LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shehbaz Sharif appeared before the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry on Sunday, after being summoned by the Chief Justice of Pakistan in a case pertaining to corruption in 56 public sector companies.
A two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing of a suo motu case earlier today pertaining to the salary structure of government officers and alleged corruption in 56 public-sector companies in Punjab.
Asked by the top judge to explain how government officials were “hired on such high salaries”, Shehbaz told the bench that it was not the first time such companies had been formed; in fact, such companies existed in other provinces of the country and had existed before him as well.
Shehbaz then asked the court to allow him a chance to submit his response in the case.
Chief Justice Nisar questioned under which law were the officers receiving salaries in millions.
“What promise to the public have you fulfilled?” CJP inquired.
To this, Shehbaz responded that he had saved the [national exchequer] Rs160 billion.
If there was a penny less than this amount, then he may be punished as deemed fit, he added.
He further asked the court that if it managed to find any corruption in the companies, then it could take whatever action necessary to recover the money.
During the hearing earlier, attorney general Punjab told the apex court that Shehbaz did not have any role in the companies. To this, Chief Justice Nisar remarked that no activity had taken place [in Punjab] without Shehbaz’s consent.
The court also ordered National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to estimate the wealth of chief executive officers of six companies.
“Please investigate how much property these officials own, so that nation’s money can be returned to it,” Chief Justice Nisar asserted.
CJP orders 56 public companies’ heads to draw salaries as per their pay scale
On April 28, the Supreme Court had ordered the heads of 56 public companies, which are being investigated in a corruption probe, to draw salaries as per their pay scale.
Chief Justice Nisar had remarked that the heads of the companies must draw salaries as per their respective civil servant roles, adding that the heads should return the amount which was more than their original pay scale.
“The companies were made to award relatives,” the CJP had observed. “Billions of rupees were spent but there is not a single drop of water available for people. We won’t allow any person to use tax money.”
NAB summons Shehbaz in clean water corruption case
The National Accountability Bureau has summoned Shehbaz Sharif on Monday, June 4 in a probe pertaining to alleged corruption in Punjab Saaf Pani Company, a NAB spokesperson said.
The accountability body has instructed Shehbaz to appear with complete records of salaries and benefits of all officers employed by the company, he informed.
The company was established by the Punjab government to conceive, plan, design, execute and manage projects for the provision of safe drinking water, in terms of both access and quality, to the communities living in unserved and underserved areas i.e. rural and peri-urban areas of the province.
CJP Saqib Nisar, after completing the proceedings, visited Jinnah Hospital on Sunday. The CJP inspected the wards and reprimanded the administration over a non-functional lift.
During his visit, the CJP also inquired why there were two to three kids on a single bed. He said that the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for the hospital should be implemented upon.—INP