The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday ordered to issue summons for former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar seeking details of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam Fund that was set up during his tenure and an explanation whether he could collect funds through the apex court.
The PAC’s direction came after the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) Office informed the accountability arm of parliament that the Supreme Court registrar had refused to share details of the funds with the auditors.
“We will first politely request former CJP Saqib Nisar to appear before PAC in the next meeting and explain the amount of funds he received from Pakistan and abroad as well as explain whether he could collect funds for the dam through the SC,” PAC Chairman Noor Alam Khan said.
In his comments, the PAC chairman said that the former CJP had no immunity, adding that just like any former president or high-profile retired official, he was only a former chief justice of the country and could be questioned and summoned before PAC.
Alam said that he would first go through the documents or official record and then the PAC would not hesitate to question anyone, including any prime minister, army chief, president or CJP, adding that everyone could be held accountable.
“Rest assured, everyone will be held accountable,” he said.
Also read: Justice Nisar assures dam fund in 'safe hands'
Upon refusal of the SC registrar, Alam directed the PAC staff to write a letter to the registrar stating that he was violating the Constitution by not providing details to the highest accountability forum of parliament.
“Tell him that he should be working within the boundaries of law,” he said.
Alam also directed his staff to write in the letter that the registrar was bound to provide each and every document regarding the dam funds. The directions for summoning the former CJP and writing a letter to the top court’s registrar came after a disgruntled PTI member, Nawab Sher Waseer, asked about the status of “Baba Rehmatay’s” dam and its funds.
Former CJP Nisar had used the title of Baba Rehmatay – a concerned old man who wished to help others – for himself. The title traces back to eminent writer late Ashfaq Ahmed, who used Baba’s character to tell stories.
Upon Waseer’s question, Alam asked the AGP officials if they checked the details of the dam funds from the SC. They replied that the SC registrar had refused to share any details.
Former CJP Nisar had established a Supreme Court of Pakistan Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Funds on July 10, 2018, to raise funds for the construction of both the dams.
The State Bank of Pakistan website stated that the SC supervised the fund and its registrar directly operated its account.
Also read: Apex court is custodian of dam fund: SC
Later on, the then premier Imran Khan had also thrown weight behind Justice (retd) Nisar’s call for donations and had urged overseas Pakistanis to contribute to the effort to raise funds via voluntary donations.
Meanwhile, the officials of the Ministry of Water Resources gave a briefing to the committee about the current conditions of dams and damages caused due to the recent floods in the country.
The officials from Balochistan told PAC that the total number of small, check dams and delay action dams was 1,020 and that of small, check and delay action dams affected in current monsoon spell was 41.
In Sindh, the committee was told that around 69 small dams and weirs were damaged during the monsoon and flash flood in 2022.
The officials said that the Small Dams Region reported that 58 dams were partially damaged; the Sindh Resilience Project reported partial damages to seven dams and the Kotri Barrage Region reported that Malir Weir I totally collapsed and Malir II & III, and Thado Dam had minor damages.