Both contenders for SA speaker tainted by corruption - Pakistan Today

Both contenders for SA speaker tainted by corruption

–Newly-elected Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani has been indicted in three corruption references while his rival, MQM-P’s Javed Hanif is already in jail on graft charges

KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Agha Siraj Durrani has been elected once again as the speaker of the Sindh Assembly for next five years after defeating incarcerated Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) MPA Javed Hanif.

The election for the speaker was held on Wednesday at the Sindh Assembly, with MPA Nadir Magsi as presiding officer. All the elected members of the provincial assembly cast their votes in a secret ballot.

Agha Siraj Durrani, who has been indicted in three corruption references by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), secured 96 votes out of total 158 while Javed Hanif got 59 votes. Three votes were rejected by the presiding officer during the exercise.

It is interesting to note that the election for the slot of Sindh Assembly speaker was between two candidates who are being tried by anti-graft courts for involvement in corruption cases worth billions of rupees.

Durrani has been facing NAB three inquiries simultaneously regarding allegations of accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income, illegal appointments and embezzlement of funds for the construction of MPA Hostel and construction of new Sindh Assembly building.

The runner-up candidate for the Sindh speaker, MQM-P’s Javed Hanif, is a former Karachi Port Trust (KPT) chairman and has been behind bars in NAB cases involving massive corruption.

According to NAB, the former chairman is accused of misuse of power and involvement in illegal appointments in the KPT which cost the national exchequer Rs2.80 billion.

According to a statement released by the bureau, the former chairman appointed 940 employees in his tenure under the guidance of the then-federal shipping and ports minister Babar Ghauri.

Moreover, according to the NAB statement, a number of those recruited were associated with terrorism. Javed Hanif contested elections from MQM-P ticket from PS-95 Karachi.

The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Karachi Bureau.

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