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Capt Safdar ‘orders’ NHA to speed up work

Capt Safdar ‘orders’ NHA to speed up work

ISLAMABAD: Members of parliament can request ministers to facilitate a particular development project that is important to their constituents, but it federal secretaries – both former and serving – agree that an MNA giving directions to a government agency is considered interference in the public sector.

However, according to an official press statement, issued by the PM’s Office on Thursday, “Captain (r) Mohammad Safdar has directed the National Highways Authority (NHA) to expedite construction work at Burhan-Havelian Expressway.” The statement said that he made these remarks “during his visit for inspection of construction works at Burhan-Havelian Expressway (sic).”

Capt Safdar, who is the PM’s son-in-law, “asked the concerned authorities to speed up the construction of the expressway by working day and night as the PM himself was monitoring progress on the project.”

Dr Mussadiq Malik, spokesperson for the PM’s Office, wasn’t available for the comment, nor was State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab. Coincidentally, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif personally holds the portfolio of communication, which is the ministry the NHA falls under.

No MNA has the right to pass directions, verbally or in writing, to any government agency. Even if he does, those orders have no legal value, a federal secretary told Dawn on condition of anonymity.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2015

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