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September 16, 2018

CJP, Saad exchange harsh words

Top Story

September 16, 2018

LAHORE: Hearing of a case pertaining to alleged Rs60 billion corruption in the Pakistan Railways, a two-member bench of the Supreme Court on Saturday granted one-month time to former federal minister Khawaja Saad Rafique to furnish a reply to a 1,000-page audit report.

As the hearing resumed, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, who was heading the bench at the Supreme Court’s Lahore’s registry, asked Rafique if he had gone through the audit report.

Former railways minister, who had turned up to court to attend the hearing, informed the court that he could not respond to the court on a 1,000-page report. “I am not an accountant, I cannot respond to the report,” he said.

“Please tell me where the report mentions me or says I was involved in corruption,” the former minister said, lamenting that justice was not being served to him.

In response, the chief justice advised Saad to “leave your arrogance at home”. “Correct your behaviour. What is it that you are so angry about?” the top judge remarked. “You had made up your mind at home that you will disrespect the court,” he said and added, “Answer the question being asked to you.”

In response, Saad said that he could not imagine disrespecting the court. He also stated that he had made his best efforts to improve the railway department. The chief justice then advised him to hire a lawyer and consultant.

Citing his engagements pertaining to the upcoming election, Saad requested for a month’s time to submit his response.

He responded that he was among those who had helped the department become stable, adding that he had taken steps to make the ministry self-sustainable.

He then reminded the court that the code of conduct for judges does not allow them to insult anyone and said, “I am not here to be insulted.”

To this, justice Nisar assured that he will not be insulted and directed him to answer the questions that he would have been asked by the apex court.

To this, Saad said that he had come to the court to be appreciated but all he had received was criticism.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan then observed, “Submit your response and we will see if you deserve to be praised.”

The court, however, accepted Saad request and adjourned the hearing for a month.

On April 7, the top judge had taken a suo motu notice of alleged Rs 60 billion corruption in the Pakistan Railways and summoned the railways minister, secretary and board members along with the audit report. A week later, the apex court had ordered the complete audit of Pakistan Railways.

During the hearing on April 28, the Supreme Court sought a report on the losses incurred by Pakistan Railways. The report found that losses of Pakistan Railways stand at Rs.40 billion.

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