Controversial appointment: Rana takes oath as auditor general

President writes letter to CJ clearing allegations against new auditor general.

Faisal Shakeel/express August 27, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Akhtar Buland Rana took oath as the new Auditor General of Pakistan on Saturday after Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry accepted his appointment earlier made by President Asif Ali Zardari.

The appointment was accepted after the president sent a reply to the CJP’s letter clearing the allegations against Rana.

In the letter, the president mentioned that Rana was acquitted in a harassment case, and assured that Rana’s dual nationality will not create any obstacle in his performance of official duties.

The chief justice accepted the reply of the president.

Rana was appointed as the new auditor general by President Zardari on August 23 on Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's advice and the chief justice was approached for administering oath to the new auditor general. However, the chief justice wrote a letter to the president on Friday saying that the president might be unaware of the allegations against Rana at the time of his appointment.

The CJP raised several objections against Rana in his letter citing seven charges against him.

The letter alleged that Rana obtained a Canadian nationality without seeking prior permission from the government and travels abroad on three Pakistani passports and two national identification cards. It included that Rana attempted sexual assault on a subordinate woman during service and also pointed out that he did not qualify for his promotion to grade-22.

The Supreme Court Registrar on Saturday said the chief justice wrote the letter to the president after the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) sent their reports on Rana's credentials.

The Registrar said the CJP had sought report on an anonymous application sent to the HR cell of the Supreme Court. The CJP had also stated in his letter that he will administer oath to Rana if the president insisted upon the appointment.

The Registrar said the CJP also told the president that once appointed, Rana could only be removed by the Supreme Judicial Council under Article 109 as in the case of a judge of superior judiciary.

"The response of the president has been received along with communication from the Prime Minister's Secretariat. Therefore, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, in discharge of administrative function, without prejudice to anyone and subject to all just exceptions, will administer the oath," the Registrar announced before the CJP administered oath to Rana.

Earlier, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali also objected to Rana's appointment. He stated the government was trying to steer clear of its financial irregularities by appointing him.

Talking to the press, Rana said he was willing to face any legal proceedings while referring to the statement linking the oath to "all just exceptions". He said that he had been exonerated of the charge of sexually assaulting a colleague. He added that his dual nationality in no way obstructed his appointment as the auditor general.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani promoted Rana to grade-22 so he could qualify to be the auditor general of Pakistan after the former Auditor General Tanvir Ali Agha resigned amid a controversy.

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