No mega corruption in Punjab Youth Festival, claims govt

* Minister says at least 12 agencies directly monitoring arrangements of the festival * Jamal Leghari warns to resign against kidnapping of 20 girls by Zanglani

LAHORE: The issue of expenses in the Punjab Youth Festival (PYF) became a bone of contention between the treasury and the opposition benches in the Punjab Assembly during Wednesday’s session.
The opposition, claiming that mega corruption had been done in the festival, demanded that the government should produce the audit report of the expenditures, as the amount came from the pockets of taxpayers.
Punjab Minister for Sports Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan rebuffed the opposition’s allegation, saying that there was no mega corruption in the festival. He also said that no one could prove corruption of a single penny in it, as at least 12 agencies were monitoring it directly.
Earlier, opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed said that the government initially planned to gather 0.4 million people at the Punjab University’s ground for breaking the record of the biggest human-flag, and also made all arrangements in this regard two weeks ahead of the scheduled date, but later, it was cancelled and all the exchequer wasted.
The opposition leader also said that the government had purchased a bulk of chairs worth billions of rupees as well as 0.2 million tracksuits for the participants of the human-flag on unfair prices. 
He said that the actual price of such a tracksuit was around Rs 400 per piece, but the government paid Rs 1,100 for it.
He demanded that the government should tell the nation about the details and whereabouts of such chairs, because it was not just corruption but “mega corruption” in the name of the youth festival.
The Punjab Assembly’s session on Wednesday started one hour late from its schedule time at 10am under the chair of Speaker Rana Iqbal Khan. 
After reciting verses from the Holy Quran, the House adopted the question hour about the departments of youth affairs, sports, archaeology and tourism. Minister Rana Mashhood replied to the queries.
On a point of order, Jamal Leghari, a treasury member from Dera Ghazi Khan and son of former president of Pakistan Farooq Leghari, told the House that a criminal gang named ‘Tumman Gang’ led by Zanglani was involved in heinous crimes in his area.
He said that more than 20 kidnapped girls were in the custody of Zanglani and he (the gang leader) was raping them. 
He informed the House that local law enforcement agencies were unable to initiate any operation against him, and that the station master of DG Khan told him that they did not have enough force and arms, while the gang members were equipped with rocket launchers.
Leghari demanded that the government should take notice of the issue and hold an operation against the gang to rescue the kidnapped girls. He also warned his own party’s government in the province that he would tender his resignation from the assembly seat if the demand was not met.
Responding to this, the provincial law minister assured the MPA that he should provide evidence or record of the girls so that he (law minister) could do something in this matter.
During the session, Rana Mashhood also informed the House that to save the Derawar Fort and open it for tourists, the Punjab government was trying to hold negotiations with the heirs of the fort to buy it.
He further informed that the government would take over the fort if its heirs would not come in negotiations for the sake of safety of the historical asset.
Later, the treasury introduced three bills in the House – the Punjab Employees’ Efficiency, Discipline & Accountability (Amendment) Bill 2014, the Punjab Livestock Breeding Bill 2014, and the Punjab Civil, Servants (Amendment) Bill 2014.
The House also considered the Punjab Development of Cities (Amendment) Bill 2014, but due to lack of quorum, it was not passed and the speaker adjourned the session until today (Thursday) at 10am.

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