More than a week after his arrest by Ehtesab Commission (EC) over alleged corruption, MPA Ziaullah Afridi has been ousted from his mines and minerals ministry. Adding to his woes, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has also suspended the leader’s basic party membership.
According to a notification issued from the administration department (cabinet wing) late Thursday night, Ziaullah has ceased to hold the portfolio with immediate effect.
“The governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, in exercise of powers conferred upon him under Clause 3 of Article 132 of the Constitution read with clause 1 of Article 105 thereof, is pleased to remove Ziaullah Afridi, minister for mineral development from his office,” read the handout.
The former minister, who was elected to the K-P Assembly from PK-1, Peshawar-I, is currently in custody of the EC. The commission arrested him on July 9 on charges of abusing authority and paving the way for illegal mining and appoints in the department.
Following his arrest, Ziaullah’s supporters took to the streets. Speaking to the media following a court proceeding on July 10, he said he was detained because he opposed Chief Minister Pervez Khattak’s decision to bring Qaumi Watan Party back into the provincial government’s fold.
Ziaullah had said he was being punished for filing cases against “Khattak’s people in various mining-related cases.” He also fired a broadside at the EC and termed it the “Pervez Commission”.
Ziaullah has approached Peshawar High Court which issued a notice to the EC to explain his arrest. The next date of hearing is July 23. “When the detainee was holding the ministry, he ordered to check illegal and irregular mining, and about 350 cases were registered against offenders. The high-ups had threatened him of dire consequences on the issue,” the petition filed in the court reads.
Another notification issued by PTI Central Organiser Jahangir Tareen on Friday morning read: “On the instructions of the chairman, the basic party membership of Ziaullah Afridi is hereby suspended with immediate effect. His basic membership will remain suspended till the decision of the relevant courts.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2015.