LAHORE  -  A three-member bench of the Supreme Court has questioned appointment of former Punjab chief minister Shehbhaz Sharif as member of the board of Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI) among health secretary, president and others.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar hearing the PKLI case on suo motu notice perused the forensic report prepared by an expert, Zuber Kokab, on the Institute. The Bench also saw a video of the substandard construction of the PKLI that showed leakage in the rooftop of the Institute and seepage on the wall when it was only on June 30 last when this state-of-the-art hospital was opened by Shehbaz Sharif.

The chief justice found that no approval was obtained from the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) prior to developing the mega project of PKLI. The Court has called for a detailed report from the Chairman Planning and Development Board.

The advocate general of Punjab and secretary health appeared in court. The Forensic report revealed to the court misappropriation of the funds of the Hospital which combined that said institute. The report showed that the project was originally conceived as costing Rs 12.70billion but its cost soared to over Rs 53 billion with the passage of time. It said that as much as Rs 20billion have been spent on the Project while another Rs33billion were proposed to be allocated in the next Punjab budget which has hitherto to be announced. The expert told the court with pain that the completion date of the entire project was set at December 2017 but the same had as yet not been completed.

During the course proceedings the Court also learnt through the report that former Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, President of the Institute Dr Saeed Akhtar, Health Secretary and others allegedly illegally made members Board of the PLKI that had approved use of huge funds without lawful authority.

The Chief Justice on that questioned under what authority of law the said ones were appointed Members of the PKLI Board. The CJP also questioned the legal authority of the former CM to give the funds. “ The Sultan did what it desired,” he observed while smelling monkey business of billions of rupees in the Project. The CJ observed, misuse of authority floats in the face of every affairs of the Institute.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan wondered how Punjab government delegated its powers to a private company while another member on the Bench, Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed PKLI appears without any law.

Justice Bandial said the court did not want to close down the Hospital and suggested to form an implementation Committee comprising all stake holders and the CEPO in place of present administration of the Hospital.

Orange Line Metro Train case: 

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar here yesterday expressed concerned over delay in completion of Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project in Lahore and sought progress reports from Punjab chief secretary and other authorities concerned.

The chief justice noted that the citizens have suffered much due to construction work of the project and the court cannot tolerate their agony anymore. “This project should now be completed in hours instead of days,” he added.

Chief Justice Nisar was heading a three-judge bench seized with a case regarding contracts of mega projects awarded to a bunch of same companies. Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were other members of the bench.

Earlier, representatives of the contractor companies told the court that 98 per cent work had been completed at package-I of the project, 65 per cent at package-II, 90 per cent at package III and VI.Representative of Habib Constructions stated that more than 90 per cent of work assigned to them had been completed while the rest including lying down of track would be done by Chinese company. Chief Justice Nisar expressed wonder when the company’s representative pointed out that two of the last cheques issued by the government bounced back.

Chief Engineer of the project told the court that the cheques were withheld for the adjustment of advance payment made to the contractors. 

The chief justice directed a provincial law officer to take up the matter with representatives of the new government and sensitize them on the urgency involved in the project. He said the court would not let any contractor abandon the construction work in any case. During the hearing, Justice Bandial observed that the cost of the project would increase if it was further delayed.

Chief Justice Nisar said huge public money involved in the project and it could not be left unattended. He directed the government to resolve monetary issues of the contractors and also work on war footing for the approval of revised PC-I of the project.

The chief justice further ordered the contractors to submit their affidavits about deadline of the completion of the work.

The bench adjourned hearing till Aug 30 and summoned responsible officers of finance department, Nespak and all other departments concerned.