KP govt to pardon officials accused of poll rigging: CM’s aide

By Mushtaq Yusufzai
June 13, 2024
Newly appointed Special Assistant to KP CM on Anti-Corruption Brig (retd) Muhammad Musaddiq Abbassi seen in this image. — X/MusaddiqAbbasi8/File

PESHAWAR: After months of hue and cry, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided to pardon all the government officials by citing “Makkah Model” who were allegedly involved in rigging the February 8, 2024 general election.


The revelation came from Brig (retd) Mohammad Mussadiq Abbasi, special assistant to the chief minister on anti-corruption and establishment.

Speaking at a news conference here Wednesday, he said the PTI leadership had approved an amnesty for all those officials who were involved in rigging the February election, and pardoned them through the “Makkah Model.”

Following the election, the PTI leadership had accused certain government and police officials of being involved in the rigging and vowed to bring them to justice.

The PTI leaders had staged several protest demonstrations in Peshawar against the government and police officials after holding them responsible for the losses of the party leaders, including Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Kamran Khan Bangash, Mohammad Aasim, Arbab Jehandad Khan, Mehmood Jan and Hamidul Haq Khan, etc.

After sweeping the election, the PTI leaders decided to get those officials tried by the courts.

However, the government could not transfer a single officer due to unknown reasons.

Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Information and Public Relations Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, when reached, didn’t comment on Brig (retd) Abbasi’s remarks.

Taimur Jhagra was quite active in his campaign against those government officials and had warned of legal action against them but he too avoided comments.

Brig (retd) Abbasi, who was recently added to the cabinet as special assistant to the chief minister for anti-corruption, had, called journalists to express his views over amendments to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law. He had served the NAB for a long time and handled several alleged corruption scandals.

He asked the federal government to disband NAB and send over 8,000 employees home as, according to him, the anti-corruption watchdog would be rendered irrelevant after these amendments.

“These amendments have been tailored to remove the mega corruption cases of certain politicians, particularly the Sharif brothers and their party leaders. The amendments will result in an annual loss of Rs150 billion to the exchequer,” claimed Brig (retd) Abbasi.

After the amendments, he believed, corruption cases worth Rs1100 billion would be washed out, most of them filed against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) leaders.

He spoke about sections of the NAB law and its amendments, claiming the changes would help promote corruption in the government sector.

“No action will be taken against any bureaucrat if there are no assets in his name. Also, no government official will be investigated if less than 100 people lodged complaints against him about any fraudulent activity,” he added.

He alleged that this particular amendment was made to facilitate Khwaja Saad Rafiq of the PMLN. Also, he said a case would become irrelevant if NAB did not frame charges against the accused in six months.

“People involved in white-collar crimes are well connected and they know how to delay the investigation of cases against them,” he felt.

The special assistant said after the amendments, anyone would be able to do corruption of up to Rs500 million, and nobody would bother him.

Brig (retd) Abbasi claimed that anti-money laundering cases had been removed from NAB’s jurisdiction to protect the ruling politicians.

He said these amendments would have a serious impact on the high-profile corruption cases of prominent politicians, including the Sharif family, President Asif Ali Zardari family, former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, PMLN leader and federal minister Ahsan Iqbal, erstwhile prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and several other political figures.

Brig (retd) Abbasi defended NAB during the PTI government and didn’t agree with reports that all the governments had used it against political opponents.

He claimed that during the PTI government, they had recovered Rs480 billion in three years through the NAB, approximately Rs160 billion a year.

When asked about the mega corruption scandals of the PTI leaders in KP and how NAB was forced to stop investigations of those cases, Brig (retd) Abbasi said the investigations were stopped by the courts.

He said that the requirement to disclose sources of income under Section 14 had been abolished, impacting cases like Surrey Mahal, Avenfield and Panama.