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September 29, 2015

NAB inquiry against Sardar Idrees adds to PTI woes


September 29, 2015

PESHAWAR: Another Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker will have to face an inquiry as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided that there are enough grounds to probe the role of Sardar Muhammad Idrees in the illegal allotment of plots of land in the Galiyat Development Authority.
The NAB’s executive board meeting recently decided to re-authorize inquiry in the case. As a former provincial minister in the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) government from 2002-2008 when he was associated with Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s JUI-F, Sardar Idrees along with other beneficiaries was blamed for corruption in the allotment of plots of land in the Galiyat Development Authority and causing a loss of Rs1,756 million to the national exchequer.
The Galiyat Development Authority was set up years ago to develop the hilly areas in the picturesque Galiyat area in Abbottabad district. Sardar Idrees belongs to this area and was for the first time elected an MPA from this constituency in the 2002 general election. After the end of the MMA rule, he joined the PPP and is presently associated with the PTI. He had contested and lost the election for the provincial assembly in 2008. However, he managed to win the seat in the 2013 general election. He wasn’t made a minister this time, but was compensated by the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government by making him the chairman of the District Development Advisory Committee for Abbottabad.
The re-authorization of the inquiry by the NAB against Sardar Idrees and others shows that there is enough evidence to further investigate the case. If this inquiry makes headway, Sardar Idrees and his party, PTI, would be in trouble.
The PTI earlier faced a setback when one of its provincial ministers Ziaullah Afridi was arrested by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission on charges of misuse of power and corruption concerning illegal mining and transfers and postings.
Afridi was sacked as minister for mineral development

and later expelled from the PTI. He has been criticizing Chief Minister Pervez Khattak for having a hand in getting him arrested. In retaliation, he accused the chief minister of patronizing those charged with illegal mining.
He also didn’t spare the Ehtesab Commission director general Lt-Gen (Retd) Hamid Khan of showing partiality in his work and showing favour to those close to him or the chief minister.
Afridi also criticized the Inspector General of Police, Nasir Khan Durrani, for failing to take action on the reports made by the mines and mineral development department against influential persons involved in illegal mining.
Ziaullah Afridi’s case has triggered differences in the PTI and caused embarrassment to its leadership. The Sardar Idrees case could create further problems for the PTI.
Earlier, the PTI had sacked its health minister Shaukat Yousafzai and also Yasin Khalil, an adviser to the chief minister, for inefficiency and poor performance.
Critics alleged that one of the reasons action was taken against them was their alleged misuse of power and corruption, but this wasn’t mentioned to avoid causing embarrassment to the PTI and its provincial government.
Yasin Khalil, an MPA from Peshawar district, is once again in trouble along with another Peshawar lawmaker Arif Yousaf and former provincial head of the party, Azam Swati, for violating the party discipline in the recent election for district nazims in the local government system. They have been served show-cause notices and could face tough disciplinary action in the coming days.
A few other serving PTI ministers are also reportedly being investigated for alleged misuse of power and corruption. Both the Ehtesab Commission and the NAB are said to be making inquiries into their role in cases of misuse of authority and also their assets. If they are probed or arrested, the PTI would be in deep trouble and its government would have to face a struggle for survival. Even if the government is able to survive, the PTI’s dependence on its allied parties such as the Jamaat-i-Islami and the Swabi-based Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP) would increase further.
The PTI is already poised to bring back Aftab Sherpao’s Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) into the coalition government to sustain its majority in the provincial assembly and reduce its dependence on the JI and AJIP. This would be comedown for the PTI that it is being forced by circumstances to make an alliance again with the QWP after having earlier pushed it out of the coalition government by sacking the two QWP provincial ministers, Bakht Baidar and Ibrar Hussain Tanoli, on charges of corruption.

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