Presidential reference against AGP shelved

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A reference forwarded by the president to the prime minister’s office against the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has been pending for a year.

Before taking Akhtar Buland Rana’s oath, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had sought clarifications from the president as a string of allegations were levelled against the Auditor General of Pakistan.

Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) reportedly accused Rana of sexual harassment. He has also been blamed for corruption, against which the Minister of State for Information, Syed Samsam Bukhari, filed a reference that was supported by irrefutable documentary evidence.

Rana is also alleged to have secured multiple passports illegally, including a Canadian passport and has travelled abroad many times without permission of the competent authorities. He was also accused of sexually harassing a female colleague. Recently, the AGP was caught withdrawing a monthly car allowance of Rs118,000 besides availing other benefits.

On July 19, 2012, the President Secretariat forwarded a reference to former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf through his Principal Secretary Muhammad Ayub Qazi, official documents reveal. The reference remains buried to this day, courtesy two bureaucrats who have provided complete protection to Rana.

“There has been no movement on the case,” said Prime Minister’s Spokesman Shafqat Jalil. In reality, the file is untraceable.

According to sources, Syed Ghazanfar Abbas Jilani, who was serving as Joint Secretary in PM Public Secretariat, blocked any further action on the reference. Jilani, a close relative of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, currently serves as the chief accounts officer in the foreign affairs ministry.

Constitutionally, the AGP can only be removed in a manner prescribed for the removal of a Supreme Court judge through the Supreme Judicial Council.