but the tanker owners are not ready to move.
The judge remarked that if they do not want to work, then oil companies should stop supplying oil to the tanker owners. “We will not let a single oil tanker enter the city,” said Justice Ahmed.
The tanker association head informed the court that they agree to shift the new terminal.