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ISLAMABAD, Aug 8: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday restrained the Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) from awarding Rs431 million construction contract to National Construction Limited (NCL), whose managing director Hassan Haqqani happens to be the brother of Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani.

The runner-up for the contract Techno construction, through their counsel Raja Amir Abbas, petitioned the case before IHC Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan.

Before signing the agreement, the government appointed Haqqani as officiating in-charge of the PHA.

Paradoxically making Haqqani signatory from both sides: as a representative of his company NCL and also on behalf of PHA.

Having best of both worlds, so it seemed.

But not for long. The court put an end to that. Justice Khan, while issuing restraining orders in this matter also sought replies from secretary housing, PHA and NCL.

According to the petition, PHA through tender notices had invited the construction companies to take part in the bidding for separate categories of Kurri Housing Project that was meant to provide housing facilities to the employees of federal government. The tenders were opened on March 16, 2012.

The outgoing Managing Director of PHA, Rasool Bakhash Phulpoto on July 25, issued an acceptance letter to NCL in response to their lowest bid.

Counsel for the petitioner, Raja Amir Abbas advocate told the court that Mr Phulpoto has been removed from the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSMs), under corruption charges and there were three FIRs against his name.

Mr Phulpoto was also removed from the PHA on July 31 and few days before he was removed, he gave an acceptance letter to the NCL on July 25.

He alleged that the award of contract to NCL was done under a shady deal. As per requirement the bidding companies had to quote the gray rates and the furnished rates as well. Gray rates means the cost of houses without doors, windows, white wash etc., while the furnished rates means the cost of houses with all these accessories. NCL had quoted the gray rates only and not the furnished rates, thus its rates were the lowest among all the bidders. Advocate Abbas said once a deal is final, there used to be a proper signing of an agreement, and then the successful bidder is also given the 10 per cent mobilisation charges to start the work. The petition requested to the court to declare the awarded contract as void and order for the award of contract to the petitioner company as it was on second number after the NCL. The IHC bench after issuing the above said order put off the matter with date-in-office.