Senior bureaucrat Ahad Cheema, who tendered his resignation from service, wrote a strongly-worded letter, saying that he had been “roped into” a politically motivated effort by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) before the 2018 general elections. He added that the government failed to protect him against the vilification campaign and targeting which followed his refusal. Cheema has asked that his retirement from service be considered effective from 31 December 2020, which was the date from which his retirement became permissible under regulations of service. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is reported to have asked him to continue his service at a high-ranking position, but Cheema appears to have refused, preferring to resign over the mistreatment after 2018 which he describes in his resignation letter.
Cheema writes in his letter that the purpose of targeting him by political forces had been to compel him to “become an approver against the former Chief Minister Punjab” after 2018. In this effort to use him against former CM Shehbaz Sharif, Cheema notes: “Even my pictures were displayed in advertisements and canvassing material by certain political parties during the election campaign.” He describes how his family was also targeted in an effort to bring to bear pressure on him.
In his view, despite his record of meritorious service previously, including the winning of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for public service, he was abandoned by his employer, the government. According to Cheema, “My employer, Government of Pakistan, became a silent spectator during this period, in utter disregard of Section 23A and 23B of Civil Service Act 1973.”
Cheema writes that after being bailed out in 2021, he was served with a show-cause notice and charge sheet by the Establishment Division under E&D Rules, which contained the very same allegations, “dot by dot, which NAB had filed” in its reference against him. He continues: “During the inquiry, it became crystal clear that the charges against me were false, frivolous, fabricated and against the record and facts.”
He writes of the government’s perceived failure to provide him with assistance against this pressure: “A harsh reality dawned upon me that all the benefits of my service to my employer were for it to take, while all the risks were mine.”