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ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday initiated investigations against administrations of Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Islamabad, Bahria Town and Capital Development Authority (CDA) for over Rs62 billion DHA Valley and its Phase-II (extension) scams.

The anti-graft watchdog also decided to start probe against the son-in-law of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif retired Capt Safdar and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa president Ameer Muqam for having assets beyond their known sources of income.

The NAB closed down a case of Khushhal Pakistan Programme funds against Nawaz Sharif who has already been facing four other cases.

110,000 civilians, and 41,000 serving and retired military officers and families of martyrs suffered losses

These decisions were made in the executive board meeting that was chaired by the bureau’s chairman, retired Justice Javed Iqbal.

An official press release regarding the meeting said: “The administrations of the three organisations were accused of being involved in non-development of DHA Valley and DHA Phase-II extension causing irreparable losses to hundreds of thousands of people who had invested their hard earned money in these projects.”

In October 2016, former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif had given a go-ahead to NAB to take stern action against retired military officers and civilians involved in the DHA Valley scam. However, the then NAB administration did not take significant action.

A top NAB official, on condition of anonymity, told Dawn that a senior official of the army had called on NAB’s former chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry in July 2015 and had assured full support to the bureau in investigating the matter.

It is NAB’s second action against Bahria Town’s chief Malik Riaz in a month as the anti-corruption watchdog had already started inquiry against him.

The DHA Valley scheme, meant for the bereaved families of martyred military personnel, was proposed on the site of a small dam called the Dadhocha dam on Punjab government’s land.

The DHA Valley case was started on the complaint of a resident of Rawalpindi, retired Lt Col Mohammad Tariq Kamal, in Sept 2010, who alleged that the real estate project DHA Valley was being developed on the area reserved for the lake adjoining the proposed Dadhocha dam. Following the verification of the complaint on June 13, 2011, the bureau had authorised an inquiry on July 3, 2012.

Names of former army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s brothers and some other retired officials of the army are also part of the scam as their firm was hired to provide land for DHA Valley scheme.

The petition said the DHA, Bahria Town and a real estate/construction firm Habib Rafique had entered into a contract to develop various housing schemes, including DHA Valley, DHA Phase II extension, DHA Express Way and DHA Villas in Rawalpindi, as a joint venture.

According to the petitioner’s evaluation, the DHA Valley was valued at Rs110 billion, DHA Phase II Extension at Rs70 billion, the Express Way at Rs50 billion and DHA Villas was valued at Rs100 billion. DHA-I and DHA-II are said to be developed housing societies, but DHA Valley is yet to be developed.

The NAB inquiry said that the people who had paid money to get the plots in DHA Valley had found that they were fooled because they were deliberately not informed by the DHA management about the agreement between DHA-I and Bahria Town over land development. In 2009, the DHA had transferred all the funds raised from the public — Rs62bn — to the accounts of Bahria Town. But, Bahria Town failed to develop the scheme.

About 110,000 civilians, 41,000 serving and retired military officers and families of martyrs were cheated in the scam. The total land in question is of 165,000 kanals.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2018