ISLAMABAD: Former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Zulfi Bukhari left for London a week ago and is likely to fly back to Pakistan on August 2. He flew out on a Virgin Atlantic flight, an informed source told The News.
The source said that before his departure, Zulfi Bukhari celebrated the inquiry report of the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) on the Rawalpindi Ring Road (R3) project with fanfare and fireworks at his Islamabad home, claiming that he had been exonerated in it. However, the ACE refuted this claim.
Since the ACE inquiry made no mention of Bukhari, he read it as his ‘vindication from the false allegation’ levelled in the initial unilateral fact-finding report of Rawalpindi Commissioner Gulzar Shah.
Before his resignation in the wake of the commissioner’s report, Zulfi Bukhari was in charge of the labour and overseas Pakistanis ministry. He had been cited by implication in this report which alleged that he had favoured or tried to favour his relatives by manoeuvring to have the R3 alignment pass through his family lands -- a charge he had denied. However, Zulfi Bukhari’s resignation as the special assistant has never been notified by the cabinet division.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had rebuked the overseas Pakistanis ministry over presenting a proposal to re-appoint a retired grade 21 officer of the Audit and Accounts service as the chairman of the resource-rich Rs350 billion Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI). The source said the proposal was being pushed by Zulfi Bukhari.
For the last two years, Zulfi Bukhari has been actively trying to find an electoral constituency for himself. He had identified NA-55 in Attock district, from where Tahir Sadiq was elected to the National Assembly in 2018, and after the seat was vacated by Sadiq, by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) nominee Malik Sohail Khan in a by-election.
This constituency comprises the tehsils of Jandh, Pindigheb and Fatehjang. Although Zulfi Bukhari’s family belongs to village Kamra in Tehsil Attock, he had started public dealings and political activity in this constituency with a view to contesting the 2023 elections from here.
Editor's Note: Bukhari has clarified that he did not travel to the UK using his Pakistani diplomatic passport, which he still holds (despite his resignation from the cabinet two months earlier) and instead used his British passport for the purpose. An earlier version of this story contained this error, which has since been rectified and is regretted.
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