ISLAMABAD: Junior incumbents have benefited from red tape that deprived the country’s senior-most bureaucrats of highly valued plots of land in the capital at heavily subsidised prices.

According to a response submitted by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) delayed the allotment of plots to bureaucrats for four months. During this time, at least six officers in grade 22 retired, making their successors eligible for the plots instead.

Former Cabinet Division secretary Abu Akif has challenged the allotment of land before the IHC for this reason.

According to documents submitted to the IHC, the CDA handed over 11 plots in D-12 to the FGEHF last November for onward allotment to the senior-most officers in grade 22.

The FGEHF delayed the allotments until this April, during which time several eligible officials retired after reaching the age of superannuation.

The officers allotted these plots included PM’s secretary Azam Khan, Aviation Division Secretary Hasan Nasir Jamy, Secretary States and Frontier Regions Mohammad Aslam, Petroleum Division Secretary Mian Asad Hayauddin, Planning Division Secretary Zafar Hassan, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Customs Policy Member Mohammad Javed Ghani, FBR Legal and Accounting member Fazal Yazdani Khan, Syed Ejaz Ali Shah Wasti presently posted in the establishment division and former information secretary Shafqat Jalil.

The petition stated that the “allotment was not only illegal but also unreasonable, tainted with mala fides; it involves procedural impropriety, hence, the entire process of creation and allotment of plots under challenge is liable to be set aside. Since D-12 is an already developed sector, therefore, under Islamabad Land Disposal (ILD) Regulations 2005, CDA cannot allot a plot in this sector to any serving or retired officer.”

It said that the FGEHF, without evolving any mechanism for allotment of developed plots, proceeded to allot these plots to bureaucrats, and it was clear that this exercise was not done in normal course of business but was a pre-planned act to oblige favoured individuals, while senior officers were deliberately excluded from the list in order to accommodate juniors.

In a written response submitted to the IHC, the CDA said that, in a letter dated Nov 13, 2019, the FGEHF was informed of the availability of the plots. It said that the allotment in April did not pertain to the CDA since it was the sole prerogative of the foundation.

In its own written response, the FGEHF said the allotments were based strictly on merit. It said that the Establishment Division prepares seniority lists of officials, and the FGEHF makes allotments in accordance with the list.

The petitioner’s counsel Barrister Munawar Duggal said that under the regulations, civil servants can only be allotted plots in undeveloped sectors. Those promoted in the last few years were allotted plots in F-14 and F-15.

“Having been promoted in recent years, the mentioned officers could only get plots in upcoming sectors and not in a developed sector like D-12,” the petition said. It also expressed doubt regarding transparency in the process of creating plots and their subsequent allotment.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2020

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