ISLAMABAD: Former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique was presented before the Supreme Court on Thursday for hearing of a suo motu case pertaining to the losses incurred by Pakistan Railways during his tenure.
A bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, took up the case.
The PML-N leader, who is in NAB custody on 10-day physical remand, informed the bench that as he received the court summon last night he hired the services of Advocate Kamran Murtaza. He added his lawyer is in Quetta and hence, couldn’t appear before the court today.
To a question when his counsel will be available, he said he didn’t know as he was in NAB custody.
“Khawaja Sahib are you in a hurry,” asked the chief justice to which the PML-N leader replied in the negative.
The bench put off the hearing till Dec 26.
The top court had summoned the PML-N leader, who was arrested in a NAB case on Dec 11, to appear in person on Dec 13 to explain his position with regard to colossal losses the Railways faced during his tenure.
During the previous hearing, the SC was informed that the department suffered losses to the tune of Rs163 billion over the past five years while it yielded a revenue of Rs180bn.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who headed the bench, and Khawaja Saad Rafique had an exchange of heated words.
Rafique initiating his arguments during the proceedings said: “The justice is not being meted out. I didn’t come here to be insulted.” To which, the CJP replied: “No one is insulting you. Come here while keeping your pride at home.”
The top judge continued, “Why is this rage all about? Just answer what you are being asked.”
Did you have a pre-decided thought to commit contempt of court, the CJP questioned. “I came here to get a pat on my back [for my services to the railways], but I get scolded instead,” the former PML-N minister replied.
On April 7, the top judge had taken a suo motu notice of alleged Rs60 billion corruption in the Pakistan Railways. The top judge had also summoned railways minister, secretary and board members along with the audit report.