LAHORE .: The national exchequer can no longer be willfully plundered and no one can simply embezzle money and just leave, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar remarked on Friday.
He was hearing a suo motu notice about the appointment of Afzal Bhatti, the head of the Overseas Pakistanis Commission at the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry.
The CJP ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file a reference against Bhatti after hearing his testimony.
DG NAB Lahore Saleem Shehzad told the court that Bhatti was a British and not a Pakistani citizen.
The CJP then called up Bhatti to take the rostrum.
Terming him a blue-eyed boy, the CJP asked him about his salary. The CJP asked him if he was aware about the dam which would be built and said that all salaries above a limit would go to fund the dam construction.
The DG NAB contended that Bhatti did not have sufficient experience for the said post.
According to him, the selection committee had forwarded three names to the then CM Punjab Shehbaz Sharif who approved Bhatti’s appointment as the head of Overseas Pakistanis Commission.
The DG NAB informed the court that Bhatti was being paid a salary amounting to Rs500,000.
In response, the CJP ordered Bhatti to return all “the extra amount” he had been paid.
The CJP also directed the NAB to file a reference against Bhatti.
Police torture case
Withdrawing his suo muto notice, the CJP ordered the IG Punjab to investigate the matter of the torture of police officials by a newly-elected PTI MPA and his colleagues.
A full bench headed by the CJP commenced the proceedings of a suo muto notice in this regard.
Policemen were severely beaten up and injured by PTI MPA and others when some of his supporters were arrested by local police on charges of firing in the air in the jurisdiction of the Hanjarwal police station.
A law officer told the court that most of the accused had been arrested and sent on physical remand.
MPA-elect Nadeem Abbas Bara’s counsel contended that the firing incident had not happened anywhere near the MPA’s Dera but police had wrongly arrested Bara and his supporters.
He contended that the SP concerned had a grudge against Bara and that was why he had nominated him in a fictitious case.
The CJP remarked that fact would emerge after the IG’s investigation concluded.
Contracts given in five years
The CJP sought details of all contracts awarded over the past five years in Punjab and wondered why was it that all contracts had been awarded to five or six companies in the province.
He ordered the authorities concerned to form a commission to examine transparency in the award of contracts.
The bench, headed by the CJP, took up the matter of award of contracts of major projects in Punjab.
Some of the contractors appeared on the court’s orders.
They insisted that they had obtained all contracts after the conclusion of proper tendering procedure.
The CJP remarked that he would refer the cases to departments concerned if any irregularity was found in the award of contracts.