RAWALPINDI: A new inquiry report related to the Rawalpindi Ring Road (R3) project has suggested that disciplinary action must be taken against former commissioner Gulzar Hussain Shah and former Punjab chief secretary Jawwad Rafique Malik for making a wrong report on the project.
According to the report, submitted by the Inquiry Officer Omer Rasul, appreciation letters should be issued to officers who dissented, disagreed and had to put up with the “shenanigans” of Gulzar Hussain Shah. These officers included retired Capt M. Anwarul Haq, Jahangir Ahmad, Ammara Khan, Ali Annan Qamar, Waseem Ali Tabish and Dr Farrukh Naveed.
Records show that Moorat interchange’s redesigning was based on technical grounds as recommended by National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak) and the Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) was subsequently informed about the change. The representatives of housing societies in their statements said they had no role in this change.
In the light of documentary evidence and the statements of technical experts, a comparison was made to analyse various aspects of the three alignments (2017, 2020 and 2021); the 2020 alignment was found to be the optimal alignment given the nature, scope and objectives of the project.
Report says 2021 alignment of road was based on “whimsical” assumptions
The so-called 2021 alignment, according to the report, was based on whimsical and non-technical assumptions. It was approved through misrepresentation and concealment of facts.
Proceedings against the former commissioner have been recommended on the ground that he produced a mala fide report (May 7, 2021); the fact finding inquiry report submitted by the ex commissioner forms the basis of all subsequent administrative and criminal actions against him, the report added.
This report produced by Mr Shah was mala fide and illegal with the defined and pre-conceived motives of implicating retired Capt Mohammad Mahmood; this is evident from the fact that none of the charges levelled against him were proved by facts, and were only substantiated by conjectures, fancy phrases like “rent-seeking syndicate” and “reckless speed”, and failed to establish mala fide of Mr Mahmood in the execution of the project.
Furthermore, the legality of procedures followed and approvals undertaken for the 2021 alignment of R3 project by Mr Shah must also be thoroughly investigated by a team of technical experts.
The report adds that proceedings may also be initiated against Mr Malik for his negligence, oversight and conduct unbecoming of an officer and not being worthy of holding the office of the stature of chief secretary (Punjab).
Mr Malik’s negligent oversight points either to a connivance of convenient silence or a strategic feigned ignorance of statutory rules, regulations and laws to enable Mr Shah to carry on with his mala fide intentions, it states.
In addition, it states that owing to the technical expertise and immense contributions of Dr Farrukh Naveed in setting up of not only the public private partnership (PPP) cell in the planning and development department (Punjab) but also keeping in mind his untiring efforts to put in place a PPP institutional framework for the formulation and implementation of multiple PPP projects in different sectors, he must be reinstated as head of the PPP cell.
A third party validation may be conducted through an independent and credible engineering consulting team to determine the optimal route for Rawalpindi Ring Road Economic Corridor Project, considering but not limiting to all past options.
The report adds that the project must be revived on its optimal alignment after meeting all codal formalities to provide relief to the residents of the twin cities.
*Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2022**emphasized text*