ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has reversed its last week’s decision to refer a case to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) about a housing society launched by Punjab senior minister Aleem Khan.
The decision came after meetings with the National Assembly speaker on Thursday and in the wake of a ‘stay’ order given by the Supreme Court against the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) judgement declaring Aleem Khan’s housing society, M/s Park View City, illegal.
Consequent upon the IHC decision, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had cancelled the no objection certificate (NOC) issued to the society.
Sources said the PAC, during an in-camera session held on Thursday, withdrew its directive of sending the Park View City case to NAB.
The PAC had ordered NAB on Jan 20 to conduct an inquiry into “unjustified restoration of the layout plan” for Aleem Khan’s society.
According to an audit report, Park View City caused a loss of Rs2.1 billion to the national exchequer.
The report noted that the CDA had issued an NOC to Park View City on Feb 14, 2013, but cancelled it on Nov 7, 2014, due to non-transfer of land meant for amenities in the name of the civic agency.
Audit report says Park View City caused a loss of Rs2.1bn to exchequer
The cancelled NOC was restored by the CDA in 2018 without verifying whether all requirements had been fulfilled or not.
Rana Tanveer Ahmed of PML-N, the PAC chairman, pointed out that this was a gross violation and prima facie a case fit for an inquiry by NAB. With the consent of all PAC members, he referred the matter to NAB for investigation.
But Munazza Hassan, a PTI lawmaker, sought discussion on a road which links the housing society to the main artery. Rana Tanveer, the PAC chairman, replied that since he had already referred the matter to NAB, now it was up to the bureau to take a decision.
According to sources, the PAC discussed the NA speaker’s embargo on any discussion about Broadsheet, the asset recovery firm.
The PAC chief, perturbed over the media coverage of an in-camera discussion about alleged corruption in the country’s supreme accountability forum, asked the federal interior minister to probe the ‘leaks’.
The sources said members belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) took up the matter of Aleem Khan’s society with Rana Tanveer Hussain and asked him to withdraw the directive for referring an audit para to NAB.
The chairman withdrew the directive.
Ibrahim Khan, a PAC member from the PTI, told Dawn that the chairman had referred the matter to NAB without due deliberations in the committee’s meeting.
He said the matter was taken up just a few minutes before the meeting concluded and at a time when most of the PTI members were not present.
The PAC chairman withdrew his decision after members of the Tehreek-i-Insaf brought the matter to his notice.
“Even otherwise, since the Supreme Court has issued a stay order, we asked him to keep the matter pending till adjudication by the apex court,” Ibrahim Khan said.
The apex court took up an appeal by Park View City against the IHC order on Thursday. The bench asked the government not to take adverse action against the housing society and adjourned further hearing.
Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2021