–Transferred deputy commissioner had ordered demolishing filling station belonging to Farah Ahsan’s in-laws
–Punjab CM’s spokesperson denies any political influence, says DC removed over unsatisfactory conduct
LAHORE: The Gujranwala deputy commissioner (DC), who refused to accept his “abrupt” transfer notice, was removed from office over the involvement of Farah Ahsan, a friend of First Lady Bushra Imran, Pakistan Today has learnt.
It was reported on Friday that Gujranwala DC Shoaib Tariq Warraich had declined to leave charge of his office and resisted the government’s action which had been taken on “political grounds”.
Warraich had sent a notice of demolition to an influential politician’s fuel station during an anti-encroachment drive in the district, which led to his transfer, reports had said.
On Monday, sources informed Pakistan Today that the person who had meddled in the affairs of Punjab’s bureaucracy was none other than Farah Ahsan, a close friend of Bushra Bibi.
“Tariq was abruptly asked to leave the charge in a surprise shuffle,” they said.
Speaking of the details of the incident that led to the transfer of the Gujranwala bureaucrat, sources confirmed that Tariq had sent a notice of demolition to a petrol pump on the on the GT [Grand Trunk] Road.
“The fuel station is owned by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and sitting provincial lawmaker Muhammad Iqbal Gujjar, who happens to be Farah’s father-in-law.”
It may be noted that Gujjar also contested for the slot of Punjab Assembly speaker against Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
“Gujjar, an influential Leaguer, reached out to the ruling party through his daughter-in-law and got the civil servant transferred while also saving the petrol pump,” they said.
“Tariq wrote a letter to the Punjab Chief Minister’s Office regarding the fuel station; however, instead of looking into the matter, the CM Office, in response, asked the DC to withdraw his letter and not take any action in this regard.”
Besides restricting action against the petrol pump, the CM office suggested that the DC contacted the Highways Department. “The DC was asked to do so just to keep him busy till his transfer that was inevitable due to the involvement of influential persons belonging to the PTI.”
After the incident, Tariq was removed and a grade-17 officer, Kanwal Batool, was given the additional charge of the district’s DC.
Meanwhile, Tariq has been asked to report to the Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD).
“Iqbal’s fuel station is the only one that has not been removed whereas the other three, located nearby, have been razed down by the authorities,” sources said.
This isn’t the first time that the ruling party has backtracked on its promise of rooting out nepotism and political influence as Farah, who is the wife of Ahsan Jameel Gujjar, was also actively involved in the infamous transfer case of Pakpattan DPO [District Police Officer] Rizwan Gondal, they added.
Ahsan, a respondent in the Supreme Court’s suo motu case pertaining to the DPO’s transfer, had earlier submitted an unconditional apology to the court for his “unwarranted participation” in official matters.
“She [Farah] is very close to Bushra Bibi, whose marriage ceremony with PTI chief Imran Khan also took place at Farah’s residence,” sources said.
Punjab Chief Minister’s spokesperson, on the other hand, denied the claims regarding any political player’s involvement in the removal of the Gujranwala DC and said the government was not satisfied with his performance.
“He [the DC] has been transferred purely on merit as the government was not satisfied with his conduct,” he said in a statement issued here.
During the recent sit-in, a question mark was raised on the performance of Gujranwala DC and a bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) also expressed displeasure over the same, he said.
“Giving any other impression to this transfer will be totally baseless and beyond facts as the Punjab government fully believes in merit and performance.”
Muhammad Iqbal Gujjar’s version will be added as soon as Pakistan Today receives it.