The war between the government and opposition is getting intensive with every coming day and both sides leave no stone un-turned to strike the other. The same was witnessed on Sunday when the Central Government ordered the suspension of the first elected mayor of Islamabad Sheikh Anser Aziz for 90 days on account of severe corruption charges. Anser represents the biggest opposition party PML-N and his party claimed that he was reprimanded for his political association with his leadership and challenged the decision in the court.
The said move was taken on the recommendations of the local government commission (LGC) in its meeting on May 14, 2020. This is important to know that the LGC majorly comprises of PTI members and the decision has added to the allegations of “political victimization” raised by the opposition on the ruling party.
The Interior ministry issued the notification of suspension on a weekly holiday (Sunday)
The commission was headed by the PTI’s MNA from Islamabad Ali Nawaz Awan (also a special assistant to the prime minister on the Capital Development Authority). Interestingly, the other two opposition members Mushahid Hussain Syed (PML-N) and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (PPP) were not present in the said meeting. The commission observed that the mayor was found involved in corruption in five intercity bus terminals contract in various parts of the capital city. The contract worth Rs. 42 million and was awarded by the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) in 2019. It was also decided to initiate the proper inquiry of the said matter and take the due action against the culprits found involved in the corruption along with the mayor.
“I have been punished for my political affiliation with PML-N”, petition reads
Ansar Aziz was elected as the Islamabad mayor and MCI head in April 2016 after the first ever elections of local government in November, 2015.
Turning down the allegations, Sheikh Ansar told that the contractor had already submitted three installments to the department and only the last installment was pending which would be collected in June, 2020. Unlikely, the said payment was made through post-dated cheques instead of advance payments however Sheikh revealed that he there was nothing illegal in this arrangement and it was made to avoid litigation. Criticizing the government, Ansar said that the same contract was awarded for Rs. 10 m only and his only fault was that he awarded the contract for Rs. 42 million for which he was reprimanded. He called this step nothing else than a politically-motivated action and vowed to challenge it in the court that he did today by filing a petition in Islamabad High Court (IHC) against his suspension. He alleged the commission to work on a one-point agenda of “maligning him” claiming that all the other issues were still pending.
Commission chief, Ali Nawaz Awan told the media that the action was taken against the mayor under the local government act, 2015 and as far as his suspension was concerned, it was made to ensure a true and fair trial against him.
On the other hand the opposition member in the commission, Mushahid Hussain Syed claimed that the suspension of the first-ever elected mayor of Islamabad was illegal and declared that it was a sad day for the people of the capital city. He further told that he and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf were not present in the meeting due to Senate session and the commission made an out of agenda decision in their absence. Criticizing the commission Syed said that the commission was established to resolve issues about the authority and jurisdiction of MCI but it started performing the functions of NAB and FIA. He concluded that PTI didn’t respect the mandate of PML-N in Islamabad and intended to snatch the power by hook or crook which was proved by the decision made on an official holiday (Sunday).