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Saturday October 01, 2022

PAC seeks Dams Fund details from SC registrar

The Public Accounts Committee decides to re-summon former Chief Justice SC Saqib Nisar

September 21, 2022
—Public Accounts Committee website
—Public Accounts Committee website

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee, while seeking details of the Dams Fund of Supreme Court, on Tuesday decided to write a letter to the registrar Supreme Court of Pakistan. The development occurred after officials of Auditor General of Pakistan told the committee that the registrar Supreme Court did not provide the requisite details of the Dams Fund.

The Public Accounts Committee also decided to re-summon former Chief Justice SC Saqib Nisar with regard to the Dams Fund of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The meeting of the PAC was held under Chairman Noor Alam Khan in which the audit paras related to the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority for the financial year 2018-19 were discussed. Also a briefing was given on recent conditions of dams and damages caused due to the recent floods in the country.

Chairman PAC Noor Alam Khan, while seeking details of total collections made in the Dams Fund and how these funds were spent, said the committee had summoned the former CJP Saqib Nisar and asked why he did not turn up in the meeting.

The secretary PAC told the committee that a letter had been sent to the former CJP as per the directions of the committee. Chairman PAC Noor Alam Khan said the committee will again ask him to appear before the committee in the next meeting. “The former Chief Justice is no exception nor has immunity,” he said. “We are not criticising anyone, we are inviting him to the committee as all former chief justices and others are answerable to Parliament.”

Audit officials told the committee that the registrar Supreme Court of Pakistan did not provide details of the Dams Fund to the department of Auditor General of Pakistan. Noor Alam Khan asked the officials to inform the registrar about the powers of the committee.

While briefing the committee on the condition of dams after the worst flood, officials of the Sindh Irrigation Dept said that 68 small dams were partially damaged in Sindh, and an old dam built in 1972 was destroyed.

PAC member Naveed Dero said the LBDO creates problems, which are not being solved. The officials told the committee the LBDO was designed to extract water from tubewells. Chairman Committee Noor Alam Khan said that if the Provincial Irrigation Department works properly, then problems would not arise and the task of investigating corruption in the Kachhi Canal will be given to NAB.

Chairman Wapda Lt General (retd) Sajjad Ghani said that there was a severe flood in the country, which had never happened in the past. He stressed the need to learn from the past to deal with this situation. “Wapda can solve the problems of Pakistani economy in 10 years,” he said. He said floods did not damage the infrastructure heavily and they will restore the infrastructure soon.

The secretary Ministry of Water Resources, while giving a briefing to the PAC on dams, said the construction of dams in the country has been divided into the categories of small, medium and large dams and Wapda builds big dams.

PAC member Sheikh Rohail Asghar said the Kalabagh Dam was a burning issue and it should be explained what the differences of the provinces are on it.

Chairman PAC Noor Alam Khan stopped Sheikh Rohail Asghar from talking about this issue and said that Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces had serious reservations on this issue and they should not touch this issue.

While taking up the issue of Bhasha Diamir Dam, officials of Wapda told the committee it was expected to be completed by December 2029. The PAC members wondered why the former prime minister used to say that it would be completed by year 2025.

The Wapda officials told the committee that the Dasu Dam was not damaged much by the flood. Chairman PAC Noor Alam Khan said the committee has already called for an inquiry into the Mohmand Dam as in this project, there was mega corruption and the rate had also been increased. “When will the inquiry report submitted to the committee?” he questioned.

The Public Accounts Committee decided to write a letter to the DG PPRA with regard to award of the contract of Mohmand Dam. Noor Alam Khan said substandard material was used in the project.

The official told the committee that the water in the dam had risen to 60 feet and passed over the dam. The officials told the committee that Mohmand Dam diversion tunnels were reusable and now after getting empty, these would be made operational again.

The Balochistan Irrigation Department told the PAC that 41 out of 1,020 small dams had been affected by recent floods in Balochistan. PAC member Barjees Tahir asked whether these were completely damaged or partially. Chairman PAC Noor Alam Khan asked why the spillways were not opened. The officials replied that these small dams did not have gated spillways and damaged was caused due to high water level.

PAC member Sheikh Rohail Asghar said that all the constructions along the river in Swat were destroyed and asked if there was any law in this regard that stopped construction alongside the rivers. “The whole nation is questioning who gave permission for the riverside constructions. If these people have been identified, what action has been taken against them,” he asked.

Chairman PAC Noor Alam Khan said this was a provincial matter. In the meanwhile, the PAC also summoned the heads of refineries and chairman Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to the next meeting after the audit officials told the committee that the Pak-Arab Refinery and Marri Petroleum refused the audit of Auditor General of Pakistan.

The PAC also took notice of leak of the audit report of the Billion Tree Tsunami in the media and directed the Auditor General’s Office to investigate it. Chairman PAC Noor Alam Khan said that he will expose anyone who does wrong. “Responsibility should be imposed on whoever made the report public,” he directed.

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