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Ring Road Scam: PM’s aide Zulfi Bukhari steps down

As the Rawalpindi Ring Road (RRR) project controversy deepens, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari (Zulfi Bukhari) on Monday resigned from his position and Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar rejected giving benefit to a private housing society while offering to quit politics if corruption charges against him in the mega scandal proved.

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

The Rawalpindi ring road was originally designed from Rewat (Radio Station) to Turnol via Murat on GT Road but after realignment, its termination point was changed to Islamabad-Lahore Motorway (M1). The project was conceived during the last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) regime in 2016 and later discussed with the Chinese government as well.

A source said Mr Bukhari on Monday called on Prime Minister Khan who asked him to resign. In a statement, the PM’s aide said he would not join the federal cabinet unless he was declared ‘innocent’.

The fact-finding report accused Mr Bukhari of giving benefits to his relatives, including Tauqeer Shah, former principal staff officer to ex-CM Shehbaz Sharif, in acquisition of their land in Sangjani.

Federal Minister Ghulam Sarwar said that I am with Imran Khan because he is honest, PML gave Pakistan but I am against what PML-N did with Pakistan.

He said that if I left the PPP on the basis of principles, the opposition has the right to go to the NAB or any court for inquiry.

Ghulam Sarwar further said that I have done politics with worship and service, I am ready to inquire about the project and alignment.

He said that after the allegation of the PML-N spokesperson, it was necessary for me to speak. I was angry that the thieves were calling me a thief.

The Federal Minister also said that nowhere in the record that the Ring Road project was approved during his tenure, the Prime Minister approved the connection of Sanjani Islamabad Road.

“All the societies applied as usual and got NOC. There is no land for me or my family in this alignment,” he said.

Ghulam Sarwar said that he was filing defamation suit against 2 persons including Atta Tarar for making allegations.

He said that he had nothing to do with the alignment of Ring Road and this project should be completed.

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