ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister Education & Professional Training and National History and Literary Heritage Division Shafqat Mahmood says that as a professional consultant, he was adviser on the governance programme of UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Punjab for some 33 months from October 2008 to June 2011 during the tenure of the Shahbaz Sharif government.
“This was a relatively small part of a larger DFID programme in other sectors such as education. I was not an adviser on the entire DFID programme in Punjab. During this period as a consultant, I did projects for other development institutions too but never for the Punjab government directly. In fact, for professional services, I never received a single penny from Punjab government.
Incidentally I was not in politics then and only joined Tehreek-e-Insaf [PTI] in Nov 2011. After joining the PTI, I quit all my professional activities. Second, I traveled to the UK on my own and not on the Punjab government expense. I did attend certain governance related meetings [in Britain] as these related to my professional assignment,” Shafqat Mahmood said in a statement sent to this correspondent, commenting on a story that appeared in The News on Monday.
Shafqat Mahmood said that during his visit to Britain, he had attended some meetings with concerned British officials with Shahbaz Sharif. The DFID funding for governance of which he was adviser was meant for secretariat organisation in Punjab, he said adding that he had nothing to do the DFID money earmarked for education, health and other sectors in Punjab. He said he had funded his visit from his own pocket. He said the DFID’s governance project was wound up around November 2011.