NAB summons Buzdar over liquor licence ‘bribe’

Published August 7, 2020
Punjab CM Usman Buzdar received Rs50 million in bribe to forcefully acquire liquor license in violation of law, NAB has alleged. — DawnNewsTV/File
Punjab CM Usman Buzdar received Rs50 million in bribe to forcefully acquire liquor license in violation of law, NAB has alleged. — DawnNewsTV/File

LAHORE: In a significant development, the Nat­ional Accountability Bureau (NAB) has summoned Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Aug 12 for allegedly receiving Rs50 million in bribe to force the Excise and Taxa­tion Department to issue a liquor licence to a hotel in violation of the law.

The ‘beleaguered’ Buzdar recently secured complete support from Prime Minis­ter Imran Khan to continue as the chief executive of Pun­jab amid speculation that he (the PM) is under pre­ssure from different quarters for his ‘complete failure’ to govern the most populated province of the country.

NAB on Thursday issued a call up notice to CM Buzdar, asking him to appear before a combined investigation team on Aug 12 at its Thokar Niazbaig provincial headquarters. He has been asked to bring relevant record regarding approval of the liquor licence to a hotel in violation of the rules/law.

According to sources, the under-construction hotel near Lahore airport had applied to the Excise and Taxation Department for obtaining L-2 liquor licence without first obtaining registration and licence from the Department of Tourist Services, Punjab, under the Pakistan Hotels and Resta­urant Act 1976 and the Rules 1977 with a 4/5 star rating.

They said the condition of 4/5 star rating was essential for obtaining L-2 liquor licence after the chief minister in 2009 approved a policy which restricted grant of L-2 liquor licence only to hotels having 4/5 star rating.

The Excise and Taxation Department granted licence to the hotel in question in 2019 in violation of the CM Policy 2009 and without registration of the hotel from the Department of Tourist Services Punjab, they said.

“The most glaring aspect of this violation is that the Excise and Taxation Department had referred the matter to CM Buzdar terming the approval against the CM Policy 2009 but it (department) was ordered (by the CM office) to issue the licence to the hotel in question whose owner happens to be an influential person,” a source told Dawn.

“Despite having the knowledge about the sensitivity of the matter, as highlighted by the department concerned time and again, the chief minister office willfully failed to exercise lawful authority to prevent the issuance of illegal L-2 licence to the hotel,” he said and also disclosed that a sum of Rs50million had been given to a “relative of Buzdar” to get this job done.

The news about NAB’s summoning Buzdar in a corruption case has generated `excitement’ among the PTI ranks that were earlier involved in the campaign to oust him.

The NAB’s action against a high profile PTI man comes after the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Paragon Housing case in which it observed that “the bureau seems reluctant in proceeding against people on one side of the political divide even in respect of financial scams of massive proportion.”

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2020

Opinion

Farewell Roosevelt Hotel
21 Jan 2021

Farewell Roosevelt Hotel

It is worth noting that massive plans have been upended and assets are now on the verge of being seized.
A horned dilemma
21 Jan 2021

A horned dilemma

Trump would rather ‘reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n’.
Violence & Afghan peace talks
Updated 20 Jan 2021

Violence & Afghan peace talks

Many of those killed in recent weeks have actively been campaigning against rampant violence and rising human rights violations

Editorial

Updated 21 Jan 2021

Agosta kickbacks trial

A POLITICALLY significant trial opened in Paris yesterday. Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur is in the...
Updated 21 Jan 2021

Indian media scandal

Common sense, factual reporting and ethics are all chucked out the window in the maddening race for ratings, influence and power.
21 Jan 2021

Rising food prices

FOOD inflation continues to challenge the resolve of the government to control the prices of essential kitchen items...
Updated 20 Jan 2021

Broadsheet judgement

There are plenty of skeletons in the Broadsheet cupboard and they must be brought out into the open.
20 Jan 2021

Unequal justice

IT seems no one wants to testify against former SSP Malir, Rao Anwar. At least five prosecution witnesses, all ...
20 Jan 2021

Schools reopening

THE disruptive impact of Covid-19 on education will be felt for years to come. For countries like Pakistan, where...