ISLAMABAD: The Sindh government has allotted thousands of acres of government land to Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz, according to a report placed by the Pakistan Rangers during a meeting of the apex committee in May.

The Rangers told the committee that the provincial government had allotted 44,000 acres of government land to Bahria Town.

Military sources told Dawn that the meeting was held on May 14.

Sources told Dawn the land allotted to Bahria Town was along the Super Highway.

Although Dawn made repeated attempts to get in touch with Sharjeel Inam Memon, the provincial information minister, to obtain the Sindh government’s version, neither did he pick up the phone nor did he reply to the text message.

The housing firm has rejected the Rangers’ claim

On the other hand, Bahria Town flatly rejected the Rangers claim.

A letter issued on June 9 by the organisation’s corporate office in Rawalpindi to Maj Gen Bilal Akbar, Director General of Rangers, Sindh, said: “Not a single acre of government land has been allotted / purchased by Bahria Town.”

Rejecting the Rangers’ claim, the firm further stated: “The above figure of 44,000 acres is incorrect, baseless and frivolous.”

The real estate firm said it had purchased the land from private parties and paid all duties and taxes.

According to a report which Bahria Town recently placed before the Supreme Court, the real estate firm owns 40,000 acres land in different cities across the country.

A legal aide to Malik Riaz told Dawn that the Rangers information was incorrect. He speculated that someone might have passed incorrect information to Rangers. According to him, Bahria Town had purchased a total of 7,631 acres in Karachi to date.

A senior official of Bahria Town, retired colonel Khalilur Rehman, said the real estate firm had purchased the land from private owners at prices ranging from Rs850,000 to Rs 6,000,000 (six million rupees) per acre.

He confirmed that on June 9, the firm had written a letter to the Rangers Director General requesting “correction” of their record. However, Rangers have not replied to the letter so far.

Sources in Rangers said that any information meant for the Director General was first “tested and analysed” at different levels. “Only well-scrutinised information can be passed to the Director General,” one source added.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2015

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