ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (Pac) on Thursday declared that the Supreme Court must be accountable to the parliamentary committee like all other government ministries and departments.
Pac Chairman Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said he will ask the apex judicial body to send its registrar to the committee’s meetings to defend the objections raised in audit reports. Presiding over the Pac meeting here, Nisar added that he had already written a letter to the court in this regard and is waiting for a response. The chairman said he will write another letter to make sure the court’s registrar participates in committee meetings held to review the judicial body’s audit objections. The committee’s decision comes a day after the Supreme Court overturned the promotions of more than 50 bureaucrats ordered by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani last September.
It also comes amid a national debate on whether the judiciary has the right to review a decision taken by the parliament, an issue which came forward in light of the legal challenges filed against the 18th constitutional amendment bill. Members from the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) pushed the committee to issue orders for the accountability of the Supreme Court. Member National Assembly Nadeem Afzal Chan was the first PPP lawmaker to draw the committee’s attention towards the court’s refusal of being accountable to parliamentary supervision.
Officials informed the panel that the Supreme Court had some time back refused to send its registrar to the committee’s meeting. Earlier, briefing the committee, Auditor-General of Pakistan Tanveer Ali Agha said that an audit of the Supreme Court’s funds is being undertaken adding that the registrar however does not want to appear before the Pac. On this Nisar said that the court will be contacted through the attorney general. The committee also raised an objection at the secret release of money for intelligence agencies, saying that such funds had been used for the making and breaking of political parties in the past.
Also, Secretary Cabinet Division Rauf Chaudhry told the committee that his division has a total of nine helicopters out of which five have been recently purchased. The Pac chairman deplored that the government had bought these helicopters at a time when the poor were not even able to have a daily meal, directing the cabinet division to use the helicopters on commercial basis.