By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan caretaker government has formed teams to investigate alleged corruption in various departments of the region during the five years of the previous Pakistan Peoples Party-led regime.
The teams were formed on the directives of Chief Secretary Sultan Sikandar Raja, said an official. According to him, they would look into corruption scams and then pin responsibility.
“Besides scrutinising the records of the last five years, physical verification of projects will also be carried out to determine if there is any truth to the allegations,” he said.
“Based on the findings, responsibility will be fixed,” said the official, requesting anonymity.
The public works, water and power and education departments will be among those investigated,” the official revealed. “Jobs were allegedly sold by provincial ministers and bureaucrats during the five years of the Syed Mehdi Shah-led government.”
G-B Governor Barjees Tahir told the media last month in Gilgit that at least 106 development projects—payments of which were made in advance during the previous regional government’s tenure—remained incomplete.
The decision to launch an investigation comes days after the regional administration wrote to the Ministry of G-B and Kashmir Affairs (of which Tahir is the minister) in Islamabad for action against some former secretaries.
The secretaries were allegedly involved in serious financial irregularities over the last five years in a region that still lacks an effective mechanism for accountability.
The official said the federal government has reportedly decided to set up NAB and FIA offices in G-B to probe cases of irregularities in development projects and other financial and administrative matters.
“A formal announcement to set up these two institutes is expected in the prime minister’s upcoming visit.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2015.