The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday took up some important cases regarding funds used by the Pakistani missions abroad. The Auditor-General office had requested that the audit paras in this connection had been lying unattended for a long period. The biggest issue in question was an amount of Rs. 1.4 billion lying idle at the Pakistani missions abroad.
Secretary Foreign Affairs, Sohail Mehmood told the PAC meeting chaired by Rana Tanvir Hussain that this amount was not used for any gainful purpose despite the existence of regulations that such funds could be invested in different plausible schemes to maintain their money value. He said this money, falling under the head of “surplus funds”, would now be used for investment.
Another case of a loss of Rs. 60 million in hiring residences for ambassadors in Singapore, Sarajevo, and Algiers was also taken by the committee. This loss of funds happened on account of payment made to landlords without the residences being occupied by the Pakistani ambassadors. In this particular case, the appointment of ambassadors was delayed while the residences were kept in hiring.
The residence at Sarajevo was kept in hiring without being occupied for 19 months while those in Singapore and Algiers were kept without occupancy for nine months each.
Explaining the situation, the Secretary said that delay in the appointment of ambassadors was a routine issue but now the government was attentive to this problem, following the audit para enacted on this count.
In response to this audit para, the process of appointment of ambassadors has been expedited while the residences without occupancy have been vacated. The rules have also been changed with respect to hiring residences for the ambassadors appointed abroad.