LAHORE – The Punjab government has suspended detained Ahad Cheema from the post of Chief Executive Officer Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Company for three months starting from his date of arrest by the National Accountability Bureau.
The Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) issued a notification in this regard on Friday, implying that Cheema stood suspended from February 22nd.
Cheema, who was arrested regarding the alleged corruption in Ashiana Housing scam served as the Director General of Lahore Development Authority when the scam surfaced.
Ahad Cheema was arrested under NAB ordinance’s schedule-2 as the former LDA boss did not appear before the graft-buster when summoned on January 16.
Prior to the arrest, NAB warned Cheema that action will be taken against him under NAB ordinance if he fails to appear before the institution.
According to the ordinance, the anti-graft watchdog reserves right to change inquiry into an investigation, under which it can arrest the suspect.
The bureau has been conducting an inquiry against the officials of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC), Lahore Casa Developers, Lahore Development Authority and others.
The purpose of Ashiana Housing Scheme – an initiative of the Punjab government – was to provide economical and adequate residential facilities to the people with low-incomes and the government had invested Rs2 billion while acquiring 672 Kanals of land in the Muloani Harlan area near Darbar Baba Noor Shah.
The arrest of Cheema, who is considered a blue-eyed officer of Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif, had led to a protest by the provincial bureaucrats with the Additional Chief Secretary Umer Rasool displaying a ‘No More’ badge.
His wife, Saima Ahad, was Deputy Commissioner Okara at the time of Ahad’s service as LDA chief and is currently posted at the health department.
She is also facing a NAB probe regarding assets beyond means.
Meanwhile, Punjab’s Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah Khan said on Friday that he had no objection over the activism of NAB but hastened to add that his reservations were about the arrest of LDA’s former DG Ahad Khan Cheema.
“NAB must work while following the merit,” said the lawmaker as he spoke to media outside Punjab Assembly.