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Web Desk
July 21, 2020

CJP rejects NDMA's report on COVID-19 response


Web Desk
Tue, Jul 21, 2020
The top court asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of the management authority. — SC

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed expressed anger over the lack of preparedness by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in its response to the apex court in a suo motu case regarding Pakistan's response to COVID-19.

The top court asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of the management authority.

A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard the matter today, in which a representative of the NDMA appeared before the court.

At the beginning of the hearing, the CJP inquired about the machinery that was imported from China in the name of Al-Hafeez.

"Where are his documents? Documents are being sought since the last three hearings. What is Al-Hafeez? Who is he? Who is the owner? Nothing has turned up. Why have the documents not been given despite orders from the court?" the chief justice asked.

Meanwhile, Justice Ejazul Haq asked: "Who paid for the machinery imported from China? Where are the details of chartering the plane and its payments?”

At this, the Director Admin NDMA replied that the LC company had bought and paid the customs duty, the machinery of the company was not imported by the NDMA.

Responding to the representative of the NDMA, the Chief Justice remarked that the owner of the company has not come forward yet. "The real problem is non-compliance with customs and other laws. He did not take the court orders seriously."

Why shouldn't we take action against the NDMA for the contempt of court, the CJP lambasted, adding that the court is not sitting here for clarification.

"We ask the prime minister to remove the chairman NDMA because the court orders were ridiculed. How only one company was given such an exemption. We would not let anyone eat a single penny," he added.

Justice Gulzar remarked that the concerned authorities have jested with the court and the NDMA does not know how to deal with the court. "Rs10.725 million was paid to an unauthorised person, customs duty was also paid in cash. The company that sent the goods from China would also have been paid in cash because its name is written in it."

"Someone is definitely messing up the things, it is being hidden from the Supreme Court, the NDMA imported the vaccine with DRAP's permission, but has not revealed that who imported the vaccine in the first place," the CJP raised questions.

The court asked the attorney general about the vaccine import documents.

Justice Ejazul Haq remarked that the NDMA tried to get rid of the investigation by attaching only four papers to answer the questions raised by the court.

NDMA report rejected

The court also rejected the NDMA report while the chief justice said that it was not clear how the NDMA was spending billions of rupees, the NDMA member admin himself did not know anything.

He went on to add that the authority has been ordering ships and machinery for the locust attacks, documents will have to be provided to show transparency.

"How can anyone give so much cash in Karachi, it seems someone has been very clever and cunning with us. Where are the documents of vaccine and medicine import?", the court asked.

Justice Ijaz remarked that coronavirus, floods, locust attacks, and everything else has been handed over to NDMA and the authority was given free hand and huge funds to fight coronavirus. Therefore, NDMA is accountable to the court and the people.

Addressing the attorney general in this regard, the CJP asked: "What kind of spectacle is going on? It seems that the NDMA will have to be abolished.”

“Should we recommend the Prime Minister to abolish the NDMA and give contempt notice to its chairman as we have sent three notices to the authority but it has failed to explain?”

On this, the attorney general said that the concerned authorities have to satisfy the court.

The AGP requested to withdraw the reply submitted by the NDMA and said that a comprehensive reply including the document would be submitted.

The court also sought all the details of the company from the SECP and directed the NDMA to submit a comprehensive reply along with all the details.