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Lease of land to elite club not finalised, SC told

ISLAMABAD, Aug 10: Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) Imtiaz Inayat Elahi on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that the finance wing of the authority was still working on the lease of 28 acres of prime land to an elite club in addition to another 44 acres.

In a report submitted to the apex court, which took suo motu notice on a news report that the 72 acres of land was allotted to the Gun and Country Club in a dubious manner; the CDA said the amount to be charged from the club for the 28 acres was still being calculated. But the report is silent as to when the additional 28 acres was leased out to the club.

The gun club was established in November 2002 by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Tourism and it spreads over 44 acres of land owned by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB). On June 18, 2011, the CDA board acceded to the request of the sports ministry for execution of the lease directly between the club and the civic agency.

The report recalled that in 1977, 145 acres was allotted to the PSB in Zone A of the federal capital, reserved in the master plan for sports and recreation purposes. Of these 145 acres; the 44 acres, which housed the gun club, was specifically reserved for shooting ranges. The board has already paid Rs736,600 to the CDA for the 145 acres at the rate of Rs5,060 per acre.

In the report, the CDA chairman requested Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to withdraw the notice, saying the 28 acres was not being used by the club for any beneficial purpose but as a safety zone for shooting ranges to be kept vacant for all times.

According to the club’s website, apart from providing different shooting ranges of international standard, the facility also offered gymnasium, swimming pool (indoor and outdoor), steam/sauna, aerobics and health bar, floodlit sand volleyball court, archery and clay tennis courts. Originally, the area was reserved only for shooting purposes.

The critiques of the deal, however, point out certain grey areas in the deal highlighting that it seemed to be in violation of CDA’s own Land Disposal Regulations 2005 and Public Procurement Regulatory Authority 2004, which asked for ensuring transparency while dealing in government lands.

“There was no open bidding or auction or any tender before the leasing of the prime land,” they said, adding the access to the club was also very restricted and the membership fee exorbitant.

Meanwhile, the CDA report, which seemed more of concealing facts, stated that the club was the only establishment in the country that offered state-of-the-art shooting facilities. The club is also used to host different national and international shooting competitions/events, including contests for 10, 25 and 50 metres, skeet and trap events.

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