ISLAMABAD   -   Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed Monday announced the government is sending five more graft cases against PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif to the high-powered commission probing loans obtained during last 10 years and their utilisation.

The cases are regarding alleged irregularities committed in award of contracts during the tenure of Shehbaz as the Punjab chief minister.

Addressing a news conference along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahazad Akbar here, he said the National Accountability Bureau had already taken up these corruption cases, now “we are also sending these to the commission.”

He said Shehbaz Sharif had issued a notification in 2008 for appointment of Mustafa Kamal, brother of PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, as Chairman of CM’s Horticulture Task Force, whom five contracts were awarded in sheer violation of rules and procedure.

The minister said the contracts included Lahore Metro, Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metro, University of Punjab Gujrat Campus and projects in Liberty market, which were awarded to Mustafa Kamal without floating any tender or bidding process.

Ironically, he said, payment mechanism had also been devised to ensure smooth transfer of money to the front-man in the name of different projects.

Murad said he had already sent two cases of PPP and PML-N leaders to the commission for their alleged embezzlement in National Highway Authority (NHA) projects. 

He said billions of rupees were misappropriated through a contractor in the NHA projects approved for Larkana and Multan during the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government. The contract was awarded to Ashraf Baloch, who was also found  involved in the fake bank account cases.

Whereas, he said, another case had been forwarded against Ahsan Iqbal along with documentary evidences, which showed that the PML-N leader had caused Rs50 billion loss to the national exchequer in the award of Multan-Sukkur road project.

Ahsan Iqbal, he said, signed a memorandum of understanding for the project with a construction company in 2013, which was scheduled to be executed in 2015. Ahsan Iqbal was now claiming that he had signed the MoU on the directives of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, he added.

The minister said both the PPP and the PML-N had signed a ‘charter of dacoity’ to protect each other’s corruption.

Till the recent past leaders of both the parties had been threatening to expose each other’s corruption on floor of the parliament, but they soon opted to keep mum in the name of so-called democracy, he added.

Answering a question, Murad said the NHA had made recoveries of around Rs 7,880 million during the last eight months from various contractors, most of them were nowadays making a hue and cry in the parliament.

He vowed that the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, would continue going after the plunderers of national wealth, and recover each and every looted penny from them.

Murad Saeed regretted that Shehbaz Sharif had declared five private buildings, including Jati Umra, as chief minister’s camp offices after disqualification of Nawaz Sharif to facilitate the convict, putting extra financial burden on the national kitty.

Replying to another question, the minister said the government would recover toll tax along with fine from Maryam Nawaz’s convoy that did not pay toll at motorway the other day enroute Mandi Bahauldin.

Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahazad Akbar said all the opposition parties had a single ‘ideology’ that was how to escape from the ongoing accountability process. “They all have a common theme of loot, plunder, money-laundering and corruption.”

He said in the past, the PPP and the PML-N had been framing corruption cases against each other and sending their opponents behind the bar.

Currently, he said, the whole opposition was in an ‘attacking mood’ as the public wanted to get rid of corrupt elements and the flawed system. With the increased pace of accountability process, the opposition’s agitation would also mount, he added

He said the people had mandated the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for strict accountability of the corrupt and it would not breach that trust.

He said the wrongdoings of previous governments could not be set aside. In developed countries, offenders were apprehended even after the lapse of 50 years.

Shahzad Akbar recalled it were the opposition parties, which had introduced the politics of ‘Changa Manga’ and the culture of corruption in the country and in the process destroyed the state institutions. He cited the audio tape of Justice Qayyum and Shehbaz Sharif, and the PML-N attack on the Supreme Court and its malicious campaign against the judiciary.

He said the apex court had declared them (the PML-N leadership) the Sicilian Mafia that had captured the entire system.

He said the PTI government had made the state institutions independent, which were now working as per rule and law without any political influence.

Shahzad said in the coming days, more corruption cases having documentary evidences about kickbacks and commission would come to surface, reiterating the government’s resolve that no leniency would be shown towards the money launderers and corrupt elements.

Commenting on a recent video aired by Maryam Nawaz, he said the Islamabad High Court should itself investigate the matter as its legality was under question.

 Later, talking to a private news channel, he called the forged video of Justice Arshad Malik another ‘desperate effort’ of PML-N to stain the judiciary of Pakistan.

He said the video should be presented before the court rather in a press conference but masses knew that PML-N was used to do such filthy politics of false allegations.

He added that it was an effort to distract the people’s attention as PML-N did not present any money trail before the National Accountability Bureau.

“I personally prefer judiciary to take up the case to find out the truth and protect the sanctity of judicial system though the government have an authority to form a commission to investigate the issue,” he replied to a question.

If the alleged video would be found bogus, the PML-N’s leadership would be accountable for contempt of court, he said.

A stubborn child (Maryam Nawaz) was conducting the show as it was obvious from the body language of the other members present in the press conference of PML-N on July 6, in Lahore, he added.