ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar on Wednesday arrived in Balakot to review the rehabilitation work for 2005 earthquake survivors.
The top judge stopped over at Mansehra where addressing the district bar, he remarked that there will be no compromise on the provision of human rights to people in Pakistan.
Provision of education and health facilities are among basic rights of people. “It is our responsibility to protect the basic rights of the people,” he said, adding that he heard there were no functional schools and hospitals in Mansehra.
He remarked: “Justice Ejaz Afzal should be given credit for my motivation.”
‘ALLEGED EMBEZZLEMENT OF USD5 BILLION’:
CJP had earlier left for Balakot on an unannounced tour after a suo motu hearing of alleged embezzlement of USD5 billion financial assistance extended by the international community.
The apex court had taken notice on an application of Shahzad Mehmood Qureshi of Mansehra inviting the attention of the court towards the plight of earthquake victims, who are living in the makeshift houses without water facility and improper education arrangements for their children despite the lapse of 13 years.
He also accused Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government of not providing encumbrance free 12,000 kanals of land to the ERRA for initiating development schemes. He added that the authority had not developed any school, college, hospital and other welfare departments in the area.
During the case hearing in Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday, an official of Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) told the court that the organisation is facing difficulty getting ownership of the land. “If we get the ownership then the project will be completed in two years,” the official said.
The top judge remarked that the former finance minister should appear before the court and share details of where the money was spent.
While referring to Finance Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan, the CJP asked him whether the public funds were made a part of national treasury or not?
Khan responded that the funds for development programmes are released on yearly basis.
Chief Justice Nisar then asked him about the funds received from foreign aid after the 2005 earthquake. Khan shared that Pakistan received USD2.89 billion as foreign aid, adding that he doesn’t have the records for funds received within the country.
On this, the ERRA represent said that government released funds worth Rs1.9 billion while donors released Rs100 billion funds. He also shared that ERRA completed 10,563 projects, adding that Rs5.3 billion have been spent in development projects since 2006. “We need additional Rs37 billion for the projects,” he said.
‘SC ESTABLISHES HUMAN RIGHTS CELLS’:
Separately, on Wednesday CJP established two branches of Human Rights Cells at branch registries of SC at Karachi and Lahore and a Minority Wing at Human Rights (HR) Directorate in Islamabad.
Furthermore, human rights applications addressed to Supreme Court have increased reflecting increased public confidence in the apex court due to which CJP upgraded the HR cell of SC as Directorate of Human Rights.