NAB summons Shehbaz in Pindi metro bus case

PML-N president to be questioned on 24th for approving contract against RDA rules


​ Our Correspondents August 22, 2021
PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD:

The country’s top anti-graft body has summoned PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif on August 24 in connection with the Rawalpindi Metro Bus project case.

An investigation team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will interrogate the opposition leader in the National Assembly.

NAB has sought details of awarding the contract for the renovation and landscaping of the metro project to PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal’s brother, Mustafa Kamal.

The anti-graft body said the contract was awarded to Kamal on Shehbaz’s approval against the rules of the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA).

In the year 2017, PTI leader Andleeb Abbas under the Freedom of Information Ordinance, 2002 had sought certified information about the award of a contract worth almost half a billion rupees to the then minister’s brother even when his firm was “technically unfit” to execute the project.

The contract, worth Rs448 million, for landscaping and horticulture works along the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project was awarded to Kamal, the owner of the Horti Group.

Iqbal was serving as the minister for planning at the time of the award of the project.

Kamal previously served as the chairman of the Punjab chief minister’s task force on parks and horticulture between September 2008 and June 2009.

He left the post after an inquiry was ordered against him in January 2009 for allegedly “using his office for advancement of his own business”.

Separately, the PML-N president, expressing grave concern and alarm over the mounting circular debt, said the financial burden on the people and the country was increasing every day.

In a statement, Shehbaz questioned the government's management saying it had increased electricity tariffs, cut down subsidy and yet still the circular debt was on the rise.

"How else would you define theft and incompetence? The people are paying record high tariffs and yet the circular debt is shooting through the roof. This report by the energy ministry is a charge sheet against the PTI government,” he added.

He maintained that over the past three years, the circular debt had doubled to Rs2.5 trillion.
“From high transmission losses to revenue collection, the performance of every department of the energy sector is dismal.”

The former Punjab chief minister claimed that the PTI's claims of reducing circular debt to zero by the end of 2020 had also fallen flat on its face.

“Instead the circular debt has increased at a higher pace since 2018. Even after crushing people under additional Rs500 billion, the debt was skyrocketing.”

He claimed that this was the consequence of producing expensive electricity through furnace oil and diesel to benefit “blue-eyed ATMs”.

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