‘Above the law’ Iftikhar Chaudhry seeks Rana Sanaullah help to save his bullet-proof car

By Raza Ruman (Pakdestiny.com) How much more embarrassment former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry will heap as the government petitions in the court to take back his bullet-proof car?

Sources said Iftikhar Chaudhry has asked his relative Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to help him retain the bullet-proof Mercedes as his life will be miserable and at risk without it. “If this guy has a little self-respect he should return the bullet-proof car. Over Rs4 million has been spent on its petrol and maintenance so far and nothing went from his pocket. The PML-N government has spent the amount.”

Although Iftikhar has launched his political party but he still sticks to government perks. He perhaps considers judiciary at his side. Is Iftikhar Ch above the law?

The government has recently approached the attorney general office for exploring the possibility of seeking relief from the Supreme Court as well as taking steps for the early disposal of its intra-court appeal (ICA) against the Jan 15, 2014, Islamabad High Court direction for the provision of a bulletproof official car to former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

Written by the law minister, a letter addressed to Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt also pointed out that the former chief justice had declared himself as a politician after launching the Justice Party of Pakistan.

“Thus, use of the official car and petrol by a politician under the coverage of the high court order has become a serious point of criticism of the government by the public as well as politicians,” the letter added.

A chart was also attached with the letter highlighting a total expenditure of Rs4 million on the luxury Mercedes-Benz since Jan 2014 till Jan 2016, of which Rs3.37 million incurred only on the repair work whereas Rs638,419 on the use of 6,818 litres of gasoline.

The car traveled the most in June 2015 since it consumed 570 litres during that period.

The letter also said the government’s ICA having been fixed for hearing on several dates could not be decided by the high court and was still pending.

The copies of the letter were also submitted to a three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, which asked Deputy Attorney General Sohail Mehmood to assist it in arriving at a decision if the apex court can hear the case when the matter was pending in the high court.

The apex court, which had taken up an appeal of Advocate Riaz Haneef Rahi, against Jan 15, 2014, decision of the high court, also asked the AG to apprise it of the status of the government’s ICA which was pending before the high court.

Riaz Rahi argued that the high court had rejected the plea for the withdrawal of security that included the facility of the bulletproof car from the former chief justice on the grounds that the petitioner was not an aggrieved party. Mr Rahi said the high court also imposed a fine of Rs100,000 on him.

Though the high court dismissed his petition because he had no legal standing, the same court accepted the plea of his opponents for the provision of the same facility to the former chief justice.

Mr Rahi had pleaded in his petition that the withdrawal of security, as well as bulletproof car, was necessary because it would set a precedent for other former chief justices to enjoy the same facility which would put an extra burden on the national exchequer.

On the other hand, the federal government moved the ICA before the high court in Feb 2014 arguing that the Cabinet Division under the special permission of the prime minister had issued the bulletproof car to the former CJP for a period of three months, which expired in April 2014.

The appeal stated that the ownership of the car was with the Cabinet Division but the single bench of the high court neither sought comments from it nor heard the stance of the law ministry before putting the burden of the maintenance on it. – Pakdestiny

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