SC asks NAB to probe corruption in PIC

Staff Reporter

Lahore

The chief justice (CJP) while hearing a suo motu case against the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) said on Sunday that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) would investigate alleged corruption in the organisation.
An assistant pharmacist who claimed she was wrongfully removed from her position at the PIC brought the matter to the attention of the court earlier. A two judge bench led by CJP Mian Saqib Nisar today held the first hearing of a suo motu case regarding the matter at the Lahore registry.
The CJP lambasted Punjab government and PIC officials over the appointment of PIC board member Afzal Bhatti – who also holds a post as the commissioner of the Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab – asking how a dual national was designated commissioner and a board member of the PIC.
CJP Nisar also asked Bhatti how much his salary was, to which the latter replied that it was Rs550,000 a month. The CJP observed that the provincial chief secretary only earned Rs180,000 a month. “What makes you so special?” he wondered.
Adviser to the Chief Minister Khawaja Hasan, Punjab Health Minister Khawaja Salman Rafique and PIC head Nadeem Hayat Malik also appeared in court today.
“How did all this happen in your presence?” the CJP asked Hasan. “I am sorely tempted to summon the chief minister and show him these proceedings.”
The CJP also asked Khawaja Salman Rafique to keep noting “whatever is happening in the Health Ministry”.
“This will be the charge-sheet against you,” he said.
The CJP observed that people often exercise influence in order to be recruited into government jobs. “We cannot ignore this.”
The Punjab advocate general was also reprimanded for interfering in the matter.
“This judge is not so weak. Everything will come to light once the matter is sent to NAB,” Justice Nisar said. “Those responsible will not be let off easily,” he added. “We will get to the bottom of this.”
The court summoned Director General NAB Lahore Saleem Shahzad to inquire into the matter and ordered Bhatti’s name to be placed on the ECL.
The court adjourned the hearing until April 28 and summoned all relevant officials before the court in the next hearing.
Expenses of withdrawn police personnel Rs38bn a year in Punjab
While hearing the suo motu case regarding security being given to non-entitled persons, the chief justice remarked that the monthly expenses of 4,610 police personnel recalled in Punjab came to over Rs119 million.
He noted that the amount goes up to Rs38 billion a year and that things would be different today had the same money been spent on health and education.
CJP orders medical machinery to be brought to Pakistan within ten days
Hearing another suo motu case regarding the non-treatment of children born with familial hypercholesterolemia, the CJP ordered machinery for the treatment to be brought to Pakistan within ten days.
“The machine costs Rs8m. If the Punjab government does not have the funds, you can can take them from me by today evening,” he told officials.
Justice Nisar also reprimanded the father of children suffering from the rare disease when he urged the court make for an alternate arrangement until the machines required for his children’s treatment are not available in Pakistan. “You want to use your children to go abroad; the court will not let this happen,” he remarked.
The CJP also told the father of the sick children that action would be taken against him if he showed negligence in their treatment.

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