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Caretaker govt set to liquidate PTDC assets

May 25, 2013

ISLAMABAD, May 24: The caretaker government plans to liquidate assets worth trillions of rupees of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) across the country, according to sources in the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination.

The ministry has shortlisted three firms of chartered accountant for evaluating the corporation’s assets for liquidation, including the one owned by a man accused of being involved in the multi-billion-rupee National Logistics Cell (NLC) scam, along with three army generals.

The PTDC Employees Union has decided to go to court against the move to liquidate the corporation’s assets at a time when a new elected government is about to take over.

The federal and provincial governments are reported to have been in a standoff over distribution of 39 hotels, motels and resorts in different parts of the country since the devolution of the Ministry of Tourism Development to the provinces under the 18th amendment.

The total value of PTDC’s property is said to be about trillions of rupees.

The evaluation is being carried out to assess the actual worth of the assets. Inter-Provincial Coordination Secretary Faridullah Khan told Dawn that one of the three firms of chartered accountant would be selected on Monday.

He admitted that one of the firms was owned by a former official of the NLC allegedly involved in the scam, but said an accused could not be disqualified unless he was convicted.

Mr Khan rejected a perception that PTDC assets were being liquidated by the caretakers. “It is being done under the 18th amendment and has nothing to do with the caretaker government.”

He said that even after the distribution of its assets, the role of PTDC as the country’s premier tourism development body would remain intact and it would continue to look after “non-devolveable aspects of devolved subjects” of the tourism ministry.

An office-bearer of the PTDC Employees Union alleged that the inter-provincial coordination ministry was trying to sell or distribute assets of the corporation among the provinces on low prices apparently to oblige certain vested interests and, therefore, the union had decided to challenge the liquidation process in court.

“We don’t understand why a specific firm was being favoured,” he said.

Senator Raza Rabbani, the architect of the 18th amendment, told Dawn last year that the PDTC had to be handed over to the provinces under the devolution plan.

“The Ministry of Tourism has been devolved to the provinces in the second phase of devolution of powers, but the PTDC is left with the Inter-Provincial Coordination Division because distribution of PDTC assets and its liabilities is a laborious and lengthy procedure,” he had said.

Some of the main assets of the PTDC are as under:

ISLAMABAD: A property near the sports gymnasium in Shakkarparian, a restaurant in Daman-i-Koh and a restaurant in Jaltrang.

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA: A resort in Chakdara and motels in Saidu Sharif, Kalam, Miandam, Panakot/Dir, Chitral, Chattar Plain, Besham, Barseen, Balakot, Naran and Ayubia.

GILGIT-BALTISTAN: Motels in Gilgit, Gopis, Hunza, Phandar, Rama Lake, Sust (Pak-China border), Astak, Khaplu, Satpara and Skardu.

BALOCHISTAN: Motels in Taftan (Pak-Iran border), Ziarat, Khuzdar and Chaman.

PUNJAB: Motels in Taxila, Wagah (Pak-India border) and Bahawalpur.

SINDH: A motel in Moenjodaro.