The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has summoned Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar on August 12 for what it says was illegal issuance of liquor licences.
The anti-graft watchdog has accused the provincial chief executive of illegally using powers of Excise director general (DG) and issuing liquor permits to a private hotel in Lahore.
The hotel in question is the same as the one in regard to which reports had falsely claimed that a local company was setting up a “liquor bar” at the Allama Iqbal International Airport after approval from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led Punjab government.
“A section of local media wrongly reported that the provincial government has granted a license to a company to sell liquor at the airport,” then spokesperson to the CM, Dr Shahbaz Gill, had said in a video message in January last year.
He had further said that an under-construction five-star hotel near the airport had sought permission, which was duly granted after all the legal requirements were fulfilled.
“This is not something new and all the major hotels in the country are permitted under the laws,” Gill said.
However, the issuance has reportedly landed the Punjab CM in hot water.
Earlier, on May 24, in view of the threat of sale of poisonous liquor on the occasion of Eidul Fitr, Punjab Excise and Taxation DG Hafiz Ziaul Mustafa issued a letter to stop the sale of illegal liquor and take necessary steps, The Express Tribune reported.
Some unscrupulous elements use clinical alcohol, sedative tablets and juices of rotten fruits to brew liquor which is then sold in bottles of local and foreign brands. In the past scores of people have died and many more have gone blind from this locally brewed concoction.
The DG also directed to pay special attention to liquor license holders on the occasion of Eid. A letter issued from the office of the DG said that several people have been affected by drinking toxic liquor in recent years which has embarrassed the government.
Bootleggers making this toxic moonshine were likely to bring out their product on the festive occasion of Eid to grab the merriment mood of poor people who could not afford a pint of legally sold liquor available from licenced excise shops.