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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Rawalpindi Ring Road inquiry: Is the former commissioner being made a scapegoat?

Inside sources claim that the former commissioner was made a scapegoat in the fight for ascendancy between much bigger players who prefer to operate from behind the scenes.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari has resigned. Although senior officials have denied any involvement, yet some inside sources claim a few bureaucrats are being made scapegoats to protect some big names.

“My Prime Minister has always said 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,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.

The PM’s aide said that owing to the allegations in the ongoing inquiry, he wanted to set an example. “By resigning from office until my name is cleared up of any allegations and media’s obnoxious lies,” he said in another tweet.

He reiterated that he has nothing to do with Ring Road or any ongoing real estate project. “This time the inquiry should be done by capable personnel, I endorse a judicial inquiry,” he added.

Bukhari further said that he’s here to stay in Pakistan and will continue to stand united with Prime Minister Imran Khan and his vision. “I sacrificed my life overseas to come and serve my country, I am ready to face any inquiry.”

PM ordered inquiry

On the last Saturday, PM Imran had ordered a full-fledged inquiry into the Rawalpindi Ring Road (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 a thorough investigation.

Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the alignment of the project was changed on technical grounds; therefore, no one can blame us for political interference in development projects. “If there is any change in the road alignment, it is purely due to technical reasons that can be explained by relevant experts,” he said.

The minister viewed that the inquiry report about the project should be revisited as some members of the investigation committee had attached their separate dissenting notes with it.

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It was reported earlier that the probe into the alleged corruption in the project came under a cloud as two out of three members of the fact-finding committee denied the corruption allegations levelled against sacked Rawalpindi commissioner Muhammad Mehmood.

Former commissioner being made scapegoat?

According to a report in The Express Tribune, the former commissioner was made a scapegoat in the fight for ascendancy between much bigger players who prefer to operate from behind the scenes. The same quarters said the former official was removed without being heard.

It is also learnt that the fact-finding committee also pronounced its decision without giving the former commissioner a chance to be heard.

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The fact-finding panel had termed the land acquisition process illegal and accused the ex-commissioner of purchasing land worth Rs2.3 billion unnecessarily as well as benefitting eight private housing societies owned by influential people.

Both members who opposed the allegations wrote that there was no illegal activity at any stage of the project.

Some analysts also opine that Zulfi Bukhari will soon be given a clean-chit. They believe that this all game is planned and it should not surprise anybody at the end.