News Analysis |
Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Mr. Shehbaz Sharif reportedly 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. The agencies have been given the time till Tuesday. Our sources have confirmed that the chairman of PAC has urged his members to work as a team under the ambit of law.
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.
The government initially claimed that it will never allow the opposition to head anything like PAC since many of opposition leaders were facing corruption case.
The committee members were briefed by the PAC additional secretary who said that audit reports of the last eight years are pending before the apex audit committee of parliament. PAC National Wing Secretary Iftikhar Raheem Khan gave a detailed briefing about the working of the committee.
It was mentioned that from 2010 until now, there were 18,043 audit paras pending. 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. Interestingly, the committee members reportedly 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 important to mention here that there was a tussle between the opposition and the government over the nomination of chairman PAC.
Shahbaz Sharif who is accused of misuse of authority has been made the chairman of a most important committee. Critics point out that it will hurt the anti-corruption narrative of the PTI.
The government initially claimed that it will never allow the opposition to head anything like PAC since many of opposition leaders were facing corruption cases. Mr. Sharif who is also the leader of opposition in the national assembly is facing an inquiry by the NAB in Ashiana housing scheme case. He was arrested by the NAB officials and later on was produced in the NA after his production orders were issued by the speaker.
Dr. Moeed Pirzada, a prominent analyst, argued that the government’s decision to let Mr. Sharif become chairman of the PAC is an indication of weakness. Dr. Pirzada believed that the government should have maintained its earlier stance and let everyone know that it has the capacity to face pressure. But as a matter of fact, PTI could not sustain political pressure and allowed Mr. Sharif to become an unopposed chairman of PAC.
Analysts believe that it will be interesting to see that how does a chairman facing corruption charges chair the PAC and what will be its outcomes? Since Shahbaz Sharif who is accused of misuse of authority has been made the chairman of a most important committee. Critics point out that it will hurt the anti-corruption narrative of the PTI.