The Supreme Court on Friday asked the federal government for its response to media reports that Shujaat Azeem, the adviser to prime minister on aviation, holds dual nationality and has his interests in the New Benazir Bhutto International Airport project under way near Islamabad.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Fasihudin Khan Vardagh against the appointment of Air Marshal (retd) Khalid Chaudhry as director general Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and irregularities in the ongoing new airport project at Fateh Jang. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, directed Attorney General Muneer A Malik to submit the government’s response to the dual nationality of the PM’s adviser.
As the proceedings started advocate Iftikhar Gilani representing the DG CAA drew the attention of the bench towards a news story regarding Canadian nationality of Shujaat Azeem.
The news item has highlighted the relaxed policy of the government toward dual nationals and Azeem being partner of Ahmed Mukhtar the main infrastructure contractor in the project of construction of new airport.
Azeem, a former pilot of the Lebanese Hariri family, was said to be court martialled by Pakistan Air Force for serving as a pilot in a foreign country without prior permission, the newspaper reported.
Further the bench asked the lawyers representing the contractors and consultants of the airport project to file their response to an inquiry report holding them responsible for the delay and subsequent escalation in the overall cost of the project and submit their passports.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.