ISLAMABAD: Two former generals who controlled Pakistan Railways during General Pervez Musharraf’s regime (1999-2002) – Lt General Javed Ashraf Qazi and Lt General Saeeduz-Zafar – have now contradicted each other in their written statements before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which will resume its hearing on Monday (today) in a multi billion rupees scam.
The scam relates of the lease of 141 acres of land to a foreign firm for construction of Royal Palm and Country Club in the heart of Lahore, as ex-Railways Minister General Qazi claimed that he had nothing to do with the decision to award contract but former secretary PR General Saeed disclosed that the “correct decision was taken with the knowledge and consent of [the then railways minister] General Qazi”.
Lt General Qazi, Lt General Zafar and Major General Hamid Hassan Butt (GM Railways), who would appear before Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary on Monday to explain their roles in the deal, have joined hands in shifting the blame onto the shoulders of low ranking officials of Pakistan Railways, who were members of the Evaluation Committee, which according to these retired generals, had actually negotiated and finalised the deal with the foreign party.
These three retired army generals who were at the helms of PR during Musharraf’s rule at different positions, have also protested that the Pakistan Army was being defamed by those who had filed petitions in the court, as two of the respondents, were members of Evaluation Committee, which inked the deal.
These retired generals have also defended the whole deal and termed it the best in Pakistan’s interests. They have also defended the deal and said it was in best the interests of Pakistan railways.
A three member SC bench presided over by the chief justice would resume its hearing on Monday (today) on the case after admitting a writ petition filed by former minister Ishaq Khan Khakwani and Dr Mubashir Hassan.
Former chairman senate Wasim Sajjad has been hired by Lt General Qazi while Ahmer Bilal Sofi will represent Lt General Zafar, Major General Hamid Hassan Butt, and former federal secretary Khurshid Alam Khan.
Former chief justice of the Lahore High Court Justice Allah Nawaz is appearing on behalf of Khakwani and Dr Hassan.
The Evaluation Committee comprised Director Marketing, Director Land and Property, Brig Akthar Ali Baig and then divisional superintendent. The names of Director Marketing Khalid Naqi and Aslam Alam were said to be also part of the team which signed the deal.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2011.
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