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KP Minister Ziaullah Afridi, Mehmood Zeb, eight others sent on remand in illegal assets’ case

PESHAWAR: An accountability court on Friday sent KP provincial Minister for Minerals Development Ziaullah Afridi on a 13-day physical remand in the custody of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission (KPEC).

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s former mineral minister Mehmood Zeb and nine others, who were arrested over the illegal allotment of government reservoirs of phosphate in the province were also remanded in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau for 12 days.

PPP’s former provincial minister Mehmood Zeb and the other accused were presented before the accountability court amid strict security measures. NAB officials had requested for a 15-day remand of the suspects on charges of misuse of authority and other corruption charges.

The NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alleges that Mahmood Zeb, who was a leader of PPP and was provincial minister for technical education, industries and mineral department in the previous provincial government, in connivance with the other nine suspects had misused his authority in illegal allotment of 500 acres of proven deposit of phosphate to a female school teacher, Rukhsana Javed, who illegally extracted phosphate in collaboration with the first cousin of the minister Ehtishamul Mulk and jointly caused a loss of Rs360 million to the national exchequer.

The other nine suspects in the case are the then secretary technical education and minerals, Shah Wali Khan; the then additional secretary of the department, Asamtullah Khan Ghandapur, presently serving as commissioner Bannu division; a section officer, Farhad Ali; a deputy director of the department, Khan Badshah; a geologist at the directorate of mines and minerals, Nauroze Khan; a senior inspector of mines presently serving as commissioner mines, Ziarat Khan; the then director licensing of minerals department, Shakirullah; an assistant director (litigation) of mineral department, Pervaiz Khan; and an assistant director, Ehtishamul Mulk.

The NAB said the inquiry revealed that the Sarhad Development Authority held 1200 acres of phosphate reservoirs under the 1985-2005 mining lease.

Meanwhile another accountability court sent KP provincial Minister for Minerals Development Ziaullah Afridi on a 13-day physical remand in the custody of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission (KPEC).

Mr Afridi, who is a leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and MPA from Peshawar, was taken into custody from his residence on Thursday by personnel of the commission which was set up last year by the provincial government through the KPEC Act.

The minister is accused of misusing authority and allowing illegal mining in various areas.

Following Afridi’s arrest on Thursday, PTI Chairman Imran Khan had said that the party’s provincial minister for mines and minerals will have to resign from his post till he clears himself.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Minister for Mines and Minerals Ziaullah Afridi was given in provincial Accountability Commission’s custody on 13-day remand in illegal assets’ case on Friday.

The alleged criminal was presented before the court. The prosecutor said that Afridi has been accused of causing national treasury a loss worth Rs 150 billion. He further accused the minister of carrying out illegal posting and transfers of officials.

While talking to the media after the court’s ruling, Afridi said that he is being targeted for not supporting Qaumi Watan Party (QWP). This is not an accountability commission but “Pervez commission,” he added.

The KP Police barred the minister from talking to the media however, failed to contain his supporters. Afridi’s supporters raised slogans against KP Chief Minister (CM) Pervaiz Khattak.

INP

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