LAHORE  -  Punjab Information Minister Fiaz-ul-Hassan Chohan on Friday alleged that the so-called Khadim-e-Aala disbursed taxpayers' money of Rs 300 billion among his relatives and friends in the name of Saaf Paani project.

Addressing a press conference at the Directorate General Public Relations here on Friday, Chohan said the project started in 2014, but not a single drop of clean water could be provided to the people in four years.

“Ahsan Iqbal’s brother Mujtaba Jamal, Zaeem Qadri’s brother Asim Qadri, Munir Chaudhry and Qamarul Islam Raja were accomplices in the scam and that is why they prayed for Shehbaz Sharif's wellbeing,” he said.

Chohan said that Saaf Paani Company was established in 2014 with a view to providing clean drinking water in rural areas and with an initial cost of Rs 300 billion, he said, adding that this project was to be completed in April 2018, but even after four years and embezzlement of billions of rupees, the project could not provide a drop of clean water to the people of rural areas.

He said Shehbaz Sharif approved the most expensive water filtration system in violation of PPRA rules, despite the fact that experts had opined that Stand Alone System was expensive and it will cost additional billions of rupees. But Shehbaz Sharif approved the expensive project to favour his close aides that is why Asim Qadri, brother of Zaeem Qadri, was member of the Board of Directors and he was in the business of Stand Alone System import. “That is how Khadim-e-Ala laid the foundation of the scam by approving the project with deceit to distribute billions of rupees to his aides,” the minister said, adding that Shehbaz Sharif hired the most expensive international consultant and awarded him millions of rupees who had never gone to a college in the country. He said Khadim-e-Ala caused a loss of millions of rupees to the national exchequer by sending his favourites on foreign tours for selecting the consultant.

The minister said that in 2016 an inquiry committee was constituted against Wasim Ajmal a member of the core committee of the project, which was headed by the most corrupt LDA ex-DG Ahad Cheema who pointed out Rs 7 billion corruption in the project. But later the report was hushed under the table, he added.

Chohan said that PPRA and other rules were not even followed for the hiring of the contractor of the project and Mujtaba Jamal, brother of Prof Ahsan Iqbal, was appointed the first board chairman of the project.

He said Shehbaz Sharif’s frontman Munir Chaudhry and MPA from Rawalpindi Raja Qamarul Islam were also appointed for the project for embezzlement. He further disclosed that the contract was given to a foreign company in violation of PPRA rules and the project was further divided into two categories, PSP North and PSP South for the purpose of adjusting his blue-eyed bureaucrats in the project and awarded them high salaries so that they could work on his whims.

“It is on record in the minutes of all the meetings of the project that Shehbaz Sharif directed that no contract, transfer/posting would be made without his prior approval.”

The minister said that national resources were plundered and 300 billion rupees of the public were embezzled in the project. This is way Shehbaz Sharif is in NAB custody now, he concluded.