ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-iInsaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has alleged that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has assigned the task of selecting its candidates for the upcoming general elections to the Intelligence Bureau (IB), through its “handpicked” director general Aftab Sultan.
Speaking at a news conference at his Banigala residence on Saturday, the PTI chief accused former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif of using bureaucrats in the Centre and the province as their “front men”, and to protect their alleged corruption. “It is utterly shameful how the bureaucracy has chosen to protest against accountability,” Mr Khan said, referring to a protest by some in Punjab’s bureaucracy over the recent arrest of Ahad Cheema, former director general of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), in a housing scheme scam.
The arrest of Mr Cheema, a grade 20 officer of the Public Administration Service, by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had reportedly drawn sharp protest from certain quarters in the provincial bureaucracy and many senior PML-N leaders and in the Punjab Assembly.
The treasury benches condemned NAB’s action where as the opposition parties had urged the bureaucracy to distance itself from the ongoing tussle between the PML-N and the state institutions. At a news conference in Islamabad on Friday, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Asif Zardari had claimed that a rebellion was afoot in the Punjab’s bureaucracy after the arrest of Mr Cheema.
Mr Khan alleged that while the elder Sharif was using the bureaucracy for corruption at the Centre, his younger brother was doing that at the provincial level. There was a nexus between the protesting bureaucrats and the Sharif family as the latter was now petrified of what Ahad Cheema might say to save himself in NAB custody, Mr Khan said.
“These people who are sitting on top, all their dirty work is done by the bureaucrats at the bottom,” he stated, adding that the apex court had rightly stated that all institutions were being controlled. The PTI chief regretted that banners in support of Ahad Cheema had been put up on the streets in Lahore, making it seem like he was a leader like Nelson Mandela. He alleged that Mr Cheema was Shahbaz Sharif’s front man and was looking after projects worth billions of rupees.
“There are corruption cases worthRs14bn against Ahad Cheema in just one project,” he said, adding that “bureaucracy’s godfather is Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad”.