NAB awaits reply from Punjab CM Buzdar

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said on Wednesday that Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had not yet submitted a reply in different investigations against him despite serving two notices on him.

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“CM Buzdar has not yet filed a reply with NAB (in different investigations against him). He has been served two notices in this regard,” NAB Lahore Director General Shahzad Saleem said in an informal talk with reporters here. The Punjab government said it would file the reply shortly.

“We will submit a reply to NAB in liquor and properties investigations soon,” Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan responded to query regarding delay on the part of the chief minister in this respect.

Earlier, Mr Buzdar had submitted a ‘short reply’ to NAB and passed the buck of issuing liquor licence to an under-construction hotel in Lahore to the Excise and Taxation Department. But he avoided to reply to most questions of the bureau in the liquor case.

The chief minister is accused of receiving Rs50 million bribe to force the Excise and Taxation Department head to issue a liquor licence to the hotel in question in violation of the law. He is also facing charges of acquiring property, mostly in south Punjab, in the names of his relatives and others and awarding the Gateway-II Thokar Niaz Beg project to his ‘favourite contractor’.

On his appearance before the bureau last month, Mr Buzdar had requested the anti-graft body to give him questions in writing so that he could file a reply.

To a question about summoning of PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz in a land case, the NAB DG said: “We have not decided about it.”

On a lighter note, Mr Saleem said: “Do we have to be welcomed with stones again.”

When asked about the possibility of a NAB inquiry in the wake of a news story about the assets the family of Special Assistant to PM Asim Saleem Bajwa allegedly owns, the DG volleyed back: “Who is this Mr Bajwa that you are talking about?”

In response to another question, Mr Saleem said NAB was going to file a reference against Punjab senior minister Aleem Khan for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income in the accountability court. Mr Khan has been on bail in this case.

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