News Analysis |
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed corruption references against the former high ranked Army officers over a land deal in Lahore for the development of a golf course called Royal Palms Gold and Country Club at throwaway rates. Accused in the case allegedly misused their authority and leased the land illegally for commercial purposes resulting in huge loses to the national exchequer.
NAB is initiating proceedings against three former generals and brigadier at accountability court. Three references have been filed in Islamabad Accountability Court against the retired Lt Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi, retired Maj Gen Hamid Hassan Butt, retired Lt Gen Saeed-uz-Zaman, retired Brig Akhtar Ali Baig, Ramzan Sheikh, Pervaiz Qureshi, Iqbal Samad Khan, Khurshid Ahmed Khan, Abdul Ghaffar, and sponsors of Royal Palm Golf Club.
All the accused are allegedly involved in the illegal award of lease of ‘railways golf club Lahore’ in 2001. Lt Gen Qazi who also served as ISI chief, as Pakistan Railways chairman and as federal minister for communications and railways is the main accused along with Lt Gen Zaman, a former secretary and chairman of the Railways Board.
NAB has opened up cases across the board, against the political parties and military personnel over their alleged involvement in corruption cases. The anti-graft watchdog is sticking to its policy of accountability since the country’s prosperity lies in eliminating corruption.
Others included in the Royal Palm lease case are former WAPDA chairman Tariq Hameed and former member finance Imtiaz Anjum, former member power Anwar Khalid, and former member water Mohammad Mushtaq are also under investigation for alleged wrongdoing. During a board meeting on February 20, NAB chairman Justice retired Javed Iqbal approved the case proceedings.
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NAB has reopened the Rs2 billion railway land scam proceedings after 17-years. In 2001, Pakistan Railway had offered the lease of its Golf Club at Canal Bank, Lahore for a period of 33 years.
A number of firms had submitted bids to capture the deal. However during the process; the lease period was illegally enhanced from 33 years to 49 years and secondly, the land area mentioned in original advertisements was illegally increased from 103 acres to 140 acres. In the due process, Railway colony was demolished to increase the land illegally and precious piece of land was awarded illegally to leaseholder- Mainland Hasnain Ltd (MHPL).
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed corruption references against the former high ranked Army officers over a land deal in Lahore for the development of a golf course called Royal Palms Gold and Country Club at throwaway rates.
Apparently, NAB has established the fact that individuals in question had transferred prime railway land to a Malaysian firm during the early years of Pervez Musharraf regime. Interestingly, the case against the top-military officials remained dormant due to reluctance of NAB to act against the powerful establishment. The watch-dog had summoned the alleged culprits in 2012 for recording their statements but no proceedings took place against them.
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The surge in the NAB’s activism can be attributed to the appointment of NAB chairman Javed Iqbal, who had assured after the appointment that agency will adopt a robust policy to eradicate corruption in the country. NAB has opened up cases across the board, against the political parties and military personnel over their alleged involvement in corruption cases. The anti-graft watchdog is sticking to its policy of accountability since the country’s prosperity lies in eliminating corruption.
After this development, any accusations against the institution over involvement in any agenda appear to be false and is merely used to malign the image of the authority and to gain political ascendance.