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Recommendations of probes gather dust in LDA

December 31, 2012

LAHORE, Dec 30: Senior officials of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) could not be removed from their posts despite recommendations by inquiry officers in a plaza demolition and other cases in 2012.

Sources told Dawn on Sunday that the Chief Minister Inspection Team (CMIT) had recommended action under the law as well as the initiation of inquires under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability (PEEDA) Act of 2006 against 31 officials for negligence in a plaza demolition that claimed the lives of four labourers in September, 2011.

The CMIT members had recommended criminal proceedings as well as an inquiry under PEEDA Act against Chaudhry Muhammad Akram (chief town planner), Muhammad Saeed Akhtar (then chief engineer and now Tepa chief engineer), Khalid Mehmood Sheikh (town planning director) and Abdul Razzaq (EME director). The report recommended action under the PEEDA Act against 11 officials — Waseem Ahmed Khan (chief metropolitan planner), Khwaja Javed Aslam (enforcement director), Muhammad Nauman Khan (estate management director), Ahmed Nawaz Malik (buildings director), Muhammad Latif (assistant director of engineering), Azhar Ali (deputy director), Muhammad Afraz Akhtar (town planning assistant director), Aqeel Salman (assistant director), Ali Abbas (assistant director), Muhammad Zubair (assistant director) and Muhammad Nadeem Akhtar Zaidi (town planning director). The other 16 officials against whom a departmental inquiry is recommended are: Town Planning Director Muhammad Fahim, Deputy Director (Commercialization) Muhammad Mustafa Muazzam, deputy directors (Town Planning) Asaduz Zaman and Muhammad Fahad Younis, assistant directors (Town Planning) Muthair Awan, Tahir Ahmed Qureshi, Muhammad Nafees, Irfan Rana, Ahmed Saeed and Umar Muhammad, Deputy Director (Buildings) Muhammad Iqbal Javaid, assistant directors (EME) Hafiz Bilal Afzal Chughtai and Hamza Aslam, Deputy Director (Enforcement) Ali bin Sohail and Assistant Directors (Enforcement) Basit Aziz and Uzair Sohail.

Similarly, the sources said, another inquiry held by the former LDA additional director general (headquarters) recommended in April disciplinary action against the LDA planning boss for misleading the authorities through his false report which led to the suspension of five LDA officers for six months.

The probe recommended forwarding a reference to the Services and General Administration Department against then administration director Shahid Farid who notified the suspension of then Town Planning directors Ume Laila Naqvi and Khalid Hassan Lodhi, who were working in the LDA on a deputation from the Local Government and Community Development Department and the Punjab Housing Urban Development and Public Health Engineering Department.

The probe say Mr Farid failed to inform the competent authority (LDA director general) about the status of these officers. The probe was initiated after the top LDA official suspended directors Ms Naqvi and Mr Lodhi, deputy directors Qaswar Abbas and Sidra Tabassum and assistant director Abdul Rehman for their alleged negligence in illegal constructions of shops on Khayaban-i-Jinnah (Johar Town) on June 18. The LDA also got registered a criminal case against Mr Abbas with Satukatla police station.

The inquiry officer declared allegations against Mr Abbas and others baseless. As the LDA administration failed to follow recommendations, most of the officials are still holding prime slots, said an official seeking anonymity. — Khalid Hasnain