Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, quit the post of vice chairman of the Balochistan Investment Board (BIB) on Thursday in the face of growing criticism from opposition parties and the media.
Leading opposition legislators and media circles had raised a red flag on the appointment of the son of the former top judge to the post of vice chairman.
Confirming reports of Dr Arsalan’s resignation, spokesman for the provincial government Jan Buledi said that “it would be incorrect to suggest that he quit his job after Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch demanded his resignation.” Instead, he suggested that Dr Arsalan might have succumbed to public criticism.
The spokesman added that following the resignation, the issue of Dr Arsalan’s appointment should now be considered a “closed chapter”.
However, according to insiders, Dr Arsalan had been asked to resign due to his eagerness in resolving the multi-billion dollar gold and copper project at Reko Deq in Chaghi district of Balochistan.
“Dr Arsalan’s unnecessary interest in Reko Deq gold and copper mines created problems for the provincial government,” said Buledi. “Arsalan had nothing to do with the project,” he added. Buledi admitted that Arsalan’s interest in Reko Deq caused doubts about his designs in government circles.
Welcoming the resignation, spokesman of Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam Fazal (JUI-F) Jan Achakzai said that the Balochistan government had no option but to seek Dr Arsalan’s resignation due to increasing political pressure. He added that the federal government should launch an investigation into the appointment of Dr Arsalan to ensure transparency in governance.
Asad Umar, a leading legislator of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said that a corruption tainted person had been appointed by the Balochistan chief minister against relevant rules and regulations. “It is good that the government has realised its mistake and removed an incompetent person from a highly important position,” Umer added.
Meanwhile, sources revealed that the establishment was also opposed to the appointment of Dr Arsalan and had conveyed its reservations to CM Dr Abdul Malik. However, the appointment became a serious issue for the provincial government after a select group of provincial cabinet members and parliamentarians, including those affiliated with the ruling National Party (NP), raised objections over Dr Arsalan’s appointment and asked the chief minister to reverse his decision. Despite repeated attempts, Dr Arsalan could not be reached for comment.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ