Zulfi Bukhari resigns as PM's aide over allegations in Ring Road scam case

Published May 17, 2021
Zulfi Bukhari was appointed as PM Imran Khan's aide in September 2018. — APP/File
Zulfi Bukhari was appointed as PM Imran Khan's aide in September 2018. — APP/File

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari has resigned from his position over the allegations levelled against him in the Rawalpindi Ring Road (RRR) project scam, he announced on Monday.

In a series of tweets, Bukhari said he was stepping down until his name was cleared of "any allegations and media’s obnoxious lies" regarding the case.

He recalled Prime Minister Imran Khan as saying that "if a person has been named rightly or wrongly in any inquiry he should cease to hold any public office till his name has been cleared of charges."

"Owing to the allegations in ongoing Ring Road inquiry I want to set this example by resigning from office until my name is cleared up of any allegations and media’s obnoxious lies," he wrote.

The premier's aide reiterated that he had "nothing to do" with the Ring Road or any other ongoing real estate project. "This time the inquiry should be done by capable personnel, I endorse a judicial inquiry," he said.

"I’m here to stay in Pakistan and stand united with the Prime Minister and his vision," Bukhari, who is a dual British-Pakistani national, stressed. "I sacrificed my life overseas to come and serve my country, I am ready to face any inquiry."

Prime Minister Imran had appointed Bukhari as his special assistant on overseas Pakistanis and human resource development a month after taking office in September 2018. He had the status of a minister of state for his office.

On Saturday, the prime minister ordered a full-fledged inquiry into the RRR project scam after which the Punjab government decided to send the case to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for thorough investigation.

The decisions were taken as two fact-finding reports — one by the Rawalpindi commissioner and the other by the deputy commissioner — landed at the prime minister office, with the second report hinting that the project had been realigned with the approval of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and his finance adviser Dr Salman Shah.

However, the PML-N demanded action against the relevant authorities for approving the ring road’s realignment, asserting that neither Chief Minister Buzdar and Prime Minister Imran nor "direct beneficiaries" such as cabinet members Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Bukhari should be exempted.

PML-N deputy secretary general Attaullah Tarar had alleged that both Bukhari and Khan had received huge financial benefits through the ring road project because their lands were near the project.

It was alleged that the length of the road was increased to give way to housing societies patronised by some local politicians and the original map of the ring road was changed and more new roads were added to it.

However, some sources said there were no changes in the project as the Punjab Public Private Authority under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Buzdar had approved the alignment.

On the other hand, another official of the district administration said some changes were made in the original route approved by the Punjab government. He said a 100-year-old banyan tree in Rawat was used to justify the rerouting of the ring road which was followed by saving of an elected public representative’s land from the route.

Opinion

Story of the last tamarind leaf
Updated 22 Jun 2021

Story of the last tamarind leaf

These journalists speak for all the troubled features of India’s democracy that Mr Modi didn’t tell the G7 about.
Understanding abuse
Updated 22 Jun 2021

Understanding abuse

Condemnations have been rare while there is no debate on the prevalence of such abuse beyond the Mufti Azizur Rehman case.
The roots of hate
Updated 21 Jun 2021

The roots of hate

The reference to being ‘out-populated’ is a popular theme in modern neo-Nazi and white supremacist thought.

Editorial

Describing OBL
22 Jun 2021

Describing OBL

FM Qureshi’s non-committal reply to question about Osama being a terrorist or a martyr has sent the wrong message to the world.
22 Jun 2021

A neglected sector

THE PTI legislators joined forces with opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly the other day to take their own...
22 Jun 2021

Air safari

THE resumption of PIA’s air safari flights to Skardu will hopefully attract international and domestic tourists,...
Poll consensus
Updated 21 Jun 2021

Poll consensus

If the govt is reluctant to take part in an APC on poll reforms, then it must ensure that parliament can be used for this purpose.
21 Jun 2021

Global displacement

THE number of globally displaced persons shared by the UN’s refugee agency in a report released on Friday is...
21 Jun 2021

KP budget

THE KP budget 2021-22 is a sort of please-all document that hands out something to almost everyone in the hope of...