Imran Khan’s ‘Commission of Inquiry’ is defective – Hashmat Habib

By Nasir Mahmood

The ‘Commission of Inquiry’ constituted by Federal Government to be headed by Deputy Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Hussain Asghar as Chairman; comprised of 12 officials, representatives of different authorities, is defective in terms of the Inquiry Act 2017. Therefore, it needs to be re-constituted.

Hashmat Habib President Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Adlia, said this while commenting on the “Commission of Inquiry formed to probe rise in debts” yesterday.

The senior lawyer of Supreme Court said Terms of Reference also have no nexus to any definite matter of public importance. The terms of reference (TOR) determined by Prime Minister Imran Khan will open Pandora box for political criticism.

He said there is no qualification of Chairman; simply it means the Chairman of commission. Further no member by its official position without his name can be appointed because under Section 12 of the Act 2017 every member of the Commission and every officer appointed or authorized to exercise function shall be deemed to be public servant while representatives of ISI and Military intelligence cannot be placed in this category, he added.

Hashmat Habib further stated that taking loans and its use is documented and admitted thus if any corrupt practice appears it can be straight away investigated by NAB or FIA which will save the time and national exchequer. Already this practice is on and many suspects are under investigation and trial.

It may be mentioned here that in accordance with government announcement the commission will: Determine the significance of major infrastructure or public sector development projects undertaken from 2008 to 2018. Investigate the process of awarding or implementation of contracts of development projects and whether any loans were borrowed to complete them. If a loan was borrowed, the commission will investigate where the money was spent. Investigate if the “terms and conditions of any public contract were tainted or benevolent or artificially inflated to facilitate any kick-backs”.

It will investigate if any public office holders or their relatives used public funds for personal expenditures “beyond what has been permitted under the law”. Investigate if the limit set by the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act, 2005 was “busted”. Determine amendments, if any, in the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act, 2005 were in accordance with Article 166 (Borrowing by Federal Government) of the Constitution.

The Commission will fix responsibility and refer “any irregularity or illegality” that is uncovered during the probe to relevant departments for investigation.

The government will allocate an “appropriate budget” for the commission “to utilise and spend in its discretion so as to meet the expenditure”.

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