Buzdar spent Rs8.6m on 164 helicopter trips in two years, alleges Opp
LAHORE: The Buzdar administration, despite repeated shake-ups in Punjab’s bureaucracy during its two-year rule, is still finding it difficult to deliver in the largest province, says the opposition, while presenting figures regarding the ‘lavish spending’ by the chief minister who had pledged austerity and good governance.
In the last two years, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government changed four chief secretaries and as many inspector general of police, 11 higher education secretaries, seven school and agriculture secretaries, five secretaries of services, food, livestock, environment and transport departments, and four secretaries of cooperative, excise and local body departments in Punjab.
Similarly, the Buzdar administration, which remained dissatisfied with the performance of provincial bureaucracy because of what it calls the PML-N’s ‘deep-rooted’ links in it, also changed four commissioners of the chief minister’s hometown (Dera Ghazi Khan) and Lahore, besides thrice changing the Senior Member of the Board of Revenue (SMBR).
“The Punjab government in two years also changed three information ministers and two NAB-tainted ministers – Aleem Khan and Sabtain Khan – who are on bail, and brought back to the provincial cabinet,” PML-N Punjab information secretary Azma Bokhari told a presser in Model Town here on Thursday. ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD
She said though two other ministers – Samiullah Chaudhry and Asad Khokhar – got the marching order allegedly for their involvement in wheat and Ring Road-II “scandals”, respectively, no legal action had been initiated against them and Usman Buzdar, who was accused of receiving two houses in Lahore DHA from Asad Khokhar forgiving him ministry.
Flanked by PML-N Punjab deputy secretary Awais Leghari, Ms Bokhari said Usman Buzdar made 164 helicopter trips in two years in which 643 other people travelled along with him, costing the exchequer Rs8.6 million.
“Punjab has 36 districts, but Buzdar appointed 54 spokespersons to defend him,” she wondered.
The PML-N leader demanded that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman should summon Usman Buzdar in the wheat and sugar scams.
“The man who is running the province of 110 million on WhatsApp is not eligible and should resign forthwith,” she demanded.
Mr Leghari said Usman Buzdar had brought the province on the verge of collapse. “Imran Khan has said he and Buzdar are still learning,” he added.
He said Fawad Chaudhry claimed that PM Khan neither made money himself, nor allowed others to do so, asking then why his government was reluctant to take action against the“mafia”including Chief Minister Buzdar who was “involved in wheat and sugar scams”.
The opposition is of the view that PM Khan’s backing of Mr Buzdar has brought him on the same page with it (opposition) in demanding disbanding of the NAB.
Imran Khan in a TV interview this week commented on the allegations about CM Buzdar saying: “I had asked the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to check each and every allegation (liquor licence and ring road), that told me none of these is true.”
“This shows that Imran Khan has no trust in the NAB. The opposition has been saying from day one that the NAB is conducting selective accountability against the opposition leaders,” PPP senior leader Chaudhry Manzoor told Dawn.
He said the premier’s statement showed that he had been operating through the IB.
“It is better for Mr Khan to close the NAB if he has to operate through the IB,” Mr Manzoor suggested.