Retired Major Harris Khan Khattak, the director of Zamung Kor — Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government's "model" home for street children — resigned from his post on Wednesday while levelling allegations of corruption against the institution's board of directors (BoD).
Khattak alleged that the chairman of Zamung Kor’s BoD, Imtiaz Gillani, used school funds to buy a car worth Rs2 million, adding that other members of the board were also involved in embezzlement of the organisation's funds.
According to Khattak, he has informed the KP chief minister of the situation.
Gillani, on the other hand, dismissed the allegations while talking to Dawn and said that all of the organisation’s decisions were taken according to a set procedure. “The car was bought through the board’s approval,” he said, adding that Khattak was “not taking enough interest in the organisation’s affairs”.
PTI says Khattak was 'sacked'
Taking a contrary position, the provincial government said Khattak was sacked on Wednesday evening after being found guilty of embezzlement.
The Planning and Development Board had carried out investigations against Khattak and recommended that the provincial government remove him from his post, a party official told DawnNews.
“Zamung Kor is a historical establishment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for street children. Corrupt practices at any rank in the organization will not be tolerated,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shah Farman said. Farman is also president of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's Peshawar region.
“No compromise is acceptable in regard to the future of the children,” Farman added.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had announced the launch of the first-ever institute for street children in the province in November 2015.
At the time of the launch, the KP government had said that the home would accommodate 1,000 street children and provide them with education, health, recreation, sports, boarding, food, career, psychological counseling and other necessary facilities.
An additional 100 kanals of land had to be acquired by the government to build a sports ground, an auditorium and a cricket academy for the Zamung Kor children.
By May 2016, even though the project wasn't functional, it was surrounded by controversy.
Questions were raised about how the funds were being allocated and spent; meanwhile, activists of children's rights had termed the initiative a ‘vanity project’ by the PTI.
“Provincial governments should consult with child right experts before launching these kinds of projects,” Arshad Mahmood, a child rights activist in Peshawar, had told Dawn.com in 2016.
According to the home's official website, it was formally inaugurated on November 25, 2016.
With additional reporting by Fahad Chaudhry.