LAHORE - Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has given 24 hours to the Punjab Saaf Pani Company CEO and Punjab government officials to submit complete record including salaries and staff’s perks and privileges.

The CJP expressed serious concerns over the high salary packages of the company officials and the money being paid to the foreign consultants for water projects.

“Who are these consultants?” the CJP asked CEO Muhammad Usman.

“Have we lost the talent to perform our duties that we have hired foreign consultants for the provision of water? Though it is a policy matter, such schemes were abandoned in the past,” the CJP remarked while hearing a suo motu notice at the Supreme Court Lahore Registry. Justice Ijazul Ahsan was the other member of the bench.

“I need details of salaries, perks and privileges of all officials of the company from sweeper to the CEO,” the top judge maintained. 

However, the CJP gave one-day time to the government when Advocate General Punjab Shakilur Rehman Khan pleaded the bench that  they need some time for detailed and comprehensive reports on the company and its performance.

He replied that they had been hired foreign consultations for different projects being executed in different parts of the province.

“From where have you hired these consultants?” the CJP asked him who said: “ They have been hired from the local market and some of them were from Japan and Turkey and the purpose of their job is to do the surveys,”. 

During the proceedings, the CJP also asked the CEO about his salary who said that he was getting Rs. 1.4 million including all perks and privileges.  The court was surprised to hear such a hefty amount being paid to the officer as a salary.  “Why the government officers could not work for the company and why the tax payers’ money is being wasted,”  the Chief Justice asked the officer.

The CEO said that there had been two different methodologies; one method for the source of water and the other was about the social mobilizers. 

At this, the CJP asked him that how much money was being paid to the consultants he replied that there were different packages like Rs 250 million and etc.  On it, the bench asked him to explain as to how much staff was working under him and what the total expenditures were of the two companies he looking after.

The CEO said that about Rs 47 million was the budget of the both companies including the Punjab Saaf Pani Company and he did not mention the name of the other company.

“Have the Germans been given the contract of the company?” the CJP asked him another question who said that they were the consultants. At this, he observed that there was need of a tap for supply of a water.  Answering to another query about hiring of the mobilizers, he said that they had been hired to motivate the public for land and other relevant things for the supply of clean water.  Meanwhile, Advocate General Punjab came to the rostrum and implored the bench that they needed some time for detailed reply about the company’s entire budget, salaries of the staff and the facilities being enjoyed by the company. The CJP allowed his request and directed the Punjab government  and company’s CEO to come up with comprehensive reply on the subject on Sunday (today).

While hearing another case regarding the poor condition of public hospitals, the CJP refused to praise the performance of the Punjab government.

“You have not done the work of a penny but you ask for praises which I can’t do unless you deliver,” the top judge remarked.  He gave these remarks when Punjab Health Minister Khwaja Salman Rafiq said that their good work should be appreciated.

The CJP directed the health officials to upload the recommendations provided by the commission on the website of the health department.  However,  Justice Nisar rejected the report on facilities being claimed by the provincial authorities at public hospitals.

“What you have done for the last ten years?” the CJP asked Salman Rafiq.  “How many cancer hospitals have been established in the province?”  he further asked.  The minister started telling the courts the development work he was claiming to have done for the past many years but the CJP snubbed him, observing that “stop counting what you have done, just answer what you have been asked,”.

On it, Salman Rafiq said that his (CJP) visits motivated them and provided them guidance. At this, the CJP remarked: “My visits to the hospitals are objected to and I am asked to attend to my judicial responsibilities,”. 

“I do my own job and also keep an eye on the work of the government,” he further remarked.

He inclined to summon Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, observing that “bring the CM and tell him what is going on”.

The CJP also asked Secretary Health Najam Shah that from where he had come.  “Your performance is very pathetic,” he said while addressing the secretary. The secretary said he had been serving Quaid-i-Azam Solar Power project. On which, the CJP said that that project was going into loss.  “How much loss you caused to the project,” Justice Nisar asked the secretary who replied that the project was going into the benefit.

He asked him that why the Wazirabad project was delayed and observed that was it the fact that it was only delayed that Ch Pervez Elahi laid down its foundation.

“Billions of rupees have been spent on Kidney Transplant  and if the said amount had been spent on Mayo and Services Hospital there would have been difference in their working,”  said CJP Nisar. The bench directed the health officials to upload the suggestions of the commission on their website for the suggestion of the people.  During the hearing, Ayesha Bibi, a woman from Multan, appeared before the bench who said that she was beaten by the staff of the Multan Cardiology Hospital when she went there for the treatment of her mother. She pointed out that the emergency of Multan Cardiology Hospital was not more than the washroom of the top court.  Pointing towards the officials of the health department, she said that she approached them for the redressal of her grievances but in vain. At this, the CJP remarked: “Talking against the government is like embracing the death,” the CJP  said. Khwaja Salman Rafiq stood again to the rostrum and said that the lady had some other intention; the facts were not like that. The court directed the woman to submit an application and also directed the minister to hold inquiry and submit report on the issue.

 

Fida Hussnain