PAC orders audit of Kartarpur Corridor

Asks auditor general to report whether PPRA rules were followed during project construction


Shabbir Hussain January 02, 2020
PHOTO: FOREIGN OFFICE

ISLAMABAD: The parliament’s accountability arm has raised questions about transparency in the construction of Kartarpur Corridor and asked the Auditor General of Pakistan to conduct an audit of the project that was completed in last November.

Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the historic Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, 2019.

The three-kilometer-long corridor allows visa-free access to Indian pilgrims, allowing them to travel to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in district Narowal where Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, spent the final years of his life.

The corridor was completed on urgent basis in about one year and despite rising tensions between India and Pakistan over the longstanding dispute of Kashmir.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday took notice of alleged irregularities in construction of the corridor and asked the Auditor General to submit a report within a month about implementation of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules while undertaking the project.

During the PAC meeting, chaired by MNA Rana Tanveer Hussain, the auditor general informed the committee that the cabinet had asked him to conduct an audit of the corridor project and that his office has sought record in this regard from the Defence Ministry.

MNA Ayaz Sadiq, a member of the committee, said that a financial audit should be conducted as well as an audit with regard to implementation of the PPRA rules.

Sadiq, who belongs to the PML-N, also asked if the country’s top accountability body, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), had ever been audited.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, also a PML-N member, asked if defense procurement was ever audited. “We conduct audits whenever there is an irregularity. NAB and the FIA have been audited,” the auditor general said.

The committee asked him to provide data of penalties imposed on the officers and employees who were found to have committed financial and administrative irregularities in the ministries. The PAC also asked NAB and the FIA to provide details of steps they took on the cases referred to them by the committee.

NAB and the FIA give priority to political cases. They are not interested in other cases. If this continues, the panel will also summon NAB chairman and FIA officials, the chairman noted.

The committee decided to write a letter to the Principal Accounting Officers of all the ministries to give priority to the committee meeting or be ready to face action.

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