Following a tussle with the Communications Minister Arbab Alamgir Khan, the National Highway Authority (NHA) chairman was reportedly grilled at the Prime Minister House, The Express Investigation Cell (EIC) has learnt.
According to reliable sources, the tussle started when NHA Chairman Javed Iqbal Awan refused to reinstate a grade-20 officer, Imran Khan Yousafzai, on the minister’s insistence. They maintain Yousafzai’s alleged involvement in corruption worth billions of rupees was the reason for Awan’s refusal to reinstate him.
Differences between Alamgir and Awan peaked last week when the former refused to join a signing ceremony for a multi-billion-dollar contract with a Chinese firm.
Reportedly, the minister made Yousafzai’s reinstatement a condition for joining the ceremony.
Sources say after even that attempt at coercion failed, Alamgir rushed to the PM House to lodge a complaint against the chairman.
The NHA chairman was then summoned to the PM House, where reportedly, he was offered two options for disobeying the minister’s order – either accept a forced leave or spend his last year in service as an officer on special duty (OSD).
According to sources, despite being threatened with severe consequences, the NHA chairman did not yield to pressure and made it clear he would not resort to any illegal act while occupying his post.
They added that he was finally shown the door after he signed an application for a month’s leave. Arbab Alamgir flatly denied he was pressurising Awan into reinstating Yousafzai. He claimed the NHA chairman had overstepped his authority by refusing to obey his orders.
“We (politicians) have a public mandate and can recommend transfers and postings in our ministry… If we can’t even do that, then why are we sitting in this office,” he maintained.
Awan remained mum on the issue when contacted, saying, “Everything is on record and as a senior government official I cannot say anything else.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2012.