Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Dullah.
Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Dullah.

CHAKWAL: After remaining hidden for more than five months, former member of National Assembly from Chakwal Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Dullah emerged suddenly in a video released on Monday night in which he announced that he was parting ways with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

After his departure only one considerable leader of PTI Ali Nasir Bhatti, who is the district president, remains with the party. At present, he is in hiding.

Mr Dullah was elected MNA from NA-64 (now NA-58) Chakwal on PTI’s ticket and remained in office till the dissolution of Imran Khan government.

In his video statement sent to a few journalists, Mr Dullah condemned the May 9 incident.

“After May 9 events, which I strongly condemn, we have waited for long in the hope that the party’s policy of confrontation with the institutions would be changed, but this could not happen,” he claimed and added that he always did politics to serve the people.

“After consultation with my friends and supporters, we have decided to part ways with PTI,” he announced and vowed that his panel would take part in the upcoming general election as independent.

Mr Dullah remained member of provincial assembly from 2013 to 2018 on the ticket of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).The party had also awarded him ticket in 2018 elections but after the controversial disqualification of PTI’s candidate Sardar Ghulam Abbas for NA-64, Mr Dullah surprised everyone by returning PML-N ticket for Punjab Assembly and clinching PTI’s ticket for the National Assembly.

After the May 9 incident, Mr Dullah was booked, arrested and later released. To save himself from getting arrested again, he went into hiding. On October 25, he was booked on different charges by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE).

According to the First Information Report (a copy of which is available with Dawn) filed by the Circle Officer of ACE Chakwal, Mr Dullah was accused of buying six to seven thousand kanals (750 to 875 acres) land in his native village Dullah and its surroundings. This area falls beside the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway.

The FIR claims that Mr Dullah had prohibited officials of the revenue department that no other person could buy land in that area where mutation of land remained suspended.

The FIR states that this fact needs to be examined whether Mr Dullah deposited the due mutation fee or harmed the public exchequer by concealing the original price of the land. It also claims that Mr Dullah enhanced his “illegal assets” by buying land in other districts as well.

The FIR which was registered after an inquiry was conducted by the ACE, states that Mr Dullah owns a petrol pump in his village but he did not acquire the desired no-objection certificates from different departments which were necessary to establish the petrol pump.

It further adds that Mr Dullah bought land through 48 mutations in Dullah village and the cost of that land is around Rs130 million while he also bought land in neighbouring Neelah village through 33 mutations and the cost of that land is around Rs24 million but he did not deposit the due mutation fee.

He was also accused of occupying five kanals of government land of health department while charge of getting his favourite persons recruited in the class IV jobs was also levelled against him.

Mr Dullah however managed to secure pre-arrest bail.

When contacted, Mr Dullah’s aide Chaudhry Maqsood who answered the call made on Dullah’s mobile number termed all allegations baseless and concocted.

“Sardar Zulfiqar Dullah did not even get his pay as MNA,” he said, adding that they had submitted a detailed response before ACE. “This case is baseless which will end soon,” he said.

Talking to Dawn, ACE Deputy Director Asad Shirazi said the case against Mr Dullah was still going on.

“We are proceeding according to law,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2023

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