ISLAMABAD - In a bid to take the bull by the horns, the Public Accounts Committee on Monday issued notices to some mighty institutions, including the Supreme Court, NADRA, National Press Trust, DHA and FWD, asking their heads to direct their representatives to appear before the PAC to clarify audit objections.

All of these institutions have been claiming to have been exempted from all sorts of audits, arguing they were not running on public money.

Public Accounts Committee N Chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan directed the PAC joint secretary to summon heads of these institutions to appear before the PAC to explain why they were reluctant to get their accounts audited by the auditor general of Pakistan.

Following the directions of the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee chairman, the joint secretary summoned the Supreme Court registrar to appear before it on December 14 to clarify audit objections.

The PAC issued similar notices to the heads of NADRA, National Press Trust, DHA, FWD and Agriculture Business Support Fund to appear on December 13 and 14 to explain their position.

Of these institutions, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has been resisting to get its accounts audited by the auditor general of Pakistan since 2006, arguing that the court’s expenses were incurred out of consolidated funds rather than public funds, so he PAC was not authorised to review its accounts.  The PAC issued a fresh notice to the Supreme Court registrar after consulting legal experts, including former presidents of Supreme Court Bar Association, Yasin Azad, Justice (retd) Shabbar Raza Rizvi and Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmood who opined that the Public Accounts Committee could review the accounts of the Supreme Courts and other departments, including NADRA, National Press Trust, Defence Housing Authority and FWD.

In addition, the Ministry of Law and Justice also told the PAC that it was a competent authority to review audit observations in respect of the accounts of the Supreme Court. The committee unanimously decided to summon the SC registrar.

It is not the first time that the PAC has challenged the Supreme Court and other institutions which were reluctant to get their accounts audited despite consuming huge funds from the national exchequer. Former PAC Chairman Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had also written a letter to the Supreme Court registrar to appear before the committee in connection with financial natters.

However, the officials of the Supreme Court never appeared before the committee in this regard. The authorities concerned of the apex court told the PAC that it was the verdict of the full bench of the SC that the court’s expenses were incurred out of consolidated funds rather than public funds, so the PAC was not authorised to review its accounts.