Ajmal Wazir says leaked audio clip was heavily 'edited'

12 Jul 2020

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Wazir claimed he did not have the power over the advertisements for which he was accused of taking commissions. — Photo courtesy Twitter/File
Wazir claimed he did not have the power over the advertisements for which he was accused of taking commissions. — Photo courtesy Twitter/File

Former adviser to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister on Information Ajmal Wazir has said that the leaked audio clip he was reportedly fired over was heavily "edited", laying the blame for it on those who "plotted this third-class act" against him.

Wazir was removed from his position early on Saturday and replaced by Kamran Bangash, who is also the special assistant to the chief minister for local government, elections and rural development. Bangash will hold both portfolios, according to a notification by the provincial government.

The reason behind Wazir's removal is said to be a leaked audio clip and allegations that he received commission from an advertising agency.

"Ajmal Wazir was removed after a leaked audio [clip]," Bangash had confirmed. "Some things have come to light regarding [Wazir] taking commissions from an advertising firm."

In a video message on his Twitter account on Saturday night, Wazir alleged that the leaked audio had taken clips from different meetings and discussions, which were then edited to place the blame on him. "I was in a meeting [...] a clip was taken from there. A discussion was happening in some other place and then cut, cut, cut, [it was taken] out of context.

"You ask me a question, you edit my answer."

Holding up copies of the advertisements, he said that there were three advertisements that were to be given to television channels. He further said that according to the terms of business for the KP government, the minister of the relevant department chairs the steering committee which takes such decisions.

"All three times the advertisements were for the health department. That department is headed by the health minister (Taimur Saleem Jhagra). Other people such as health secretary, DG etc are involved [...] I don't have the power."

Wazir said he had been "working day and night" since the pandemic began for the people of the province. "I did not take any holidays on Eid, I spent it in hospitals and isolation centres. I did not care about my protection or my family's protection but [worked] to protect the lives of the people and ensure the implementation of SOPs."

He said that the matter would be cleared after which he would reveal the names of those who plotted against him. "They couldn't face me so they did something third-class like this."

Wazir said he believed that whoever is accused [of misconduct] or has allegations levelled against him should face them. "This is Prime Minister Imran Khan's vision of accountability for every member of the party. [It will] not happen that we won't be answerable when we are in government."

On Saturday, Wazir was removed from the office under Section 3 of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Advisers and Special Assistants to the Chief Minister (Appointment) Act, 1989.

KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan directed the authorities concerned to initiate an inquiry against the sacked adviser who had assumed charge of his office in March. The chief minister’s secretariat directed Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz to initiate a “fact finding inquiry” against the former adviser, said an official letter.

“The Chief Minister has desired to process a case for fact finding inquiry into recently surfaced audio tape of Ajmal Khan Wazir and the matter may be treated as most important and urgent,” said the letter addressed to the chief secretary.

Wazir, who belongs to South Waziristan tribal district, was initially appointed adviser to the CM on merged tribal districts. Later he was given the portfolio of information and public relations. He had joined the PTI a week before general elections in 2018 after quitting the Pakistan Muslim League (Q).