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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rauf Klasra: One ship, three ministers, a dirty fight!

High-profile sources confirmed to The News that Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati and Minister for Ports and Shipping Babar Ghauri accused Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali of pressurising them to buy an old ship at an inflated price of millions, which otherwise was available at a much cheaper price. Swati and Ghauri blasted Sardar Assef in his absence in the meeting. Prime Minister Gilani has now summoned the deputy chairman to explain his position about the alleged scam that jolted the cabinet.Talking to The News, Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali strongly rejected allegations levelled against him in the federal cabinet meeting. The details, which he shared with this correspondent, give a totally new picture to the subject. He lambasted Azam Swati for pointing finger at him, arguing how he could be singled out in the matter that had nothing to do with him or his Planning Division.He said that a three-member technical committee of science and technology was scheduled to visit some foreign country to buy an old ship. This committee was constituted by the Ministry of Science and Technology itself. But all of sudden, Sardar Assef said, Swati cancelled the tour of the committee and instead he went to Dubai on a personal visit and inspected the ship along with his Egyptian technical friend.Sardar Assef said he had nothing to do with the buying of this ship, which was a project of the Ministry of Science and Technology. But the Planning Division came into the picture when it came to the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) for approval. It was approved by the CDWP.


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