The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the parliament on Tuesday summoned former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar to provide explanations regarding the Diamer-Bhasha Dam Fund that was established during his time in the top judicial position.
Nisar, the then CJP, had taken the initiative of collecting donations for the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams by launching the fund in July 2018 that was later joined by then prime minister Imran Khan, making it a joint venture to overcome the country’s water scarcity.
Today's PAC session, presided over by PAC Chairman Noor Alam Khan, also summoned the Supreme Court registrar to provide details of the fund.
At one point, the committee chairman referred to Nisar as a "controversial" figure.
PAC member and PML-N MNA Barjees Tahir claimed that Rs14bn was spent on ads against an overall collection of Rs9bn as he called for an explanation on why the funds were not used on the construction of dams.
"We are not threatening the judges," he said.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said there should be an inquiry conducted regarding the funds.
Imran's KP helicopter case
The issue of PTI Chairman Imran Khan's alleged misuse of the provincial government's helicopters during his party's past tenure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also came under discussion in the PAC session.
Imran is already facing a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) case on the same charges levelled in 2018 and had appeared before NAB at its KP office.
"Imran Khan misused powers from 2013 to 2018 and used the KP government's helicopter for [a total of] 156 hours. Over Rs70 million was spent on the helicopter's use," the NAB Chairman Aftab Sultan informed the PAC, adding that the watchdog was taking steps for the amount's recovery.
The PAC chairman said the recovery should not be from the KP government but from those using the helicopter. He told Sultan to approach the Election Commission of Pakistan regarding the matter.
Sultan informed the PAC that 1,800 people had used the helicopter and permission for its use was given in 2012. He added that the provincial government needed to recover around over Rs300m in total.
The PAC ordered NAB to recover the amount from Imran and 1,800 other individuals.
The body also ordered that an arrest warrant be issued for Imran's principal secretary Azam Khan for not attending today's session and instructed the interior minister and director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to include his name in the Exit Control List.
In other matters, the PAC summoned a timeline of the Peshawar BRT case inquiry, directed the FIA to complete the Broadsheet inquiry within a month and ordered NAB to complete the inquiry into the Billion Tree Tsunami Project within six months while submitting a report every month.
The PAC chairman also enquired about the details asked regarding the assets of NAB officers.
"If something is asked from NAB, its people go to court. Your organisation commits constitutional violations," Noor Alam told Sultan.
The NAB chairman responded that the files regarding disclosure of assets owned by NAB officers were locked in the Establishment Division, adding that the "files are opened when an inquiry is to be made."
PAC member Sheikh Rohail Asghar said that details of politicians' assets have been made public documents so there should be no problem in making public the details of assets submitted to the Establishment Division.
The PAC chairman reiterated his question that why details of the assets were not provided, to which Sultan responded he had the same answer.
Noor Alam said no one was above the Constitution while Syed asked what was the issue in providing the requested details.
The NAB chairman called for equal treatment as other civil servants, to which the PAC chairman said that NAB was a civil institution and not a "sensitive" one. "We all submit [details of] assets so there is no issue in this," he added.
Sultan said that he had no problem in providing the details if the Establishment Division rules were changed, adding, however, that NAB alone should not be discriminated against.
The Chairman PAC said that he wanted asset details of the last four years. At this, Sultan assured him of submitting asset details for the last three years that are mentioned when filing income tax returns.