LAHORE - Former Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Muhammad Shujaat Azeem, who is allegedly involved in Benazir Bhutto International Airport scam, has left the country, revealed sources in Ministry of Defence.

Shujaat is dual national of Pakistan and Canada, sources said, claiming that he travelled last month from Islamabad airport few days after the Supreme Court asked the consultants and contractors of the new airport to file an undertaking and submit their passports with the SC registrar, so they could not exit Pakistan until the case is decided.

Sources also claimed that Shujaat was business partner of Ch Munir, a major player among the 17 contractors who were awarded contracts of airport construction. Munir is an influential man and he owns a plane, Nishat-5, registered with the BHD.

Shujaat Azeem, during his short tenure as adviser to PM, used the same plane for the inspection of various airports of the country. He departed from Islamabad to Quetta on June 27, 2013, proceeded to Multan, and then reached Karachi from where he returned to Islamabad on June 28. The ex-adviser was also a business partner of Ch Munir and Mian Amir in Sukh Chain housing society.

Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) was initially started with the estimated cost of Rs22 billion but the project was inordinately delayed causing the cost to rise. An inquiry conducted by Lt-Gen (r) Shahid Niaz held the Civil Aviation Authority, the consultants and contractors responsible for the delay. Sources claimed that now the project cost has crossed Rs60 billion mark. Irregularities too were found in the airport construction including appointment of Musharraf Khan, a junior officer of group 9, as Project Director – a post where usually an officer of Group 11 is inducted. Musharraf Khan has been performing his duties for the last three years but neither the previous government nor the present one removed him. On July 12, a lawyer drew the attention of the apex court towards appointment of Shujaat Azeem as adviser despite holding dual nationality and being court-martialled by Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Azeem had served as a PAF fighter pilot for 12 years before flying abroad to take courses for a commercial pilot licence.  Later, he reached Saudi Arabia where he was employed by the Hariri family, which owns a fleet of planes equal to the size of an airline. He was chief pilot of Hariri’s fleet by the time he quit in 1996 to start his own business.