LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar remarked on Sunday that as long as the present judiciary is here, nepotism and corruption will not be permitted in the country.
He made the remarks while hearing cases related to public welfare issues, including the Saaf Pani Company and recruitment at 56 public organisation cases, at the Lahore Registry today.
Punjab Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed arrived at the apex court earlier to appear before the two-member bench, which includes Justice Ijazul Ahsan.
Hearing the Punjab Saaf Pani Company case, the chief justice observed that everyone will be held accountable and every penny of the people will be returned to the national kitty.
Referring to the hiring of individuals from the private sector as well as foreign experts in the public organisation, Chief Justice Nisar remarked that those who made these hirings will have to return the money from their own pocket.
The court ruled that all the companies’ officers will get the same salaries as government officials at the same scale.
“Citizens did not get a drop of water despite spending of Rs4 billion on the project,” the chief secretary admitted before the court, adding that instead of improving, the performance of the company came down.
The apex court also questioned the inclusion of provincial minister Zaeem Qadri’s brother and wife in the company’s board of directors.
“So much was spent on public advertisements but nothing was done on the ground,” Chief Justice Nisar remarked further.
Appearing before the court, the company’s former CEO, Waseem Ajmal, said that the Punjab chief minister directed the replacement of local experts with foreigners, adding that the provincial chief executive was not even legally permitted to give directions to the company.
The court has summoned the National Accountability Bureau’s prosecutor general on April 14 to look into the case.
Saaf Pani Company case
Presiding over the plethora of public welfare cases which the apex court has taken suo motu notice of on Saturday, Chief Justice Nisar had given a day to the Punjab Saaf Pani Company chief executive officer (CEO) and the provincial government to submit the complete record, including salaries, perks and privileges of the entire staff and vehicles provided to them to perform their duties.
The chief justice had expressed serious concern over the exorbitant salary and benefits packages of the company’s officials and the money being paid to foreign consultants for water projects.
“Who are these consultants?” the chief justice asked CEO Muhammad Usman, adding that, “Have we no local talent that we have hired foreign consultants for the provision of water?”
Advocate General Punjab Shakilur Rehman Khan had pleaded the bench for time for preparing detailed and comprehensive reports on the company and its performance.
During the proceedings, the chief justice also asked the CEO about his salary, who said he was getting Rs1.4 million per month including all perks and privileges.
The chief justice also questioned the non-utilisation of government officers for the post and wondered why taxpayers’ money is being wasted.
Public sector companies
While taking up the matter of 56 public sector companies, the chief justice directed the Punjab government to submit a detailed report about the establishment of these companies today.
“How many officers were appointed with these companies and what are their salaries?” the chief justice asked the chief secretary.