Scholarship of students, Bhasha dam funds spent on irrelevant schemes by previous govt: SC

ISLAMABAD— Supreme Court (SC) has directed Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) to conduct within two weeks special audit of schemes and works executed in the constituency of former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf  during the last days of PPP government.

The court also ordered that it may be informed how much amount was released for how many schemes during 2012-13, SC further directed.

A 3-memebr bench of SC led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took up case of illegal use of development funds by the former Prime Minister (PM) Raja Pervez Ashraf for hearing Tuesday.

CJP remarked “ No money  is available for generation of power. People are dying due to load shedding. On the other hand the erstwhile government withdrew development fund of trillion of rupees and spent it on irrelevant people and schemes. We have been asking since several days but no one is there to explain it. The construction of Bhasha dam was stopped. Youths are future of Pakistan. Their scholarships were suspended and this amount was spent on irrelevant places. All have joined hands to devour the money. No one is realizing the situation. The difficulty is that upon whom we may  repose trust. This practice is continuing since 1985. Amount was released despite the curbs. Money was provided to Raja Basharat, Moonis Elahi, Sardar Mushtaq and Mehmood Khan Achakzai. It was not known to AGPR that government was on the way to exit and this amount can not be released. We will take account of even a single pie”.

Attorney General (AG), AGP Tahir Mehmood, senior officers of Sui Southern, Sui Northern and PWD appeared before the court.

AGP Tahir Mehmood told the court the PM could spend the money under Khshhali program. Such powers rested with the PM that he could utilize funds of 12-year Khushhali program.

The CJP remarked why are you lending such support on political basis. Money was given to the irrelevant people in the constituency. AG had said that parliament could legislate with reference to development projects. Ban was imposed on uplift projects from February, 7 to  March , 15. Despite it billion of rupees were given without verification.

Tahir Mehmood told that deputy secretary finance had got released this amount through pressure.

CJP remarked “we have to see now where 42 billion rupees were spent or it was devoured by the people.

Secretary cabinet division Zafar Iqbal told this amount was spent under 7 heads. This amount is spent on construction of roads, bridges, drains, boundary walls of grave yards and electrification of areas.

CJP remarked this all job related to district governments and you have assigned this work to members of parliament.

CJP remarked “ no one is ready to assist us. We will call AG and give the decision after hearing his arguments. We can not afford more delay now. How much money was released during the last days of the government. When the election commission had imposed ban.

The court was told ban was imposed on March, 11. All was done on the day when it was holiday.

Justice Ejaz remarked “ after doing every thing you say you know nothing. No one is ready to give even a pie to the poor. PM is not a monarch that you have to comply with whatever he says.

CJP remarked “ you are constructing the drains by leaving aside construction of Bhasha dam and putting at stake the future of the youths by stopping their scholarships.

CJP remarked “ we talk of transparency. Who will conduct checking of expenses? You all are conniving with each other. No one is realizing the matter. All assemble on the matter of devouring. When the matter of checking comes then no one is ready to come forward. Problem is there upon whom we may trust.

Justice Ejaz remarked “ corrupt elements are keeping all the institutions under their control and no one is ready to give reply.

CJP remarked “ 7736 million rupees were given to you. This amount was released on March, 15. This amount had gone where.

The court was told that 20.97 rupees were provided for 6275 uplift schemes. About 15.50 billion rupees were spent out of it. 3803 schemes are complete and 1744 schemes are incomplete.

CJP remarked “ work should be kept continued with respect to ongoing schemes but transparency be ensured in them. 726 schemes  be not  started.

The court observed “ finance ministry had been pressurizing AGP office for releasing the funds.

The court directed finance ministry to file its reply in this regard to it.

The finance ministry tried to take over the administrative powers of AGP. Former finance secretary should file reply on this count, court ordered.

The court also issued notice to AG seeking reply from him about the discretionary powers of PM.

The hearing of the case was adjourned for two weeks.

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