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February 18, 2019

Banners appear in Peshawar seeking release of archeology director


February 18, 2019

PESHAWAR: The sympathisers of Dr Abdul Samad, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Director Archeology and Museums who was recently arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on charges of misuse of authority, have started a campaign to demand his release.

Banners have been displayed across the city with the demand seeking release of Dr Abdul Samad, a highly qualified archaeologist. The banners inscribed with Urdu words “Sharam Karo Haya Karo, Dr Abdul Samad Ko Riha Karo” (Have some shame, Release Dr Abdul Samad) were displayed by the Muslim Students Federation. Interestingly, the banners were displayed overnight and there was no mention of the contact number of the organizers. Dr Abdul Samad’s arrest made headlines after the NAB KP produced him handcuffed in the accountability court for obtaining his physical remand.

The counsel for the suspect, Shumail Ahmad Butt, also raised the issue in the court and questioned producing a PhD scholar handcuffed. The issue went viral on the social media and Prime Minister Imran Khan also took its notice. The prime minister tweeted, “The NAB chairman should take action against those in his institution who are responsible for this disgraceful act.” However, the NAB KP managed to get 10 days remand of the director Archeology.

After Prime Minister Imran Khan’s criticism of the treatment meted out to the scholar, the chairman NAB took notice of the issue and directed NAB KP officials to produce the suspect before him along with the relevant record today. In reaction to the campaign launched by the sympathisers of Dr Abdul Samad, the NAB issued a brief of his case. It argued that the campaign has been launched to hinder the efforts to bring the culprits to justice. “The campaigners are adamant on proving the myth that foreign qualified PhDs are not susceptible to any sort of corruption. Any Illegal appointment of any pay-scale is a corruption and cannot be overlooked as per law of the land and in this regard recent referral of several cases of class 4 appointments to NAB KP for investigation by Peshawar High Court proves that violation of rules and procedures is a serious crime,” the NAB KP statement said.

It maintained that the suspect Dr Abdul Samad has not only made several illegal appointments but was also involved in misappropriation of antiques, sculptures and other valuable items of antiquity. It added that the case is being investigated by a team of highly qualified experts associated with NAB. “The accused Dr Abdul Samad remained overall in-charge of the Archeology department for five years. During course of investigations it surfaced that some of the antiques worth billions of dollars in museums are either missing or not as per description available in record which raises serious questions concerning their genuineness. The accused has committed gross violation of laws in issuing NOCs of important archeological sites causing damage to national heritage,” the NAB statement claimed. It pointed out that the accused is allegedly involved in another case of corruption at Heritage Trail being investigated by NAB.

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