GUJRAT: Sialkot Municipal Corporation former mayor Chaudhry Tauheed Akhtar says the demolition of the office building of his housing society by the local administration is a part of PTI government’s pressure tactics to get his political loyalty changed as he has consistently been persuaded to record a statement against PML-N stalwart Khwaja Muhammad Asif who is already in the custody of National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Speaking to Dawn by telephone on Tuesday, he said the Khwaja Asif family had been his business partner for having 20 per cent share in the Kent Housing Society (Sialkot). As a result the authorities targeted his business as Adviser to Prime Minister Shahzad Akbar and Anti-Corruption Establishment Director General Gohar Nafees had directly monitored the operation of [what he termed] an illegal demolition of the office building.

Claims to have followed by-laws

He said nothing illegal had been done in his housing society as 137 kanals phase 1 was approved in 2017 where at least 62 kanal land had been allocated for roads, park, graveyard and mosque as per by-laws but the Sialkot deputy commissioner had moved a reference to the ACE against his society on the charges of not allocating the required piece of land for the public use.

However, he said he had shown all the [fulfilled] requirements to the Sialkot media on Monday during a press conference at the site whereas the local authorities didn’t yet redeem the 20pc mortgaged land.

He said the case of society’s phase 2 comprising around 289 kanals had been provisionally approved by the then DC in 2019 but the final approval was withheld. The NAB had also probed the affairs of his society but did not find anything wrong, he said.

The ACE Sialkot circle, Akhtar said, had lodged a case against nine people, including him and two members of the Khwaja Asif family, in November the last on the reference of DC.

Adding he said he had filed an application with the Gujranwala ACE court to appoint a team of technical experts to look into the affairs of his housing society. He claimed that on the court direction a technical team of ACE had examined the entire scheme and found all the requirements fulfilled at the site.

But ironically, he said, the technical team had handed over the report to Sialkot DC instead of submitting it to the court while the last date of hearing was Jan 30 but the building was demolished on Jan 31 [morning] whereas the DC did not allow the submission of that report to the court on the alleged pressure of the government.

He said he and some other people nominated in the case were on bail before arrest and the next hearing is fixed for Feb 16.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2021

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