Security, perks to former premiers, interior minister a burden on national exchequer: CJP

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The Supreme Court (SC) disposed of suo moto proceedings following the withdrawal of a notification by the government on allowing life time protocol, security and perks to the former premiers and former interior minister Rehman Malik.

A five member bench of SC which was presided over by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry resumed the hearing of the suo moto case on unprecedented security protocol and perks and privileges for former Prime Ministers Raja Pervez Ashraf and Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday.

The CJP said that drinking water was not available to the people, therefore, allowing security protocol and perks to the former premiers and former interior minister was a burden on the national exchequer.

The interior secretary did not appear before the court despite the court’s orders and the CJP expressed displeasure on this account.

The Attorney General (AG) said efforts were being made to contact the interior secretary but his phone has been switched off.

The CJP remarked said that the PM issued notifications regarding the security protocol, perks and privileges on March, 15.

“This can only be done through legislation and not through notification,” he added.

However, the AG said legislation was not necessary in every matter.

The court summoned the interior secretary in the meantime. Later, the CJP told Interior Additional Secretary Tariq Lodhi, “We have not called you. Court had summoned the interior secretary. If he can not come then he would be arrested.”

In reply to this, the additional secretary said, “I’ll try to contact him again.”

However, the CJP said, “Don’t lie. Tell us what the interior secretary has to say about the March 15 notification. Why was an order given to allow security protocol and perks and privileges to former interior minister Rehman Malik”?

In the meantime, Interior Secretary Khawaja Siddique Akbar appeared before the court.

The CJP welcomed him by saying that if the interior secretary does not comply with the orders of the court he should be sent to jail.

“You have made it your routine and this attitude amounts to contempt of court,” he added.

The interior secretary tendered an apology and said that this would not be repeated in the future.

The CJP replied saying, “Review your attitude. A full bench is sitting here. Read section 6 and when you return after serving 6 months imprisonment then we will see. Enough is enough. Whenever you are summoned you come up with some excuse. The bench is assembling for the second time due to your attitude.”

The interior secretary was read out the court order, which said that if all was done by him, “then under what law had he done this”.

The CJP remarked, “We are reading your summary. Generally security should be provided to all the people of the country. Extra security should be provided to those who need it. How can life time security protocol be given to a former interior minister? Explain it. Otherwise action will be taken against you.”

Interior secretary said notification in this respect has not been issued so far.

The CJP remarked that the former interior minister had also denied all this and the same reply has come from him.

The interior secretary said this was a matter of wisdom and intelligence.

Justice Ejaz remarked, “We are already convinced of your intelligence. How you must have done all this.”

The interior secretary said Rehman Malik had remained on the front line in the war on terror; therefore it was necessary to provide him with security.

“It was done so at the bidding of his private secretary Javed Iqbal,” he added.

The CJP remarked, “Why are you acquiring three services from NADRA for a life time. A person is appointed interior minister for three months and you are ready to provide him with services for a life time”.

The interior secretary said the former prime minister wanted to launch an election campaign, therefore, security should be provided to him.

At this, the CJP remarked, “How much more burden do you want to put on this nation. A tablet is not available for headache to the masses and Rs 270 million will now be paid for Malik’s security.”

 

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