ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Friday requested the Chief Justice to set up a Commission headed by Dr Shoaib Suddle to investigate the allegations against him in the Rental Power Project case.
In a letter to the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the Prime Minister said he was writing this letter in his capacity both as a citizen of Pakistan and as Prime Minister.The Prime Minister said sometime back he appeared before the Supreme Court to demonstrate publicly that he was not above the law.The Prime Minister regretted that a totally unwarranted and unending smear campaign had been unleashed against him and his family in recent years by certain vested interests, which had compelled him to make this request.
“It is also extremely demeaning for the State particularly when I hold such a high office,” he stated.
The Prime Minister said he considered it expedient to ask to take the case away from NAB and give it to an independent commission in order to effectively deal with the allegation that the government was using its influence on the case.He mentioned that the Supreme Court had also adopted such a course in a recent sensitive case when a one-man commission was constituted under Dr Shoaib Suddle.
Following is the text of the letter:
“I am writing to you in my capacity both as a citizen of Pakistan and as Prime Minister. Throughout my long political career, it has been my endeavour to maintain highest standards of integrity in public service. Yet, in recent years a totally unwarranted and unending smear campaign has been unleashed against me and my family by certain vested interests, which has compelled me to make this request to you.
It is inalienable right of every citizen that no action detrimental to his reputation is taken except in accordance with law, Under the Constitution, not only is dignity of every man inviolable, but all citizens are equal before law and entitled to equal protection of law (Including the law laid down by binding precedent).Some time ago I appeared before the Hon’ble Supreme Court to demonstrate publicly that I was not above law. I believe I was duty-bound to assist the Hon’ble Court in arriving at a fair and just outcome of the proceedings. The Hon’ble Court passed judgment on 30-03-2012, directing NAB to investigate allegations of corruption arising out of the Rental Power Projects (RPPs) case and bring the culprits to justice.
When NAB opened an inquiry, I fully and whole-heartedly cooperated with the investigation team. I had nothing to hide. Nor had I ever acted while dealing with matters falling within my responsibilities except with total honesty and in good faith. The RPPs policy may not have turned out to be as robust and effective as its planners had expected it to be notwithstanding that it was carried out diligently and in good conscience. I acted in the manner I sincerely believed was in the best interest of Pakistan, in order solve the country’s chronic electricity shortage that was afflicting our people and badly damaging our economy.
With the NAB inquiry getting unduly prolonged and mired in all sorts of controversies, I feel hurt when my reputation and that of my family is continually tarnished by subjective perceptions that I was in any way instrumental in not letting NAB conduct its investigations in a dispassionate, objective and credible manner.It is also extremely demeaning for the State particularly when I hold such a high office.More recently, especially following the tragic death of NAB’s Investigation Officer Kamran Faisal, a lingering suspicion has been created that the Government is perhaps exerting undue pressure on NAB in the RPPs case in order to save influential people from possible prosecution.
While I have been asking NAB to act fairly, evenly and justly in every case, as per its mandate, and while I will never allow the RPPs inquiry to be unduly interfered with, under any circumstances, I am conscious that no amount of effort on my part will suffice to change the negative image. Simultaneously, I am aware that the Hon’ble Supreme Court also has, at times, expressed doubts on the competence, fairness and professionalism of NAB.In order to effectively deal with the allegation that the Government is putting pressure on NAB to cause bias to a fair and independent outcome of RPPs inquiry, I consider it expedient that the case be taken away from NAB and given to an Independent Commission that enjoys confidence of both the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the public at large and even the parties involved.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court adopted such a course in a recent sensitive case when a one-man commission was constituted under Dr Shoaib Suddle, Federal Tax Ombudsman. Hon’ble Supreme Court showed confidence in Dr Suddle and I also regard him as an officer with a proven record of competence and impeccable integrity. I believe that with his investigative background/ experience he is the right person to independently and impartially examine this matter, without fear or favour.I therefore request you to establish a Commission headed by Dr Suddle and consisting of any other member(s) the Hon’ble Supreme Court may like to appoint, to investigate this matter justly, fairly and professionally, and report within a specified timeframe.” – APP