In a letter sent on Friday to President Asif Ali Zardari, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary cited seven charges that have been levelled against recently appointed Auditor General of Pakistan Akhtar Buland Rana during his career.
A copy of the letter was also forwarded to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. After President Zardari appointed Rana on the prime minister’s advice on August 23, the chief justice was approached for administering oath to the new auditor general. The chief justice wrote in the letter that the president might be unaware of the allegations against Rana at the time of his appointment.
According to the letter, the charges include obtaining Canadian nationality without seeking prior permission from the government, travelling abroad on three Pakistani passports and two national identification cards and the sexual assault of a subordinate woman during service. And most significantly, the letter says, he never qualified for his promotion to grade 22. Rana also falsely accused former auditor general Tanveer Agha before the supreme judicial council.
The auditor general holds a constitutional office and proceedings can only be initiated against him under Article 209 of the Constitution once he is appointed auditor general. Article 209 deals with disciplinary action and describes the role of the supreme judicial council. The chief justice presides over the council which consists of the next two senior most judges of the Supreme Court and two senior most chief justices of high courts. The council is primarily constituted to hear charges of misconduct against judges of the superior courts but the president can refer cases against top bureaucrats holding constitutional office.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2011.