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January 29, 2020

NAB has become exploitation firm: CJP

Top Story

January 29, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Gulzar Ahmed, on Tuesday said that NAB had become an obstacle to the role it had to play for the betterment of the country. The purpose for which NAB was established was over, he said. He remarked that the NAB had become an exploitation firm as they put up prisoners for years in prison. Later, its own employees stated that the man was guilty, he added.

The chief justice said that NAB should be fined billions of rupees and this penalty amount should be collected from NAB employees as the government would not give a single rupee. He remarked that NAB did not have the ability to work. He observed that NAB’s investigating officers simply did not have the capacity to carry out investigation to its logical end.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dissolved the Sindh Water Commission and Water Commission Secretariat. The court also clubbed the Sindh Coal Authority Karachi case and clean water case.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, heard the case regarding provision of clean drinking water to the residents of Sindh province.

During the course of proceedings, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted its report on alleged corruption in installation of RO plants. The court ordered the NAB to complete references regarding cases and other matters in a month. The chief justice said that there was no need to form a commission over the matter.

The Water Commission also submitted its report and the court ordered the Advocate General Sindh to ensure implementation of the report. The court directed that quarterly report of each district of Sindh, should be submitted regarding implementation of water commission recommendations.

The Supreme Court dissolved the Sindh Water Commission and Water Commission Secretariat and directed the Sindh Water Commission to hand over all record to the chief secretary Sindh. The court said that steps should be taken for effective legislation on clean water supply.

The chief justice said that hundreds of thousands rupees were plundered and not a single RO plant was installed. He expressed annoyance over NAB's performance saying that instead of four witnesses, NAB made 200 witnesses in the case. He said that the cases should be decided in one year but here NAB was taking six years.The chief justice remarked that NAB had become an obstacle to the role, it had to play for the betterment of the country. The purpose for which NAB was established was over, he added. He remarked that the NAB had become an exploitation firm as they put the prisoner up to years in prison.

Later, its own employees stated that the man was guilty, he added. The chief justice said that NAB should be fined billions of rupees and this penalty amount should be collected from NAB employees as the government would not give a single rupee. He remarked that NAB did not have the ability to work.

He observed that NAB's investigating officers simply did not have the capacity to carry out the investigation to its logical end.

Addressing the NAB prosecutor, the chief justice said that he remembered the wheat case in which a man committed suicide. He said that the NAB did not file Challan against the real culprit and the honorable man committed suicide.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan asked what was the ratio of conviction in NAB cases. The NAB prosecutor responded that the conviction rate was 70 percent. Later, hearing of the case was adjourned for one week.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Tuesday remarked that Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed should have resigned after a train inferno left 70 people dead near the city of Liaquatpur last year. The top judge made the remarks while hearing a case related to the financial deficit of the railways department. Rasheed appeared in court on Tuesday morning on behalf of the government entity.

A three-member bench of the top court, comprising CJP Gulzar, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, conducted the hearing into the case on Tuesday. "Can you tell us about the progress you have made in the case? All your records are in front of us," CJP Gulzar said while addressing the minister during the hearing today.

"You should have resigned after the train inferno left 70 people dead," the top judge said, addressing Sheikh Rasheed. "Seventy people were burned to death. What is the progress of the investigation into the case?" he asked.

"We have acted against 19 people in the case so far," the minister told the judge. However, CJP Gulzar asked Ahmed why the inquiry into the accident had been limited to low-level employees. "You sacked the gate-keeper and the driver. When will you act against the top officials involved in the incident?" the top judge asked. In his reply, Sheikh Rasheed assured CJP Gulzar of action against top railways officials.

"Can you tell us why action should not be taken against you for the train accident that left over 70 dead? You are the top-most official after all," the top judge said after hearing the reply from the minister.

"In my opinion, Pakistan Railways should be closed down. It is better that the department be closed down rather than letting it run the way you are running it," the top judge said in his remarks, addressing Sheikh Rasheed.

The court asked Shiekh Rasheed to submit in court within two weeks a comprehensive plan to make the railways profitable. The court also asked for an update on the up-gradation of railway tracks.

The bench summoned Minister for Planning Asad Umar to answer questions about the ML-1 cross-country railway project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as well. The court, before adjourning the hearing into the case till further notice, warned Rasheed that if the plan to turn around the railway department was not complied with, a contempt of court proceeding would be launched against the minister.

He said that the life of passengers is in danger while traveling in trains. The CJP also asked about the outcome of an inquiry into the Liaquatpur tragedy, wherein at least 73 people were killed and 48 others injured after a fire engulfed a train.

The court also took a strong exception to the audit report of the department. “Your record is not computerised. Nothing is running correctly in the railways," the bench had observed.

Shiekh Rasheed, while talking to reporters after the court hearing on Tuesday, said his ministry would abide by instructions of the Supreme Court in improving the affairs of Pakistan Railways. “We are thankful to Supreme Court for taking up this matter. We shall proceed forward in light of its instructions. We shall also request the court to settle the stay orders issue,” he told reporters.

"We shall honor the court instructions. Even if the Chief Justice desired my resignation, I would abide by him," he said answering a question about the audit report of the department that had incurred the displeasure of the court.