LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has opened yet another investigation against the Usman Buzdar government for ‘illegal’ ratification of allotment of army land to civilian officials.
NAB has written to the Punjab chief secretary to reply to the allegations that the Buzdar administration had allotted military land to civilian officials ‘illegally’.
“The competent authority has taken notice of the issue and directed to obtain a report from the Punjab government regarding ratification of military land to civilian officials,” the NAB notice says.
NAB asked the Punjab chief secretary to file a reply in this regard along with the “relevant rules and regulations for perusal of competent authority” at the earliest. “This matter should be treated as most urgent,” it said.
Chief Minister Buzdar is also facing NAB investigations for allegedly receiving Rs50 million in bribe to force the Excise and Taxation Department head to issue a liquor licence to an under-construction hotel in violation of the law, acquiring property, mostly in south Punjab, in the names of his relatives and others, and award of the Lahore gateway and other projects to his ‘favourite contractor’.
In the new investigation, the Buzdar administration is accused of ratifying the allotment of up to 25 acres of state land, which was meant for the families of martyred soldiers and war veterans under the Army Welfare Scheme (AWS), to 47 civilian government officials.
Earlier, the allotments had reportedly been made without legal sanction on the orders of former dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf ‘in contravention of the merit and law’.
Some 837 acres of the AWS land had been allotted to civilian officials without consulting the provincial government. The land had been allotted in the Bahawalpur, Pakpattan, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan districts.
Interestingly, the PML-N government had cancelled the allotments. However, the Buzdar government in May last restored and validated the allotments.
The prominent beneficiaries included DMG officers — Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera, Dr Faisal Zahoor and Syed Imtiaz Hussain Shah. Ex-PCS officials who benefited from the government decision included Mohammad Zahid Ikram, Sikandar Ali Bokhari, Syed Najaf Abbas Bokhari, Malik Mohammad Ramzan, Mohammad Ashraf Yousufi, Abdul Ghafoor Virk, Dur Mohammad Khan and Irshad Mohyuddin. The remaining officials were mostly from the revenue department.
Mr Buzdar approved the allotments as recommended by the standing committee subject to ratification by the cabinet.
Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2020