- PAC directs authorities concerned to submit details within 15 days.
- 13 out of 14 members vote in favour of seeking judge’s assets details.
- “I will not leave this matter alone as it pertains to corruption,” Noor says.
ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Monday instructed authorities concerned to submit the asset details of Supreme Court Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi.
The development comes — amid the ongoing tug-of-war between parliament and the judiciary — after the National Assembly last week asked the PAC to carry out a special audit of Justice Naqvi’s accounts and sources of income following corruption allegations against him.
Several references have been filed against Naqvi in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for alleged misconduct and having assets beyond means, with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) also blaming him for being “biased” against the party.
The decision was made at a meeting of the PAC, under the chairmanship of Noor Alam Khan, with 13 out of 14 members voting in favour of summoning the details of the judge’s assets.
Senator Mohsin Aziz — a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf — was the only member who opposed the move.
During the meeting, the committee chairman said he was not ready to let the allegations slide as they were of corruption. “I will not leave this matter alone as it pertains to corruption.”
“I will take action against my sister, daughter, and children if they are involved in corruption,” he said, warning all those members who were not present in today’s meeting that he would issue summons to ensure their attendance.
He also warned the chief secretaries of all the provinces that he would have their warrants issued if they did not appear in the next committee meeting.
The committee chairman asked the Auditor General of Pakistan to investigate the categories of the land that the judge owns and submit a report to him. He directed authorities to submit the travel history of the SC judge.
Further, the committee chairman also directed the National Database and Registration Authority to provide a list to him of the family members of the top court’s judge.
Not only was the PML-N speaking against the judge, but in March, his name surfaced in connection with the recent audio leaks purportedly involving him, former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi, and others.
A number of references have been filed to date against the top court’s judge for alleged “misconduct” and for allegedly violating “the judicial code of conduct, the Constitution and the law”.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the senior most judge of the SC after Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, had also asked the top judge to call a meeting of the SJC to discuss the allegations against Justice Naqvi.
Rabbani against move
In a statement, former chairman Senate Senator Raza Rabbani said the PAC will be out of jurisdiction if it inquires into the matter of the wealth of an individual judge of the Supreme Court.
Other matters related to the finances of the institution of the Supreme Court may be taken up by the PAC, the Pakistan Peoples Party leader suggested.
“Parliament ought not to do what the law or the Constitution, 1973, does not permit it to do. It must guard strongly that it has primacy over institutions functioning under the Constitution,1973, and its right of legislation and control over the purse strings.”
The Parliament has for long abdicated its rights to the judiciary and the executive, he said, “it must stand up to defend its territory and guard its constitutional rights”.
All institutions functioning under the Constitution must adhere to the concept of trichotomy of power, he stressed.
“The present intra-institutional crisis requires an institutional dialogue. The Parliament should take the lead.”