Upset at being maltreated during the PTI government in the province, Aleem, who was once a close confidant of the interim PM, alleged in a press conference that Mr Khan appointed a “puppet chief minister” in Usman Buzdar so no one could challenge him or his cronies minting money through corruption.
Claiming that he kept texting the prime minister about Mr Buzdar’s corruption, Aleem said all his messages and the premier’s replies were safe and would be revealed to the world soon. “Now, I will not sit silent, and speak the truth about what has been going on in the past three-and-a-half years of the government,” he warned.
A day earlier, former Punjab governor Chaudhry Sarwar had in a tell-all press conference, accused Imran Khan of pressuring him to take ‘unconstitutional and unlawful’ steps for ensuring the ruling party’s nominee Parvez Elahi won the chief minister’s election.
Accuses interim PM of corruption, looking the other way on complaints of bribery under Buzdar
Aleem further said he had informed Imran Khan that even commissioners, deputy commissioners and superintendents of police were being posted after bribing officials in the chief minister’s secretariat. He also accused Ms Farah, a friend of the prime minister’s wife, of amassing millions through bribes by having officials transferred and posted and awarding contracts in the Punjab government. He said Farah and her husband had now fled from the country.
It is worth noting that transfers and postings in the bureaucracy, from senior positions to the assistant commissioner level, were made on a massive scale during the PTI’s tenure in Punjab.
Aleem said as soon as the four bureaucrats (a clear reference to the principal secretaries to former CM Buzdar) would be arrested, every corruption would be exposed.
Asking the interim PM why he was sidelined despite both of them struggling together to build the party and helping Mr Khan clinch the prime minister’s office, he lamented, “I regret that I spent 10 years for a person, who was not loyal to the nation”.
“Instead of appreciating me for the struggle, I was targeted in Punjab and now I’m being declared a traitor for meeting the US ambassador,” he bemoaned, adding he had also met the envoy at the interim PM’s residence.
As soon as he was elected as an MPA on July 26, 2018, he said, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) started sending him notices and called him to its office four times in just 10 days. This series, he said, stopped only after Usman Buzdar was nominated as the chief minister. In the second episode of NAB encounters, he said, he was again called by the bureau when there were reports about replacing Buzdar in February 2019. This time, he said, he was sent to jail at the investigation stage and remained incarcerated for 100 days.
“Expose my corruption of those six months (July 2018 to Feb 2019),” he challenged the prime minister, saying he would commit suicide if he was proved wrong.
Aleem continued rebuking the prime minister for allegedly cornering the entire PTI for just three PML-Q MNAs to save his position. Similarly, he said, Imran Khan could not find any working MPA to pitch as the chief minister and instead got “blackmailed” by the PML-Q that had only 10 lawmakers in the Punjab Assembly against the ruling party’s 183.
He reminded the interim PM that he himself used to call Parvez Elahi the “biggest thief of Punjab”, but formed a coalition government with the same person and even offered him the Punjab chief ministership.
The prime minister should also label PML-Q MNAs Tariq Bashir Cheema and Chaudhry Salik Hussain traitors as they had decided to side with the opposition in the National Assembly the day the no-confidence motion had to be voted on.
On the other hand, the former minister claimed, PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi was purchasing loyalties of parliamentarians for Rs60 million each and had made the offer to some 50 MPs.
Referring to the dissolution of the National Assembly, Aleem said, Imran Khan could have done so earlier also, but he did it when the no-trust motion was filed against him. He remarked that Imran Khan should have displayed sportsman-spirit. “When you saw your defeat, you made off with the wickets,” he said.
Challenging Mr Khan’s repeated declarations of loyalty towards the nation, Aleem claimed to be more loyal to the country than anyone else. “Aap maamay lagtay hein Pakistan ke?” he asked the interim PM, questioning how Mr Khan could run the country alone.
Meanwhile, Moonis Elahi responded to Aleem Khan’s verbal attack in a tweet, saying, “How can I buy the parliamentarians when he (Aleem) himself used to say he was bearing the expenses of my household.”