ISLAMABAD, Sept 12: Gen Pervez Musharraf says he is determined to return home but he might find his fond farmhouse in the Chak Shahzad suburb partly demolished if he did.
Dawn has learnt that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has notified him that his house covers 764 square feet in excess of the permitted limit and “is required to be demolished”.
It is the second bad news for the former military ruler in two weeks since an anti-terrorism court ordered seizure of his properties and freezing of his bank accounts late last month after his continued refusal to respond to the accusation that he failed to protect former prime minister Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in December 2007.
CDA's notice purportedly complied with the directions issued by the Supreme Court during its suo motu hearings in the case of 499 farmhouses built in violation of Islamabad's Master Plan that it took up in 2007. The case is still before the court.
Gen Musharraf's palatial farmhouse over five acres was under construction at that time. But he could never step into it as political agitation over his actions against the independence of the judiciary forced him to resign his office in August 2008 and leave the country.
A CDA official confided to Dawn that the civic agency's building inspectors were always denied access to Musharraf's farmhouse for security reasons. “But recently they did gain entry despite pressures from within CDA against the attempt, and found that rules had been violated in constructing it,” he said.
Its built-up area was 12,500 sq. ft. of which 764 sq. ft. need to be demolished, he said, adding that the CDA has decided to impose a fine of Rs1.25 million for exceeding the permitted limit of covered area.
Five notices were sent to the former president in this regard but no response was received. The Supreme Court orders were the force behind the latest move, the official said, claiming a few farmhouses had already been demolished for the same reason.However, the spokesman for the former president, Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif denied receiving any notice. Dawn
“We have not received any letter from the CDA. If we get something in writing specifically relating to the orders of the Chief Justice of Pakistan we will follow it,” he told .
With five huge bedrooms, several lobbies and a swimming pool, Mr Musharraf's farmhouse is a palatial building worth an estimated Rs250 million, said the CDA official.
A new “summary” is being prepared about the palatial residences raised on farmland which CDA had leased for growing vegetables and fruit and raising poultry for the citizens of Islamabad. The leaseholders will be told to use the land for the purpose it was leased or lose the land, according to the official.
“Our action against the farm lease violators is across the board,” claimed CDA spokesman Ramzan Sajid. “A committee is reviewing the development of farm houses on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.”
Under Gen Musharraf's administration the 4,000 sq ft covered area that CDA allowed for animal shed and living quarters for the farm manager was increased to 10,000 sq ft, according to CDA sources.
“I don't understand why just this farm house (of Musharraf) catches the eye of everybody,” wondered Barrister Saif. “It is all political,” he answered himself.
He insisted that former president's farmhouse was constructed after fulfilling all legal formalities. “We have documents to prove that in a court of law,” he said, but added that if any violation was proved “we will demolish it because we respect the law.”
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