ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued its detailed verdict in petitions challenging appointment of Air Martial (rtd) Khalid Chaudhry as Director General (DG), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and delay in completion of New Benazir Bhutto International Air Port at Islamabad. In the detailed judgment, authored by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the court hold that contracts awarded to 17 contractors and their subsequent performance as it has been noted in the Inquiry Report and Audit Report is not transparent and thus militates against fundamental rights of general public/tax payers.
The court maintained that the appointment of Air Martial (retd.) Khalid Chaudhry has been made in a non-transparent manner as well as without strictly following the available law on the subject. “Therefore, the notification of appointment of Air Martial (retd.) Khalid Chaudhry dated 18th July, 2012 is declared illegal, void ab initio and of no legal consequence”, the court maintained. It further added as the appointment of the DG, CAA has been declared void ab initio, illegal being made in non- transparent manner, therefore, the Federal Government is directed to appoint DG, CAA as early as could be possible by following the law and rules on the subject as well as the principles of transparency.
The court observed that the project of the New Benazir Bhutto International Airport Project, Islamabad (NBBIAP), prima facie, suffers from illegalities, irregularities, corruption and corrupt practices and the delay caused in its completion on account of illegal deeds, omissions and commissions of the consultants Louis Burger and all other concerned persons who were responsible for selecting the site, preparing the designs and also awarding contracts to the contractors.
It further stated that the Contractors responsible for the completion of different respective projects except Al-Tariq Pvt. Ltd., prima facie are responsible for causing the delay in the completion of the projects as on account of their such conduct the value/prices of the projects has increased inasmuch as raising its cost from Rs.37 billion to Rs.73 billion. “There is no possibility to complete the project in the near future except a tentative assessment by the respondents that the project may be completed in the year 2014-2015”, it maintained adding therefore, subject to all just exceptions, this case requires a thorough probe on the basis of tentative assessments made in the Committee’s report of Let. Gen. (retd.) Shahid Niaz as well as the audit report prepared by the Auditor General of Pakistan and the stance taken by the Project Director reference to which, with certain exceptions.
The court directed the federal government to take necessary steps to ensure the completion of the project as early as could be possible.