LAHORE: Coming up with more “evidence” against some members of the federal cabinet allegedly involved in the Rawalpindi Ring Road scam, the opposition PML-N’s senior leadership on Wednesday demanded constitution of a judicial commission comprising apex court judges to probe the matter.
Alleging that Rs40bn corruption had been committed in the ring road project, the PML-N says the Imran Khan government can only prove its impartiality if an independent inquiry by the Supreme Court judges is launched into the scam.
Former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former minister Miftah Ismaeel called on PML-N president and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif here in Model Town and discussed suggestions regarding the forthcoming budget, alleged corruption in different government projects, including the Rawalpindi Ring Road and the unprecedented price hike.
Separately, PML-N Punjab information secretary and lawmaker Azma Bokhari presented what she called evidence of the involvement of some federal cabinet members in the ring road scam, at a presser.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Miftah Ismaeel said: “A judicial commission comprising judges of apex court should be formed to probe into the mega Rawalpindi Ring Road scam. The probe team consisting of bureaucrats is not capable of investigating this matter,” he said and also demanded that the proposed judicial commission should also investigate who had given how much charity to different institutions.
Mr Abbasi, terming the government’s inquiry into the ring road scandal an eyewash, said:”The inquiry is aimed at covering up its crime,” he said. Ms Bokhari said the role of both former adviser to premier Zulfi Bokhari and Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan in the scam was evident. “Zulfi Bokhari’s father and uncle had been involved in human smuggling in 1982. Similarly, an investigation against Bokhari was closed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at the behest of Imran Khan. Federal minister Fawad Chaudhry had claimed that the relatives of Zulfi Bokhari had benefited from the ring road project. The PTI leadership should stop fooling the people as the land worth Rs100,000 was sold [to the government] for Rs3 million,” she said.
The PMLN MPA also alleged that Mr Ghulam Sarwar had helped a housing society, located adjacent to the project, secure a no objection certificate (NOC) from the aviation ministry and also inaugurated the housing societies which benefited from the ring road project.
“Similarly, one of the housing societies that benefited from this scam had also donated Rs20m to Prime Minister Imran Khan,” she alleged and also presented a “documentary evidence” in the presser.
She alleged PM Khan and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar were also directly involved in the scam, daring the NAB chairman to lay hand on all those involved in it. “The NAB chairman is afraid of going after the big fish related to the PTI government,” Ms Bokhari added.
Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari (Zulfi Bukhari) has resigned as former special assistant to prime minister voluntarily “for the sake of a fair probe into the matter”.
However, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar denied giving benefit to a private housing society, while offering to quit politics if corruption charges against him in the mega scandal got proved.
Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2021