ISLAMABAD: It seems Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is not the only high-profile figure in the federal government currently facing court cases; a petition leveling allegations of “corrupt practices” has also been filed against his principal secretary, Fawad Hassan Fawad, before the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Filed by local lawyer Khurram Mehmood Qureshi and others, the petition names the PM’s aide, his brother Waqar Hassan, real estate investors Gul Zareen and Qamar Chaudhry, and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as respondents and criticises the bureau for being lenient on influential individuals.

“[The] National Accountability Bureau has failed to pursue matters pertaining to powerful and resourceful people in Pakistan, hence, it is encouraging corruption and has failed to act where it was bound to act,” the petition said.

It alleges that Fawad, in collusion with his brother and the two investors, constructed a massive commercial project in the heart of Rawalpindi’s commercial district, where nine of the 10 floors in the building are owned by the two brothers.

The petition claims that the building was constructed by the siblings by exercising their influence to secure financing through the JS Bank.

According to the petitioner, a Rs12 billion project is owned by a grade 21 officer.

The petition also quotes the PM’s son-in-law retired Capt Mohammad Safdar, who had questioned Mr Fawad’s integrity on the floor of the lower house at one point in time.

The petition pointed out that the State Bank of Pakistan had strict prudential regulations regarding investment in construction projects.

The petition states that the bank in question did not provide such a loan to any other person from Rawalpindi or Islamabad for the purposes of construction in that year, and claims that this establishes a clear bias, linked to the influence of a government servant and the misuse of his official position.

It alleges that Mr Fawad and his brother secured the commercial plot in Rawalpindi’s Saddar area as part of an exchange with Gul Zareen – on the basis of certain promises and without any cash payment of the total amount. The two are alleged to have exchanged a residential plot on Haider Road, Rawalpindi for this commercial plot, opposite the General Post Office (GPO).

The petition asks that the terms of this exchange should be probed by NAB, adding that Qamar Chaudhary is reportedly a guarantor for this deal.

Apart from the construction of a commercial plaza, the petition also leveled several other allegations; the gift of large swathes of land in Okara, shares in the New City Project Taxila and the Lahore Motorway City project etc. His involvement in the famous JS and Sprint Energy scandal regarding CNG stations may also be probed, the petition says.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2017