Honesty might be the best policy but it seems to have gotten Punjab Food Authority’s (PFA) former director operations Ayesha Mumtaz in hot waters. The Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has started acting against Mumtaz, to make an example out of her, on the wishes of an influential political figure.
ACE investigation team has taken Driver Muhammad Ashraf and Assistant Food Safety Officer Samar Hayat into custody on the charges of corruption. The investigation team has called twenty five officials of the PFA to their office, along with the food safety officer, assistant food safety officer, where these people were allegedly harassed. ACE Deputy Director Investigations Dr Farhan Zahid confiscated their cell phones and they remain locked in the office till late hours of night. ACE team has also harassed female food safety officer of the food authority.
According to sources in the PFA, almost all the employees of the authority are in panic as their careers are under a constant threat after this vengeful attitude of the ACE.
The ACE has been investigating detained Muhammad Ashraf and Samar Hayat. Ashraf, during investigation, told the team that Ayesha Mumtaz closed more than 2000 food joints in Lahore on the pretext of poor hygiene standards. “Ayesha has asked him to make a deal with these eateries that if they would pay her monthly bribes, she will let them operate,” Ashraf said and added that the bribe money was taken to Ayesha Mumtaz and she would, then, distribute it to various PFA’s officers.
According to sources, Ayesha’s job came in conflict with an influential politician’s son as she closed his food brand on the basis of poor standards. The PFA along with ACE’s officers have started a campaign to taint Ayesha Mumtaz’s career and prove her as a corrupt officer so no one else could have courage to do the same thing again—stand up to influential authorities.
Earlier this week, Rana Sanaullah in a press conference said that on one in the PFA will be allowed to ‘act beyond authority.’
Punjab ACE’s Spokesperson Abid Noor Bhatti told Pakistan Today that Ayesha Mumtaz’s driver Muhammad Ashraf and Assistant Food Safety Officer Samar Hayat were on 14-day remand and were being investigated and that if any senior official tried to interfere, he/she will be arrested.
Abid further said that the task force has written a letter to ACE DG for permission to arrest the food laboratory in charge, which would be replied by Monday and the team will arrest the in-charge too; we are asking for previous record which the PFA has not been able to provide despite constant reminders, he said, and added that we will call in more people for investigation if we don’t get the record.
Meanwhile, Ayesha Mumtaz has rejected all allegations of corruption and claimed that she and other PFA officers had performed their duties selflessly to get rid of ‘adulteration mafia’.
In a video message circulated on social media, Mumtaz said she would not give in to the mafia, which, she said, is behind her character assassination.
The media is being misinformed and misguided by the adulteration mafia, she said, adding that she will face any inquiry if called.
Mumtaz said the purpose of the campaign was a stop her from serving people. She said during her tenure from June 2015 to Oct 2016, she waged a war against this mafia.