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August 1, 2018

Punjab CM: Leg pulling, finger-wagging starts ahead of nomination


August 1, 2018

ISLAMABAD: A very interesting situation is brewing up in the Punjab politics where certain forces and elements are firing on all cylinders to prevent an outspoken MNA/MPA-elect of PTI from Lahore from becoming the chief minister of the Punjab.

Different names from the PTI are being pushed and shuffled around for the top slot [in the Punjab]. Obviously, none has put forth their claims to the slot themselves but different groups and camps are quietly pushing the names of Aleem Khan, Fawad Chaudhry, Maj. Tahir Sadiq and even Dr. Yasmin Rashid for the prestigious office.

Intriguingly, while politicking continues, one candidate being pushed back is Aleem Khan who’s being dubbed the one ‘not having a very clean record’. These efforts and maneuverings are being made and weaved not only from his open opponents, but also there are indicators pointing involvement of his own people around him.

Evidently, a frenzied but suppressed struggle is being launched by a number of aspirants for the top slot in the Punjab in the wake of which such ‘leg-pulling’ or ‘finger-wagging’ was pretty much expected, even amongst friends.

But the most tangible, or one can say, pretty much visible ‘anti campaign’ is going on against Aleem Khan, who is being dubbed ‘NAB zadda’ and against whom certain notices have been served on not only corruption charges but in the land scams as well as for having offshore companies as well.

This reporter contacted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to have information regarding status of cases and inquiries being taken up by the authorities against him. Responding to the queries put up about Aleem Khan, officials concerned in the NAB said that so far no case had been formally registered against him.

“The inquiry we have at hands concerning Aleem Khan is at an early ‘complaint verification’ level. He is not alone in this. We are looking into similar complaints against as many as 435 individuals who own offshore companies and we are still in the process of verifying the allegations leveled in those complaints,” the NAB official said.

Some legal experts were also approached for their opinion whether the complaints or cases under process against Aleem Khan could prevent him from becoming the chief minister. “There could be any number of complaints, cases or notices served against any person, as such things are allowed in our legal system. But till the time the allegations are substantiated, proved correct and a sentence is awarded,” the legal expert said.

He pointed out that they had innumerable cases in which a person had held a public office despite some serious cases of criminal nature or financial crimes were already registered against them and under progress in authorized investigation departments or the courts of law.

“To mention a few, just take the case of former chief minister of the Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif, who is nominated in the most serious criminal case of murder of 14 persons in Model Town massacre and yet he continued in his office till the last day of his tenure.

“Similarly, in the neighborhood we have Narendra Modi, who despite facing serious cases and charges and cases being investigated and heard in the courts of law became the prime minister of India — the world’s largest democracy.

“So, nominating somebody in some case or some department issuing him or her by some criminal investigating agency like the FIA, the NAB, the banking courts, the FBR, the income tax department or the police or any other government department cannot render a person disqualified from holding a public office,” the legal experts stressed.

He said there were hundreds of thousands of cases of corruption, malpractices, embezzlement, abuse of power and some even more serious ones were filed and being heard in different courts of law. They are facing and contesting those allegations and charges against them but they have not been ousted from their positions.

When contacted, Aleem Khan said he had done nothing wrong and all his projects, be those of selling plots to the EOBI, the ‘River Edge Housing Society or the Park View Villas extensions, were in line with the laid-down rules and regulations and nothing illegal had been committed in any of these.

“Everybody knows it well that these cases, charges and complaints against me or the projects I have launched are politically-motivated and the previous government of the PML-N, especially the former speaker of the National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq, were behind all these against me. All these have been cases of ‘political victimization’ and there is no substance in those.

“I have already submitted my submissions to the departments concerned and am ready to present whatever further documents or records are needed, including the records of my off shore company,” Aleem Khan said while talking to The News.

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