Fawad hints at more arrests in graft cases

Published October 6, 2018
Min­is­ter for Information Fawad Chaudhry — Photo/File
Min­is­ter for Information Fawad Chaudhry — Photo/File

GUJRAT/LAHORE: Min­is­ter for Information Fawad Chaudhry has hinted at more arrests in corruption cases and said the arrest of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif by the National Accountability Bureau is a “first step” in this regard.

However, he said the arrest of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president had nothing to do with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government as all these cases were filed before the PTI came to power.

Talking to reporters at his native town of Jhelum on Friday, Mr Chaudhry said the PTI government had done only one thing regarding the corruption cases; it had withdrawn all pressures on accountability watchdogs regarding taking legal actions against those charged in the corruption references as earlier there had been pressure by previous governments on these institutions. He said more steps would be taken against corruption and more arrests would be made in the coming days.

Punjab information minister says PML-N president will also face Model Town killings case and Saaf Pani scandal

In Lahore, Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan said that besides the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal housing scam, Shahbaz Sharif would face the Model Town killings case and Saaf Pani project scandal.

He said Saaf Pani project’s core committee members Waseem Ajmal, Ahsan Iqbal’s brother Murtaza Jamal, Zaeem Qadri’s brother Asim Qadri, Qamarul Islam Raja and former CM’s frontman Munir Chaudhry could become approver against Shahbaz Sharif. He said the former chief minister had disbursed taxpayers’ money among his relatives and friends in the name of the Saaf Paani project.

Mr Chohan claimed that the project launched by the Shahbaz Sharif government in 2014 could not provide a single drop of clean water to the people in rural areas till date. He alleged that billions of rupees were embezzled in the project.

He said Mr Sharif had approved the most expensive water filtration system in violation of procurement rules despite the fact that experts had informed him that the stand-alone system was expensive and would cost additional billions of rupees.

However, he said, Mr Sharif had approved the project to favour his close aides. He said Asim Qadri was member of the board of directors despite being in the business of stand-alone system export.

The Punjab information minister said the former chief minister had hired expensive international consultants and offered them millions of rupees, adding that Mr Sharif also squandered public money by sending his favourites to foreign tours for selecting the consultants.

He said that an inquiry committee, headed by CM’s blue-eyed Ahad Cheema, had detected a Rs7 billion corruption against Wasim Ajmal, a member of the core committee of the Saaf Paani project, but the report was pushed under the carpet. Mr Chohan said that even in the hiring of the contractor for the project, the procurement rules were not followed.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2018

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