News Analysis |
After having sacked couple of Vice Chancellors, putting educational institutes under gag orders, chiding the administration for deplorable state of affairs in hospitals, inspecting the embezzlement in earthquake funds and providing relief to scores of complainants, Mian Saqib Nisar, Chief Justice of Pakistan, has finally taken on the challenge to recover the written-off loans, a role country’s finance minister should have played much earlier.
Hearing a case languishing from 2007, the top judge clarified that those who got their loans written off would have to pay it and if they fail to do so, their assets would be seized and sold off.
Supreme Court’s agenda laid out in January, for the current year, hopes are high that the top judge would be able to execute his plans to recover the money, whose value has plummeted by many times, however, the significance of recovery remains there.
The top judge was informed that as much as Rs. 54 billion was written off due to political affiliation and interestingly, Nawaz Sharif’s close confidante and legal aid, Barrister Zafarullah admitted that besides Benazir Bhutto, Zafarullah Jamali and Muhammad Khan Junejo, Nawaz Sharif also got his loans written off, though he fell short of informing the amount.
During the hearing, the top judge was apprised of Justice Jamshed Ali’s commission report, according to which Rs. 87 billion were written off in 38 years from 1971 to 2009, contrary to the report submitted by State Bank of Pakistan which gauged the amount to the tune of Rs Rs. 256 billion in the said time duration.
Interestingly, the commission had unearthed the flagrant contradiction of multiple renowned figures, who advocated the need for rule of law in the country but failed to pay their own loans.
According to the commission constituted in 2011, action was sought against former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and his wife Fozia Gilani, former president Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir and her husband Mian Tahir Jahangir, Ghulam Dastagir Khan, Arif Habib, Ramesh Kumar, Rana Tanvir Hussain , Sardar Muhammad Jafar Khan Leghari, Umer Leghari, Yousaf Khan Leghari, Waqar Azeem, Sajjad Azeem, Shaukat Azeem and others.
The commission probed 740 different cases but proposed that another 222 cases should also be investigated, a reference to which was also given during the hearing of the case on Thursday.
The commission had unearthed the flagrant contradiction of multiple renowned figures, who advocated the need for rule of law in the country but failed to pay their own loans.
Jamshed Ali commission report was made public and it had requested the apex court to take suitable measures, however, to this day, nothing substantial was done.Mian Saqib Nisar has sought the details of 222 cases within one week.Besides the 7-year-old report, the reply submitted by Ishaq Dar, the former finance minister, in 2016 also exposed few ‘sacred’ names of Pakistani politics.
Responding to the questions put forth by PTI’s Muhammad Azam Swati and Nisar Muhammad of the PML-N, Dar had admitted that the sugar mill owned by Jehangir Tareen, Haroon Akhtar and Akbar Khan Tareen got Rs. 247.587 million loan written off.
Moreover, Dr Fehmida Mirza, country’s first female Speaker of the National Assembly got Rs. 370.200 million loan written off against Mirza Sugar Mills.Indus Steel Pipes, owned by Lt-Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch got Rs. 120 million loan written off. Interestingly, Sardar Wali Mazari and Shereen Mazari were also alleged to have Rs. 304.677 million loans written off.
Inspecting the recent record of Chief Justice’s performance, it appears that the top judge would be successful in recovering money ‘through the nose’ of influential’sand if he becomes successful in exposing the black hats in the political fraternity, it would be a remarkable achievement.
The recovery of loans would not only boost the economy of the country, but would also set a precedent that no one was above the law.The businessman-turned-politician, who keeps on schooling norms of morality and justice, would not only be compelled to pay back the loans but would also be named and shamed.
Mian Saqib Nisar, Chief Justice of Pakistan, has finally taken on the challenge to recover the written-off loans, a role country’s finance minister should have played much earlier.
Though the critics of the top judge can claim that the judicial bigwig is overstepping his domain by overseeing the financial matters, however, the issue visibly comes in the folds of Article 184 (3) which allows the apex court to look into the matters of public interest and enforce the fundamental rights of masses.
Originally, Ishaq Dar, former Finance Minister or his predecessors should have taken up the issue but majorly the finance ministers in Pakistan are roped in on the basis of the gimmicks they can play with their ‘spins’.
Shehbaz Sharif, Chief Minister, Punjab keeps on heaping scorn at his political rivals for having loans written off, forgetting that his elder brother is also involved in the ‘crime’.With Supreme Court’s agenda laid out in January, for the current year, hopes are high that the top judge would be able to execute his plans to recover the money, whose value has plummeted by many times, however, the significance of recovery remains there.