Ring Road scandal: Ghulam Sarwar likely to flee from Pakistan: Sources

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan likely to flee from Pakistan as his name was referenced in the Rawalpindi ring road project scam inquiry report for giving benefit to a housing scheme, sources revealed on Sunday.

According to sources, after Zulfi Bukhari, Ghulam Sarwar Khan has also made preparations to go abroad and he will leave the country as the inquiry on the Rawalpindi Ring Road project scandal deepened.

Sources further said, “Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Zulfi Bukhari are the main characters in the Ring Road project case. Zulfi Bukhari has gone out of the country but now Ghulam Sarwar Khan is also fully prepared to leave the country.”

Sources said that Ghulam Sarwar Khan would have gone by now but due to the death of his brother, he could not go. Sources said that on the third or fourth day of the budget, Ghulam Sarwar Khan and his associates, bureaucrats involved in the scandal are fully prepared to flee from the county, as Prime Minister Imran Khan had more evidence on the case.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari (Zulfi Bukhari) on Saturday had left the country for Dubai days after resigned from his position as his name was referenced in the Ring Road scam inquiry report for giving benefit to a housing scheme.

Bukhari departed for Dubai from Islamabad International Airport (IIA) on a chartered flight on the wee of Saturday. He was accompanied by three other people, while the purpose of the visit is not known.

Rawalpindi ring road Project 

Rawalpindi Ring Road was visualized in 1997, yet for over more than two decades, no government could truly initiate the plan. In 2017, the last ineffective attempt to accomplish the project was made.

The PTI government after coming to power dusted off the plan proposal and started afresh. The proposal was significantly revised and upgraded. The Rawalpindi Ring Road would start from the GT Road near Rawat, and after connecting Lahore-Islamabad and Hakla-DI Khan motorways, would terminate at Sangjani, connecting to Margalla Highway.

Tender for the project

The tender for the project was floated in March 2021 undertaken in public-private partnership mode. However, right before the bid submission time limit, the process was crumbled due to the controversy.

Reports alleged that a whopping Rs25 billion had been included in the scheme cost, while sources disclosed that a new 25km addition to the road had been made to benefit certain political individuals.

Inquiry report and revelations

The fact-finding report that the commissioner had prepared in 10 days stated that some officials of the Rawalpindi division, Punjab were involved in the scandal and some housing societies were benefitted when the alignment of the road was changed.

According to the report, the society owned 970 acres of land however, owner Junaid Chaudhry made 30,000 fake files and sold them in the market. Aviation Minister’s son Mansoor Khan is a partner in this natter. Only one agent earned Rs. 341 million in one month by selling files. The rest can be estimated, the report stated.

It alleged that ex-commissioner retired Capt Mehmood and suspended Land Acquisition commissioner Waseem Tabish wrongly paid Rs2.3 billion in compensation for land acquired in the Attock area.

NAB to probe the scandal

Earlier, PM Imran instructed a full-fledged investigation into the Rawalpindi Ring Road project scandal after which the Punjab authorities decided to send the case to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for a thorough investigation.

Meanwhile, an official statement issued by the NAB headquarters said NAB chairman Javed Iqbal directed Rawalpindi NAB director general to conduct a transparent, merit-based and indiscriminate probe of the Rawalpindi Ring Road project in which billion of rupee corruption, irregularities and illegal land acquisition has been reported. 

Do you want to read authentic news from Pakistan & across the world? So download MM News App Now !