Pakistan

LAHORE – Taking precautionary measures to prevent any untoward situation, security of National Accountability Bureau’s Lahore office has been tightened following the arrest of Ahad Cheema, former director general of  Lahore Development Authority (LDA).

Cheema was arrested on Wednesday following the charges of misusing his authority while being in office. The corruption charges say the ex-DG awarded a contract of the Ashiana-e-Iqbal project worth approximately Rs14 billion to Lahore Casa Developers with criminal intentions. He is also accused of receiving the bribe in the form of a 32-Kanal land valuing Rs30.09 million from the owners of Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd.

Ex-LDA DG Ahad Cheema arrested over Ashiana Housing Scheme allotment scandal

According to local media, NAB Chairman Justice (retd)  Javed Iqbal requested the deployment of additional force at the Lahore office. The purpose of enhacing security is to secure record of the corruption cases.

However, additional Rangers personnel have been deployed at the office to control any violent situation.

On Friday, bureaucrats of Punjab went into protest over the arrest of the fellow officer, while an emergency meeting of Punjab Cabinet was also summoned at the Government Officers’ Residences (GOR) in Lahore.

Punjab Civil Secretariat goes into lockdown over Ahad Cheema’s arrest

Over 200 civil servants passed a resolution against the arrest of Cheema and demanded a suo moto on the NAB’ action.

The opposition members in the Punjab Assembly registered their protest over the former DG LDA’s promotion from Grade 19 to Grade 20 and walked out of the assembly after they were not allowed to speak about the matter.

On Thursday, the government officers in Pakistan’s biggest province called for action against the officials of NAB over their alleged misuse of authority and harassment.

The officers, including secretaries, commissioners and inspector general of Police, convened a meeting in Lahore on Thursday, where they threatened to quit office work till the federal and the Punjab government took measures for protection of public servants’ rights.

A resolution, highlighting serious concerns over the harassment and humiliation, was also submitted to CM Shehbaz Sharif.

The resolution states: “The administrative secretaries and divisional commissioners in the Punjab, in a meeting today (Feb 22), have expressed their serious concerns over the harassment and humiliation being meted out to the public servants in the province by brazen misuse of authority and gross abuse of discretion for extraneous considerations by the NAB functionaries in the Punjab.”

“Such uncalled for actions have caused deep anxiety and sense of insecurity among the public servants which is detrimental to the normal government functioning. Federal Government and Punjab Government should take measures for the due protection of the rights and human dignity of the public servants serving in Punjab,” it adds.

The resolution further reads “it must be ensured that the NAB functionaries exercise their powers in a fair, just and transparent manner in public interest and strictly in accordance with law.”

Also, according to the resolution, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, being custodian of fundamental rights, “may take suo motto cognizance of the matter”.

The move follows the arrest of Ahad Cheem over illegal allotment of land for Ashiana Housing Scheme in the Punjab capital.

Established by an ordinance in 1999, the National Accountability Bureau is an autonomous and constitutionally established federal institution responsible to build efforts against corruption and prepare critical national economic intelligence assessments against economic terrorism to the Government of Pakistan.

The anti-corruption watchdog is empowered to undertake any necessary prevention and awareness, in all means, in addition to enforce its operations against the economic terrorism and financial crimes.

With its chief headquarters located in Islamabad, it has four regional offices in the four provinces of the country as well as four capital territories of the country. As of present, the institution is constituted and directed by its current chairman, Justice (r) Javed Iqbal.