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LAHORE: A former official of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) subsidiary has secured his release from the National Accountability Bureau after becoming approver against Syed Asif Hashmi, PPP leader and former chairman of the board, in the 700 illegal appointments case.

The NAB had, on June 7, arrested Khalid Beg, former secretary of the Pakistan Model Educational Institutions Foundation (PMEIF) working under the control of the ETBP for his alleged involvement in the illegal appointments of teachers, clerks and medical staff during 2008-2013 by “misusing of his authority”.

“During interrogation the suspect claimed that all appointments were made by Asif Hashmi and that he only signed appointment letters. Khalid Beg expressed his willingness to become approver against Hashmi,” a NAB official told Dawn on Monday. He said Mr Beg was freed but he would present himself before the NAB whenever he was required in the investigation.

According to the complaint lodged with NAB in 2013, the suspect being public office holder as secretary of the PMEIF signed and issued appointment letters to more than 700 employees who were unlawfully appointed by ignoring all rules and regulations for recruiting employees in ETPB and PMEIF.

Moreover, the NAB said as per PMEIF service rules the executive orders as regards appointments, promotions, transfers, retirement and dismissals for all the PMEIF employees should be made by the secretary of the institution.

Asif Hashmi remained the ETPB chairman between December 2008 and March 2013. Soon after completion of his tenure he left for Dubai

Mr Hashmi told Dawn that he and Mr Beg had followed all legal procedure like advertising the posts and recruiting candidates on merit.

He said when he took over only 800 students studied in ETBP educational institutions. “I doubled the shift there and also opened new schools and colleges that resulted in the increase of number of students to 9,000. The new staff was reacquired to cater to the need of students and new institutions,” he said and asked had those appointments were illegal then why most of them still serving there.

He further said Mr Beg might have become approver against him “under pressure” from someone as the new PML-N administration at the board had been trying its best to find something against him for the last four years.

Mr Hashmi was arrested in April last year by Dubai police’s Interpol wing. The Interpol had acted on the request of the Federal Investigation Agency in the Rs1bn ETPB­-DHA scam.

The Dubai police, however, later released him as the Pakistani government reportedly failed to provide certain legal documents required for supporting the extradition case. Hashmi said no judicial authority in Pakistan had sought his extradition.

The NAB official said it would write to the FIA to renew its efforts to bring Mr Hashmi back to face the cases against him.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2017