ISLAMABAD, Oct 22: The land of Islamabad Club had been leased out in 1968 for 50 years at a rate of Re1 per acre annually despite the fact that the current cost of the land runs into billions of rupees, the National Assembly was informed on Thursday.

However, the National Assembly did not receive the accurate information about the club when Federal Minister for Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs Mohammad Ajmal Khan responded to a question by MNA Farid Ahmed Piracha.

According to the minister, the total area of the club was 11.4 acres which had been given to the club administration on lease by the Capital Development Authority (CDA). However, a senior CDA official told Dawn that the club administration had also been provided additional land twice after the original agreement was signed in 1968. The total area of the club is now stated to be about 25 acres, and its market value is over Rs4 billion, a source in the CDA said.

The club has become a hub of entertainment for the ruling elite and bureaucracy. The membership fee for a private member, which started from Rs500, has gone up to Rs300,000, while for the government officials it is Rs35,000, the source said.

"Despite sharp increase in the membership fee, over 1,000 people have applied for the new membership and waiting for the same," he said. Under the lease agreement, the rates were to be revised every 10 years, however, no such revision has been made during the last three decades, the source said.

The club is being run on commercial basis, but it would continue to pay nominal lease charges of Rs11 annually to the CDA till 2018, the National Assembly was informed.

The documents presented before the NA by the government also revealed massive violations of lease agreement signed between the CDA and the club administration. However, the documents showed that no action had ever been initiated by the CDA in this regard because the club had always been run by powerful bureaucracy.

Getting membership of the club has become impossible for the commoners even if they are ready to pay the membership fee because the club managements thinks such people lack "etiquettes" and "manners" required for such places, the source said.

The documents submitted to the NA showed that the CDA authorities had never tried to revise lease rates despite the fact that the club administration had been increasing its membership fee and other charges for last three decades, earning millions of rupees annually. Recently, the rates of food served at the club were raised manifold, thus ending the impression that visitors were provided subsidized meal.



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