LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore, on Monday released a key accused in an Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) scandal of illegal appointments, Daily Times has learnt. According to reliable sources, Muhammad Khalid Baig, former Pakistan Model Educational Institutions Foundation (PMEIF) secretary, was released on the condition of being an approver in the case of 700 illegal appointments of teachers, clerks and medical staff made during 2008-13. Baig, who is said to be a close aide of former ETPB chairman Asif Hashmi, was arrested on June 7. Baig was originally an employee of the Education Ministry and was employed with ETPB PMEIF on deputation for five years. Sources added that the decision of releasing Baig would not help NAB arrest the main accused, Asif Hashmi. They said that the NAB would contact Interpol for the arrest of Asif Hashmi, who is reportedly residing in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Earlier, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had issued red warrants for Asif Hashmi. He had also been booked in land, housing and recruitment scams. Asif remained the ETPB chairman during the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) tenure from December 2008 until March 2013. He was convicted of making illegal appointments at the ETPB. Besides, he is also facing charges of Rs 1 billion corruption in a land deal. According to insiders, Baig had helped Asif Hashmi in making illegal appointment of teachers, clerks and other staff at the PMEIF, as would sign and issue appointment letters by allegedly ignoring all prescribed rules and regulations. However, as per the ETPB and the PMEIF service rules, executive orders regarding appointments, promotions, transfers, retirements and dismissal of the PMEIF employees rest with the secretary. The rules state that the selection of staff shall be made by the committee through an advertisement in different newspapers. The selected candidates are then interviewed by the committee, while the final list of the selected candidates is approved by the ETPB chairman. Published in Daily Times, July 4th , 2017.