LAHORE – Former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif reached Supreme Court’s Lahore registry as Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar summoned him in a case pertaining to alleged corruption in 56 public sector companies of Punjab on Sunday.
A two-member bench of the apex court’s Lahore Registry, headed by the CJP, resumed hearing the suo motu case earlier today morning.
Asked by the top judge to explain how government officials were “hired on such high salaries”, Shehbaz told the bench that it was not the first time such companies had been formed; in fact, such companies had existed before as well.
The president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) then asked the top court to allow him a chance to submit his response in the case.
Chief Justice Nisar questioned under which law were the officers receiving salaries in millions. “What promise to the public have you fulfilled?” CJP inquired.
To this, Shehbaz responded that he had saved Rs160 billion of public money. “Hang me if corruption of a single penny against me is proven,” he said.
Earlier, the attorney general Punjab told the apex court that Shehbaz did not have any role in the companies. To this, Chief Justice Nisar remarked that no activity had taken place [in Punjab] without Shehbaz’s consent.
The court also ordered National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to estimate the wealth of chief executive officers of six companies.
“Please investigate how much property these officials own, so that nation’s money can be returned to it,” Chief Justice Nisar asserted.
On April 28, the Supreme Court had ordered the heads of 56 public companies, which are being investigated in a corruption probe, to draw salaries as per their pay scale.
Chief Justice Nisar had remarked that the heads of the companies must draw salaries as per their respective civil servant roles, adding that the heads should return the amount which was more than their original pay scale.
“The companies were made to award relatives,” the CJP had observed. “Billions of rupees were spent but there is not a single drop of water available for people. We won’t allow any person to use tax money.”