ISLAMABAD: All members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), irrespective of party affiliation, were unanimous in calling for strict action against bureaucrats on Wednesday. They complained that officials were giving incorrect statements.
The committee members called upon the soft-spoken chairman of the PAC, Rana Tanveer Hussain of the PML-N, to restrict proceedings as long as senior officials were not present.
Khwaja Asif and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf pointed out that several ministries were not even holding the Departmental Audit Committee (DAC) meetings and suggested that the PAC needed to thrash out a policy over this matter.
“Bureaucrats are quite clever. They are just wasting our time as they hope that after a year or two there will be elections, another year will be gone in that process and as a result no audit objection will be probed,” Khwaja Asif said.
Even PTI members, including Seemee Ezdi, complained that most senior officials ignored orders to attend PAC hearings and instead depute their subordinates to brief the committee. “This is a disgrace for the committee.”
The members unanimously decided to hold meetings in camera to find a way to ensure that senior officers appeared in hearings.
The PAC chairman observed: “We need to clear the backlog and update audit paras because the federal secretary who was in office when the irregularities were reported has retired by now.”
While the members were expressing concern over the bureaucracy’s attitude, a hearing about the Islamabad Capital Territory administration was suspended and the deputy registrar of cooperatives told to leave the meeting because the registrar ignored a call to attend the hearing.
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020