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Encroachments on capital : PAC seeks PM to act against land grabbers

ISLAMABAD: Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Monday decided to write a letter to Prime Minister (PM) Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani seeking strict action against the encroachers who grabbed lands worth billions of rupees in Islamabad as Capital Development Authority (CDA) failed to recover the lands from the occupants.

The PAC meeting chaired by Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan in the parliament house, the opposition leader in the National Assembly and PAC chairman, expressing dismay over the performance of CDA in connection with dispossessing the encroachers.

CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi informed the committee that it was a systemic fault of previous administrations of the civic body that allowed physical possession of lands despite giving away award money in 1963 against their acquisition.

“These settlers did not vacate the land at that time and had been continuing to expand residential areas,” he added.

Elahi warned government that the CDA would de-notify the award for Sector I-17, if it did not release Rs35 billion for the award. He said a summary was already sent to the PM appealing him to probe into the issue. He informed that old settlers in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) had occupied 2000 kanals of government lands in Malpur but it was recovered adding remaining 3000 Kanals lands were still under occupation of illegal tenants.

The PAC chairman remarked that new rules would be formulated to empower CDA to retrieve government lands from old settlers without using force or filing cases in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

PAC also reopened the case of issuance of 1200 allotment letters by CDA former director lands who had set a record by issuing 500 allotment letters for residential plots in one single day, another 400 the next day, and remaining on the third day.

CDA had announced Model Village Kurri some months back and a land was enacted to set up this model village for housing units each measuring 30×70 feet, to be allotted, on priority basis, to the local people from whom the CDA acquired the land, he underlined.

He said the alleged District Management Group (DMG) officer, former director lands, Dr Waseem Shamshad issued the allotment letters and kept his official seal at home for this purpose. He termed this a procedural violation of the CDA land by-laws.

Elahi informed the committee that a preliminary inquiry was conducted against the accused in which a series of charges were leveled against him putting him at the disposal of Establishment Division for action.

“There were most startling revelations for me, when I was told that the director (land), has taken stacks of blank printed allotment letters to his home along with his official seal, the ink pad and even the embossing seal of the authority which makes the document legally authentic and original,” the CDA chairman said.

The PAC chairman directed Secretary Cabinet Division To conduct a top-level inquiry into this scam in a very transparent manner so that all the facts could be brought to fore and the wrongdoers could be named.

Wasim Shamshad, who was also produced before the PAC, denied the charges leveled against him. He said deputy director lands had issued all the letters. However he could not satisfy the committee members. The PAC finally said it would not like to further intervene in the case as the government committee had been over viewing it.

Source: Daily Times

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