ISLAMABAD: At least two former chairmen of Capital Development Authority (CDA) and senior leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Aleem Khan may face anti-graft watchdog as the Islamabad High Court (IHC) hints at referring alleged ‘encroachment of land’ by the latter’s housing society - Park View City - to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Thursday resumed hearing of the petition seeking registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against Khan and officials of his Park View City for encroaching on the acquired land of the CDA which was in the possession of some private persons.
CDA’s director (land) Nisha Ishtiaq on Wednesday informed the court that the CDA board in May last year had allowed Khan to construct the main access road to the society on the civic agency’s acquired land.
The court asked the CDA chairman as well as Khan’s counsel Dr Babar Awan to justify permission granted to private housing society for utilising the acquired land and “satisfy this court that it is not a case which ought to be referred to NAB to be dealt with under National Accountability Ordinance 1999.”Park View City was being developed in an inaccessible area and as per the CDA’s record the permission for usage of the land to the society was given in June 2018 when Usman Akhtar Bajwa was the CDA chairman. He is now Additional Secretary at Prime Minister’s Office.
Two ex-CDA chairmen may also face probe for allowing Aleem Khan’s society to use land acquired by civic agency
Later during the tenure of Afzal Lateef as the CDA chairman, the permission to use the access road was further cemented by mutation of some areas in favour of the CDA that connected the project with the CDA land.
The matter was pursued by the Planning Wing of the CDA headed by then member planning Asad Mehbood Kayani, who later retired.
Justice Minallah during the hearing assigned the CDA chairman the task to probe the matter and submit a report. He remarked that it was a challenge for the CDA chairman to prepare a report on past irregularities
The chairman however sought time to enable the CDA board to examine the legality of the matter.
The court was told that the no-objection certificate (NOC) for Park View City was also required to be reviewed. The court observed that CDA’s director land, who appeared on the last date of hearing, had conceded that the private entity was doing so pursuant to a decision taken by the board.
However, she could not show any provision in the Capital Development Authority Ordinance 1960 nor the rules or regulations authorising the board to give such an authorisation relating to public land or to allow a private entity to evict owners without being compensated, the court observed.
The court termed it “an alarming situation” and a matter of great public importance. The CDA board was asked to examine and take decisions in accordance with law before the next date of hearing.
Further hearing of the case was adjourned to Dec 6.
Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2019