ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan last month sacked and barred from entering the Prime Minister’s Office a close aide after reports by intelligence agencies unearthed his involvement in corrupt practices. 

The decision of his dismissal came in the backdrop of detailed briefings to the prime minister by senior officials hailing from the country’s premier intelligence agencies. In the briefings, documented evidence and phone call recordings were presented before the PM, establishing a direct link of the aide in using his position to get illegal financial gains.  

However, no formal notification of the sacking has been issued yet, and the former aide is hopeful that he can return to the ruling party’s fold despite his current banishment to the power corridors. 

“He had sought bribes from several individuals to approve their deals at various federal ministries. The concerned ministers, however, were entirely unaware of any such dealings,” a senior federal government official said while speaking on condition of anonymity.

The aide worked for several years in the media wing of the ruling party and was given an elevation after the 2018 general elections. 

“The prime minister initially was reluctant to sack him,” the official added. “But the final briefing from the Intelligence Bureau endorsing the previous briefings from the country’s two other intelligence agencies compelled him to take this decision.”

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The Twitter bio still mentions him as a special assistant to the prime minister. Earlier, the former aide had also been given an additional task by the PM to oversee the provincial assembly elections in a province. 

“He used his position by bypassing both the PM House and Ministry of Information to reach out to a few major media houses to help them get government advertisements in return for personal favours.” the official said. 

“He used his influence in the government and the party by promising to award contracts to certain individuals,” a senior PTI official said. “The deals, if materialised, would have caused a huge financial loss to the national exchequer.”

The aide had been accused of drawing salaries simultaneously both from the ruling party and the government position, he held. 

It is not the first time that he was embroiled in accusations of financial malpractices. Back in 2016, he and another influential ruling party figure faced a spate of severe allegations of exerting their party influence in getting a multi-million contract for an advertising firm in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the previous tenure of the PTI-led provincial government. 

Despite repeated attempts, the former aide was not available for comment.

 

(Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud is freelance contributor)