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ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday decided to initiate an inquiry regarding the change in name of the Citizen’s Club, F-9 to the Metropolitan Club and into the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad’s (MCI)expected move to outsource the club.

According to a press release, NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal has directed the NAB Director General Rawalpindi to hold an inquiry into the club, which was constructed at the cost of Rs1.9 billion rupees.

The NAB chief also took notice of the change in the name of the club and asked the DG to check under which law the mayor took charge of the club.

According to reports, the mayor is accused of wanting to outsource the club to a selected firm, as he is thought to have done with two public grounds.

SC declared the club illegal in 2010, ordered for it to be used for any public welfare project

Islamabad’s mayor inaugurated the club’s building on Saturday and said the club will be an outstanding addition to the recreational and amusement facilities in the capital.

Spread over more than 20 acres, the Supreme Court had in 2010 declared the club ‘illegal’ when it was almost completed and in its judgement, the apex court said it was opposing the building of such clubs which will only serve elites.

In its decision, SC had said: “As a huge amount has already been spent [on the club], the CDA, with the approval of the federal government, instead of abandoning the project, may utilize the building and other facilities for any public welfare project, like women university, medical/engineering college, science, technology or IT institution, etc.”

However, before deciding the use of the club in light of SC orders, the mayor on Saturday inaugurated the building.

Islamabad Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz, on the other hand, said he has done nothing wrong and that all requisite information will be provided.

“After the local government elections and subsequent orders of the prime minister, the parks of the city have been handed over to the MCI, so the parks and its assets fall under the jurisdiction of the MCI,” he said, adding that media reports had also accused him of wanting to hand over the project to a selected firm.

“I have never made any plans to outsource the club to a selected firm. Rather, we had decided to hire a legal and financial consultant so they can guide us about the future of the club in light of SC orders and about how to generate the maximum funds for the project,” he said.

He said that if the consultants had recommended it, MCI would have advertised the project for outsourcing via open competition.

“The change in name was approved unanimously during an MCI session,” he said, adding that even the consultants have not been hired yet and there is no truth therefore in reports of obliging a selected firm.

Before the inauguration on Saturday, the mayor was briefed about the Metropolitan Club Project. He was told that the club was designed by renowned architect Nayyar Ali Dada who is a recipient of the Hilal-i-Imtiaz and Sitara-i-Imtiaz. The club is spread over 22 acres with 265,000 sq feet of covered area.

The club has many facilities such as a main entrance lobby, atrium, cigar lounge, lounge area, pantry and preparation kitchen, a main kitchen, a pantry, washrooms, restaurants, indoor pools, electrical and mechanical rooms, gym, a lobby for the gym and pool, aerobics area, administrative offices, a kitchen lift, terraces, rooms, snooker area, snack bar, saunas, fitness centres and a library.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2018