Sleepless in Punjab

Punjab government and administration are up in arms against the arrest of former Lahore Development Authority, LDA, director, Ahad Cheema by National Accountability Bureau, NAB. Nab had arrested Ahad over Ashiana Scheme Scandal and also charged him for taking 32 Kanals of land in bribe. Ahad, a 20-grade officer, is currently serving as CEO of Quaid-i-Azam Thermal Power Company (QATPC) owned by the Punjab government.

According to our sources Ahad is the blue-eyed boy of CM Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif. Nicknamed as metro man in bureaucratic circles, Ahad is celebrated for his leadership and resolution in any given job. The chief minister had personally chosen Ahad to oversee and monitor the Lahore Metro Bus System (MBS) project.

According to NAB, Ahad Cheema did not heed the summons issued by the courts and earlier this week, he was handed over to NAB on an 11-day physical remand. This caused protests from the provincial government members who dubbed the arrest illegal. The vigorous protests by the bureaucrats disrupted life in Lahore city as a complete lockdown was observed in the offices of the Punjab Secretariat.

Strongly condemning Ahad’s arrest the cabinet members showed their solidarity with the targeted officers and called the NAB treatment as discriminatory and partial and showed their resolve to take the matter to the federal government.

Truth Tracker learns that Nadir Chattha, another one of Mian Shahbaz’s favourite, DCO Multan was also called in by NAB for investigation over Multan Metro Bus. This news rubs Punjab cabinet and bureaucracy the wrong way.

DMG officers demanded release of Ahad Cheema. They stated that Ahad’s arrest should have been through proper channels and pleaded with the Chief Minister to create a judicial-style special tribunal, consisting of senior bureaucrats, for their constitutional protection and only upon the tribunal’s decision should a civil servant be handed over to NAB or other trial institution.

While the debilitating hue and cry over NAB proceedings has taken significant airtime on media the sources tell us that all this protest has been masterminded by the CM Punjab who would try to avoid any more truths being leaked by further bureaucrats which can land the government into a sticky situation.

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