SC summons CS over Punjab govt companies

Published: January 17, 2020
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The Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

The Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The top court has summoned Punjab chief secretary to tell it about the present status of 70 companies operating under various departments of the Punjab government.

A Supreme Court bench – headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJ) Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah – issued this order while hearing a suo motu case, initiated by former CJ Mian Saqib Nisar in view of alleged corruption in these companies.

Taking up the case on Friday, the bench questioned as to whether the provincial government could delegate its constitutional duty to private companies. It also asked as to whether these companies are still operational and if it is so then what work they are performing.

Later, the court issued a written order in which it summoned Punjab chief secretary and Punjab advocate general to inform it about status of these companies.

The order asked them to apprise it of the numbers of employees employed by these companies; allocation of funds to them; what precisely is being done with that funds and whether operation of the 70 companies is providing any benefit to the people of Punjab.

“No report has been submitted by the NAB [National Accountability Bureau] about the functioning of the 70 companies incorporated by the government of Punjab…

“Such aspect has been deliberated in so many orders of this court but still no comprehensive report regarding the operation of these companies has been made available except for saying that 42 officers/ employees in these companies are those, who were government servants and are getting salary/ benefits of more than Rs300, 000 per month,” said the written order.

The court also directed NAB prosecutor general to appear in person along with a comprehensive report on the companies. The order also asked NAB PG to point out all illegalities and suggest appropriate action in this regard. The court is expected to resume hearing of the case next month.

Former CJ Nisar had taken notice of hiring private individuals at the companies on hefty packages.

Talking notice of alleged corruption in 56 such companies, Justice Nisar had remarked that these companies were constituted to give perks and privileges to the people near and dear to the rulers.

“Billions of rupees were spent on these companies but there is not a single drop of water available for people. We won’t allow any person to misuse the tax money,” he had noted.

Even Punjab former Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif was summoned to justify working of these companies but he had not been able to satisfy the court.

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