September 24, 2023

No proof of cabinet members’ involvement in ring road scam yet: Fawad


Islamabad – Staff Reporter:

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary said on Tuesday that no evidence regarding the involvement of any minister or adviser had been found in the Rawalpindi Ring Road (RRR) corruption scandal as of yet.

A top aide of the prime minister stepped down and another cried foul on Monday, hours after the national graft-buster decided to open an inquiry into alleged anomalies in a multimillion-dollar infrastructure project in Rawalpindi in which the pair have been named.

The alignment of the 65-kilometre RRR was illegally changed this year to benefit several private housing projects, according to fact-finding reports which were commissioned to find out alleged illegalities, corruption and conflict of interest in the project.

The opposition demanded action against those who had approved the realignment, saying that neither Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Prime Minister Imran Khan nor the “direct beneficiaries” like Zulfikar Bukhari, the now former special assistant to the prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, and Ghulam Sarwar Khan, the federal aviation minister, should be spared.

The real estate developers who allegedly benefited from the RRR realignment included Nova City, Capital Smart City, New Airport City/Al Asif Housing, Top City, SAS Developers, Blue World and Islamabad Capital Housing Society.

In a series of tweets today, the information minister said that according to the preliminary investigation of the Rawalpindi commissioner, the former commissioner and other officials were involved in the scandal.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan’s accountability policy is obvious that all citizens are equal before the law,” Fawad said.

“In the case of Ring Road project, the prime minister was informed that it was extended by 23 kilometres to benefit the housing societies. With this decision, the government had to pay Rs20 billion for the purchase of additional land.”

He added that investigations would be conducted and the principle of accountability would apply if there were allegations whether they were against the leaders of the opposition, a member of the cabinet, a bureaucrat or any officer of a department.

“This is the change of the system that was promised. The powerful people are not above the law,” the minister added.

Fawad further added that it was only in the government of PM Imran that investigations were conducted when allegations surface.

“This was not the case in the eras of PML-N and the PPP as all the hue and cry of the media used to fall on deaf ears,” the information minister stated.

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