Minister for Information Fawad Hussain on Tuesday made some revelations about the Rawalpindi Ring Road (R3) scandal and said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked to probe the matter after an engineer wrote a letter to him, saying that the alignment of the road had been changed.
After an investigation was launched into the matter, it was revealed that not only the alignment of the road was changed but it had been expanded towards Attock by 29 kilometres, Fawad said.
“The reason for expanding the road was to benefit several housing societies,” said Fawad.
Regarding the alleged involvement of Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari and Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan in influencing the officials to change the design of the project, Fawad said that so far, there is no evidence of the involvement of any minister or adviser in the Rawalpindi Ring Road (R3) project.
He added that Bukhari had tendered his resignation on moral grounds. Both the government functionaries have rejected the accusations, saying they have been “wrongly dragged into the matter.
“All citizens are equal in the eyes of law. Now there will be investigations into all allegations whether these are against opposition leaders, cabinet members, the bureaucracy or any institution,” he said in a series of tweets after the R3 scandal exploded in the media.
Fawad Chauhdry said the principle of ‘answerability’ would be applicable to everyone facing any accusations, adding it was the change in the system that had been promised.
The minister said it was only possible in Imran Khan’s government that the allegations were probed if levelled against whosoever. He said that contrary to that, during the tenures of PML-N and PPP, media had been highlighting wrongdoings loud and clear, but all went unheard.
Now, he said, the PTI government had changed the system as it strongly believed that government officials should have fear of accountability besides influential personalities were also not above the law.
Fawad said the PM was apprised about the matter of the Ring Road project that a 23-kilometre stretch was added in the original alignment to benefit housing societies that led to the additional payment of Rs20 billion on account of land procurement.
Following this, the minister said the Punjab chief minister, as well as Commissioner Rawalpindi, was asked to probe the matter.
According to the initial inquiry, he said, the commissioner confirmed the reports that the former commissioner and some officers were involved in the scandal, suggesting sending the matter to the departments concerned for further investigation.