Fawad Hassan Fawad granted bail by Lahore High Court

Fawad Hassan Fawad, former Principal Secretary, has finally been granted bail by a two member bench of Lahore High Court. This may mark the end of ordeal for one of the most famous top civil servant of the country. He had served as Principal Secretary to two Prime Ministers of Pakistan - Nawaz Sharif and Khakkan Abbassi. He, liked the former Prime Ministers, was accused of corruption and abuse of public office. He strongly denied the charges.

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Fawad Hassan Fawad, who was the principal secretary to former PM Nawaz Sharif, has finally been released on bail by Lahore High Court two-member bench led by Justice Tariq Abbassi. He had approached the Lahore High Court seeking bail in the corruption cases against him in December 2019.

Fawad Hassan Fawad had named the Ministry of Law and Justice and NAB chairperson as respondents in his petition where he argued that he did not profit from any illegal gains during his employment. He was, according to him, not indicted in any case even after 15 months, it adds.

Fawad had also said that he is very sick and adequate medical facilities are not available in prison, adding that he should be released on bail. His release by Lahore High Court has finally happened in a changed political context in which most accused arrested by NAB have been granted bails.

The more famous politicians now on bail, most on health grounds include former PM Nawaz Sharif, former President Asif Ali Zardari and former Parliamentary Opposition Head, Khurshid Shah. It’s generally believed that era of NAB is coming to an end – after the recent NAB amended Ordinance and the issue of “mega corruption” will now take a back seat in Pakistani politics.

Before joining the Civil Services Academy as Director General, he served as Principal Secretary to two Prime Ministers, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Nawaz Sharif

Fawad Hassan Fawad: a celebrated civil servant

Fawad belongs to the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), formerly referred to as the District Management Group (DMG) and had served as Director General of the Civil Services Academy from 1 June 2018 to 5 July 2018 before his arrest. Before joining the Civil Services Academy as Director General, he served as Principal Secretary to two Prime Ministers, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Nawaz Sharif. Fawad also served as Punjab’s Provincial Secretary for Health, Communication & Works as well as held other portfolios. He had represented Pakistan in a multitude of capacities on foreign missions; including as the Commercial Counsellor of Pakistan to Germany from August 2003 to July 2006.

Fawad, in addition to service in Punjab and centre, had also served in the Government of Baluchistan. He is batchmates with Zafarullah Khan (PAS), Shoaib Mir (former Chairman State Life Pakistan) Sikandar Sultan Raja (PAS) now appointed as Chief Election Commissioner and other senior most civil servants like Tahir Hussain (PAS), Rizwan Ahmed (PAS), Suleman Khan (PSP), Jawad Rafique Malik (PAS) and Allah Dino Khawaja.

Read more: Bureaucrats decide not to defend Fawad Hassan Fawad

Fawad Hassan served from May 1998 to March 1999 and November 1999 to September 2000 as Deputy Secretary and Principal Staff Officer to Chief Secretary Punjab. He served from December 2001 to September 2002 as Additional Secretary, Services and General Administration Department Punjab. He served from April 2008 to November 2008 as Secretary Services and General Administration Punjab. From November 2008 to February 2010 he was Secretary Communication and Works Punjab. From February 2010 to April 2011, he served as Secretary Health Punjab. Fawad was Secretary Excise and Taxation, Punjab from July 2011 to July 2012.

Fawad served as Secretary to Chief Minister Punjab (Implementation), and Punjab from July 2012 to April 2013 – this was the position that subsequently landed him into trouble. Fawad served as Joint Secretary, Economic Affairs Division from April 2013 to June 4, 2013. From July 1994 to March 1997, Fawad Hasan Fawad served as Deputy Commissioner Quetta and Lahore; being the youngest individual to do so in Pakistan’s history. He also served as Principal Staff Officer to Principal Secretary to Prime Minister of Pakistan and Deputy Secretary to Chief Secretary Baluchistan. Earlier, in his career, he had served as Assistant Commissioner in Quetta and Hub from August 1989 to January 1993.

During Nawaz’s period, between 2013 and 2017, he had emerged as the most prominent and powerful civil servant in Pakistan. He was often accused of running the country by opposition and his detractors inside the bureaucracy. He was arrested by NAB in 2018 a while before the elections. Many expected him to become an approver against the Sharif family. However, despite almost 18 months of incarceration nothing like that came to surface.

Cases against Fawad Hassan Fawad

He was arrested in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing case in July 2018 and later, an investigation was started against him in an assets beyond means case. The second reference, which was filed in an accountability court on March 15, accused Fawad of amassing assets worth Rs. 1 billion, including a five kanal plot in Rawalpindi. It says that he is a shareholder of a 15-storey commercial plaza valued at Rs3 billion.

Read more: Can Fawad Hassan Fawad’s arrest become a ‘Panamagate’ for Shahbaz Sharif?

Fawad Hasan Fawad was accused of corruption and misuse of authority by Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Ashiana Housing scam. When he was arrested by NAB on 6 July 2018 in the Ashiana Housing scam criminal investigation, he was sent on fourteen days physical remand by an accountability court in Lahore creating jitters in Pakistan’s bureaucracy for being unprecedented. The main accusation against Fawad Hassan Fawad was that he had directed the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) management to cancel the contract of Ashiana Iqbal without any inquiry.

On the 14th of February, 2019 the Lahore High Court division bench comprising Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan and Justice Mirza Viqas Rauf also granted bail to Fawad (in his capacity as former implementation secretary to the chief minister Punjab) in the Ashiana Housing scam, but denied him bail in another NAB reference relating to assets beyond means. Apparently, now his 18 month long ordeal will finally be over as a result of today’s bail. In Pakistan’s legal history, once an accused is bailed out, it usually marks the end of cases against him.

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