ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani reportedly granted £40,000 (around Rs6 million) to his principal secretary Kushnood Akhtar Lashari for a ‘medical check-up’ in the United Kingdom, without the recommendation of a medical board.
Besides the large sum of public funds, the former premier also approved ex-Pakistan leave for his principal secretary, sources said.
Lashari is wanted by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) for investigations in the ephedrine drug quota case which also involved Gilani’s younger son Ali Musa. Lashari served as the health secretary in 2010, and the illegal quotas were purportedly approved under his tenure. He was subsequently promoted by the former premier to the post of principal secretary.
A senior official of the Prime Minister Secretariat told the Express Investigation Cell that the former premier approved £40,000 for a medical check-up of Lashari in the first week of June – a few days before the Supreme Court disqualified Gilani as prime minister and dismissed his government following contempt proceedings. The former premier had directed the finance ministry to disburse the money to Lashari immediately. The ministry complied with the orders and the funds were released in two days. Sources said that the ministry did not point out the lack of a formal recommendation of a medical board of senior doctors that is required for disbursing such an amount.
Concerned authorities also did not point out that Lashari never reported any disease that is incurable in Pakistan.
The timing of the approval of Lashari’s leave was already contentious, given that the investigations into the ephedrine case had picked up pace.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2012.
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