The Supreme Court on Tuesday formed a commission to oversee the disbursement and utilisation of Rs 460 billion deposited by Bahria Town Karachi. The apex court accepted request of the Attorney General for Pakistan for formation of a commission to ensure transparency in utilisation of funds. The Bahria Town Karachi had deposited Rs 57 billion so far.
The court in its written order stated that the commission would be headed by a chairman and would have five voting members who permanently reside in Sindh and have no political affiliations as well as six non-voting members. The chairman would be nominated by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the order said.
‘All decisions of the commission relating to the selection of projects, the cost of such projects and all financial matters would be subject to the approval of the implementation bench of this court,’ the order read. One person each would be nominated as a member of the commission by the Sindh governor and chief minister. The attorney general for Pakistan and the advocate general for Sindh would also be included in the commission.
Meanwhile, non-voting members would include the Sindh chief secretary, finance secretary and a senior member of the provincial Board of Revenue. Senior officers assigned to Sindh in the office of the Auditor General of Pakistan and the Accountant General of Pakistan, and an officer nominated by the SBP governor would also be a part of the body’s non-voting members.
The order stated that all decisions and actions of the commission must have the concurrence of the chairman. In case of any difference or dispute, the matter should be resolved by the implementation bench, it added. The court directed the provincial government to make their nominations for the body’s voting members before December 1. The commission should have its first meeting before January 25, 2021, it added.
‘The commission shall propose and suggest projects for public utility, including but not limited to health, education, infrastructure etc, for the people of Sindh.’ The implementation bench will then consider and approve the projects as well as allocate funds for this purpose, the court said. ‘All projects undertaken, and being undertaken by the commission shall be subject to a regular audit in terms of standard operating procedures to be established by the commission. All audit reports shall be placed before the implementation bench.’
Once a project has been completed, it would be handed over to the provincial government for its continuance and operation, the court said. The court stated that the money received from Bahria Town would not be spent on the ongoing projects. The SC implementation bench had on March 21 last year accepted the Bahria Town’s offer to pay Rs460 billion for the purchase of land measuring 16,896 acres in the Malir Development Authority, but with certain terms and conditions.
The offer was accepted to implement the apex court’s May 4, 2018, judgment which had held the grant of land to the MDA by the Sindh government, its exchange with the land of private developer Bahria Town and anything done under the provisions of the Colonisation of Government Land Act 1912 by the provincial government illegal and of no legal existence.