PAC hit by new AGP

The appointment of Buland Akhtar Rana as the new Auditor-General of Pakistan has moved Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Ch Nisar Ali, to dissolve all PAC’s Special Committees and Sub-Committees on Wednesday. The AGP, head of the Audit Service, belongs to the Audit and Accounts group, which provides officials to both the Auditor-General and to the Accountant-General of Pakistan. The difference is that while the Accountant-General works for the Government of Pakistan, the Auditor-General is supposed to work for Parliament through the PAC. Ch Nisar is thus immediately and intimately concerned with the Auditor-General, whose service has been instrumental in exposing irregularities in government expenditures. Such irregularities have often exposed corruption by government officials.

In his statement, Ch Nisar pointed out that the PAC, a parliamentary institution, could not be subjected to the government’s necessities and agenda. Though Ch Nisar did not mention it, his reference was to the desire of the government to cover corruption committed now. This is the mechanism through which the PAC has deposited, according to Ch Nisar, Rs 115 billion in the national exchequer in the last three years. The objection to Rana Buland Akhtar rests on there being a number of charges against him. Since the government would pursue those charges, there could well be a case of the charges being dropped in exchange for a blind eye to corruption.The government must act both to prove that it is not trying to avoid parliamentary oversight, and that it is not trying to protect any person or actions in particular. If that involves sacrificing an individual official, it must not hesitate. – Nation