Zulfi Bukhari resigns as PM’s special assistant over allegations in Rawalpindi Ring Road scandal

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ISLAMABAD – Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari on Monday stepped down over the allegations levelled against him in the Rawalpindi Ring Road (RRR) project scanda.

Bukhari made the announcement on Twitter stating, “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.

“Owing to the allegations in ongoing Ring Road inquiry I want to set this example by resigning from office until my name is cleared up of any allegations and media’s obnoxious lies,” the PM’s aid said.

He reiterated that he had nothing to do with Rawalpindi Ring Road project or any ongoing real estate projects.

“This time the inquiry should be done by capable personnel, I endorse a judicial inquiry,” he said.

“I’m here to stay in Pakistan and stand united with the Prime Minister and his vision. I sacrificed my life overseas to come and serve my country, I am ready to face any inquiry,” he concluded.

 

On Saturday, the prime minister issued an order for an inquiry into the scandal after which the Punjab government decided to send the case to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for further investigation.

NAB Orders Probe into Rawalpindi Ring Road Project

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Javed Iqbal on Monday ordered a thorough inquiry into alleged corruption, irregularities and illegal land requisition in connection with the Rawalpindi Ring Road project.

He has directed the official for conducting an impartial, merit-based and transparent inquiry into the project.

He said that elements involved in the malpractices should be brought to justice.

Fact-Finding Committee’s Report

In April, the prime minister established a fact-finding committee after it had been brought to the notice that due to some changes in the alignment plan of the ring road, the cost of the project had gone up from Rs 40 billion to Rs 65billion.

In the second week of the running month, Special Assistant to CM Punjab, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, unveiled the inquiry report, saying that it has saved the country from losses of billions of ruppes.

The report came just two days before the bidding process was initiated for the significant project.

“It was found that the 65 Km long alignment advertised for bidding was illegally crafted by Muhammad Mahmood Ex-Commissioner and his accomplices with the unlawful help of consultants,” read the report.

Ex-CommissionerMuhammad Mahmood, who was transferred when the scandal surfaced, Ex LAC Waseem Ali Tabish, Ex DD PMU Mr. Abdullah committed incurable illegalities, committed deceit & deception, the report said, adding that they also issued orders without having due authority and committed an abuse of public funds to benefit the Rent-Seeking Syndicate including themselves.

The government has referred their matter to NAB and E&D Proceedings including their suspensions are being initiated.

“NAB is being Asked to inquire Rs. 2.3 Billion spent unlawfully by Ex-Commissioner Mr. Muhammad Mahmood on illegal land acquisition for building R3 centric hype for boosting sales of real-estate connected with him and with powerful public office holders of past and present. Some Housing societies are being inquired for being Benami Fronts of powerful people,” it added.

PML-N’s Allegations

After the report surfaced, PML-N’s leader Attaullah Tarar alleged that Federal Aviation Minister Sarwar Khan and Zulfi Bukhari received financial benefits after the realignment of the project as their lands were close the to new route.

Read more: https://pakobserver.net/well-timed-probe-in-rawalpindi-ring-road-scandal-saves-billions-of-national-exchequer/