PM Raja Ashraf wants Suddle to probe rental case
09 March, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Friday requested Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take back investigation against him in the rental power projects case from NAB and hand over it to a commission headed by Dr Shoaib Suddle, as the court had done in Arsalan Iftikhar case in the recent past.
In a letter to the chief justice, the prime minister regretted that a an unwarranted and unending smear campaign had been unleashed against him and his family by certain vested interests, which had compelled him to make this request.
Raja said he was writing this letter in his capacity both as a citizen of Pakistan and as prime minister.
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 Honourable Supreme Court to demonstrate publicly that I was not above law. I believe I was duty-bound to assist the Honourable Court in arriving at a fair and just outcome of the proceedings. The Honourable 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 Honourable 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 Honourable Supreme Court, the public at large and even the parties involved. The Honourable 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. Honourable 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 Honourable Supreme Court may like to appoint, to investigate this matter justly, fairly and professionally, and report within a specified timeframe."