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federal minister refutes son’s involvement

Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema addressing a press conference at Press Information Department in Islamabad on December 28. 2022. — APP
  • Politician accuses rivals of defaming him.
  • Cheema demands commission comprising judges.
  • Minister conveys willingness to join inquiry with son.

Tariq Bashir Cheema, the minister for national food security and research, has voiced concerns over the ongoing inquiry into the Islamia University Bahawalpur scandal.

Sharing his concerns during a presser at his Bahawalpur residence, the minister refuted allegations of his son, Walidad Cheema’s involvement in the case, asserting that his political rivals are defaming him.

The senior politician, belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), called for setting up a commission comprising high court judges to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter, which revolves around compromising videos, also part of the scandal that includes the sale of drugs and prohibited medicines.

The politico conveyed his willingness to join every inquiry committee with his son, adding he would expel Walidad from his house himself if any such defect is proven.

Meanwhile, Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi said the investigation of the university scandal has been completed, and those responsible will be severely punished. He also hinted at a judicial inquiry, if need be.

The case

The matter of illegal activities, including the sale and use of drugs and prohibited medicines, was reported in Islamia University Bahawalpur this month.

In the wake of the matter surfacing, police arrested the university’s chief security officer, Ijaz Shah, a few days ago, while the director of finance, Muhammad Abubakar, was arrested in June.

After forensics of the mobile phones of both officers was completed, a comprehensive report regarding the videos, chats and photos found in the mobile phone was sent to CM Naqvi, while the varsity’s vice chancellor, Dr Athar Mehboob, wrote a letter to the provincial police chief declaring the cases against his colleagues “false”.

He also demanded that an investigation committee, comprising senior officers, should be formed for a transparent investigation into the case. People who are afraid of the development of the university are trying to defame the university, he claimed in the letter.

Dr Mehboob asserted that there was no illegal activity in the university in his letter to Punjab’s inspector general.

The university also formed an internal committee to probe the matter ahead of which both the suspects have also been suspended.

The university also announced to conduct a drug test of all its employees, including the VC himself — a decision taken due to the arrest of its officials.

The IUB public relations department, in a press statement, claimed that the university had adopted zero tolerance against drugs on its campus, as per the Higher Education Commission (HEC) directive and guidelines.

The VC had later resigned from his post. 

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