ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which oversees government spending, has directed Pakistan Railways to retrieve its encroached land and comply with the auditors’ recommendations to minimise its financial losses.

In a meeting presided over by PAC Chairman Noor Alam Khan, the Railways secretary informed the participants that about 5,000 acres of the total 168,000 acres of the state-owned railway company had been encroached.

However, when the committee directed the Ministry of Railways to recover the encroached land, the secretary said that most of the land was encroached upon by government departments and the matter had already been taken up with the authorities concerned.

The PAC chairman directed the ministry’s representatives to make the institution a profitable entity.

Pointing out an issue of misappropriation and misuse of power by a Railways official, Mr Khan told the secretary that the deputy director of the property and land department of Railways in Peshawar harassed a businessman for giving him bribes. Mr Khan directed the authorities concerned to conduct an inquiry against that officer and take disciplinary action.

He also requested all PAC members and conveners to recommend blacklisting the AKD Securities Ltd company for its alleged poor performance and outstanding lease dues for the Pakistan Railways land of 10,207 square kilometres in Karachi.

Mr Khan directed the Railways officials to apprise the Supreme Court that the PAC took notice and blacklisted the AKD firm, whereas the compliance report should be submitted within a month and the lease cancellation letter to be issued within a week. The direction should be circulated widely through print and electronic media, he said.

He also directed officials to send the issue regarding Railw­ays’ outstanding dues to the Nat­i­onal Accountability Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2023

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