Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar appears before the NAB (National Accountability Bureau) in a case pertaining to allegedly receiving Rs50 million in bribe to get a liquor license issued to a hotel in violation of the law. The CM is appearing before the NAB without being welcomed by his party workers.
بغیر سکیورٹی نہ پروٹوکول نہ قافلہ۔ وزیراعلیٰ پنجاب سردار عثمان بزدار نیب روانہ
صرف ایک گاڑی میں وزیراعلیٰ آفس سے روانہ ہوئے
وزیراعلیٰ عثمان بزدار نیب میں ذاتی حیثیت سے پیش ہو کر اپنا موقف پیش کریں گے pic.twitter.com/DdroBYWX1i
— CM Usman Buzdar Updates (@CHIEF_CHANNEL) August 12, 2020
He turned up at the bureau’s Lahore office to record his statement without any protocol. Usman Buzdar appears before NAB a day after a violent clash between workers of the PML-N and police personnel outside NAB office shortly after the arrival of opposition party’s vice president Maryam Nawaz there in a land acquisition case.
CM Buzdar had announced to appear before the national graft buster alone, in stark contrast to the opposition party that instructed party workers and activists to receive their leader outside NAB office in a show of solidarity.
Last week, NAB issued a call up notice to CM Buzdar, asking him to appear before a combined investigation team on Aug 12 (today) at its Thokar Niazbaig provincial headquarters. He was instructed to bring relevant record regarding approval of the liquor licence.
On Aug 11, violence erupted outside the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office as PML-N workers police contingents clashed shortly after the arrival of Maryam Nawaz there.
Many people, including policemen and NAB officials, were injured and more than 50 were arrested after police fired tear gas when the PML-N workers started pelting them and the NAB office with stones
Case against Usman Buzdar
A private hotel in Lahore had applied to the Excise and Taxation Department for obtaining L-2 Liquor License without firstly obtaining registration and license from the Department of Tourist Services, Punjab under the Pakistan Hotels and Restaurant Act, 1976 and The Rules, 1977 with a 4-5 star rating.
He added that the condition of having of the rating was essential for obtaining the L-2 Liquor License after 2009, CM approved a policy which restricted grant of L-2 Liquor License only to hotels having 4- or 5-star rating.
The source continued that the officers of Excise and Taxation Department granted a licence in 2019 in violation of policy and without registration and license of the hotel from the Department of Tourist Services, Punjab.
PM’s favorite man in Punjab
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.
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.”