LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday took notice of appointment of former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and others in board of governors (BoG) of the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI).

The chief justice questioned that under what law the former chief minister, PKLI President Dr Saeed Akhtar and others were appointed as members of the institute’s board.

A three-judge bench, headed by the chief justice, was hearing a suo motu case against irregularities and misappropriation of funds at the PKLI. Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were the other members of the bench.

Justice Bandial says SC doesn’t want to shut PKLI, suggests forming implementation body

Kaukab Jamal Zubairi, the court’s commission, submitted a forensic audit report of the institute and also presented a video, showing garbage and leakage of water in the ceilings of its building. He stated that misappropriation of funds and misuse of power had been found at the institute. He said the project was set to be completed by December 2017 but it was still in progress despite spending of Rs20bn.

He said the originally approved cost of the project was Rs12.70bn while it had risen to over Rs53bn with the passage of time.

During the hearing, the chief justice learnt that no approval had been obtained from the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) for the PKLI project.

The chief justice also questioned legal authority of the former CM to give funds to private companies.

“Misuse of authority is visible in all the affairs. It seems Sultan did what he wished to do,” said the CJ.

He also questioned appointment of a junior officer as chief executive officer (CEO) of the Infrastructure Development Authority of Punjab (IDAP).

“What qualification did you have to hold a high post,” the chief justice asked IDAP CEO Mujahid Sherdil.

The chief justice noted that the officer was receiving Rs70,000 per month as salary being the deputy commissioner and suddenly started receiving Rs850,000 as the CEO of the IDAP. He observed that the brother of Sherdil, also a bureaucrat, was a blue-eyed of the previous government.

“Your father (ZK Sherdil) was also a bureaucrat and enjoyed close relations with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif,” the chief justice told Mujahid Sherdil.

“That’s why you both have been obliged by the previous government,” the chief justice said to the IDAP head.

Justice Bandial observed whether the appointment of a junior officer at a high post was not discrimination against the eligible officers. Such appointments would definitely ruin the service structure of government officers, he added.

Justice Bandial observed that the court did not want to close down the PKLI and suggested to form an implementation committee, comprising all the stakeholders in place of the present administration of the institute.

The bench directed the chairman of the Punjab Planning & Development Board to submit by next hearing a detailed report on alleged financial irregularities committed at the PKLI.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2018

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