PM Gilani, don’t appoint a man of doubtful integrity as head of the supreme audit institution – by Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa

The 1973 Constitution seems silent on defining a criterion for appointing an auditor general. Article 168 of the 1973 constitution says that the president shell appoint an auditor general. Article 168(3) says an auditor-general cannot be removed.

Perhaps, Raza Rabbani should have looked beyond just reducing the tenure of the auditor-general from 5 to 4 years and specified a criterion. It seems that the PM secretariat might use the lacunae to appoint a man of dubious character and dual nationality to the position. Although the PM cannot appoint another Auditor-General while the incumbent has not finished his tenure. The law division has already given its ruling in this regard. The incumbent will retire in November 2011.

However, the PM secretariat and the establishment division seem to be earnestly pushing the case for the promotion of one Mr Buland Akhtar Rana, currently appointed as secretary Human Rights, mainly because he is a friend of the prime minister and from his home town of Multan. The gent was charged for sexual harassment the inquiry of which was quashed by the prime minister without taking into account available evidence. A case is already pending in the Supreme Court accusing the PM of trying to appoint Mr Rana as the head of a national institution and promote him to BPS-22 against specified laws.

The report of the ISI dated August 2010, which is attached with the said case in the Supreme Court, describes Rana as a dubious man holding four different passports (3 Pakistani and 1 Canadian) and using 2 national ID cards. Under the rules of the government of Pakistan no civil servant can approach a foreign mission leave alone seek another nationality without prior permission.

In this case, Buland Akhtar Rana holds threemultiple passports and his two ID cards in itself is a criminal activity. Canadian Passport no. is JQ-104864. This he obtained when he was on forced leave during inquiry in the case of sexual harassment. Later, when exonerated by the PM he started a vilification campaign against the lady officer he had harassed and the auditor-general. His Pakistani passports no.s are KB-274440 and KB 274550. Ministry of interior has his record and details of his travels including on his Canadian passport .The same letter also says describes Rana as a man who harasses officers. Just imagine what transparency and accountability would such an appointment bring to Pakistan. We will again be a laughing stock of the world. The head of the supreme audit institution cannot be a man of questionable integrity.

Since the establishment division ruled long ago in another case that an officer cannot attain another nationality, a possible Auditor-General certainly cannot. This is the office responsible for the entire accounts and audit of the government of Pakistan. Worse, once appointed he cannot be removed for the next four years. Is this the future of accountability in the country? And what will be the future of female officers of the department – or does the PM recommend opening up of a brothel in the Audit House on Constitution Avenue? For those who are for improvement of accountability and security of women please stand up and speak before Mr Gillani destroys it completely.

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