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July 15, 2020

KP govt forms body to probe allegations against Ajmal Wazir


July 15, 2020

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Wednesday formed a three-member inquiry committee to probe the allegations against former adviser to the chief minister on information Ajmal Wazir who was removed on the charges of getting commission from the owner of an advertising agency

The committee would work under Sahibzada Saeed Ahmad, a retired bureaucrat, as its chairman and submit its report in 30 days.

The other two members of the inquiry committee are Mohammad Bashir, a retired district and sessions judge and Tariq Javed, a former deputy inspector general of police.

Chief Minister Mahmood Khan reportedly on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan had removed Ajmal Wazir from his position and ordered an immediate “fact-finding inquiry” into the recently surfaced audio tape.

The audio tape surfaced on Friday in which Ajmal Wazir and another person believed to be owner of an advertising agency were heard discussing a project, its cost and tax on the amount.

Some PTI leaders alleged that in the audio tape, Ajmal Wazir was heard expressing displeasure to pay GST from his share of the alleged commission.

Ajmal Wazir and owner of the advertising agency had denied these allegations, and argued that the conversation was cut and pieced together to give an impression as if they were negotiating a deal.

The opposition parties took the opportunity to settle their score with the PTI government, alleging that the party leadership used to blame leaders of other political parties for corruption, but its senior leaders themselves were found involved in corruption.

However, the PTI leadership argued that unlike other political parties, they didn’t spare a moment to fire their top leaders after being accused of corruption.

“In exercise of the power conferred by section 3(1)(2) of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tribunals of Inquiry Ordinance, 1969, the competent authority is pleased to appoint a Commission of Inquiry of the following under section 4 and sub-sections (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) of section 5 of the Ordinance ibid, in the matter of Ajmal Khan Wazir, ex-Advisor to Chief Minister for Information & Public Relations, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with immediate effect,“ the notification said.

The terms of references of the commission and of the inquiry are “determine the genuineness or otherwise of the audio-clip through forensic analysis and/or other circumstantial corroboration, if any. Examine the procurement(s) being discussed in the audio-clip and undertake a thorough review of process of award and subsequent execution of such procurement(s) to determine wrongdoing(s) and malfeasance therein, if any and the person(s) responsible, if any.

Propose rectifying measure(s) and punitive action(s), if any wrongdoing or malfeasance is established during the probed. Determine the quantum of loss, if any, occasioned to public exchequer.

Make a thorough fact finding probe into other procurement(s) of similar nature, undertaken during the tenure of Ajmal Khan Wazir as Adviser to the Chief Minister for Information and Public Relations Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Systemic analysis of method of procurement(s) and grant of advertisement(s) to eliminate possibility of personal discretion and malfeasance while ensuring transparency and accountability, without compromising maximum value for money.”

After Ajmal Wazir’s removal, the KP government gave the charge of adviser of information and public relations to Kamran Bangash.

Kamran Bangash was already working as special assistant to the chief minister and was holding the portfolio of local government, elections and rural development.

There were reports that a former secretary information and public relations had played a role in recording the audio during an official meeting and the released it with the help of some journalists in Peshawar.

Also, according to sources, Ajmal Wazir had allegedly utilised services of some journalists to defame former information minister Shaukat Yousafzai by constantly writing against him.

Ajmal Wazir was desperately trying to replace Shaukat Yousafzai and he had finally succeeded. Ajmal Wazir was the only unelected person in the KP cabinet.

PTI leadership, particularly Prime Minister Imran Khan had given him extra protocol and respect in the party.

Ajmal Wazir belongs to Shakai valley in South Waziristan district but was raised and educated in Dera Ismail Khan.

He was earlier associated with Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and later developed close ties with PTI chairman Imran Khan.