The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has summoned Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on August 12 for questioning as he allegedly received millions of rupees in bribe to issue a liquor license to a hotel.
As per the accusation, Buzdar allegedly received Rs. 50 million from the hotel owner and forced the Excise and Taxation Department to issue his hotel a license to sell liquor.
Usman Buzdar is often criticized by multiple notable people for his ‘inability’ to govern the country’s most populated province. He was recently accused of systematic corruption from a renowned news anchor who claimed to have all the proof against him. Buzdar in return filed a defamation suit against him.
He now faces another fiasco as the accountability watchdog wants the chief minister to appear before a joint investigation team at its provincial headquarter near Thokar Niaz Baig. CM Buzdar has been asked to come with the relevant record of approval of the liquor license.
As per sources familiar with the development, an under-construction hotel near the Lahore airport had applied for an L-2 liquor license without fulfilling the pre-requisites. As per CM Policy 2009, the hotel requires registration and license from the Department of Tourist Services Punjab, under the Pakistan Hotels and Restaurant Act 1976 and the Rules 1977, with a 4/5 star rating. As it did not meet the required criteria, the Excise Department turned down the request.
A few months later, it was revealed that the Excise Department had granted the license to the hotel going against the CM Policy 2009.
The most glaring aspect of this violation is that the Excise and Taxation Department had referred the matter to CM Buzdar terming the approval against the CM Policy 2009 but it (department) was ordered (by the CM office) to issue the license to the hotel in question whose owner happens to be an influential person.
The news went viral on the internet, only to be denied by the provincial authorities.
The source continued that despite being aware of the sensitivity of the matter the chief minister office did not prevent the issuance of the L-2 license to the hotel.