Raja Parvez Ashraf’s attorney Waseem Sajjad requests for additional time to prepare his submissions as Judges pose tough questions

Waseem Sajjad, counsel for former minister for water and power Raja Parvez Ashraf, found himself in no man’s land when Pakistan Supreme Court’s top judges put forward some tough questions.

Sajjad, seeing that his arguments are not satisfying the bench opted for an easy way out and requested the court to grant him additional time to prepare his submissions. The case was adjourned till Thursday.

The council was being headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The CJ had earlier said that he wanted clean and transparent projects to be carried out in the country and he’ll do everything in his power to
do that.

Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing a petitions filed by Faisal Saleh Hayat (federal minister) and Khawaja Muhammad Asif (MNA of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz group) against the granting of contracts to rental power projects
(RPPs).

The duo had accused, former minister for water and power Raja Parvez Ashraf, of committing irregularities in RPPs.

Sajjad in defence of client divulged that before his Ashraf took charge of the ministry in March 2008, four RPPs were approved in a high-level meeting by PEPCO (Pakistan Electric Power Company).

The attorney further revealed that it was Nepra (National Electric Power Regulatory Authority) who had approved the tariffs and not the former minister who finalized that rates would be close to the electricity tariffs charged
by IPPs (International Power Producers).

Sajjad said, “Planning for 2009 was done in the meeting attended by almost 105 senior officials, including the Nepra chairman.”

Sajjad continued further and said that policy decisions are always made by the prime minister while the job of the minister is to assist him in making guidelines related to his portfolio.

The Attorney was out of words when the CJ asked what relief was given to the peoples after approving high tariffs for RPPs and why did two parliamentarians raised their fingers if things were this vivid. “Is there any example of
a minister being accused by incumbent parliamentarians? Why did your client not take notice of Reshma power plant which was producing 90 MWs instead of 231 MWs as specified in the contract?.”

Prior to CJ’s question Justice Khilji had also inquired from the attorney to bring the policy decision in front of court, which Sajjad was also unable to produce.

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