ISLAMABAD: Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Shehbaz Sharif on Friday summoned record of all cases referred by the apex body to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in the past years, giving the investigative agencies till Tuesday to submit replies in the cases pending probes.
At the outset of the first meeting of PAC, Shehbaz said the committee members will “work as a team, under the ambit of law”.
Briefing the committee members, the PAC additional secretary said that audit reports of the last eight years are pending before the apex audit committee of parliament.
On December 13, the government had reluctantly agreed to let National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif chair the PAC — a longstanding demand by opposition parties in the NA.
The PAC’s first meeting was attended by Raja Pervez Ashraf, Naveed Qamar, Raja Riaz, Fakhar Imam, Nasrullah Dreshak, Noor Alam Khan, Sherry Rehman, Riaz Fatyana, Iqbal Muhammad Ali, Semi Aizdi, Rana Tanveer, Hina Rabbani Khar and Shiraz Mehmood.
PAC National Wing Secretary Iftikhar Raheem Khan gave a detailed briefing about the working of the committee.
He said that from 2010 until now, there were 18,043 audit paras pending to which PPP’s Naveed Qamar asked whether these would be taken up.
In his presentation, the secretary said that during Chaudhry Nisar’s time 440 meetings were held and Rs117 billion were recovered. In Nadeem Afzal Chan’s time, 148 meetings were held and Rs30bn were recovered, additionally, 33 cases were sent to NAB and 30 were sent to FIA.
In Khursheed Shah’s time, an overview of seven to eight audit reports was completed. Moreover, 168 cases were sent to NAB and 56 cases to FIA, meanwhile, the committee recovered Rs355bn.
The PAC also discussed the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club issue and demanded a briefing on all such matters on Monday.
PML-N lawmaker Sheikh Rohail Asghar asked what the standard was for sending cases to NAB, in response to which the committee secretary said 168 cases were sent to NAB by the previous committee.
Shehbaz Sharif summoned complete details of cases sent to NAB and FIA by the previous PAC by Tuesday.
Dreshak said that the committee should not give an impression that it was putting pressure on some institution to which Shehbaz said that no such impression will be given.
“NAB said themselves that they would give a briefing on Tuesday,” the PAC chief said.
The committee members opposed the presence of the FIA deputy director and demanded that only senior ranking officers, grade-20 or above should be sent to represent their respective departments.
The chairman said that on Tuesday, three to four sub-committees of the PAC will be formed and citizens complaints will also come under discussion in the committee.
It is pertinent to mention that Shehbaz was elected to head the committee after a months-long tussle between the government and opposition over allowing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president to head the apex accountability body of parliament since he is accused in the Ashiana housing scheme case.
Earlier, speaking to media outside the Parliament House, the incarcerated PML-N leader shared his grievances at the scenario and claimed that accountability doesn’t by any stretch come to cover what is happening as this is “mere injustice and transgression”.