KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau has arrested a former director general of parks and horticulture of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation in the city.
“NAB Rawalpindi arrested Liaqat Ali Khan Qaimkhani, ex-DG parks and horticulture, KMC, in Bagh Ibne Qasim scam,” said a spokesperson.
The anti-graft body seized eight vehicles, arms, property files, jewellery and official records of the KMC from his custody. NAB sources said that the eight recovered vehicles were luxury ones and the weapons sophisticated ones.
They added that documents of seven bungalows in Karachi and Lahore were also found in his home during a search in PECHS, Block-6. ‘Original files’ of the KMC were also seized from the held suspect’s home.
Two lockers, six and four feet high, were also seized, which have not been opened so far, said the sources. They revealed that the held suspect had granted a “fake contract” of Bagh Ibne Qasim when he was parks DG of the KMC.
For the last more than a year, NAB had been conducting investigation regarding illegal allotment of amenity land of Bagh Ibne Qasim and unlawful amalgamation with two plots of the KDA. In the same case, NAB had arrested former executive district officer for revenue Karachi Sajjad Ali Abbasi in June 2019, who was part of the committee that granted the amenity plot to a private construction firm and also part of the Sindh Land Committee which regularised the land falling as part of Bagh Ibne Qasim to the company.
Later, NAB pardoned Mr Abbasi under Section 26 of the NAB Ordinance and made him a prosecution witness in the reference. During the course of investigation into the scam, the sources claimed, NAB found interesting facts that suggested the scam was managed and executed right from the top tracing its links to power corridors in the provincial administration, allegedly to CM House.
“Former Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah is also one of the alleged characters of the whole episode and only last month the Sindh High Court (SHC) granted protective bail to him in the same case,” said a source citing history of the case.
Mr Qaimkhani was appointed adviser to the Karachi mayor after his retirement a few years ago during which he served on key positions under former city nazims Niamatullah Khan and Mustafa Kamal. The former city mayor and founding chairman of the Pak Sarzameen Party, while responding to the arrest of former DG for parks, said he was not alone in the scam and accused former Sindh governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan of pampering the “corrupt officers” while holding the key office for more than a decade.
“Mr Qaimkhani was a senior officer even when I was city nazim,” he said in response to a question on the sidelines of an IT conference at the Expo Centre, which he addressed as one of the keynote speakers. “The situation starts turning bad from the top. The officer would do whatever his boss wants or asks him to do. So Mr Qaimkhani was actually pampered and promoted by the former Sindh governor [Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan] who even played a key role in getting him awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz.”
Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2019