ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) did not discuss the corruption cases of Punjab Sports and Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan in its last seven Executive Board Meetings (EBMs), The Nation has learnt.

The NAB received complaints against Mashhood for his alleged role in financial irregularities in the Punjab Youth Festival (PYF). Following the complaints, the bureau launched the investigation against the minister. The NAB had also taken the all record relating to the event into custody for a corruption inquiry.

The opposition leaders in Punjab Assembly and senior leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Main Mohammad-ur-Rashid had claimed on the floor of Punjab Assembly that the officials had wasted millions of rupees and paid suspiciously high prices for thousands of chairs and tracksuits for the participants during the PYF.

Rashid had also pointed out that the government had planned to gather 400,000 people to create the world’s largest human flag and bought 200,000 tracksuits to make up the colours. The event was later cancelled and millions of rupees were wasted, he said.

Official sources said that the case against Rana Mashhood was at inquiry stage and NAB has sent him a questionnaire in this regard. They said the bureau will call the minister soon for recording his statement in this case.

NAB is also investigating another corruption case against the provincial minister for taking money from visa consultancy firm owner Asim Malik. Sources said that NAB has sent the video recording to a forensic laboratory and is awaiting report, on which it will take the decision to carry forward the case or drop it.

NAB sources revealed that the national watchdog has tightened its lips about the cases against ruling party lawmakers, especially Rana Mashhood, and even it did not bother to take up the case in EBM.

They said that the inquiries against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, three MPs of ruling party from Gujranwala Division –two MNAs and one MPA, and officials of Metro Bus Lahore have also been under process at NAB Lahore for the last several months but at too sluggish pace.

They said that the NAB radars are only fixed for the corrupt of political parties in Punjab other than PML-N and recently it arrested Pakistan People’s Party leaders and former Pakistan Evacuee Trust Chairman Syed Asif Hashmi from Dubai.

Rana Mashhood had denied the allegations and declared the media reports as conspiracy against him. The minister said all record of Rs400 million spent on the festival had been handed over to the inquiry team. Three other intelligence agencies had also investigated the PYF but found no evidence of any wrongdoing, he claimed. Like his predecessors, Qamar Zaman Chaudhary assumed top slot of NAB with the promise to curb corruption in the country without any discrimination. He seems to be honouring his pledge of across the board accountability in all provinces except Punjab. The chairman is however quite happy with the performance of NAB Lahore as lauds the regional bureau during his every visit to it.

When The Nation contacted the NAB Lahore director general, neither he attended the telephone call of this correspondent nor did he reply the text messages sent on his cell phone.

Talking to The Nation, NAB Spokesman Asim Ali Nawazish said he was not aware of the current situation of these specific cases against Mashhood.