A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Jawwad S Khawaja resumed hearing into the petition regarding the state institutions claiming immunity from the audit of accounts. The most prominent of these is the Defence Housing Authority (DHA). The court directed the DHA to provide the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) with relevant documents for an audit, after initial refusals by DHA.

According to the prosecutor general, DHA allegedly occupied 137 kanals of land of the Punjab government, 64 kanals of which was allotted by former PM Muhammad Khan Junejo for the settlement of katchi abadi residents in Lahore. Since then all requests of cooperation to allow audits of accounts were turned down on the basis of immunity, as DHA is an army institution. The court rightly set this claim straight by quoting the Article 170 (2) of the constitution that all such bodies, which were established by the federal government, shall be subjected to audit.

For decades the Army has had a certain status in Pakistan, that of an institution above common law. It is precisely because of this concept of immunity that army personnel have had the free hand to invest in property and make billions of rupees, all without accountability. DHA was initially meant to be land for families of the martyrs and the disabled of the military but the military has a free hand with everything and officials have took over this prime property, transforming it into a society for the rich and famous (keeping a cut for themselves).

Cases like DHA refusing auditing need to made an example of. For far too long investments in property have been marred with corruption and unaccountability. A message needs to be conveyed to all state institutions that no one is above the law.