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NAB’s ‘unsatisfactory’ performance irks PAC

By Our Correspondent
May 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), expressing its annoyance over the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and terming its performance “unsatisfactory”, has summoned NAB Chairman Lt General (retd) Nazir Ahmed next week along with the team to brief the committee.

The PAC also took a strong notice of the absence of NAB chairman from the meeting and summoned him again next week and directed him to ensure his presence in the next meeting.

The PAC held its meeting under Chairman Noor Alam Khan in which it sought a briefing on the status of cases referred by the committee to NAB and their compliance status.

NAB Deputy Chairman Zahir Shah represented the NAB in place of chairman.

Noor Alam Khan inquired about the absence of NAB chairman. Deputy Chairman NAB Zahir Shah told the committee that NAB chairman was on visit of Karachi and Sukkur regional offices of the bureau.

Expressing annoyance over his absence, the PAC chairman refused to take the briefing from the NAB deputy chairman, saying he was not satisfied with the performance of NAB, so the chairman should come in next meeting to brief the committee.

While expressing his strong annoyance over the performance of NAB, Noor Alam Khan termed NAB’s performance unsatisfactory, saying that its officers were getting hefty and huge salaries but its performance was unsatisfactory.

He said the PAC had recovered almost Rs100 billion (Rs99.7 billion), which was more than recoveries claimed by the NAB. The PAC asked NAB for details of all the cases filed so far and expenses incurred and number of cases NAB made and cases disposed of at initial level.

The PAC asked from the NAB how many NAB cases ended in the trial court and how much was spent on these cases. Noor Alam said all these records should be provided to PAC.

PAC member Sheikh Rohail Asghar remarked that if details come out, everyone would assess NAB’s performance. He said NAB created cases only to create name and fear among people.

The PAC chairman said instead of catching corrupt people, NAB has become their facilitator. “NAB should provide details of each case,” he said.

During the meeting, the list of 13 cases sent by the PAC to NAB was also presented. No progress was made on these cases still pending at different stages.

While taking notice of the issue of salaries of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff of PIMS and Polyclinic Hospital, Islamabad, PAC Chairman Noor Alam Khan sought an explanation from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance and directed to issue salaries and pensions to doctors and nurses equivalent to Grade 19. Noor Alam Khan said that doctors and nurses should not be oppressed.

Secretary health said that these officers were being promoted on the basis of placement for many years and the finance ministry had declared the promotion policy against the rules. After that Grade 17 was allotted to doctors, nurses and paramedical staff.

Noor Alam Khan remarked that there will be no compromise on hospitals, education and defence.

The PAC chairman remarked that the province of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has gone bankrupt for the first time in history as teachers were not getting salaries and the treasury was empty. “Did the chief secretary also not get salary?” he questioned. He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government took loans of Rs970 billion and financial conditions in KP were not good.

Noor Alam Khan asked from the finance secretary about the financial problems of KP and asked why KP went bankrupt.

The finance secretary replied that this could be answered by the provincial finance minister and finance secretary as they were providing all funds under the NFC. “The answer as to why the financial situation in the province is bad, the PAC chairman knows better,” he said.

In the meanwhile, the PAC expressed its annoyance at not providing list of employees with dual citizenship in ministries, departments and divisions.

Noor Alam Khan said many institutions, including the Ministry of Commerce, Wapda, Water Resources and Petroleum Division, did not provide records of employees with dual citizenship. “I will give 15 days time to provide full records related to dual citizenship, or I will order to stop the salaries of board members,” he warned.

Member PAC Dr Malik Mukhtar said the Establishment Division should have a record of all these.

The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) told the committee that his department was not provided the details by the ministries, so the PAC should seek these details directly from ministries.