Wednesday June 12, 2024

Dams fund takes a plunge after CJP’s retirement

By Waseem Abbasi
January 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD: On the first day after the retirement of former chief justice Saqib Nisar, the dams fund set up by him witnessed a steep decline, the official website of the Supreme Court showed on Friday.

According to the website, only Rs14.43 million were donated in the Supreme Court of Pakistan & Prime Minister of Pakistan’s Diamir-Bhasha and Mohmand Dam Fund Account on January 18. The fund, which stood at Rs9.28 billion till the filing of this story on Friday, had been receiving Rs47.6 million daily on average since its establishment on July 6, 2018 by the-then chief justice Saqib Nisar.

The Friday’s figure shows a 70 percent decrease from the average donation collected for dams. Interestingly, on Thursday, when the former chief justice was in his office, the collection for the dams fund remained 79.52 million, which is almost five times higher than the amount collected a day after his retirement.

The legal and economic experts had in past warned about the sustainability of the fund after the retirement of the chief justice. Interestingly, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), which used to update the status of fund on daily basis, has gone dormant since January 15, two days before the retirement of the former chief justice.

According to the State Bank website, the top ten institutional donors included employees of the Punjab government with Rs1,091,455,518, the Pakistan Army Rs582,071,939, Strategic Planning Division Rs201,093,824, Pakistan Air Force Rs100,280,791, Sajid Ali, Naval Accounts Controller Rs63,826,604, Frontier Constabulary Rs40,000,000, Bahria Town Rs110,127,185, Karachi Port Trust and Habib Bank Limited Islamic Charity Rs100,000,000 each, Qarshi Industries, Engro Corporation, US Apparel & Textile Mill and Bestway Cement Rs50,000,000 each, and employees of the SBP and its subsidiaries Rs44,279,498.

The top ten individual donors are: Muhammad Ali Tabba with Rs100,000,000, Murtaza Hashwani, CEO, Hasho Group Rs60,000,000, Sardar Tanvir Ilyas Rs29,500,000, and Riaz Hussain and Yasmeen Riaz, Muslim Commercial Bank, Rs20,000,000 each, Abdul Hannan Khan Rs19,882,351, Ziaullah Qureshi from Switzerland Rs16,374,476, Zeeshan Ahmad Rs16,374,476, Shan E Abbas Ashary from Saudi Arabia Rs13,748,428, Zafar Siddiqui Rs13,300,000 and Amjad Ali Khan Rs13,230,004.

The State Bank data shows that overseas Pakistanis have donated Rs1.23 billion in the fund till January 15, when it was last updated. The groundbreaking of Mohmand Dam is expected to be held later this month. The project will be built at a cost of Rs309 billion by a consortium of a Pakistani engineering firm and a Chinese company, which have won the bid.

The former chief justice launched the campaign for collection of funds for construction of dams in July this year. Later, Prime Minister Imran Khan also joined the drive and issued an appeal to the overseas Pakistanis to generously donate for the noble cause. He asked them to contribute at least $1,000 and those who can afford were requested to give more.

To mobilise funds, some ruling party MPs including Senator Faisal Javed visited foreign countries where donations were given or pledges were made. The chief justice also paid a visit to Britain for the purpose.