NAB opens probe against religious affairs minister

Updated May 20, 2020

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Reference filed against officials of foreign affairs ministry for ‘illegally selling’ embassy building in Jakarta. — AFP/File
Reference filed against officials of foreign affairs ministry for ‘illegally selling’ embassy building in Jakarta. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Nat­ional Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday started process of complaint verification against Minister of Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri for his alleged involvement in renting out a building of his ministry to his alleged business partner in the federal capital.

An informed source told Dawn that NAB took the decision at its Executive Board Meeting (EBM) on a complaint lodged against the minister by someone from his ministry.

A press release issued by the NAB headquarters said: “The EBM authorised conducting of complaint verification against officers/officials and others of the Min­istry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony.”

The source said the NAB believed it was a case of “conflict of interest”.

The meeting also app­roved filing of a reference against some officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for “illegally” selling a building of the Pakistan Embassy in Jakarta and holding separate inquiries against a son of Rukhsana Bangash, political secretary to former president Asif Zardari, and former housing minister Akram Khan Durrani.

Reference filed against officials of foreign affairs ministry for ‘illegally selling’ embassy building in Jakarta

About the selling of the embassy building in Jakarta, NAB had received information that the foreign affairs ministry had been aware of the fraud, but it did not take any action.

NAB is also investigating a similar case of selling of the embassy building in Tokyo.

According to NAB, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs caused heavy losses to the national exchequer by selling the embassy building in Jakarta in violation of rules and regulations and by misusing their authority.

The NAB meeting also authorised an investigation against Arif Ibrahim, senior joint secretary in the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination.

The bureau also approved five inquiries against various people, including Umer Manzoor, son of Rukhsana Bangash, former member of the National Assembly and political secretary to former president Zardari, officers/officials of the Ministry of Housing and Works and others; Syed Akhtar Hussain Rizvi, former secretary of Works, Gilgit-Baltistan, and two separate inquiries against Akram Durrani, former minister for housing and works, officers/officials of the ministry, management and others of job testing services.

The meeting decided to refer the ongoing inquiry against officers/officials and others of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to NAB Rawalpindi for further examination as per law.

Speaking at the meeting, NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal urged media, citizens and officials of all government institutions to play their role in identifying illegal housing societies.

“Media should investigate the legal position of housing societies, whether a housing society has sufficient land on the ground and has a layout plan and NOC approved by the regulator concerned as per law before airing/publishing advertisements of such housing schemes,” he said.

“This is essential as some housing societies exist only on paper and vanish from the market after devouring billions of rupees of innocent people,” the NAB chairman said.

He directed all NAB officers to conduct complaint verification, inquiries and investigations and pursue NAB cases in all accountability courts with complete preparation, including solid and concrete evidence as per law.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2020