Housing scheme board members allot plots to themselves in Islamabad

Published September 28, 2021
This June 1, 2011 photo shows an aerial view of Islamabad. — Reuters/File
This June 1, 2011 photo shows an aerial view of Islamabad. — Reuters/File

• Names not included in list of allottees on FGEHA website
• Spokesman says members secure plots as service benefit

ISLAMABAD: While making public the allotment of plots to judges, bureaucrats and journalists, the executive board of the Federal Government Emplo­yees Housing Autho­rity (FGHEA) had silently decided to secure pricey plots for themselves in posh housing sectors of Islam­abad’s F-14 and 15 sectors against the recommendations of the parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Minutes of the executive board meeting available with Dawn suggest that all members unanimously decided in their own favour to have one kanal plot each, but did not include their names in the list placed on the FGEHA website that had 4,723 allottees, among them the chief justice and other judges of the Supreme Court.

According to the summary of the meeting’s minutes related to the allotments of 4,723 plots to over 50 judges of the superior judiciary, bureaucrats, lower judiciary’s judges and journalists on Aug 17, the executive board members in a subsequent meeting “unanimously decided that the executive board members be considered against 1pc quota of current schemes, reserved for the employees of the Ministry of Housing and Works, subject to availability in the corresponding quota and upon submission of a formal application for a particular scheme and membership drive”.

However, this decision is against the observations of the Public Accounts Committee.

In its Aug 23 meeting, the PAC observed that “allotment on quota basis under federal government employees is also unjustified as all the members of housing authority have equal rights”.

The summary of the executive board meeting, which has been circulated among the members since last week, stated that the plots might be allotted to them on “completion of mandatory one year as a board member and a minimum of five-year service in the federal government”.

Technically speaking, the executive board allowed ‘fast-track’ allotment of plots to its own members contrary to the criteria set for such allotments through seniority basis.

Chaudhry Mohammad Irfan, the FGEHA spokesman, said the members allowed allotment of plots to themselves as a service benefit.

According to him, the board has taken the decision to give members priority to avail plots in the new sectors.

However, a senior bureaucrat of the Foreign Service of Pakistan told Dawn that a considerable number of ambassadors and former diplomats could not get plots in successive schemes of the FGEHA and have been deprived of plots despite being much senior than the housing authority’s board members.

The executive board, which is chaired by Tariq Bashir Cheema, comprises Housing and Works Secretary Dr Imran Zeb Khan, Additional Secretary Zahoor Ahmed, draftsman of the law ministry Mohammad Israr, Planning Commission senior chief (technical) Mohammad Anwar, senior joint secretary Finance Division Rizwan Ahmed Sheikh, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Amer Ali Ahmed, FGEHA Director General Tariq Rashid, the authority’s chief engineer, retired Capt Imtiazul Haq Khattak, chief planner FGEHA Dr Asghar Naeem and joint secretary, Ministry of Housing Mohammad Buksh Sangi.

The summary stated that the plots had been allotted to “the employees of the federal government and other specified groups including judges of honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan and judges of subordinate judiciary of Islamabad”.

It may be mentioned that IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah suspended the allotments to the judges of subordinate judiciary and on Sept 13 suspended all allotment of 4,723 plots to senior bureaucrats and top judges.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, senior puisne judge and other judges of the Supreme Court, provincial high courts and bureaucrats in BS-20 to BS-22 were allotted 1,704 plots of one kanal each in sectors F-14 and F-15 on Aug 17.

The FGEHA also allotted 1,690 plots measuring 14 marlas each to officers in BS-18 and BS-19 and 1,329 plots measuring 10 marlas each to those in BS-16 and BS-17.

The IHC suspended balloting of the plots in sectors F-14 and F-15 till the next hearing, fixed for Oct 14, through an interim order passed on an appeal against a single-member bench directive to the FGEHA to consider around 30,000 applicants who had been waiting for allotment in sectors G-13 and G-14 for a decade.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2021

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