ISLAMABAD, Nov 29: Like its predecessors, the PPP-led government has guaranteed bureaucrats who reach Grade 22, a 500 square yard residential plot in Islamabad, still many federal secretaries are unhappy.
Dawn has learnt that the unhappy lot had been jostling for a plot in the posh D-12 sector, under the Prime Minister's Package for the federal secretaries and other civil servants of grade 22.
However, not all could be accommodated and that has given rise to envy and jealousy in the ranks of the top bureaucrats.
Knowledgeable people said the reason for coveting D-12 was that the plots there command a high price, in the real estate market.
A 500 sq yd plot in D-12 is valued at least Rs20 million. Informed sources say that the harassed officials of the cabinet division decided early this year to allot the Grade 22 officers plots “in an area comparable to sector D-12”.
Accordingly, the division wrote to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to reserve 200 plots “for future requirements” in areas comparable to D-12. “The cost of these plots should not be more than the plots already allotted to BS-22 officers in sector D-12,” asserted the cabinet division.
According to the sources, bureaucrats waiting for their plots had raised “concerns” with the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Qazi Ayub, who conveyed the same to the cabinet division.
They said cabinet division secretary Nargis Sethi initiated the action that resulted in the instructions to CDA to set aside 200 plots in sectors comparable to D-12.
An officer of the Prime Minister's House however quoted Mr Qazi denying issuing any instructions to the cabinet division in this regard.
It is significant that the move regarding “comparable area” came at a time when CDA was planning to launch sectors C-14 and C-15, located in the foothills of Margallas like the coveted D-12, maybe even more scenic.
Former prime minister Shaukat Aziz allotted plots to 47 federal secretaries and former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to around 30 secretaries in sector D-12.
“Today's bureaucracy is divided between the happy ones owning prized land in D-12 and the dejected ones waiting for theirs in a comparable sector,” mused one dealing with them.
“I could not get a plot in D-12 because some close aides (federal secretaries) of the former prime minister had to be accommodated,” a bitter federal secretary told Dawn, not willing to be identified.
Others in the bureaucracy are dismayed at the whole scheme.
“Why should CDA reserve 200 plots for the future secretaries, that too at low price?” asked a finance ministry officer.
His colleague thought the CDA would lose millions by selling the 200 plots cheap.
Shafqat Jalil of the Prime Minister's office told Dawn that there was a well-laid policy that every secretary was entitled to a residential plot after reaching Grade 22.