ISLAMABAD - Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday formed a committee under the headship of Dr Samar Mubarik Mand to ascertain the reasons for closing the Hepatitis Vaccine programme, which was closed on certain allegations.

The committee meeting, chaired by PPP senior legislator Yasmeen Rehman, asked to submit report within a fortnight that either Hepatitis Vaccine programme can be restarted or not. The committee reviewed the audit objections Prime Minster Secretariat, President House, Ministry of Science and Technology for the financial year 2004-05.

Reviewing the audit objection of Science and Technology, the committee was informed that the name of Dr Riaz Sheikh who prepared Hepatitis Vaccine was put on ECL and project was closed due to certain reasons. Paying tribute to Dr Riaz Sheikh for his services, the committee directed to immediately release frozen salary of Dr.Riaz Sheikh and his team members. The committee was informed that Dr Riaz had been working as head of Centre for Advanced Molecular Biology for last 25 years. He along with his team prepared Vaccine for Hepatitis but some corruption charges leveled against him. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) investigated all charges against him and after thorough investigation exonerated him. Sharing with committee about Hepatitis Vaccine, Dr Riaz informed that he was not given permission for test of vaccine prepared by him. Later, experiment was successfully carried out in Allama Iqbal Medical College.

Pakistan is importing Hepatitis vaccine worth Rs 4 billion and price of ‘Interferon’ injection is Rs 1000, while his vaccine injection price was Rs 100, he informed the committee. He further said that his team has not been receiving salaries for the last two years. Adding his viewpoint, Secretary Science and Technology Ikhlaq Tarar held responsible Dr Abdul Rashid Juma for sabotaging the project, as he even had not issued license for this vaccine. The committee member directed to write a commendation letter to Dr.Riaz for his services. It was also directed to Ministry of Science and Technology to write apology letter to Dr.Riaz.

Reviewing the audit of PM House, the committee informed that a heavy amount of Rs8.7million was spent on the maintenance of vehicle in the era former Prime Minister Shaikat Aziz. The committee asked to submit report on it till next meeting. On audit objection related to President House, The committee was informed that Rs5 lac were spent on garden maintenance in the regime of Pervez Musharraf.