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23 August 2019

Gilgit-Baltistan leads the way

ISLAMABAD: A Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan’s official has lost his job in an attempt to expose the corruption and malpractices of the top bureaucracy of his ministry.

Documents available with the News reveal that secretary ministry of Kashmir affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Shahidullah Baig dismissed Haq Nawaz Abbasi, an accounts officer of grade-18, on charges of corruption and misusing his authority and illegal appointments.

Haq Nawaz Abbasi who was posted as accounts officer in the Kashmir Council on May 02, 2013, however within two days of his joining he was sent a bill of Rs10.375 million in the name of session allowance to the employees working in the Kashmir Council. The accounts officer refused to entertain the bill after mentioning that there are a few individuals who are not entitled to the allowance. Upon this his office was sealed and he was threatened by deputy secretary (admin) Hamidul Hassan not to enter the premises of the Kashmir Council.

However during this period the accounts officer reportedly pointed out another alleged embezzlement of about Rs2 million which was drawn and shown as distributed among the high-ups of the ministry.

The Accountant General through his letter brought into the notice of the secretary AJK Council Shahidullah Baig this fraudulent withdrawal of the money. Later during the investigations it was proved that the amount was drawn by one officer and the matter was kept secret from all except four officials from AG staff.

After this whole investigation, the authorities concerned deposited Rs2 million in the national kitty. However, this was the sparking point, which ignited the anger of top bureaucracy.

A day after the AG’s letter landed the said accounts officer was suspended from his job and a charge sheet was issued against him. He was charged with corruption, illegal appointments and misuse of his authority. The ministry appointed an inquiry officer whose name was among the beneficiaries of the embezzled amount.

The Secretary AJK Council issued the dismissal orders of Abbasi without conducting inquiry.Abbasi, sent an appeal to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is also chairman of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Council. But the Prime Minister’s Secretariat referred the appeal to Grievances Cell of Parliament, which sent it to ministry of Kashmir affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan and the ministry referred the appeal to the same person who had initially recommended his dismissal from service.

Secretary Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Shahidullah Baig said that Abbasi was given an opportunity to clear his name he failed to do. He said that he has no personal grudge against anybody and all he did was as per rules and regulations, as the accused had violated the rules and regulations.

Courtesy of the News International