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NAB summons three former generals over railway land fraud

October 31, 2012


The Chairman NAB Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bukhari talking to media persons at a local hotel. APP photo

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday issued summons to three retired generals of the Pakistan army for their alleged involvement in the fraudulent land deal  which inflicted losses of billions of rupees on Pakistan Railways, DawnNews reported.

The summons were issued to Lieutenant General (Retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi, Lieutenant General (Retd) Saeeduz Zafar and Major General (Retd) Hassan Butt, sources said.

The generals, who were accused of illegally sanctioning railway property to the ‘Royal palm golf club’ on discounted rate, were asked to appear before the bureau on Thursday.

The controversy

A federal audit carried out in 2007 found that the government had lost Rs10 billion by leasing out 103 acres of land to the club built in early 2000 on Pakistan Railways’ land in the heart of Lahore.

A special National Assembly committee headed by Mr Gondal was set up in 2008 to investigate the matter. In a report submitted to the house in October 2010, the committee said the government had lost four times the amount earlier estimated — i.e. Rs40 billion.

The committee had recommended that the contract be cancelled and disciplinary action taken against the then federal minister for railways Lt-Gen (retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi, secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Saeeduz Zafar and general manager Maj-Gen (retd) Hamid Hassan Butt.

The National Assembly had unanimously approved the recommendations.

The Supreme Court later took a suo motu notice of the deal and completed its hearing on the case in March last year. But it has yet to issue a judgment.

In May 2012, Yasmin Rehman of the Pakistan People’s Party had suggested that the attorney general should convey the committee’s concern to the Supreme Court and facilitate an early release of the judgment. “This (club) was one of the former military regime’s major scandals. We need to reach some logical conclusion on the issue,” she had said.