Khawaja Asif worries over the initiation of inquiries, ban on recruitment by Leghari

Inquiries in power sector might put Khawaja Asif in hot water

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Affairs Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif is to some extent worried over the instant initiation of inquiries and imposition of ban on recruitment in the power sector by Power Division Federal Minister Sardar Awais Khan Leghari.

Well-informed sources disclosed to Pakistan Today that the Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Asif was much concerned over the initiation of inquiries into the accounts of GENCOs, DISCOs, IPPs etc and the imposition of a ban on recruitments in power sector by Federal Minister for Power Sardar Awais Khan Leghari. They said the inquiries against various power projects like Nandipur, Lakhra, Guddu etc and a ban on recruitments has increased worries for Foreign Affairs Minister Khawaja Asif who remained water and power minister during the last four years and kept recruitments open in almost 17 organisations of the power sector. They said the incumbent federal minister for power has ordered immediate inquiry and fixation of responsibilities against the corruption, embezzlement, nepotism etc so far made in the power sector. Worried over the instantaneous initiation of inquiries by a federal minister of his own party during the last year of constitutional tenure of incumbent regime, Khawaja Asif is set to take up the matter before party president Nawaz Sharif and PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, said sources.

“Initiation of inquiries in the power sector has put the foreign minister Khawaja Asif who remained Minister for water and power from June 2013 to October 2017 in hot water as Sardar Awais Khan Leghari is determined to fix the responsibility of corruption, embezzlement, nepotism etc so far made in the power sector, “said sources.

The sources also said that the federal minister for power has instructed the inquiry officers to pay no heed to the pressure and influence of politicians or anyone else who can cause hurdle in the fixation of responsibility. Even if a federal minister makes a phone call and give the order to obey, the inquiry office must give deaf ear and blind eye to him or her as per verbal instruction of the incumbent federal minister for power, they added.

“The minister has warned that if the inquiry officers failed to complete the inquiry within the stipulated time the case will be referred for external inquiry to FIA or NAB,” said sources.

Sources further said that power division minister has hinted to conduct an exhaustive and intensive audit of the entire power sector to evaluate the working and performance of the sector so far made during the last four years of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz rule in the country. They said if present power division federal minister succeeds in getting the said audits done in transparent and just manners then Khawaja Asif might face the music due to the poor performance of the power sector and alleged corruption, and embezzlement made in different power projects.

It is pertinent to mention here that Federal Minister for Power Division Awais Leghari, while taking serious notice of Rs 2.45 billion loss registered by the Jamshoro Power Company (777MW Jamshoro Power Plant) in financial years 2016 has ordered immediate inquiry on November 8, 2017, and fixation of responsibilities for the fiasco within a fortnight. Similarly, the federal minister for power division also imposed a ban on recruitments in power sector where recruitment was open and Khawaja Asif during his tenure as water and power minister made several appointments over there.

Moreover, the former water and power minister Khawaja Asif is in deep trouble over the failure of Nandipur power project, which has still not generated electricity as per its installed capacity.

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