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EXCLUSIVE: Corrupt And Harassment-Charged Official Appointed By Punjab Govt To Enable Rs150 Million Unlawful Payment

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LAHORE: The Punjab government, led by Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif, has appointed Ishtiaq Amin, a controversial official with a history of corruption and harassment allegations, as Director Admin with the additional charge of Director Coordination at Directorate General of Public Relations (DGPR) and the notification in this regard has been kept secret, The Scoop (TS) has learnt. 

Sources from the Directorate General Public Relations (DGPR), Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and the Agriculture Department revealed to The Scoop (TS) that the caretaker Punjab government had previously relieved Amin of his duties due to corruption charges and numerous harassment complaints filed against him at DGPR, LDA and the Agriculture Department respectively, where he had served as Director Public Relations.

“He has been reinstated to facilitate the unlawful payment of Rs 150 million to Channel 7 Pvt. Limited for the Ramzan Package digital media ads campaign,” a senior official disclosed to TS.

The official added that Nasir Hameed, who was previously in Amin’s position (Director Coordination), faced immense pressure from higher authorities to release this payment and an additional Rs 75 million each to Channel 7 Private Limited and Interlink Advertising Private Limited. “Hameed took a three-month leave, and Ishtiaq Amin quickly assumed his duties,” the source said.

After assuming the additional charge of Director Coordination, Amin has also become a member of the three-member advertisement committee, the notification of which has been kept secret. The other members of the advertisement committee include the Deputy Director of Advertisement, the Deputy Director of Finance, and the Deputy Director of Press Laws.

According to the notifications issued on May 16, 2024, the copies of which are available with TS, all the three officials including DGPR’s Director Coordination Muhammad Tariq Ismail, Director Advertisement Abdul Nasir, and Deputy Director Advertisement Finance Syed Aftab Ali Shah were transferred and posted to other positions.

As per the notification, DGPR’s Director Coordination Ismail (BS-19) was transferred from DGPR’s headquarters in Lahore with immediate effect and posted as Director Public Relations, Divisional Information Office, Bahawalpur and Nasir Hameed, Deputy Director, Public Relations, Bahawalpur is transferred with immediate effect and posted as Deputy Director (Advertisement), DGPR HQ in place of Abdul Nasir. Hameed is also given an additional charge of DGPR’s Director Coordination.

As per the notification, Deputy Director (Advertisement) Abdul Nasir (BS-18) who was working at DGPR HQ is transferred with immediate effect and posted as Deputy Director Public Relations, District Information Office, R.Y. Khan vice Ishtiaq Amin.

According to the notification, the copy of which is available with Syed Aftab Ali Shah Deputy Director Advertisement Finance (BS-18) who was working at DGPR HQ is transferred with immediate effect and posted as Deputy Director Public Relations, District Information Officer Khushab and in place of him Haseeb Zaidi (BS-17), Assistant Director (Budget and Accounts) at DGPR HQ is assigned an additional charge of Deputy Director (Advertisement Finance).

Notification of transfer and postings
Notification of transfer and postings
Notification of transfer and postings
Notification of transfer and postings
Notification of transfer and postings
Notification of transfer and postings

Ishtiaq Amin – A Frontman for Ahmad Aziz Tarar?

Sources also indicated that Senior Bureaucrat Ahmad Aziz Tarar, appointed in place of former Secretary Information Punjab Danyal Gillani,  after he assured the provincial government he would facilitate the payments. Tarar appointed Amin, who had previously worked with him at the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and was allegedly involved in corruption cases linked to Tarar.

“Amin is Tarar’s trusted official for executing such unlawful payments due to his history of similar actions,” concluded a senior official.

On May 16, 2024, Tarar transferred several officials who refused to process payments to Channel 7.

Read More: EXCLUSIVE: Tarar Transfers DGPR Officials Refusing Payment Of Rs 150 Million In Unjust Digital Ads To Channel 7

Punjab Government’s Hastily Approved Digital Ads Policy

Multiple sources claim that the Punjab government hastily approved a policy for digital ads to favour certain advertising agencies, including Interlink and Channel 7, and to release the previous Rs 150 million payment for the Ramzan digital campaign.

Allegations of Harassment Against Ishtiaq Amin

One intern from the Agriculture Department recounted, “Ishtiaq Amin invited me to Faletti’s Hotel several times, offering me a job in return. I lodged a complaint against him, leading to his dismissal after he was found guilty.”

Another official who had been harassed by Amin at DGPR corroborated the intern’s account, confirming Amin’s habitual misconduct and noting that additional complaints against him are being submitted to the Punjab Ombudsman’s office.

The Scoop attempted to contact both Tarar and Amin via WhatsApp but received no response before the publication of this report.

Tarar’s Comment on the Story

Ahmad Aziz Tarar responded to The Scoop, stating: “You have published a story without taking the proper point of view of the other party, using concocted facts and without any proof. This reeks of unethical journalism.”

The Scoop replied: “Sir, we will incorporate your complete reply in the story with proper display. Thank you 🙏. Kindly reply to the questions.”

Tarar further responded: “I will not reply unless you delete your frivolous story uploaded without incorporating other parties’ point of view.”

Questions for Ahmad Aziz Tarar:

Screenshot of WhatsApp message to Ahmad Aziz Tarar

Regarding Appointment: What was your rationale for appointing Ishtiaq Amin, given his history of corruption and harassment allegations? How do you respond to claims that Ishtiaq Amin has been reinstated specifically to facilitate the unlawful payment of Rs 150 million to Channel 7 Pvt. Limited?

On Suspension of Officials: Can you explain the reasons behind the suspension of numerous officials who refused to release payments to Channel 7 on May 16, 2024? What steps have you taken to ensure that such suspensions are justified and not retaliatory?

Corruption Allegations: How do you address accusations that Ishtiaq Amin is your frontman for making unlawful payments, as alleged by multiple sources? What measures are in place to prevent corruption within your department, particularly regarding large payments?

Policy Approval: Why was the policy for digital ads approved in haste, and what justifications can you provide for this expedited process? How do you ensure that the policy benefits are distributed fairly and not just to favoured agencies like Channel 7 and Interlink Advertising?

Questions for Ishtiaq Amin:

Screenshot of WhatsApp message to Ishtiaq Amin

Allegations of Corruption: How do you respond to the allegations of corruption that have led to your previous dismissals from various roles? What actions are you taking to clear your name and prove your integrity in your current position?

Harassment Claims: What is your response to the multiple harassment complaints?

 

 

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