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Management of firm co-owned by Zardari, Bilawal 'willfully avoided' proceedings: NAB

Updated December 11, 2018

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NAB has summoned Zardari and Bilawal in pursuance of the case to appear before them on December 13. — DawnNewsTV/File
NAB has summoned Zardari and Bilawal in pursuance of the case to appear before them on December 13. — DawnNewsTV/File

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday clarified why an inquiry was initiated against Park Lane Estate Company (Pvt) Ltd — a firm co-owned by former president Asif Ali Zardari and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari — and government officials for alleged illegal transfer of forest land.

In a press release, the bureau stated that an inquiry was authorised into allegations that land belonging to the Punjab Forest Department was illegally transferred by Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials to Park Lane Estate Company, a Karachi-based real estate firm.

"The manager, attorney holder, and director of Park Lane Estate Company were repeatedly summoned; however, they have willfully avoided joining the proceedings of NAB," the statement said.

On December 9, the bureau sent notices to Zardari and Bilawal to appear before it in Rawalpindi on Dec 13 in connection with the transfer of land to Park Lane Estate Company.

Today's press release notes that Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan's records indicate that Zardari and Bilawal are 50 per cent shareholders of the real estate firm.

Detailing earlier findings of the investigation, NAB said: "It [was] revealed that the revenue officers in connivance with CDA officers, on application from Park Lane Estate Company, illegally extended undue benefit [to the real estate firm] through demarcation and handing over possession of 118.4 kanals [of] forest land."

NAB found that revenue officers "forged and tampered the revenue record(s)" while CDA officers "misused their authority to hand over possession of state land to Park Lane Estate Company".