LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday expressed displeasure at hefty amount being paid to foreign consultants engaged for Punjab Saaf Pani Company and huge salaries paid to its officials.

“Who are these consultants and for what purpose they have been hired,” the chief justice asked company CEO retired Capt Muhammad Usman.

Services of foreign consultants had been engaged for the examination of soil water in all 55 tehsils of the province, Mr Usman said in his reply.

“Don’t we have any local talent to perform this simple work?” the chief justice asked and observed that students of chemistry could do such analysis [of the water].

A two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan was hearing a suo motu case regarding provision of clean drinking water.

When asked by the court, Mr Usman said Rs300 million had been spent on the services of foreign consultants so far. He said an estimated amount of Rs150 billion had been allocated for the whole project while 116 plants of clean water installed at a cost of Rs4bn.

Saaf Pani CEO told to furnish record of staff salaries

To another query, the CEO said he was drawing Rs1.45m as salary inclusive of all other allowances.

The CJP expressed serious concern over the high salary packages of the company’s officials and the money being paid to the foreign consultants for water projects.

The chief justice directed the CEO to furnish today (Sunday) complete record including the salaries, perks and privileges of entire staff and the vehicles provided to them to perform their official duties.

Journalist’s killers: A Supreme Court two-judge bench on Saturday ordered the inspector general of Punjab police to ensure within four days arrest of the culprits involved in the murder of a journalist of Sambrial.

Earlier, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar came hard on IGP Arif Nawaz for failing to arrest the murder suspects. He observed that the police appeared to be under pressure from some quarters. To a court’s query, the IGP confirmed that the suspects belonged to the ruling PML-N.

The CJ said he could not express his feelings he had after listening to recording of a last telephone call made by the deceased journalist to the district council chairman regarding the threat to his life.

The IGP told the court that names of the suspects had been placed on the exit control list (ECL) and they would be arrested soon.

The chief justice ordered the IGP to ensure arrest of the suspects within four days and submit a compliance report next Saturday.

Zeeshan Butt of Daily Nawa-i-Waqt was allegedly shot dead by Begowala union council chairman Imran Aslam Cheema. The other suspects included Shahid Abbas, Saqlain and Shahid.

PUBLIC PARK: Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Director General Zahid Akhtar Zaman told the Supreme Court a park earlier utilised to build a two-way road outside the Gulberg residence of former finance minister Ishaq Dar had been restored to its previous condition.

He said Rs355,000 had been incurred on the restoration work of the park.

The chief justice directed the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) to ensure beatification of the park and facilities for children.

He pointed out the court had received an application from Mr Dar along with a cheque for Rs475,000 as compensation for the restoration of the park. However, he said the minister had not taken responsibility for the construction of the road. The CJ handed over the cheque to the LDA DG and disposed of the matter.

MINOR’S MURDER: The Supreme Court ordered exhumation of the body of a seven-year-old girl who was found murdered in Jaranwala.

The victim was abducted while she was playing near her house on April 1. Later, her body was recovered from the nearby fields.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice of the incident and sought a report from the IGP.

The counsel for the deceased’s family told the court that the autopsy report was flawed and a fresh postmortem of the body was required.

The CJP directed the IGP to submit a report after arranging exhumation of the body and fresh autopsy.

PUBLIC COMPANIES: Chief Justice Saqib Nisar turned down a request of Punjab Advocate General Shakilur Rehman for a long adjournment to submit a comprehensive presentation on the establishment of 56 public companies in the province.

“This is an important issue. Who will be answerable if the sitting government changes after the upcoming general election?” the chief justice asked the principal law officer and directed him to furnish the report before April 14.

HOSPITAL WASTE: The Supreme Court disposed of a suo motu case regarding disposal of sewage without treatment in the light of a report filed by the court’s appointed local commission.

The commission, Advocate Ayesha Hamid, told the court the PC-I had been issued for three water treatment plants at Mahmood Booti, Shahdara and Shadbagh. However, the court kept pending the matter about hospital waste and installation of incinerators asking the commission and the government to file periodical reports about the progress.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2018

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