Usman Buzdar Illegal Liquor Licensing Case – Daily Notable
By Our Correspondent
Officials of the country top anti-graft body questioned Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Wednesday in connection with their investigation into the illegal licensing of liquor at a hotel in Lahore.
The combined investigation team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) then directed Buzdar to submit its response to their queries by 18 August. The Punjab Chief Minister reached Thokar Niazbaig Provincial Headquarters of the Anti-Corruption Body without his security motorcade.
A day earlier, the Punjab Chief Minister had said that he would appear before the NAB alone in his personal capacity, as opposed to PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, who had reached the anti-graft office, accompanied by hundreds of militants and supporters who had triggered a clash between the police. Buzdar, who issued a call-up for allegedly receiving Rs50 million to force the tax and excise department to illegally issue a liquor license to a hotel, spent about two hours in the NAB office.
The hotel, which is under construction near Lahore airport, applied for an L-2 liquor license from the Excise and Tax Department.
However, it did not first obtain the 4/5 star rating required by the Pakistan Hotels and Restaurant Act 1976 from the Punjab Tourist Services Department. In 2009, the Chief Minister’s Office issued a policy under which an L-2 liquor license could only issue to hotels with a 4/5 star rating.
However, the Excise and Taxation Department issued a license to a hotel near Lahore airport in 2019. In violation of the 2009 policy, as it did not obtain a 4/5 star rating. From the Provincial Tourist Services Department.
According to NAB sources, the license was issued to the hotel despite a referral by the Excise and Tax Department to the Chief Minister's Office three times, informing Buzdar that the move was in violation of the 2009 policy.
Sources have indicated that the Chief Minister’s office willfully failed to exercise the legal authority. To prevent illegal L-2 licensing from being issued to the hotel despite having knowledge of the sensitivity of the matter.
According to NAB, a sum of Rs50 million given as bribes to grant the license. NAB has also summoned three Punjab PTI legislators to questioned in separate cases. Punjab Labor and Human Resources Minister Ansar Majeed Khan Niazi summoned on 19 August. To investigate illegal appointments and transfers and postings at the Punjab Social Security Agency.
On 13 August and 17 August, MNA Malik Karamat Ali Khokhar. And MPA Ghazanfar Abbas Cheena also summoned to question them for allegedly possessing assets beyond known sources of income. Khokhar asked to provide details of his moveable and immovable assets. Notices have also issued to officials of the Bhakkar Revenue Department other than Cheena.