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Friday, February 16, 2024

CM Usman Buzdar faces NAB inquiry for awarding projects on favoritism

Usman Buzdar is to face another NAB inquiry for awarding development projects to contractors on favoritism. Earlier the CM was accused of receiving Rs50 million in bribe to get a liquor license issued to a hotel in violation of the law.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has opened another inquiry against Chief Minister (CM) Punjab Usman Buzdar over allegations of awarding development projects to contractors on favoritism, claim reliable sources. As Usman Buzdar faces NAB inquiry, there are speculations about his future as the CM.

The investigation has been kicked-off against CM Usman Buzdar after the bureau received several complaints regarding alleged favoritism in contract awards of development projects.

Sources said that the NAB has sought the record of development projects from the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and other departments. The investigation into the construction of Gateway 2 Lahore at Thokar Niaz Baig is also underway over complaints of an increase in its cost from Rs20.5 million to 80mn.

Earlier on August 12, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had appeared before the NAB in a case pertaining to allegedly receiving Rs50 million in bribe to get a liquor licence issued to a hotel in violation of the law.

CM Buzdar was quizzed by a combined investigation team of the bureau for about one hour and forty minutes. He was handed a 12-page questionnaire to furnish replies with complete details.

It may be noted that, two government officials had shown their consent to become approver against CM Punjab Usman Buzdar in liquor licence case, sources said.

It may be noted that Chairman NAB Justice retired Javed Iqbal vowed across the board accountability and added that NAB does not believe in any discrimination. “Mega corruption cases will be led to their logical end”, he had said and termed corruption a cancer and the biggest obstacle in the development of the country.

Earlier, this year, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had also recorded his statement before the sugar inquiry commission investigating the sugar crisis in Pakistan. The commission was led by FIA Director-General Wajid Zia.

Read More: Has PM Imran decided to replace Usman Buzdar?

Earlier there was news about Buzdar’s bothers’ involvement in corruption across the province. Reliable sources claim that massive scale corruption is taking place in the province under the leadership of the CM. It is yet to be seen how the premier decides to deal with these allegations.

Usman Buzdar faces NAB inquiry: PM’s favorite man?

As the NAB summons CM Buzdar, it is important to recall that last year Usman Buzdar had to face severe criticism after he signed a bill seeking an incredible increase in the salaries of provincial lawmakers. The prime minister not only regretted over the development but also called on Usman Buzdar and reportedly told him to review the bill. The governor was then asked not to sign the bill. According to the details of this bill, the speaker’s monthly salary was increased from Rs37,000 to Rs200,000, while his deputy would receive Rs185,000 instead of Rs35,000. The MPAs, who used to earn Rs18,000, would earn Rs80,000 every month. CM Buzdar’s own salary was increased by Rs59,000.

Prominent political commentator and Editor Fahd Hussain argues that “make no mistake: there is trouble — serious trouble — in Punjab.” Fahd argues that CM Buzdar has little or no control over police and bureaucracy in the province. “This trouble starts with the chief minister’s control, or lack of it, over the running of the province. Yes he travels regularly across the land suspending an odd official here and a random bureaucrat there, but his grip is weak on the affairs of the domain he lords over,” he wrote months ago.

Read More:  After Fawad fiasco, Will Usman Buzdar finally be replaced?

While proposing solutions to ensure better governance in Punjab, Fahd suggests that “now Khan needs to make him (CM Buzdar) un-happen if he wants to return to his original vision. Today Punjab is a mess. Forget competing with Shehbaz; the province is on the brink of a major crisis.”