ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Friday restrained the federal government from interfering into the domain of Auditor General of Pakistan Muhammad Akhtar Buland Rana.
A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi issued these directions after the AGP had adopted before the court that the government has been interfering into his administrative affairs.
Justice Qureshi also issued notices to the respondents including Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, CGA Farah Tarin, Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood, additional secretary and an advisor of the ministry of finance with directions to submit reply in a fortnight in this regard. He further directed the respondents not to interfere into the administrative functions of the AGP. The petitioner AGP Akhtar Buland Rana through a petition before the IHC had prayed that the respondents may be restrained from interfering into his administrative functions as Cadre Head of Pakistan Audit & Accounts Service (PA&AS) and the constitutional powers of the petitioner regarding audit of spending from Public Accounts & Federal Consolidated Fund may not be interfered. Further, the federal interior minister may be ordered for providing entitled security to the petitioner. After hearing, the IHC single bench allowed all his prayers. In his petition, AGP Rana cited federation of Pakistan through secretary establishment, Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, secretary finance, Farah Tarin CGA, Rana Asad Amin, advisor ministry of finance, Shabbir Ahmad, additional secretary ministry of finance, Jahangir Watto, officer of Pakistan audit & accounts service working in the AGP Office, and the minister of interior as respondents.
Rana in the petition has expressed his apprehension that he may be sacked to pave way for Controller General of Accounts (CGA) Farah Tarin to be appointed as next AGP. He had contended that his constitutional mandate has been stolen away by placing the department of CGA from his administrative control to the control of finance ministry alongside all officers working in it.
The counsel for the petitioner argued before the court that the government has planned to eliminate his client to place CGA Farah Tarin as next AGP since Farah Tarin is going to retire on August 13, 2014 so he may be sacked before this time.
He contended that the AGP is a tenure post and his client would get retire on August 27, 2015 and AGP could not be removed from his post without the Supreme Judicial Council’s (SJC) directions as envisage in article 209 of the constitution.
In the petition, the petitioner contended that his constitutional mandate has been stolen away by placing the department of controller general of accounts (CGA) from his administrative control to the control of finance ministry alongside all officers working in it. He argued that by placing CGA under ministry of finance, the government has made audits for expenses a difficult job.
He stated that the CGA Farah Tarin is a grade-22 officer from amongst the PA&AS while the petitioner is cadre head/administrator for the CGA and the incumbent CGA was appointed by the secretary establishment, federal minister for finance Ishaq Dar and secretary finance division without formal consultation of the petitioner as cadre head and she was not eligible for the post. The AGP said that later the respondents started interfering in the powers of the petitioner by one way or the other for undermining the financial-watchman authority of office of the petitioner and also launched a smearing campaign against him on the basis of frivolous issues of taking extra salary etc.
He added that the petitioner felt himself handicapped when his machinery for audit was made hostile to him. CGA Tarin that was under the administrative control of the petitioner was made subordinate department of ministry of finance and the CGA along with all officers working in it was obliged to work under the administrative control of the federal minister for finance and secretary finance division.
The AGP said that the petitioner has been made helpless by the federal minister for finance, secretary finance division and CGA Farah Tarin, as he has no machinery for stopping ongoing unchecked financial spending in the country for the only reason that his constitutional mandate has been stolen away. He told the court that Farah Tarin is due to retire on 13th of August 2014 but finance minister and secretary finance division wanted to see Tarin as new AGP after removing the petitioner but their wish was not fulfilled as per law. The petitioner expressed his apprehension that the respondents were planning to either book the petitioner in some false and bogus case through Police or FIA or to assassinate the petitioner because imprisonment or death of the petitioner is now the only shortcut way for appointing Tarin as the new AGP. He added that the reported threat to life or liberty of the petitioner gets corroboration from the fact that the government has removed the entitled/authorised security from the office and residence of the petitioner knowing the fact that he is a constitutional office and he can be removed in the like manner as judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Therefore, AGP Rana prayed to the court that the respondents may be restrained from interfering into the administrative functions of the petitioner as cadre head of PA&AS group of Pakistan and the constitutional powers of the petitioner regarding audit of spending from public accounts & federal consolidated fund may not be interfered. He further requested that federal interior minister may be ordered for providing entitled security to the petitioner.