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CJ summons former rulers over ‘lifetime of perks’

April 13, 2013

Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The top judge of Pakistan Saturday took a suo motu notice of the last-minute legislation by the outgoing governments in Sindh and at the centre, in which they declared a lifetime of perks and privileges for certain government dignitaries, DawnNews reported.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also has taken notice of an unprecedented security protocol being provided to ex-prime ministers and issued a notice to the Attorney General of Pakistan in this regard.

In a last-minute hurried legislation, the Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition governments in Sindh and at the centre, through bills and notices, had declared indefinite supply of perks and allowances for the office bearers of key government posts.

Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, federal interior minister Rehman Malik, speaker Sindh assembly Nisar Khoro and chief minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah are also summoned, either in person or through a counsel, to appear before the court on April 16.

A Supreme Court bench, headed by the chief justice, will hear the case. The notice was taken on press reports of different newspapers containing the details that just one day before the end of the current National Assembly's term, PM Ashraf issued an order for an “unprecedented security protocol” for himself and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

“Prima facie, it seems that at the cost of public exchequer and in violation of Articles 3, 9, 14 and 25 of the Constitution, the order issued by former Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf and notification dated Mach 14, issued by Interior Ministry are without any lawful authority,” said the chief justice.

“Likewise two amendments made by the Sindh Provincial Assembly extending privileges to the former chief ministers, speakers, deputy speakers and the ministers at the cost of public exchequer being unconstitutional are unwarranted as no law can be promulgated, which is not in consonance with the Constitution,” he added.

The chief justice directed the attorney general, advocate general Sindh and IGP Sindh, to submit para wise comments and state as to whether at the cost of public exchequer the benefits extended to the former Prime Minister etc, can be provided to them by sparing contingent of police as per their choice and desire.

The chief justice also directed the interior secretary and secretary law to place on record copies of orders/notifications issued by the prime minister as well as the interior secretary, noted above.

The chief justice also directed the chief secretary, home secretary as well as secretary law, government of Sindh to submit reply in this regard on Tuesday.

The auditor general and accountant general of Pakistan were also directed to calculate the approximate financial burden, which the nation has to bear if the privileges conferred by the former prime minister upon himself and others as noted above are allowed to continue. – APP/DawnNews