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Noose tightens around two ex-prime ministers

04 April, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Thursday set aside Rs 9.57 billion contract which was awarded to the National Logistics Cell (NLC) for a development scheme in former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf's constituency, Gujjar Khan.

IHC's Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who has written the 46-page judgement, declared the contract as "void, unprecedented, sham, rarity, based on cheating, deception, fraud and nullity in the eyes of law". The court directed that copies of the judgement be sent to NAB chairman for initiation of proceedings against all those involved in the scandal, including the then prime minister, his principal secretary, Ministry of Housing & Works secretary and all the official of Pak PWD who abetted, aided and executed the illegal orders issued on behalf of the then prime minister and officials of the NLC who remained involved in obtaining assigning of work of development projects.

"Copy of this judgement may also be sent to the Chief Election Commissioner, District Returning Officer of W.P.No.3387/2012 45 constituency NA-51, Gujar Khan to appreciate as to whether in the light of the observations made in the judgement, Raja Pervez Ashraf, can be believed as sagacious, righteous, honest, upright, trustworthy and ameen," the high court declared in its judgement.

It must be noted that a construction company had challenged the October 2, 2012 contract, claiming it was awarded to the NLC in violation of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules. The contract was awarded for the construction of the Mandra-Chakwal and Sohawa-Chakwal roads in the former premier's constituency despite the court's stay order.

Separately, the Supreme Court on Wednesday sought para-wise comments and relevant record from the authorities concerned regarding alleged corruption in two mega projects approved during the tenure of two former prime ministers, namely Yousaf Raza Gillani and Raja Pervez Ashraf. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed heard suo motu case of the mega projects approved during the tenure of two ex-premiers. The court directed the authorities concerned to submit para-wise comments and relevant record in the matter by April 10 and adjourned the hearing.

The chief justice took notice of it on a note from the registrar based on media report dated March 31, 2013, that the record of mega projects approved during the tenures of Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf – and former federal minister for petroleum Dr Asim Hussain – is being tampered with due to an apprehension that it might be summoned by the Supreme Court.

It was further stated that for this reason efforts are being made by the bureaucracy to conceal the dubious summaries. The report said that despite a ban Yousaf Raza Gilani granted 450 illegal CNG stations licences in collusion with Tauqir Sadiq, brother-in-law of PPP leader Jahangir Badar, and corruption of billion of rupees was involved in the matter.

Similarly, as per the news item, another scandal of mega corruption is likely to come to surface that Raja Pervez Ashraf had also approved 200 illegal CNG stations licences despite ban; however, instead of implementing the policy OGRA has constituted a Technical Committee for its scrutiny and sought clarification from the Ministry of Petroleum.

Therefore, OGRA has not issued these 200 CNG stations licences so far despite the fact that it is being pressurised for issuance of at least 69 licences out of 200, which belong to relatives/favourites of ex-parliamentarians. Furthermore, the ex-adviser to Petroleum Ministry Dr Asim Hussain and ex-finance minister Saleem H Mandviwala in collusion with each other got one-time approval of the summary to legalise illegal import of 59 containers of CNG cylinders from ECC. Besides this, eight groups of CNG sector are involved in the scandal of import of 42,000 cylinders of CNG. The note of the registrar concluded by stating that the allegations, if proved, will constitute a blatant violation of the government policy and PPRA rules.


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