Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar submitted a four-page reply to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with an inquiry pertaining to the issuance of a liqour licence to a private hotel in Lahore allegedly against a bribe. Buzdar maintained in his reply that no illegal activity was committed in the matter pertaining to the licence. According to reports, the reply to the anti-graft watchdog’s 17 questions was submitted through Buzdar’s lawyer Obaidullah. In his reply, the chief minister maintained that he played no part in issuance of the liquour licence as it falls under the jurisdiction of the excise and taxation director general. He stated that a total of 11 liquour licences have been issued to date, nine of which were issued by the DG of the excise and taxation department, while two licences were issued by the provincial governor in 2000 and 2001.According to reports, Buzdar maintained that Excise and Taxation DG Akram Ashraf Gondal’s summary pertaining to the issuance of licence was sent back by his office as he did not have the authority to issue it. The DG then sent the summary again to the CM Secretariat after issuing the licence and the principal secretary to CM sent it back yet again owing to absence of a relevant forum. The CM stated that the excise and taxation minister suspended the liqour licence of the said hotel. However, Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court gave directives to restore the licence in 2019, while the verdict on the intra-court appeal against the single-bench’s decision remains pending.Buzdar said that not a single bottle of liqour has been sold against the licence issued to the private hotel, that has also filed an application for renewal of its licence. The chief minister was issued a call-up notice by the anti-graft watchdog for allegedly receiving Rs 50 million in bribes to force the excise and taxation department to illegally issue a liquor licence to the private hotel. He appeared before the bureau earlier this week in connection with the inquiry.