LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Saturday debarred the Punjab bureaucracy from protests over the arrest of Ahad Cheema, a grade-20 officer, at the hands of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a housing scheme scam.
He questioned that how the resolution was passed in favor of Ahad Cheema in the assembly. “In this way, the resolution can be tabled to stop the SC from summoning someone,” he said.
Punjab Chief Secretary Zahid Syed and LDA Director General Zahid Akhtar Zaman also appeared before the bench.
The CJP then asked on what basis the resolution against NAB was passed in the assembly, adding that would such a resolution be passed against the top court also?
“Political masters and bosses are capable of it,” he said. The CJP said that whosoever wants to resign should do it immediately. “The person being summoned should cooperate with the court,” he remarked.
The apex court directed that no one will cause any kind of harassment to the anti-graft watchdog investigating some high-profile cas-es.
The chief justice also directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) not to harass anyone.
CJP Nisar restrained the provincial bureaucracy from protesting against Cheema’s arrest. If anyone wants to resign, he/she can do so and if one is summoned by the bureau, he should cooperate with it, he said.
During the hearing, the CJP questioned the LDA DG on the process of entering into contracts with private companies for development work since the LDA is to work for them. To which Zaman said that according to the law, LDA was in partnership with six companies.
The CJP then summoned details of the owners and shareholders of all six companies. Upon being asked who the DG was when these contracts were made, Zaman said it was Ahad Cheema, who is currently arrested by NAB officials and is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Quaid-e-Azam Power Plant.
The CJP then turned to the chief secretary and asked of Ahad Cheema’s income and incentives, to which the secretary replied that DMG officers earn 100,000 while Cheema earned 15,000,000. At this, the CJP summoned details of Cheema’s service profile, salary, perks and incentives.
Money spend on tv advertisements: Chief Justice Nisar directed the Punjab information secretary to immediately submit the complete record of distribution of advertisements to media houses.
Hearing the suo motu notice of the use of public funds on political campaigns, the chief justice was informed that Rs180,000 per minute is the rate at which ads are aired on TV.
The chief justice questioned the criteria of ads distribution and also asked who gives these orders.
Later, as the information secretary reappeared in court, the bench was informed that Rs5.5 million was spent on advertisements on 12 TV channels in one day. On the court’s insistence, the official disclosed further that the ads carried the picture of the Punjab chief minister.
The chief justice then ordered an explanation on why the chief minister’s picture was published by using public funds, observing that this amounts to pre-poll rigging in light of the upcoming general elections.
CJP seeks report on hospitals waste disposal: While hearing the suo motu case on disposal of medical waste from public hospitals of Lahore, the chief justice summoned a report in 15 days on the outsourcing of waste collection as well as the disposal of medical waste at military-run hospitals.
During the hearing, lawyer Ayesha Hamid, who is aiding the court in the case, submitted a report on the matter. She informed that military hospitals of Lahore failed to reply when asked about waste disposal measures.
The chief justice questioned why the government only becomes active in resolving the issue when the courts intervene.