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Minister’s kin gets key position in agriculture dept

Updated April 22, 2019

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A brother-in-law of Punjab agriculture minister has been posted as chairman of the PAMRA. — Creative Commons
A brother-in-law of Punjab agriculture minister has been posted as chairman of the PAMRA. — Creative Commons

LAHORE: A close relative of the Punjab agriculture minister has been appointed to a key post in the department against the avowed anti-nepotism policy of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Naveed Anwar Bhinder, a brother-in-law of Agriculture Minister Malik Nauman Langrial, has been posted as chairman of the Punjab Agricultural Marketing Regulatory Authority (PAMRA) and a notification to the effect has been issued by the agriculture secretary on April 17, 2019.

Naveed Bhinder is a scion of former senator and ex-Punjab Assembly speaker Chaudhry Anwar Bhinder, head of a known political family of Gujranwala. He had contested and lost 2018 polls as an independent candidate both for a National Assembly (NA-81) and a Punjab Assembly (PP-59) seat. He could secure just 485 and 30 votes, respectively.

He also remained in news during the election times for being a dual nationality holder.

Minister Langrial says Mr Bhinder’s appointment is a decision of the political leadership having nothing to do with someone’s personal liking or disliking.

He says that PAMRA like all other authorities is an independent entity working within its legal jurisdiction.

Samiullah Khan, a leader of the main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), chides the posting terming it conflict of interest as well as nepotism.

“The Punjab government of the PTI is following in the footsteps of the federal government where [adviser to PM on commerce] Razzaq Daud and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd’s chairperson have been appointed though the former’s company is bidding for various government projects, while the latter is a defaulter worth millions of rupees of the very company he is now leading (SNGPL),” says the PML-N MPA.

Pledging to raise the issue from the platform of the Punjab Assembly when its session starts on Monday (today), Mr Khan argues that the Punjab posting is of more concern for the province is ‘leaderless’ as there are “half a dozen chief ministers” working here.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2019